There are strange things you have to get used to in a different country. American taps turn the other way, did you know? I keep accidentally soaking myself when I’m trying to turn them off. And the supermarket was a revelation: you can get things like raspberry-flavoured Philadelphia at Walmart. Initially I found the thought repulsive, but I suppose it’s only cheesecake in a box.
It’s lovely to be without a schedule for once. It’s five to twelve, and while I’ve showered and dressed, Tim is still in pyjamas doing what he calls a ‘holiday dance’ in the middle of the living room. It’s somewhere between a skip and a gambol, and may well be caused by the amount of root beer he’s consumed already this morning. Yesterday morning was the same. After waking up, we had biscuits with butter and jam for breakfast. I mean Southern biscuits, i.e. scones, and you’re supposed to eat them with sausage burgers and some sort of sick white gravy, but I can only ever eat scones with butter and jam. They came in a magic exploding tin – you just press the side with a knife and it springs open to reveal a roll of ready-cut dough. Some of them come with cinnamon icing. It’s beautiful. I wonder how many I can fit in a suitcase. Afterwards we got ready at leisure and left Tim playing on the Wii while Mum and I went to Walmart to buy Christmas lunch food.
Supermarket shopping here is brilliant fun. The only things I couldn’t find were decent chocolate and bread that doesn’t contain three tons of sugar, but everything else you can imagine comes in about twenty different varieties, none of them made with any pronounceable ingredients. If I lived here, I’m sure I’d be twice my current size. I’d probably also be wearing a special Christmas jumper, as most people in Walmart were: Rudolph shirts, blouses with embroidered holly on the front, Santa earrings. All very festive. And everyone you talk to does a double-take when they hear your accent. Being English is seemingly a ticket to minor stardom, which kind of makes me want to run with it and go around talking like the Queen and wearing tweed. I’m resisting the impulse so far, but it’s only a matter of time before I crack. Watch this space.
Oh, excuse me. Tim is back from the shower and doing a reprise of the holiday dance, and this time I’ve had enough root beer to join him.