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All Good in the ‘hood

08 Jan

As I look to be heading back from my adventure here in the US, tomorrow, it’s only appropriate to post this which I found in my drafts sadly neglected – it’s from about two months ago…and as the weather is disagreeable today with all the ice, I am treating you to some accompanying Google images from the days of better weather.  I will endeavour to catch up with you all in a couple of days after the inevitable jet lag wears off until then,

Living in the midst of an American family can be tough for a solitary chap like myself.  I’m used to the silence of my own self imposed isolation, so to come into a family full of exuberant people all doing things and being rowdy can be a bit of a challenge.  So after getting a coffee, served to me by that immortal cheerleader Claire Bennet from the moderately entertaining TV show Heroes, I decided it was high time to take myself off for a walk and reflect for a bit.

roberdeau2

For all your coffee needs, ‘cuda’s just off Van Giesen is the way to go!

So there I was, all excitement and giddiness at the freedom I had – not to mention confidence – in pottering and navigating around my adopted ‘hood.  Although a grid system is infinitely better than the haphazard English way of sticking streets in willy-nilly,  It was really quite a heady experience to be randomly venturing around a new place.

Having meandered around a load of blocks but walking no less than two miles in a wonky octagon formation and soaking it all in, I came to rest – and write the notes for this post – at the Roberdeau Park, a nice bit of grass, tables and shade which provides a nice oasis in the sea of suburbia.

The site of my first outdoor vlog.

The site of my first outdoor vlog.

There is such a variety of house shapes and these interestingly formed domiciles have a fine mixture of trees.  To some the average American block would just seem normal but to my experience of ever shrinking playing fields, rows of identical housing and ‘no ball games’ signs stuck in every bit of grass it is truly refreshing to see such a nice area.

All this placed against the wonderfully pure backdrop of an inky blue and cloudless sky, only broken by the razor-sharp black tangles of power lines. The sun pulsing down telling me that the world, for today at least is great.

The best tee in the 'hood.  Fine things trees, they always give me much to reflect on...

The best tree in the ‘hood. Fine things trees, they always give me much to reflect on…

It’s a natural feel here, in this cocoon of contentment, a couple of squirrels look about warily, the gentle breeze brushes the leaves together like pages of a book that are being fanned. For whatever reason that there is a lack of birdsong it does jar with the almost timeless nature of this moment.

All this is a world away from when I started my journey and as I write down various notes on my phone I find myself rereading the texts from my epic travelling days over again and seeing how the pace of life has changed in such a short space and how everything is in flux and that I should and will be enjoying each moment varied as it will undoubtedly be from one minute to the next.

Since I wrote this I am pleased to report that I used a giant, fully lit, inflatable turkey to find my way home in the dark after going a block to far.  I like to think that I am unique in this.

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38 Comments

Posted by on 08/01/2014 in USAdventure

 

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38 responses to “All Good in the ‘hood

  1. Al

    08/01/2014 at 12:35

    Yes, I can see how using an ignitable turkey would help to guide you back hehe.

    The way they do the streets over there is almost perfect. Just … straight. No drunk architects or trying to draw a line without a ruler. All done with plum-bobs and set-squares. Very long though.

    I hope you have enjoyed your time there. It seems to have gone very fast. Almost like it was two days ago you left to go there.

    Wow! You met Hayden Panattiere!! Did she do any immortal tricks for you? hehe.

    Have a safe journey back.

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    • Ste J

      08/01/2014 at 12:44

      It is easy to navigate, in fact on my first mile and a half potter, I successfully made it back safe so it must be foolproof. We are a bit mad with our road system although I appreciate its eccentricity though.

      It has flown very quickly and it is strange…Einstein was right with his time is relative spiel. Oh for a TARDIS!

      There were no hot coffee burning tricks that I was party too, but perhaps in the future there will be…I shall look forward to blogging you all when I return, although it will seem weird for a time.

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      • Al

        08/01/2014 at 12:58

        I just explained to my daughter the hot girl/hot plate theory that is correct. Although she is more akin to the hot plate than I am (she still has the scars)

        I do find straight roads to be very boring though. I like to see different things. When I was younger, I used to walk about 7 miles a day and the worst part was the 2 mile straight.

