Monday, 22 September 2008

Sherwood to Portland 2 (September 21)

Day 7

Found a shopping mall just as the rains came down (first time since I came out here) and looked inside for a few items. I needed :

1.A compass
2.An adaptor for my razor
3.Tippex
4.Some postcards
5.Sweets (yes I'd eaten all those other ones I didn't like)

Could I find any of these useful items amongst all the swanky clothes, shoe and perfume shops? Could I find any of these items in two department stores (Nordstrom's & Macy's)? Could I hell. Sat on a bench overlooking a covered car park as the rain became torrential. This is the kind of weather I'm afraid of when I'm exposed on some cold, lonely mountain top. Fortunately today was a kind of rest day and I was in a city. Watched the scuzzy locals, like the enormous black woman wedged into her car seat as other black women came and went (I don't think she could have got out), the smoking skateboarders and a couple of grungy dudes sitting next to me discussing the merits of Russell Brand. After feeling loved and welcomed in the country, I was totally ignored as just some other crazy guy – a weird bicycle guy with a fanny pack.

As the rain abated, I continued towards the Sullivan's Gulch area of town, along 28th Street, although first I went to 24th Street by mistake. Too many numbers in these addresses. Outside Kevin & Wendy's house it looked kind of tatty, and when Kevin, who looked a bit similar to a younger Elvis Costello, showed me into the ground floor 'warehouse' where I parked my bike, it didn't seem too great. But then he took me upstairs. What a place... It was an Aladdin's Cave of Cool. Everything (and there was a whole lot of everything) was old-fashioned and beautifully crafted - and loved by this sweet couple. It looked as if Wendy had been arranging herself decorously, wrapped in a blanket, just for my entry. She looked a little like Audrey Hepburn, but not as waiflike and a whole lot prettier. Kevin showed me around what was clearly a labour of love, as here was a granite bathroom suite, there was a custom-made kitchen with marble worktops and in Wendy's studio it was an emporium of gorgeous treasures, such as chocolate ladybirds, jewelery and a package of rubber beetles sent by her sister. Wendy took me to a local store, where I found everything I needed from the list above apart from the adaptor plug. She told me that they had been introduced by friends on her one and only blind date experience, which had clearly paid off and they had been married for some time.

The two of them did a bit of this and a bit of that for a living, but had clearly made a lot of dough in their time. Kevin was the resourceful type, as he showed me his 'Marmite' type product, while downstairs he was making cider. They were extremely engaging as well, for all their Americanness (they called each other buddy) and we got on like old friends. Such is the social cement quality of our favourite game, or Kevin and I at least, as we sat down to play a couple of games either side of yet another delightful meal. It seems as though I've never tasted food properly before, as here so many things have been tantalizing on the taste buds. Tonight I had a kind of bolognese, with homemade pasta, and homegrown tomatoes and peppers, with more local beer and followed up by Wendy's stupendous ginger cake. I'm running out of superlatives,at least when it comes to the gastronomics of on this trip. Once again they were Democrats and have even entertained the idea of leaving the country if McCain and (more worryingly from their perspective) Palin is elected. Anyway, there were more important things afoot. We each won a game of Scrabble and were happy to leave it that way. Kevin played beauties in both games, with SQUINT/DUOS (52 – because the Q was on a double letter and the word was doubled also) and YEARLING (92) in the second game. I got two bingos in the first game, which was why I won it. Maybe one day they will come and visit me in Glasgow and then we can play the decider. Then I went down to the 'warehouse' part, which was still kind of groovy. I've never slept in a room with hundreds of tools, fermenting cider and so many weird and wonderful objects before. There was a painting of Charlie Chaplin in the toilet and some other guy who gave you the evil eye as you sat on the pan. The bed had a quilt made of jumpers and there was a dead tree covered in dried lichen and sprouting pink, plastic flowers.

3 comments:

Anastácio Soberbo said...

Hello, I like this blog.
Sorry not write more, but my English is not good.
A hug from Portugal

Seposm said...

You might consider yourself lucky to have that kind of weather on some lonely mountaintop, more likely, that same storm would be a blizzard in many of the areas you will be passing through. I hope you will be able to pass by with very little in the way of bad weather, because believe me it can be bad.

Still looking forward to meeting you in Wyoming.

Jamper said...

Why do you insult people behind their backs and judge them by their appearance? It is very uncomfortable reading.