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!!!

32 thoughts on “THE FINAL QUESTION…

  1. Hi there – Nominated you for Blog of the Year award 2012. Hope that’s OK. Pop over to my latest post to check it out.


  2. Look after my friend Chris. My names Clare and I was the friend she was supposed to be holidaying with in Seattle and I will not be meeting “the girls” who she has told me all about! A very special wedding cropped up so I am unable to accompany her. Sounds as if she is in for a good time with you two..I look forward to seeing all her pictures and hearing about all her adventures when she returns to the UK. Chris sent me a text this morning from the Airport… she is on her way!


    1. Oh, Clare….we will miss you!! Next time, perhaps? I’m planning a trip over “to home” next year…the Norfolk Downs/Norwich area…maybe you and Chris could come down and play?
      Watch JOTS for updates and snaps as Chris conquers Portland with Jane and I. We are so excited and it seems….if you’ve read all the comments here….so are all my friends on both sides of the U.S. AND U.K! Think about the three of us lifting a mug (beer or tea) to you…and wishing you were here….


  3. Are you funny when you are less sober? I have been to Seattle, but I have told my wife we need to go there and up to Vancouver. Now I want to visit Portland, so I need to plan a longer trip. Thanks for the travel experience. I had a walking tour of London when I had a day to kill and you reminded me of that in some respects. Best regards, BTG


    1. Mr. BTG, what a treat for me to have you stop by!! You are sooooo topical yet relevant, and I am soooo….fluff in comparison. So let’s not compare….

      That’s funny…funny when less sober?? Hmmmm…I’m always sober, which means?

      We are always looking for topical yet relevant tourists, who ride bikes (Mecca Bike City), who lean more backwards and forwards rather than right or left, who can eat their meals standing up (Mecca Food Cart City) and who can’t start their morning engines without coffee or micro-brewed beer…or foot-stomped wine. Let me know when you and Mrs. BTG arrive…I’ll make sure there are cold beverages in the bike baskets…..and your brakes work.

      ….and don’t get me started on London….


      1. Many thanks. I was referencing your comment in your post that you and your friend were funny when sober, so I had to ask. Thanks for the local knowledge and I must have caffeine to get this old body going. Best regards, BTG


  4. Hope you have a fantastic time. And when you open that bed and breakfast…..
    there I will be with the English Breakfast tea, Marmite, Gordon’s and the wine!!!!


    1. FANTASTIC time [in capital letters] shall be had!! Marmite (and Veggimite)…hard to come by here. Seems we “Yanks” haven’t quite acquired the taste. Go figure….smiling, she said.

      I’ve got a guest list a mile long for that proposed B&B, and would love to add your name!!
      Wouldn’t that just be the berries?


    1. Chris read my post and was blown away with being THE item of interest. She sent links to all her relatives and friends….which probably is the reason the stats for JOTS climbed to the ceiling! I’m no dummy….now enlisting additional complete and total strangers to spend their holidays with me…..


  5. Oh, what fun! The bold, adventurous things we do in the company of friends! Have a wonderful time with your new friend, and thanks for a great post!


  6. Jots,
    I have to agree with Guapo, even if it hurts: you’re magnificent (this was taking Guapo’s comment one step further). You’ll have a great time. Enjoy.


    1. Hey Sweet-Tea!! I love it when you just show up, don’t knock, head for the coffee pot…you even know where the cups are….amazing!! Just like family…………..


  7. A bookstore sounds like a good place to pick up friends, as we known which aisle to look for those with common interests! Have a happy reunion with your bookstore friend!


  8. Oh my, the life of an extrovert. While an introvert like me sits on the sidelines and admires your social skills–not wanting to join but happy to “eavesdrop.” 🙂


    For anyone, through whatever kind of confusion or beffudlement they may have, who may have wondered how cool you are, or how much you rock, just show them this as proof.
    Have a blast, Jots! (and Christine and Jane!)


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