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September 2012 - "I was saying Os-boo-rne"

Okay, so I'm still flogging this dead horse. I can't work out whether I'm a lot busier than I used to be, or lazier, or whether I simply can't write anymore. But I will see this through. I might get 2012 finished before 2013 is over.

It's odd, as now I'm able to think about 2012 as a year in toto, and reflect on what a brilliant year it was - to the extent that I miss it.

September is a big part of that longing, as after the excitement and wonder of the Olympics and Paralympics - and of course, George Osborne being roundly booed:

If you look closely, you can see the exact moment when he realises he'll never be Prime Minister

After all of this, Becky and I packed our bags and headed off to America.

There was a bit of a pre-flight scare, as Becky had to have her lung function checked before the 9-hour flight, and it was found she would need oxygen. With 72 hours to go, permission for this to be provided on the flight still hadn't been granted. But we got it sorted and got on board as planned.

We flew with Air New Zealand, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves - watching loads of movies and TV, and in my case, consuming copious quantities of alcohol. (Air New Zealand = unlimited NZ sauvignon blanc FTW)

Once again, I was able to stay with my Dad's cousin Sylvia and her husband Mark in Beverly Hills (see Strictlytrue passim) but this time, we had timed our stay to coincide with a visit to LA by monkeyssk8.

We spent our first day just relaxing with Sylvia, and with a brief trip to the beach to eat lunch in the sunshine. Being me, I had to complete the day by livetweeting Biden and Obama's speeches from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. It was fascinating to watch with Mark, who cast his first vote for FDR in 1944.

On our second day, we headed over to Claremont (which took a lot longer than I'd realised!) to hang out with monkeyssk8 and her Harry in the town she'd grown up in.

Claremont Post Office

We took a walk in baking sunshine along the wilderness trail, leading up the nearby Mount Baldy (believe it or not), then back into town to catch the train home

Claremont station at sunset

I took Becky to the Getty Center and the Griffith Observatory, two of my favourite places from my previous visit. We even saw a comet being made at the latter! And we had a fantastic lunch at Nate 'n' Al's deli in Beverly Hills.

On Sunday 9th, we saw Omar Souleyman, Passion Pit and Hot Chip live at the Hollywood Bowl. This was fantastic. The bowl was built as a classical music venue originally and has embraced jazz, rock and pop over the years. This may go some way to explaining how we were able to feast on hot dogs while drinking wine throughout. The music was fantastic, and the atmosphere perfect, as the sun went down behind the Hollywood hills, as Omar played, ushering in crisp dance-pop from Passion Pit, and then a blistering house-ified set from Hot Chip.

Sunset at the Hollywood Bowl

Here's a review of the gig from the ever-reliable LA Times, which makes a pretty good stab at conjuring up how it felt to be there.

We paid a visit to downtown LA, which as is often noted, is a curiously rootless, soulless place. But I have grown very fond of Our Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and we even managed to entice Mark, now 91, out for a visit:


After that, there was only one thing for it. ROAD TRIP. We headed over to Claremont, filled monkeyssk8's car full of crappy snacks and headed out into the desert. We made for Joshua Tree National Park, and got there just as the sun was setting


We had some truly marvellous pizza at Pie for the People (never let it be said that I cannot find the best pizza wherever I go) and then headed back out into the desert to look at the stars. We saw them, so beautiful, so sharply clear in the desert sky, so deep and soft and black, free of the light pollution and cloud of home. But we also saw a spectacular electrical storm, far out across the desert. We stayed there for nearly an hour - looking to the stars, then to the drama of the storm. One of the finest moments of the holiday, just found by standing around at night looking up. We ended the evening watching Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on the motel TV. A curious end to a magical day.

The next day, we headed out into Joshua Tree park again, to explore the desert, and read about trees

Joshua Tree info

On our last full day, we snuck off together on our own to Santa Monica beach, and then on to Venice beach. It was almost a little chilly when we first arrived, so we did what anyone sensible would do, we broke US campaigning rules and bought some Obama 2012 merchandise (apparently, we learned later, this counts as an overseas donation. I don't think it affected the result.)

The weather, of course because it is southern California, brightened up, and we walked for a long, long time, savouring the day.

Feel the sunshine

And all too soon, we were flying home.

The rest of the month was something of an anti-climax after all that. However, Doctor Who came back, and I once again found myself ruminating on then notion that I might not be a true Doctor Who fan because I actually enjoy it.

And I celebrated my 42nd birthday in not a little style at The Libertine pub in Borough, where all guests were resplendent in "DON'T PANIC" badges, fashioned for me by the good people at Big Wow Badges.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 26th, 2013 06:27 am (UTC)
I've never actually seen footage of the Osborne booing before - how delightful!
Mar. 26th, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
Believe it or not, on the same day, Gordon Brown was presenting medals to paralymian swimmers, and was actually cheered!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )