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Saturday, March 12, 2005

I'm in Texas! (the American state, not the DIY store) (there's only so many times I can use that line, and I think I'm over the limit already). I haven't been here long, but needless to say I've already stocked my sister's house with donuts, pizzas and a giant-sized tub of ice cream, so it's going well. I even bought a tin of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, on the advice of Donna. She swears by them. Usually something along the lines of "Give me some more f***ing cinnamon rolls". Lisa meanwhile has been slightly more restrained, selecting various Lean Cuisine meals and a tube of 'Fat Free Pringles' (which goes against nature if you ask me).

Anyhoo, our journey here yesterday was a living hell. That's if you're someone who can't stand sitting in a little seat for ten hours straight. And I'm definitely one of them. On the bright side though, Lisa and I did attempt to miss our plane by playing on the 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' machine at Gatwick airport. Having seen me win eight quid on my first attempt, Lisa was naturally keen to have a go, and was doing very well until she got a question about horse racing, turned to me for help, I told her it was definitely 'B', and she lost the lot. But hey, that's life. I consoled her by spending my winnings on chocolate. And then eating it all myself.

Once on the flight, we ate sausage and mash, drank white wine (the air hostess said to me "Oooh, I'd have had you down as a red wine man". What does that mean???), then Lisa went to sleep, leaving me at the mercy of the woman sitting on my right. I'm not saying she was chatty, but I'm happy to tell you that she originates from Scotland, lived in Salisbury for a while, then Norwich, moved to Dallas ten years ago when her husband's job relocated, has three sons, the eldest of which is called Travis and is excellent at maths and science, lives in a five bedroom house with four bathrooms, has a low opinion of the Dallas school system (so they went private, obviously), doesn't like it when her sons say 'closet' and 'robe' instead of 'wardrobe' and 'dressing gown', had flown down from Glasgow that morning where she'd been visiting her father, has a low opinion of Oklahoma (but knows that it's four hours drive away), went to see Les Miserables on the day of the Madrid bombings (I still haven't worked out the significance of that. I think it might be code for something), spent Christmas Eve shopping in Washington, considers being a housewife in Dallas the hardest job in the world, and doesn't like cheesecake.

But apart from that, she said very little. I ended up putting my headphones on and pretending to watch The Incredibles til she went to sleep.

Having awoken herself, Lisa passed a large proportion of the flight filling in her green 'Visa Waiver' form. I'm not saying how many attempts she needed to get it right, but I think the stewardess was panicking that they might run out of them, and I was brushing torn up bits of green paper off my seat for the next hour.

Once in Dallas, Lisa and I were fingerprinted and asked if we'd brought any livestock into the country. We said no (nits don't count), and they let us in. Big Sis then turned up late with a frankly implausible story about having been throwing up all morning, and we made our way out of the airport. And into the 74 degree sun. In our winter coats. I barely made it across the car park without expiring. So much for Sis's advice to "dress for the cold". To her, 74 degrees is cold.

We soon arrived at Big Sis's house north of Dallas. There's a very helpful sign at the entrance to the gated community where she lives, keeping residents informed of any local developments. Last year when I was here, it was advertising a Corned Beef Night. This year it says "Dangerous Reptile Sightings. Do Not Approach". So we're keeping an eye out for Godzilla.

Having been up since 2:45am on Friday morning, we eventually made it to bed at 8:30pm local time. Which is six hours behind UK time. I'd do the maths, but it makes me feel ill.

Today temperatures are expected to hit 80 degrees, so we're heading off to Southfork Ranch to buy some soap-related tack. Well, we will be if Big Sis manages to get out of bed this morning. Having tucked us in last night, she went out on the town til the early hours. She's like an irresponsible parent - going out the moment the kids are in bed. It serves her right if she gets eaten by a dangerous reptile.