A fine English tan

Today being Saturday, I thought I would have a nice wander into Richland along the Columbia river, whose banks I can see from various points on my walk home. 12 miles and 7 hours later, I am exceptionally glad to have a peppermint tea and the good old squares of Dairy Milk waiting for me (what I will do when that Dairy Milk runs out I have no idea!).
I had an absolutely beautiful day for my little jaunt: sunny and still, but not too hot. After liberally applying factor 30 to my arms, legs and neck, I was set. For the first couple of miles, I didn't meet many people, but birds (some familiar: starlings, gulls, swallows; some unfamiliar) squawked maniacally whenever I approached, squirrels scampered merrily, and beetles the size of dogs (definitely not an exaggeration) flew up from the grass, often crashing drunkenly into me and then flying off, presumably embarrassed.
The river path took me a pretty, winding route past Hanford High School ("Home of the Falcons"), Washington State Uni (see Flickr for unusual cycle path markers), two public parks, rich with the smells of barbecued food, and finally brought me up past the Richland Community Centre into the centre of a bustling metropolis.
Well, actually not quite. For all the space it takes up, Richland seems to have precious little to offer in terms of...well...anything! It has a Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy's, Macdonalds, Starbucks, WinCo, about a million pharmacies and a small cinema. Apart from that, I was at a bit of a loss. I did find a semi-deserted sushi/sandwich place for a delicious Teriyaki salad though, and I bought a replacement for my toothbrush which I had managed to chuck in the bin this morning, like a goof.
Since the buses strangely only run in to town on a saturday, and not out, I walked back a different way, taking in the rich sights of American suburbia. And oh, the gardens I saw! I must have seen roses in every colour, been sprayed by 10 or so different sprinkler systems, admired gorgeous veranda after gorgeous veranda, smiled and waved at yet another baseball-capped, middle-aged gardener, and altogether delighted in my first real glimpse of the American Way of Life.
And now I can relax and admire my very English tan. By which I naturally refer to the bright pink patches on my legs that were neglected due to a last minute change of shorts selection, a charming criss-cross strap pattern on my feet, the perfect outline of a thumb on my left forearm, and the reddest face you have ever seen. Except, that is, for a brilliant lemur-esque white stripe across my nose, under the bridge of my glasses. Splendid, splendid.


  1. Only mad dogs and Englishmen (or women) go out in the mid-day sun.

    Also this sun smart stuff is good prep for your trip to Australia!!



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