Alabama is certainly not the first place to consider for a holiday, nor indeed, I suspect, would it make a list in most popular places visited in the US. Nor has it any notable towns or cities that spring to mind for any reason. Montgomery is the capital. Where? I hear you say. Yes, Montgomery. You’ve never heard of it have you? You will have probably heard of Birmingham, in relation to the civil rights movement, of course, but I guess that is probably it.
Well, I need to inform you now, that in my limited experience of this southern state, I am loving every minute. This is my third visit and the first notable impression is one of
s p a c e.
It is everywhere.
s p a c e
allows us to breathe, slow down, kick-back, take our time. The tightness of England, its narrow capillaries, along which everything is forced to speed, turns us into a mad race. The pace of life here is generally, as I said, laid back. People are kind and they have time. They are polite, well at least the ones I have encountered anyway.
The big skies, the flat, yet mildly undulating landscape, the preponderance of wonderful trees. I like trees. They are naturally beautiful and symbolic in an abundance of ways. The domestic architecture. Houses all sit neatly on their own plot, perhaps that is nothing new, but they are all interestingly diverse. Porches front and back, some at the side. Trees front and back. Drives in and out. S p a c e yet again. And cheap too!
Our weather has been kind. I know the summer can be very hot here, and there is evidence of that. Parched lawns. We have had sunshine everyday which has been kissed with a chill, making it feel very much like home. All just wonderful.
I am taken by this place. To some extent my vision is through rosy-glasses because of Hayley, Aaron and young Jake, but life does seem all good here. There is an overriding sense of – you can do anything here – all things are possible.
I love the big trucks, family trucks. They glide along, float to a stop and hover away again. Big things. Quiet things. Gas guzzlers. But when petrol is about £1 a gallon (American), why not? GMC Silverado. Nice.
Hayley’s “sweet home Alabama” is relatively new, 1700 square feet, bungalow, three beds, office (4th bed), 2 bathrooms, lounge/kitchen and open plan diner with bar, utility room to double garage, gardens front and back – with covered BBQ area and workshop, air conditioning, fire alarms and rear bug-screened porch. Guess what – s p a c i o u s. Put it anywhere in England it would be at least double and possibly treble what they paid.
Just the other day we all received an AMBER ALERT on our mobile phones. Telling us of a child abduction and to look out for a certain make and colour of car. What a wonderful idea. Also, whilst in the town of Fairhope, having a coffee, of course, we logged-in to the town’s very own free WiFi. How charming. How useful. How very community. And I think that says it all too. Community. Whether that is peculiar to the bible-belt or not, don’t know, but it exists most obviously.
Fairhope, this weekend, is closed to traffic, in favour of an arts and crafts event. We shall be attending tomorrow. Watching the Chelsea game today, you can watch any Premier league game, at any time, live. Looking forward to the semi-final at Wembley against Spurs. Currently, just about everyone, here is engaged in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. It really is madness – HUGE. ALL the college basketball teams in the country are playing each other, so basketball is everywhere on TV. The idea is, based on seedings, you predict results (win and lose) all the way to the final and then as a tie-breaker predict the actual result. You do this for fun – not money – although, somewhere, someone will be running a book, in this s p a c i o u s land of every opportunity.