Monday, November 16, 2009



I have had an idea!! Yes really!! From now on I shall write up a particular event while the facts are still clear in my mind, and when I have, say, about 6/700 words it will get posted as a complete “Letter from America”. This will prevent my sending a short extra one covering all the things that I had forgotten to include in the first instance

29th October

Halloween turned out to be quite a surprise, instead of waiting until the 31st, the City decided that the official trick or treat was to take place on the previous Wednesday (28th) between the hours of 6 and 8 pm.. There were “official” events downtown, but by 6.30 the pavement outside was full of kids in fancy dress (and adults as well) and we had run out of candy by 7.30. The kids all seemed to have gone to a great deal of trouble over the costumes and all in all it was a great deal of fun for everybody. This turned out to be a good choice of date, on Saturday it rained!

8th November

Today (Sun) has been the best I have ever known for a November day, the temperature went up to 73f with not a cloud to be seen anywhere. Even higher temperatures have been promised for tomorrow. By Wednesday it should be back to the normal for this time of year, low fifties. We went to the local farmers’ market where the produce and some foods are much cheaper than in the supermarkets. You can get so many things there other than farm produce. There are stalls selling computers at a very low price, eg 1MB RAM, 40 GB hard drive for $130 (78 GBP), clothing, toys, furniture as well as two all-day auctions at which you can get some really good bargains.

12th November

New State legislation has just been passed, this makes it an offence to text (yes, text!) while driving!! It is still legal to use the cell phone, but I suppose that, what with the fact that the majority of cars have automatic transmission, it is not quite so risky as in Britain!

15th November

The weather is still holding up, today (Sun) it has almost got up to 70 and at 9am I was sitting out on the patio in shorts and t-shirt!!

The latest matter to erupt is the decision to have a show trial in New York of the 9/11 suspects. Speaking personally, I think this is a very bad decision indeed. This will provide a platform for the airing of fanatical beliefs and leave the City open for more attacks. The President’s popularity is on the wane, I think people expected too much too soon but it must be remembered that Obama inherited this mess from the Bush Administration. I have to admit that despite my support last year, I do feel somewhat disappointed with the progress so far. Incidentally, I was looking through a book I have about the British Monarchy (oddly enough bought over here) when the following timeline entry caught my eye:- “1838-1842 First British intervention in Afghanistan ends in disaster” Seems like nobody knows when to quit!

Thursday week will be Thanksgiving once more, it really does make one wonder where the year has gone. This year we shall be going to Jimmy’s as he will be working over Christmas (he works in the electricity supply business) and to Linda’s for Christmas instead of the other way round as it has been for the past three years.

I don’t think I have mentioned how small businesses exist in the middle of what are primarily residential areas. This, as far as I can see, is the norm in small-town America. For instance two doors down is Charlies Pizza take-away. The plot size is the same as ours and, because it is on a corner, what would have been the garden is the car park. Charlie also sells milk, crisps etc. and is very useful if we run out of anything or fancy a pizza or sub. Two blocks up the hill is a branch of Brok-Sel which is a chain of local “come in handy” stores. It is around the same size as a small Tesco with a carpark to match. Our major stores are either Wal-Mart, four miles to the north or Giant at Cressona, four miles to the south. The local mall, Fairlane, is slowly dying on it’s feet. One large department store closed it’s doors last year and has left a very large unit empty and last week we learned that Borders, the bookstore I love so much, will be closing the branch early in the New Year. They have got a petition going to try to reverse this decision but I doubt it will do any good. The nearest branch will be in Reading, about thirty miles away.

Until next time,


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