Saturday, 3 December 2011

USA Today (12) Don't Stop Believing

‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by the rock band ‘Journey’ played on our car radio as we drove, early in the morning along the highway back to Boston. I snivelled a bit. It was kind of an anthem for me when I was poorly. When I couldn’t sleep the night before chemo, I’d replay it over and over in my head until it was time to get up. 

There were many times when I did stop believing that I’d make it out alive. But here I was, driving down a highway in New Hampshire. It was a strange feeling of sadness and elation.

There's only one Manchester.
It took Tris 12 attempts to take this picture!
We drove to our friend’s house which was in a leafy suburb of Boston. There was a huge hammock in the garden and a Screech Owl watching over us from a hole in a tree.

Watching over us in the garden.
Their house was immaculate – until we vomited the contents of our hire car all over their spare room. How on earth did we bring all that with us, all the way from the UK in two backpacks? 

The drive to drop the car back at Logan Airport was terrifying. The one thing I hadn’t wanted to do was drive through the centre of Boston. Bostonian drivers are (according to the guidebook) notoriously aggressive. They weren’t wrong. 

Boston is pretty unusual in the States in having the occasional roundabout. No one it seems knows quite what to do, so people just go for it and hope that other road users get out of their way. What with dreadful signage and many drivers glued to their cell phones it was akin to dodgems. 

I’m not generally a nervous driver and navigate myself around the Manchester ring road in the rush hour on a regular basis, but this was something else. Once on the highway, lanes joined and disappeared every second blink. But with Tris and Shaun the Sat Nav in charge of navigation, I negotiated the bridges over, and the tunnels under the city and generally managed to avoid being filtered off the highway and ending up in the ghetto! 

In the afternoon we all went to a funky sculpture park, whose exhibits included some by Anthony Gormley. It was just like being back in Crosby (north of Liverpool), where his metal figures populate the beach as far as the eye can see.

Crosby beach.
Gormley's in Boston.
Back at the ranch, for the first time in nearly two weeks we had Internet access. Connecting back with the outside world was bitter sweet. While it was lovely in our New England bubble, the Internet bought us news of three new babies and sadly one death as well as reassurance that Charley, our pusscat hadn’t run away and was being spoilt rotten by our neighbours.

New England bubble.

It also gave us the chance to book the outstanding items on our travel spreadsheet - a trip to Cape Cod, whale watching and the Greyhound bus down to New York. Once that was done I finally felt I could relax.

And relax I did, in a proper bed – the first time in days. It was bliss. 

As was the shower which unlike the campsites didn’t need to be fed with tokens. No longer did I need to speed shower to avoid being deluged in freezing cold water when my time ran out. 

But best of all, when I finally managed to prise myself out from under the delicious steaming water – the fairies had been into our room and left a set of hair straighteners and a bottle of Frizz Ease on the bed. 

I could have kissed her! “Fi,” I sighed, “I love you!”



  1. I live in Maine and go to Boston a lot -- great to read about familiar things and roads with a different point of view. And great to find out about new places like the sculpture park! And the picture of the owl is AMAZING! Great post!

  2. Your trip sounds wonderful, especially given what you have been through. We do have to keep believing don't we, even when things are tough. How wonderful to see the screech owl too, and the sculpture park looks amazing!

  3. Hello ladies - thank you for your comments. If you want to read any more New England exploits just click on the 'New England' or 'Boston' links in the labels bit in the right hand side panel. It really was an amazing holiday - we loved New England & Boston!