A sleep deprived post holiday bonanza

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So we went to the States for 10 days to see friends and family, and also to explore some areas that we’ve considered moving to (when we’re +1 or not). It was awesome.

It was one of those vacations where we packed something in to each and every day. There were so many people who wanted to see us / we wanted to see; and so many things we wanted to do that the entire holiday whizzed past. Apart from the first and tail end of the last day into which we mainly crammed errands… we were off seeing people, meeting people or travelling.

We checked out
– Port Townsend: Gorgeous, and filled with more British classics than you can shake a stick at. I counted 7 Morris Minors, An Austin Healey, an MG Midget (I think, it was at a distance and moving), and also a Norton motorcycle). Excellent coffee and bookshop (at which I picked up the Hyperbole and a Half book), and a really nice farmer’s market with some insanely delicious looking food. Wildly out of our price-range.
– Sequim: Didn’t really have a thorough look, but didn’t hit the spot for us; felt sprawly and modern.
– Astoria: Wasn’t what we were expecting at all. And we keep having the ‘we saw it on a Tuesday, in the rain, on the first day of school’… there are lots of excuses for how we found it, but there were a lot of store fronts for rent, there were a lot of hairdressing and thrift stores, and not a lot of the vibrant, up and coming, exciting area that we were expecting. However, we did have dinner at an awesome small brewery called the Buoy Beer Company which had a sea lion the size of a small British town relaxing on the dock underneath it… visible through the glass panel in the floor. They also did delicious burgers and a exceptionally pleasant porter. And I don’t often drink porter… We also had an pleasant coffee at the Astoria coffee house and bistro; which whilst it wasn’t astonishing, was nice.
– Cannon Beach: Stunning and delightful, vastly out of our price range.

However, despite the whimpering caused by the prices we saw, we are still hopeful for our medium term plan for the future.

We also visited Powell’s City of Books in Portland. Dear god, that is a lot of books.

I’ve never been overwhelmed by a bookstore before, but when I walked in past the nice ‘new arrivals’y zone and saw what is essentially endless rows of walls of books. Entire sections devoted to things that might constitute a sub-section of a shelf in what I had formerly considered to be large bookshops.

We spent 2 hours wandering and didn’t even make it off the ground floor. We didn’t even thoroughly cover the ground floor. Jesus wept, we barely scraped the superficial surface of the ground floor.

Some very nice chap came up and asked if he could help; unfortunately my ‘phone had died before we reached the store meaning that I couldn’t check the names of the authors I wanted to check (not that it was really a problem, since I’d collected many new authors I’d never previously heard of). Anyhow, I explained that there’s this out-of-print mystery writer from the 1960’s..or 1950’s… that I really like, but I couldn’t remember anything about her except that her name, I thought, began with a B.

He paused, and for a moment queried the B, before suggesting Dorothy B. Hughes.

I, excitedly, exclaimed that this was indeed the person and bloody hell was I impressed. Not only that, they also had 2 copies of a book of hers that I’d not got. Which he instantly located, because it turned out he’s an enormous fan of Dorothy B. Hughes.

Now that my children, that is a bookstore.

I’ll just say that we came away with a few books and no more shall be said on the subject, how’s that.

We also stopped at Seattle Coffee Gear (in Portland, obviously) who stock, it turns out, our favourite tea which we’ve hithertoo been unable to get outside of France. Damman Frere’s Jardin Bleu is the best black tea I’ve ever had. I adore it. But the only company that sells it in the UK charges insane amounts for shipping; or did last time I checked. And Damman don’t sell online.

Anyhow. They had it. And they had Pumpkin Spice Syrup. Gods, I was like a kid in a toyshop.

Of course, whilst our worship of what I’ve deigned to call ‘The acceptable side of capitalism’ ;) was a component of our holiday; spending time with family and friends was the best thing. Dinner with old friends; meeting with new friends; and just relaxing on the deck and watching the mountain.

Good times were had.


Kate's a human mostly built out of spite and overcoming transphobia-racism-and-other-bullshit. Although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, it's all good.