This is US…well me anyway.

Sitting by a secluded, sculpture pool, with cascading water over rocks, palm trees, a gentle breeze from the Gulf of Mexico, just a few steps away and in 70 odd degrees, Kent life seems a million miles away. It’s not that I have forgotten it, rather I have been consumed by other thoughts, actions and experiences, whilst being here. Fortunately, and I think I mean that, there has been no mention of the President. (I nearly used a small “p” then, but felt the need to recognise the importance of that office) Life down here goes on. It is holiday season and so there are many folk going about there pleasurable business; I guess, leaving politics “at home”.It is a sensitive subject of course, since it was so close, somewhat like the Brexit issue back home. There, we can laugh about it, and I think that is because, from where I am now, quite a small issue. The enormity of this country, reflected by the size of everything in it, including a rather large couple, probably XXXL, who have just arrived at the waters edge, which I trust they will admire rather than enter – my bag, close to, is not waterproof!!

Wait.

Yep we’re OK for a while, at least.

So what has distracted me from Kent life? So many things. It is difficult to keep my mind tuned to the idea that this is not a normal break, but rather an extended adventure which will take us to three continents, all of which, I am currently imagining, to be quite different. So the idea of having to return soon, isn’t in the equation. September 4th is the return flight date from Auckland, ages and many miles away.

America is immense. Apart from the fact that I was a cowboy in a previous life, and so lived and died here – by an Indian arrow, I am loving this experience. Not just because of the poolside environment, although, as I approach “the big one” such living does have it’s appeal.

There is so much more, so much more of everything. And with “apparent” time to enjoy this “more-ness”. I suspect, and despite efforts to avoid the holiday mentality, it is likely to be the case, to some extent. I am on holiday yes, but with baby-sitting, grass cutting, window cleaning and many other numerous chores, that one wouldn’t necessarily enjoy on holiday, more the jobs of being at home, it feels more like actual retirement. And I would certainly look to have a home here. One particular community, Magnolia Springs, which scatters itself along the banks of the many creeks and tributaries to the Gulf of Mexico, has an individual charm. It’s houses ride atop flood water stilts. All architecturally diverse and with their own walkways and jetties, which house their boats, hoisted above water level, to be lowered at the whim of the owner for a water-jaunt, with or without friends, but with the customary beer. Cold beer that is, in the customary huggie, from the customary cooler (cool-box to you and me). Should I win the American lottery tonight, around $120m, then tomorrow I shall be looking for the second Mulberry Croft. Gambling is illegal in Alabama. Our trip yesterday, took us into Florida, we purchased a couple of tickets in the first available liquor store. By the way, the liquor store was quite an eye-opener. Never in the field human imbibing has so much been stored for so many by so few. Colours, shapes, sizes, variations on so many themes, all looking delightfully enticing. We made do with the tickets, Jo gave-in to a gallon of brandy and a regular size Wild Turkey for yours truly.

Food is very much at the centre of American culture. Like the liquor store, crammed with booze, the over wide streets are home to every manner of food-type, and thankfully McDonalds, is nowhere near as obvious as at home. This might be because of that ubiquitous feature – SIZE. Their restaurants are lost among the multitudinous, other restaurants and their HUGE signs.

The weather is all rather conducive to an outdoor life. And boy, do they live it. It really is the great outdoors – where anything and everything is possible. There are boats galore, planes forever zooming around, jets skis, fishing, swimming, volleyball, tennis, golf, RV’s, and their parks, hiking, cycling, jogging, horse-riding, softball (that rings a bell), baseball.  Folk here relish their environment. They embrace it with an energetic will to enjoy what is on their doorstep, and dare I say it, with an immense gratitude for what God has provided them. They do feel blessed. As I do, currently. I shall be checking the lottery in the next few days and will start the search for that property to ensure a longevity of connection with this style of living.

Everything is possible here. Do you have an idea that might turn a profit? A skill that the people here will embrace? A scheme that will enhance the lives of folk here, even more? Then all you need is the will and belief to make it happen. People will cheer you, encourage you, applaud you, support you (with no ulterior motive). Folk embrace entrepreneurs – it’s what folk do. It’s the culture. It’s the way.

Should you, however, not be the adventurous type, you can always sit-in and watch someone else’s ideas that have come to fruition on TV. And I would certainly recommend, should it make the UK shores, THIS IS US. Just a wonderful series about a family, it roots, its timeline, its ups and downs, the pressures and tensions. And most of all, about how “family” takes priority over all else. The style of production and quality of acting engulfs us and the viewing becomes compulsive. We recognise ourselves, we witness our lives, we are empathetic, we are sympathetic, we become the family; we say – this is us. We cry, we laugh, we applaud, we love  and we move on.

Thank you. I appreciate your time.

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