JUST got back from a five-day trip to the States to attend the memorial service for Maria's mother who died recently.
The service itself was held in a homely white-painted non-denominational church that could have featured in a Simon and Garfunkel song.
It fulfilled its function perfectly, bringing together relatives and friends to share memories of a special lady. And we were not the only ones to travel great distances. Others flew in from Germany and Arizona, some drove down from Canada.
I booked us into a motel I found on the internet. It was close to Maria's sister and her husband who live in Gig Harbour. The whole coastal area of the Puget Sound is a spectacularly beautiful area of lakes, bays, islands and inland waterways.
Washington is a massively underpopulated state and there are large areas of isolation and forest. We were in hunting, shooting and fishing country.
At first glance, the motel could have been confused with one created by Alfred Hitchcock and we unofficially named it the Bates Motel. The owner was well over six feet tall, thin as a pipe cleaner and had a ponytail. But I liked his attitude.
“Dogs are welcome. I've never yet had any problems with a drunken dog at two o’clock in the morning,” he said in a slow drawl.
Across the road was a shack that looked in danger of falling down but which claimed to be Jake’s Pizza Parlour. Up the highway was The Flotation Device Pub and Grill.
We checked in and went straight out for something to eat and a drink or three in an attempt to combat jet-lag. Well, that was my excuse. Brother-in-law Ian dropped us back off at the motel some time later. It was dark and eerily quiet as I fumbled my way into our room (I blame the jet-lag).
First night in a strange place. First night in the Bates Motel. Oo-er, mother.
The next morning I couldn’t find the key. What would I tell Norman? I was more trouble than a dog. Dogs don’t lose keys. Then I found it – still in the front door.
We had slept soundly and safely in the Bates Motel with the key in the front door all night.