Subscribe: Subscribe to me on YouTube

Monday, February 06, 2006

Howdy! (That's Texan for hello). Well we made it, and I'm out of the hot tub long enough to cobble together a blog post. We may have been here less than 48 hours, but I've already had my money's worth out of the £3 swimming shorts I bought at Asda on Friday night. They may be a hideous shade of green, but I'm hoping the chlorine in Big Sis's swimming pool will ruin the colour.

Anyhoo, despite talking to Lisa on the phone ten hours before we were due to meet at Gatwick and finding she hadn't packed yet, we successfully made our flight to Dallas on Saturday morning. I was sat next to a middle-aged woman who was fortunately less chatty than last year's example, though she did steal Lisa's headphones, put them on, and then call the stewardess to complain that there was no sound coming through. The stewardess, to her credit, failed to notice that the woman was wearing a set of headphones that weren't actually plugged in to anything, and immediately went and rebooted the plane's entire inflight entertainment system. Which is the kind of quality service you only get with British Airways.

Having watched 'North Country' (anti-man bilge), 'Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit' (cute but slightly disappointing) and 'The Island' (like a live-action Roadrunner cartoon with Sean Bean as Wile E Coyote and Ewan McGregor going 'Beep Beep'), I awoke Lisa, who'd dropped off half way through 'North Country' and never really recovered, and we made our way through passport control and baggage reclaim, and into the welcoming arms of a waiting Big Sis.

Well, we would've done if she'd been there. Fortunately she was only half an hour late, and claimed it was because she'd been cleaning our room - a cunning ploy to stop us complaining. A forty minute drive and we were back at Sis's house - her third in three years, and the first to have a swimming pool. She still claims poverty, and insists her lifestyle doesn't stem from being rich, but is merely a result of the low cost of living in Texas, but when you've swum in a heated pool and then sipped white wine by moonlight in a 100 degree hot tub overlooking a lake, you do start to wonder if your sister has money. And if she's planning to remember you in her will.

So in an effort to get in with the one member of my family who's clearly going places (no offence to all the others), Lisa and I agreed to attend Big Sis's church on Sunday morning, where she was performing a flute solo to accompany the collection of money. Unfortunately we had reckoned without...

... this man, who stood up at the beginning and announced that there were two visitors from overseas, before adding "See if you can find them!". You've never seen such a look of terror on two people's faces. We considered making a run for it, but when a 'two-minute meet & greet' turns into a fifteen-minute stampede to shake your hand and tell you how great your accent is, it's hard to slip out the back door. But anyway, it all turned out fine, and we were glad we went. Although Lisa did say that if there was an evening service as well, she might have to shoot herself.

Anyway, turning down an invitation to attend 'Pizza with the Pastor' next Sunday morning, we escaped to the Chandler's Landing Yacht Club for lunch with Big Sis and J, the piano-playing hymn-singing band-leading member of the church, whose job is still being advertised on their website. They obviously don't expect him to hang around.

The last time I visited the CLYC, they served Sis a vegetarian salad with bacon, but hey, that was two years ago, and things have clearly changed since then. This time they served J a turkey wrap with no turkey.

From there it was on to the Firewheel Town Center, which is America's idea of a quaint British high street. They only built it last year, and strangely all the doors open outwards, meaning that every time you leave a shop, you smack someone in the face as they're walking past. Bit of a design fault, that. But undeterred, Lisa and I began the holiday as we mean to go on, by heading straight for the Cold Stone Creamery and eating ice cream for half an hour.

We made our way back via Circuit City, pushed our way past the employees shouting at the Superbowl on TV, and watched Big Sis purchase her fourth iPod. Having repeatedly dropped her first one on the ground until it broke, and left her second one in a hotel room, she recently put her third one through the washing machine, meaning she's now onto number four. As she said herself, she's single-handedly funding Apple's research into MP3 players. They really ought to name the next model 'The Big Sis'. And preferably make it waterproof.