Solo trip to Tucson

Day 1

Day 1

What a long flight, 11 hours with copious free booze. Left the plane feeling dehydrated and vaguely spacey. I seem unable to follow the advice of just about everyone I know to moderate alcohol and hydrate with water. Mouth felt like the terrible carpet at Phoenix airport. Hot tip: if like me you are vegan or have another special meal request…. on BA you get your food first which means less elbow jostling with your immediate plane neighbour.

Immigration was as usual long and understaffed and I was thankful that I had taken the precaution of wearing a scarf as the American hipster behind me in the queue had terrible post flight wind.

A warm welcome awaited me at arrivals, so good to see my brother and looking forward to spending the week seeing my sisterin-law and my nephews after two years of being away from them.

Travelling in January to the desert ticks two boxes. One, escaping the incessant grey skies, dark mornings and deluge of rain in England but two….. for once exiting the airport and was not like stepping into a tumble drier at full tilt. As has been apparent all day today I have seemingly brought the English weather with me.

My first full day has been spent running American errands (somehow fascinatingly more interesting than English errands) and then visiting the Mission San Xavier del Bac. I’ve been before and wanted to come back for two reasons. The last time I visited, I lit a candle for my terminally ill friend who sadly died almost a year ago so I wanted to come back to light another in her memory.

Also….. two they have a super Native American craft shop and I love the earrings there so I bought a few pairs and some white sage to do some smudging. I’m not sure turning up to a commercial meeting at a client’s office and wafting burning sage sound the room with a white (non-vegan) feather would viewed positively but you ever know when it will come in handy!

The afternoon was spent feeling the effects of jet lag and so a walk in the rain to wake myself up was called for which is where we found this fallen angel waiting to be collected by the recycling people.

I think she had been part of a full nativity scene which was still proudly in full swing in front of a neighbouring house. Felt immediately sad I couldn’t rescue her but I am determined to stick to only carry on luggage for this trip.

The evening ended with some family games and a beautiful vegan chilli cooked by my sister-in-law. There is a very marked difference between being vegan in the UK, even away from the big cities as opposed to the American vegan scene but we are off for lunch on Day 2 to see what we can find!

The weather is supposed to be better tomorrow so I’m hoping to report some blue skies.

Suzi x

The last two months……

With the nest empty it could have gone one of two ways…..

And suddenly….. they were gone. I had spent all summer with both of my delightful children and within six days they both fledged, one to her first year of a Philosophy degree at Reading and the other to his third year of a Maths PhD in Bath (I could be more specific but let’s face it, neither of us reading or writing this blog would understand it).

Continue reading “The last two months……”

Time to move on?

Last year was a fairly big deal. My second marriage broke apart at the seems spilling big ugly secrets around like a blown dandelion. I made a rush decision to buy the house I’m currently in because I needed a plan, an urgent plan because the marital home had sold in 24 hours straight. Continue reading “Time to move on?”

Saturday night – Green book

Firstly, I will be upfront and say I find it incredibly hard to stay awake whilst:

  • watching films & TV
  • attending (death by) powerpoint presentations
  • attending training days (too much listening)
  • listening to some people talking (yes I have fallen asleep mid conversation)

I feel rather smug that I managed this film in its entirety without even an eyelid droop or an electrocuting sleep-jerk. If someone was selling me this film and said, it’s a biographical comedy-drama based in 1962 I’ve got to be honest I wouldn’t be that interested but as with many things in life… I would be wrong.

In the last two years, I have made a conscious decision to stop using the big corporate chain cinemas in favour of the smaller-chain, or preferably family-run independent ones. I love the cramped space, the type of viewer, the fact you can buy alcohol and just the general provincialness of it all and because of course I am a bit worthy of late, I like to think that I am justly helping to keep local businesses afloat in these harsh economic times.

Safely gliding into my seat armed with Prosecco and some virtually silent vegan movie snacks I settled back to enjoy the main event. Hands up, I had never heard of Dr Don Shirley and had no idea what a “Green Book” was. Whilst I am now glad I know who Don Shirley was, I was horrified to learn what as recently as 52 years ago, this book was still being published…. described as a travelling / motoring guide essentially for black people. Basically, it set out to guide black American travellers to places where they could rest, eat and even drive without the fear of abject prejudice and racism. The film clearly only scratches the surface of what a truly horrific time it was to be a black American in the 1960s  and for that should be applauded but it was a bit of a reality check and made me question how far we had really come in 50 years, with groups like EDL still proliferating hate speech and the Brexiteers wielding their angry votes.

The film follows the story of the two men, one already using racial slurs as the film starts, the other hiring him to get him to all of his shows as they travel through the Deep South, surely one of the worst places to be a black American in the 1960s. It was a lovely partnering of two fantastic actors and you can’t help love Viggo Mortensen and his portrayal of Tony Vallelonga, the constant-eating, ever-smoking driver and body-guard of Dr Don Shirley, talented and renowned concert pianist. There are some shocking portrayals of the way in which white America dehumanised blacks at a very basic level and of course this is where the Green Book comes in. Interesting to note that this partnership remained constant and the two were friends until they died within a few months of each other in 2013. Mahershala Ali was truly majestic in his portrayal of the very cultured and dignified Don Shirley. Such poise!

Lots of laughter, some serious bits, some tears and a few goose-bumps – good all-rounder.

Please stay until the end, you often pick up good bits of info after the film has finished and the credits are rolling (I mean, are you really in that much of a hurry anyway to leg it out?). Go see Green Book! Next stop … If Beale Street Could Talk.


Vegan Paris

As you would imagine, this isn’t a complete walk in the park. Being a vegan in Paris is a bit of a challenge so I thought I would put down my findings after a recent trip to help others who may be finding sourcing great food a bit of a nightmare! Continue reading “Vegan Paris”