It’s winter

Wednesday 21St – Saturday 24th November

“It’s winter,” said Cal Son as Boatwif remarked upon Christmas decorations at a shopping mall a week ago.

Well, it’s winter now,” said Cal Mom on Wednesday, as discussions were under way about how hot, how cool or how cold the bowling alley would be. It’s the original bowling alley, 40 lanes for play, first opened in San Marcos about fifty years ago. In the event temperatures were comfortable at T-shirt level and the air conditioning was switched on. (As for the results: well Cal Mom topped the board, and Boatwif beat the Captain in both games!)

Thanksgiving Day dawned, blue and warm after a chilly mid-forties night.  Mid-morning Boatwif offered to take the younger two down to the park – to let off steam and to work up an appetite. Races over and play equipment tricks demonstrated, short of both water and steam, the trio returned to the house. After a delicious Thanksgiving lunch out again came the USA jigsaw, there was a first chess lesson for Cal Gal and then questions for adults on the US civics lessons.  Have you tried answering the sample questions found on-line for a would-be British citizen? The combined efforts of four British-born and educated persons achieved just 75%…

Black Friday follows Thanksgiving Thursday: many folk go shopping but the Cal Clan headed about a dozen miles further east. “Fire country,” proclaimed Cal Son, gesturing at the dry scrub covered hillsides and he told tales of a friend who lives in these parts and how he defends his house in times of fire.  At the San Diego Safari Park all party members were lathered in sunscreen .The queues were building up and well before 11am shade was being sought. There was the Condor Trail to be followed and from high up over the San Pasqual Valley views over the arid and savannah-like areas below are striking. Next find the elephants: see the littlest one scuttling beneath its mother. Lizards and bats, cheetahs and rhinos, antelopes and giraffes, gorillas and gibbons… A shady table was sought at lunch-time. The temperature was 83F (“feels more like 85,” ruminated local resident, Cal Son). Queues for the African tram (tourist land train) were long so there was chance to play in the playground. Hot and thirsty refreshments were needed. “It’s a hot winter’s day,” remarked Cal Son as we scuttled towards tables in the shade while refreshing ice-creams were downed.

Traffic was heavy in Escondido on the way home – had everyone been Black Friday shopping at the sales? The car radio was turned on for local traffic news. A Christmas carol was being aired. (Well, it’s winter…)

There was a long delay on red traffic lights: another car fed into the lane ahead from the right, a large Christmas tree poking out from its boot (US. trunk). By 5pm it was completely dark; the car pulled up on the drive – and the next door house was a shining wall of Christmas lights!

It’s late November, but the beach is tempting. The lifeguards are gone but the sea is still there. Wave jumping is a great sport: there were Ticklers and Ankle-grabbers and Bottom-bashers and Back-slappers… “How do you know about all these waves, Granny?” asked Cal Gal. Best not to launch into how growing up in Cleddau land and a few doses of Roald Dahl brings out these names.

Shadows were lengthening, the moon rising in the sky, a sail boat bobbed behind the pier back to harbour and a school of wetsuit clad surfers honed their skills. The sun was dipping towards the ocean as the car sped past the Top Gun house, turned right and headed back inland. “…Dashing through the snow,” came from the radio, there were sandy feet in the car, more holiday lights adorned people’s houses, temperature is due to  fall to 75F tomorrow: remember, here in California IT’S WINTER!

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