Sunday, March 11, 2007


From a cold, but brilliantly sunny Sunday morning in Pittsburgh, a tall cup of Caribou coffee in my hand, I'm looking back over the last couple of days.

For all our fears of heading north and east and back into winter, the weather has really been with us. Spring has followed reluctantly in our wake to Denver, Minneapolis, and now Pittsburgh. It's warming up everywhere, and looking at the weather back home in Puymule, I see that it is sunny and warm, with temperatures getting up to 19 or 20 degrees centigrade this week.

Let's hope that winter has issued its last icy exhalation.

The sun just never stopped shining in Minneapolis, and the several feet of snow dumped by the previous week's blizzard was melting to send rivers of water running down the streets. Which was treacherous at night, when temperatures plunged to freezing and water turned to ice.

But it was in brilliant sunshine that we went with Elizabeth and Tom to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to revisit our hippy pasts in an exhibition called San Francisco Psychedelic - a photographic record of the bands and vocalists who populated the Haight-Ashbury era in the late sixties: Big Brother and the Holding Company; Country Joe and the Fish; Grateful Dead; Janis Joplin; Jefferson Airplane; and many others.

These were great pics that really captured an age, and a generation many of whom are now dead. And, God, did they all look so young! I suppose we all were, then. And thought we would change the world.

Guess we got that one wrong!!

I signed huge piles of books at Uncle Ed's mystery bookstore around the corner, and preached the gospel acording to St. Peter (that's me, in case there was any doubt), at Once Upon a Crime, signing more piles of books in the process.

Then it was off for a meal at the Rainbow Chinese restaurant with Tom, Elizabeth and Sophie, followed by fabulous late night ice-cream at Sebastian Joe's ice cream parlour.

The sun was still shining as we headed out early Saturday morning to the airport for our flight to Chicago, and connecting flight to Pittsburgh. A wet day there cleared up for our arrival, and as we drove out of the airport in our rental car, the sun made a brief appearance before dipping beyond the horizon.

We then spent a frustrating hour cruising a huge, sprawling and poorly lit mall near our hotel in search of a meal. All the restaurants were full, with waiting times of up to an hour. We ended up in a cut-price supermarket buying smoked salmon, tortilla chips and dips, and then cruising for another half hour to find a wine store. We finally returned to our hotel room to sip on Spanish wine, stuff our faces, and slip off into a sleep that would, in a few hours time, be cut short by Daylight Savings.

In those last moments, before I drifted off, I recalled a conversation we'd had in the car on the way to the airport that morning with Tom and Elizabeth. For some reason we had got to talking about sore backs, and I mentioned that I had first injured mine twenty-five years ago.

"How did you do it?" Elizabeth asked.

"I was heaving sacks," I told her.

She turned, wide-eyed with shock. "What?"

"Heaving sacks," I repeated.

I saw her exhale with relief, then she burst out laughing. "It's your Scottish accent," she told me. "I thought you said you were having sex!"

I should have been so lucky!

The Carr family...

With Sophie and La Patronne...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Peter and Janice, Yes, we had a great time in all our activities in Minneapolis! Your descriptions,(at Once Upon a Crime bookstore) of creating both the China and the French thriller series were fascinating in how everything flowed inspirationally, logically, and practically, from idea to actuality at every stage. Everyone who has a chance should be sure to attend your bookstore talks. And thanks for the e-photos you sent me. Hope Pittsburgh and NYC are wonderful for you! Elizabeth