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        • Ste J

          13/01/2014 at 17:46

          Straights are a bit dull, I suppose it depends on what is on the straight to inspire thoughts…or not in a lot of cases. Also corners allow you to play spies and pretend you are shaking off your persuers. Or maybe that’s just me….

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          • Al

            13/01/2014 at 19:14

            Haha love it

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  2. gargoylebruce

    08/01/2014 at 20:13

    I presume the turkey was attached to some kind of domicile and that you didn’t just happen upon some form of mutant fowl wandering the street and harness it for your own nefarious, navigational purposes?

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    • Ste J

      13/01/2014 at 17:24

      It was trapped in a garden behind a fence, not white picket sadly. I think I should have fled had I seen it waddling towards me…or I would have fallen on my newly purchased beer to protect it from harm.

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  3. RoSy

    09/01/2014 at 06:01

    It’s always nice to catch a change of scenery.
    Glad that you were able to do so with a fantabulous family.
    Happy & safe travels back home.

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    • Ste J

      13/01/2014 at 17:23

      Fantabulous indeed, with some great #neighbours too! Happy travels is I believe an oxymoron when flying, lol.

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  4. Claire 'Word by Word'

    09/01/2014 at 13:39

    Top post, love the quiet reflections, this environment suits you – I am sure it will stay with you, even on your return. Bonne Voyage!

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    • Ste J

      13/01/2014 at 17:43

      I am hoping to go back and be more infused with the whimsical thoughts that inspired me to write the post. I am hungry for more perspectives on the simple pleasures that walks allow me to dwell on.

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  5. nancyrae4

    09/01/2014 at 14:49

    Glad you enjoyed your stay in the States. But, I have to say, not all American cities have lovely, straight layouts. I grew up in Durham, NC, where the streets follow ancient cow paths, Confederate army routes and the mysterious whims of history, twisting and turning through a city of over 200,000 people. Ugh. Navigation often proved impossible. Once, when I called my father because I was lost somewhere in town, I described my surroundings, cross-streets, etc. There was a long silence and then Dad said, “You can’t get here from there.” I panicked, but I had pull myself together unless I wanted to remain stranded in the black hole of lost-in-Durhamland forever. I never drove again without a city map:)

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    • Ste J

      13/01/2014 at 18:05

      History is indeed a mystery. I just checked out Durham and it does look a bit crazy. I would probably feel at home there, and maps! Brilliant I love maps.

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  6. shadowoperator

    09/01/2014 at 15:04

    Hi! I’m so glad you found stuff in the U.S. to like! What’s doing with the giant, inflatable turkey? Are you kidding, or was it some kind of special magic lantern? I too have torn loyalties about streets and the way they go–while my aesthetic sense revels in Euro and Brit style streets that meander and so forth, I do have my moments of wanting it to be easier to get around, as it is over here. Let us know what’s going on in England when you get back, just for comparison’s sake.

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    • Ste J

      13/01/2014 at 17:59

      The turkey wasn’t random, it was a Thanksgiving thingummy, which is I suppose is less worrying. I like the change for ease of navigation but it’s not much of a challenge…I can’t give myself the illusion of danger, which I like to do because I don’t get out much…in England, lol.

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  7. LuAnn

    10/01/2014 at 16:29

    I thought you were in our fine country for a few more days. 😦

    I loved this post Ste J. It is so like you to pick up on those little nuances that are the essence of a neighborhood, the very aspects that give it breath and bring it to life. Hope you had a fabulous stay and are already planning your next visit. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      13/01/2014 at 17:28

      It was a great stay and yes I am planning for a future visit. America is, unsurprisingly, so very different from England, I just noticed what a lot of people take for granted. I could find little of excitement in an English neighbourhood…but then again I haven’t tried…yet!

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      • LuAnn

        14/01/2014 at 01:48

        I would love to visit England someday and see what I would observe. What is your weather like right now?

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        • Ste J

          14/01/2014 at 19:10

          Get yourself over, the portions are smaller and the roads are twisty! Today has been overcast and tomorrow is the same with patchy showers…we are consistent like that.

