English: Waterstones and Fat Face, Northallerton

English: Waterstones and Fat Face, Northallerton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A year ago, my best bud Jane and I traveled half-way around the world, London, England, to visit three of my best girlfriends and their families,  travel the South Devon coast, and soak up the love of lasting friendships…and satisfy my longing of a country I once called home.

My Reader knows where to find those posts (here, here and here) therefore,  let’s continue…

Our Last Day in Town…
Jane and I had walked the very last and long ten miles in and around London town and it was time to catch the tube back to our hotel and pack for the Portland Oregon flight home. However, one last stop, the bookstore, Waterstones.

One of  Waterstone’s rules, which I think is the only rule:  look like you are going to buy a book, or, look like you are going to buy a book, or, actually buy a book.

We didn’t need a book.

We needed the loo.

Question #1 & 2…
She was standing in front of the travel book table. A travel book in each hand: Chicago in the left, Seattle in the right,  talking quietly to a man (her brother-in-law) and a handsome young man (her nephew). The conversation was mostly Christine…until Jane and I asked in our distinct American accent: Are you going to Chicago? And…why would you be going to Chicago when you could go to Seattle and then…come see us in Portland?

From then on the conversation was mostly Christine, Jane and I. No. It was all Christine, Janie and I. The men in Christine’s life became statues.

Question #3…
After a spirited and protracted discussion, Jane and I convinced our new “best” friend into first going to Seattle…and then spending a few days with us in Portland, which is a mere train-ride south of Seattle. Actually, after writing my name and address in the Seattle travel book…I did ask Christine if she was actually going to purchase that particular book I’d just defaced with “For a good time call…..” in big, block printed letters….all my personal details.



Question #4, 5, 6 & 7…
When you purchase that book, Christine…may Jane and I use your receipt in order to use the loo?  The three of us laughed like the best friends we had become…whilst her brother-in-law and nephew stood in postured disbelief and with mouths ajar. What had just happened here?? they silently asked. Christine, have you gone crackers? This one and that other one are perfect strangers and you are going to stay with them???

Question # 8…
It seemed a perfectly normal situation to Jane and I. We are nice. We are funny when sober. We live in the same building. Jane and her husband live a couple of floors above mine, and we were going to divide Christine up, not physically…well, I guess physically, too…between our two flats. We would show her a very good time in our beautiful city…much bigger than her hometown of Yorkshire. In the final planning stages of her holiday, Christine decided to spend only a few days in Seattle and then spend the major part of her holiday with us! So…what’s wrong with that?

We’ve been emailing for a year. Christine’s holiday starts this month.  Actually, her holiday starts NEXT WEEK!  Jane and I anxiously await her arrival at Portland’s Union Train Station. She’ll meet all of our friends and families, and doesn’t know it yet…but there’s a “waiting list” of friends who definitely want to wine and dine her and, of course, ask her about her To the North English accent.  We have all taken a leap of faith…coming to strangers (so to speak) and coming as a stranger (so to speak). Think of it as bigger and better than “couch surfing”…this is foreign country surfing. What bravery.  What courage.

The Final Question…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jane and I did ask the unasked:  “You’re not an axe murderer are you, Chris?”

We are winner’s all!

South Park Blocks Rose Garden

Welcome to our City of Roses, Chris, and to Jane and Raye’s home…Portland, Oregon.

What a hoot!!!