This past weekend Mr. K, Glacier, Roscoe and I were picked up by two of our friends and whisked away to stay with them for the weekend. It was one of the most enjoyable weekends we've had in a long time and it was exactly what we needed. With all of the chaos of last week, a few days of relaxing, touring historical sites and eating great food was perfect.
Friday they picked us up around six PM and we drove the almost two hours to the small town they live in; population 5500. They gave us a tour of their gorgeous turn of the century home and introduced us to their two dogs, Charlie and Bailey. The two acres or so of backyard was fenced in and all four dogs enjoyed romping about. It was quite hot still though, so outside play was a bit limited. After wandering around the spacious halls and rooms we walked over to their favourite restaurant and indulged in a very nice dinner, that they so graciously paid for. After stuffing ourselves, we made it back to the house and I was able to take in just how amazing their house really is.
Most of the ceilings are close to 12 feet tall, with high arching doorways, wood floors and fireplaces in almost every room. Most of them are not working right now as they are changing them over to gas as opposed to wood burning, but considering it's 100 DG F in the summer here, the use of the fireplaces was not necessary. Most of the rooms are connected to each other through other doorways or hallways and I was convinced I'd get lost at least once while I was there.
We spent the rest of the evening sipping wine and just chatting about anything and everything. It was so relaxing.
The next morning, the Lady of the house and I headed over to a local market and got fresh doughnuts for breakfast. One bite of those things and you will never eat another doughnut again. She fixed us a breakfast of eggs and bacon, which was also incredibly tasty. The bacon was from a local butcher shop and had pepper corns sprinkled throughout the meat; so good. With our bellies full, we headed over to a house that had been built before the Civil War and we had a tour from an extremely energetic, animated, knowledgeable 67 year old man. The tour was fantastic. He let us look in each room, filled us in on the history and let Mr. K and I touch things that most people do not get to even get near. The tour guide and I even sat on an original "courting bench," which I had no idea existed until he told us what it was. There was so much history in that house and I think we could have spent the whole day there. Our tour was probably close to three hours, but it was so interesting that I didn't even realise it. This was the house where the Civil War ended. Jefferson Davis and his people decided in that house to surrender. To be honest, I didn't even know who Jefferson Davis was until we toured the house, but my excuse is that I'm Canadian. (For those of you who don't know, Jefferson Davis was considered to be the president by the South).
After roaming the halls of the historical house, we headed back to our weekend home and I took a nap. The bed we were given to sleep in was extremely comfortable and there was something soothing about the house that I just couldn't help myself. I think I may have been worn out from our tour guide's antics as well. He seemed to take a particular liking to me and would excitedly show me stuff in the house and make little side jokes with me. He definitely made the tour.
Nap time over, we again went into the little town, with the sun beating down on us relentlessly. The sun was so hot it almost hurt your skin. Poor Glacier and Roscoe were so warm, but thankfully we didn't have far to go. We originally were going to stop in a restaurant that makes crazy good hotdogs, but they were closed. So, we headed to a little coffee shop instead. There we took refuge from the heat with frozen drinks of some sort and Mr. K and I fed ice cubes to Glacier and Roscoe in an attempt to keep them hydrated and cool them down. Again, we just sat and relaxed in squishy chairs just chatting. Even though this was only the third time I had met these two particular individuals, it seemed our conversations would never dry up. Drinks finished, it was back out into the heat. We checked the restaurant again, but it was still closed, so we made our way back to the house, where I guzzled water like a camel. The funny part was that the power had gone out after we had left and we hardly noticed since it was so hot out. After a few minutes though, it was apparent that the ceiling fans were no longer spinning and the AC no longer running. We were a little worried that we would be without power for a while, but it came back on probably within a half an hour of us being back. Thank goodness because with it being off for the short period of time, the house began to heat up and we were all sweating. More chatting, more water, another glass of wine and back out to see a concert. Our wonderful hostess is a part of the Artists' Guild and brought us to an event that the Guild was putting on that evening.
We didn't stay long. The first singer we watched was quite enjoyable. He was a good singer and an even better guitar player. Towards the end of his performance, he had a girl join him on stage and their voices blended well together, making the experience that much more enjoyable. The next act came on and we were told they were a local favourite. When they started I couldn't see why-they were horrible. The guitar wasn't bad, but the lead singer could have been a cartoon character singing his or her best friend happy birthday. He was out of key, sang through his nose/the front of his mouth and squawked like a parrot. The lyrics didn't improve the quality of the performance either. He had a song called,
"beach week" or some crap and I couldn't stop cracking up. Everyone seemed to love them, cheering loudly after each song. I was incredibly confused by this enthusiasm since I wanted to poke my ears out with forks. At one point he sang a song called,
"Anywhere but Here," and I leaned over to Mr. K and said
I think Mr. K was relaying my comments to our host and hostess, either that or they could see me cringing, because we only stayed for about four songs and then left. We joked about it at the restaurant where I had a Greek inspired salad, that is until the band came in. Thankfully, our friends warned us that they walked in because that could have been quite embarrassing. That said, I'm pretty sure if the lead singer had asked me personally if I had enjoyed the show I probably would have replied,
"no." It was that bad. Not that the lead singer cares about my opinion.
Our bellies full again, we went back to the house and chatted some more. We also watched a few episodes of "Expedition Impossible" because there is a blind guy on it. I had read about this particular man when I was in university. He was the first blind man to climb Mount Everest and the article had made him sound like an arrogant jerk, but watching him on TV made me realise that he definitely is not and I may even watch the show now.
Sunday morning came much too soon and we had coffee, eggs, bacon and doughnuts for breakfast again. We toasted to our move to Scotland. We took our time getting ready and then our friends drove us home. It was one of the best and well timed vacations I've ever had. It gave us a short break from the craziness of moving across the world and gave us the opportunity to put a few things into perspective. The company was wonderful and both of our friends were extremely considerate. I don't know what it was about their house, but it was very warm and welcoming and if I could transplant it into Scotland, I would.
Last night we another two of our friends made us dinner and we spent the evening sitting on their front porch just talking. The evening was cooler than it's been, so it was actually nice to be outside listening to the crickets sing. It made me feel like I was really in the South, sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair, a dog lying at my feet. These two friends have three dogs and a mini pig and it was very interesting meeting Jethro the pig. Glacier and Roscoe stayed home as they were both worn out from their busy weekend and Mr. K and I both fell into bed quite exhausted, but very satisfied. I woke this morning feeling rested and rejuvenated and ready to take on the real world again; all thanks to the generosity of our friends.