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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

We never made it to the shoe shop in the end (I was personally disappointed), and our fifteenth attempt to buy stamps for my postcards was thwarted by the post office's decision to close in honour of President's Day, but despite these setbacks, we somehow made it to Southfork Ranch yesterday. And we only got lost about three times. I'm not saying the place is only there for gullible foreign tourists, but when people living half a mile away don't know it exists, and your companions on the guided tour are all Japanese holidaymakers, you do start to wonder.

But personally I thought it was wonderful. I admire anyone who can milk a tenuous link with an old TV series to such an extent. It turns out that all the interior scenes of Dallas were filmed in the studios of California, so I did wonder why we were touring the inside of the house and taking photos of a stranger's bedroom. But it was still fab. The house is barely any bigger than my sister's, but as the tour guide was quick to point out the moment we arrived (to avoid anyone asking for their money back), the TV show deliberately filmed it with wide angle lenses to make it look bigger. As well as using editing tricks to make it appear that the drive was half a mile long, and the swimming pool Olympic sized. In reality Southfork is just a little country cottage with a pond in the garden.

Big Sis and I attempted to recreate the death plunge of Kristin (Sue-Ellen's errant little sister), by pretending to fall over the balcony into the pool, and taking photos of the event. Our acting wasn't very convincing. So all in all it was an accurate recreation of the show. Sis also encouraged me to sit on Miss Ellie's bed next to the sign saying "Do not sit on the bed", so she could take my photo.

Having captured on film the gun which shot JR, and the wedding dress of Lucy (who, having studied the Dallas family tree, I am reliably informed was the grand-daughter of Jock), we drove on into the town of Parker. Where we'd been for about 20 minutes before we found out we were actually in Plano. But it mattered not, because wherever the heck we were, the place contained a charity shop!!! For someone like me, this was almost as exciting as the tractor ride from the Southfork gift shop to the house (about 100 yards - obviously too far to walk). It was about five times the size of any Oxfam I've ever been in, but disappointingly the sections were exactly in proportion to the size clothes they contained - the 'small' section was tiny, the 'medium' (that's me. No, really) wasn't much bigger, but the 'extra large' department went on as far as the eye could see. Why couldn't I find a shop like this when I was 23 stone, that's what I'd like to know.

But anyhoo, I bought some Calvin Klein jeans for $6.99, and what's more, they fit me. Which will come as a surprise to anyone who's familiar with my habit of buying designer jeans I can't wear.

In the evening we visited the local Wal-mart for no particular reason. I found that good quality paper is half the price it is in the UK, and considered how much I could fit into my suitcase and still be able to move. In the end I settled for some stunningly gorgeous paper made of 100% cotton, so my next play is going to look so impressive it won't matter what I actually write.

Tonight my sister's landlord is coming over to look at the freezer, which doesn't seem to be working (so technically it's just a cupboard). So we were up til 1:30am tidying the kitchen. Apparently this landlord chappy is a 72 year old multi-millionaire, so I suggested that Big Sis leave her copy of 'Be Worth It' casually lying on the worktop in the kitchen (or possibly in the fridge), in case he has a couple of spare million he'd like to invest in a new theatre production. I've seen 'The Producers', so I know it can be done. I think I'll leave some of my business cards in the cappuccino machine and then offer him a coffee.