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          • LuAnn

            14/01/2014 at 19:11

            Sounds a bit like Florida right now! 🙂

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            • Ste J

              14/01/2014 at 19:15

              Maybe I should get myself over there..in a few months, although I would have missed you by then!

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              • LuAnn

                15/01/2014 at 01:01

                We will be in Florida through March, then exploring the east coast through autumn. Any interest in seeing our nation’s capital or New York City? 🙂

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                • Ste J

                  15/01/2014 at 16:43

                  I wouldn’t mind exploring a little bit with such wonderful tour guides and a good dose of curiosity…I’ll let you know…

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                  • LuAnn

                    15/01/2014 at 18:44

                    Perhaps we could plan for a meet-up when we get back to the west coast, which won’t be for a bit yet, but a girl can dream. 🙂

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                    • Ste J

                      15/01/2014 at 18:50

                      Dreaming is good and yes we should always think on the positive about these things…meeting fellow bloggers makes me very happy indeed.

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                    • LuAnn

                      15/01/2014 at 18:52

                      Me as well. We have several we are planning to meet while in Florida this winter.

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                    • Ste J

                      15/01/2014 at 18:56

                      It’s all very exciting, I just wish your country was more amenable to people who come in to meet bloggers. Apparently it’s a rare ting still although from what other bloggers tell me it isn’t in the least.

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  8. readingwithrhythm

    10/01/2014 at 16:48

    Sounds like you’ve had (or did have) quite the adventures in the US. Where were you exactly? Looks like a nice neighborhood.

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    • Ste J

      13/01/2014 at 17:20

      I was situated in the Tri-Cities, WA. There were a few crazy adventures, I must admit! It was a nice quiet neighbourhood, lots of nature which I like.

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  9. Letizia

    11/01/2014 at 12:16

    cocoon of contentment. I like that phrase.

    Hope you are recuperating from your jet lag slowly but surely. I find jet lag tougher going to Europe than going to the States. Dragging oneself out of bed in the morning in a delirious state after having spent the night tossing and turning (and potentially dreaming of giant inflatable turkeys) is awful. Having said that, the energy the stay up late into the night is quite nice.

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    • Ste J

      13/01/2014 at 17:38

      I managed to sleep through most of the next day…due to still travelling and so far I seem to have not suffered to badly…I’m sure it is just waiting to sneak up on me when I’m not expecting it. Those giant inflatable turkeys get everywhere, they are very clandestine when they want to be…

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  10. Elizabeth Melton Parsons

    12/01/2014 at 21:30

    Hope you had a safe trip and that you found one or two things over here to truly love and many happy memories to savor.

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    • Ste J

      13/01/2014 at 17:34

      Many things to love and reminisce over. It was a great trip and the return journey couldn’t dampen that enthusiasm.

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  11. thejerseygal®™

    16/01/2014 at 19:10

    Haha a good landmark of sorts. I’m glad you made it back. I love your imagery in this journal-style piece. I’d think you’d make a great writer and with your sense of humor, the books you’d write would be right up my alley, wherever that alley is. Hehe

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    • Ste J

      19/01/2014 at 18:35

      alleys are strange things, are they a conduit from one artery to another through a building sandwich, or are they their own defined spaces that we should respect more…not sure what i am on about but it did make me stop and think for a bit.

      The book that I started ages ago and I really need to kick into gear again is of a humorous vein, I am stuck with this writing voice now so the first book I write will be a comedy but I hope to write serious stuff at some point. I shall add it to the list of stuff to do.

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      • thejerseygal®™

        20/01/2014 at 18:11

        While admitting this alley you mention got me lost in a giggle, purely it was my fault! Most of the time, alleys freak me out, especially at night.
        Indeed, a comedy would be right up your alley too! Haha

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  12. Yesterday Unhinged

    21/01/2014 at 06:35

    Did you know that in the South, they deep fry the turkeys for Thanksgiving? My friend’s family has set fire to their house twice.

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    • Ste J

      21/01/2014 at 14:37

      I had heard that, well not about the fire…I’m not much into local news. We had a smoked turkey which I can heartily recommend!

      Like

       

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