Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I'm watching the sun coruscating across the rippled surface of the harbour. A yacht cruises slowly by, its sails filled by the warm offshore breeze. The Stars and Stripes flap in the sunlight, tall palm trees sway listlessly, silhouetted against the ocean beyond.

I feel sad, because tomorrow is our last day here. Since returning from Vegas, time has slipped away through our fingers, like the sand on Newport Beach. On Saturday I did a small signing event at Martha's bookstore down on Balboa Island. It was a beautiful day, so they set up a table out on the sidewalk, and I spent two hours signing books and chatting to passers-by.

Among the first to buy a book was a family out for a morning stroll - Ma, Pa, son, daughter-in-law, grandson. Pa was looking curiously at my kilt, then the son approached. He was a good-looking young man in his twenties.

"Are you Scottish," he asked, in an unmistakeable Scottish accent.

Turned out he lived in Newport Beach with his American wife, and his parents were there on holiday from the east coast of Scotland, to visit their son and grandson.

These Scots are everywhere!

Next up was a real American. You could tell from his accent. Then it turned out his family was Scottish and his name was Donald Stewart. You cannae get much more Scottish than that!

Of course, they all bought books.

Then Mike and Barbara Monachino, our friends who live in Newport, New York, Jersey, Canada...I lose track... showed up, fresh from a holiday in St. Bart's in the Caribbean. They bought a couple of books and we agreed to meet for lunch at Chimayo's, our usual cycling destination at Huntington Beach.

Many margaritas later we returned to doze away a somnolent afternoon.

Sunday, we should have left for Houston, Texas, to teach a one-week writing course at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. Unfortunately, the university had no take-up on the offered course, so we rearranged our flights to give ourselves a few more days here.

We leave on Wednesday to spend time with my friend and adviser, Dr. Richard Ward, who first opened doors for me in China with the Chinese police. I have a live radio interview on John DeMers' "Delicious Mischief" radio show on CNN650 in Houston on Saturday morning, followed by a book event that afternoon at "Murder by the Book".

Then on Sunday we head north to Denver and Boulder, Colorado, and cooler climes - the beginning of the long trek north and east, via Minnesota and Pennsylvania, and ending in New York City in two weeks' time.

Then home.

It feels like we've been a long time gone.

Susie and the Monachinos at Chimayo's...


le beau frere said...

Was the picture of Susie, Mike, and Barbara taken with your new camera? It looks much clearer than some of the other shots?

peter_may said...

Yep, that one was taken with the Sony. Megapixels, ya bas!

Carol and Chris said...


Have you been given one of those toilet rolls that gives you a word a day?