The 'second coming' of Helen and Carol to Ponte Vedra was this Aug/Sep 2006.  It had been 4 years since the first coming, so it was time.  Time to check out the new house, the new shops, more friends, new shops, more hurricanes, and yes - more shops.  The trip over was uneventful, but ask them to tell you the story of the US Customs fingerprint exercise in LAX airport.  They were lucky to get in!

So first order of the day, was cooking lessons for Patty Ann in the pavlova, and rum ball/apricot ball factory.  Mum reckoned the pav was the best one she had ever made, must have been the fan forced oven, or maybe even the excellent American eggs.............


  And here we are, tucking into the pav, just before trying out Helen's balls.  Don't let all the wine glasses fool you, there was water there somewhere.

  Pav lesson #1, dress for the occasion.  Simple, but stunning.

  Pav lesson #2, admire handiwork to generous ooh's and aah's from pav challenged onlookers.  

  Now Carol was NOT a cat lover, and maybe still isn't.  Chaka did her best to sway her over, this was the first occasion of actual bodily contact, and lasted some time before Chaka decided that was enough for the first schmoozaronee exercise.  Note Blue magazine left casually lying around to excite sister.  Note also how reticent Carol was to make herself at home on the couch.

  Now this is something of which to be very afraid.  A tribe of Amazons at a special 'girl's night out'.  Note the absence of men, and go figure who and what was discussed.  Husbands, lovers, sons were all fair game.  Funnily enough, what was said at the dinner, stayed at the dinner.  Well, mostly anyway.

  Helen and Carol took a trip to New York (daa daa da ta da...) mid visit to stroll around, take in the sights and totally avoid shopping.  This must have been in front of the famous Saks Art Museum I think.  Of course I had told them to take only a light coat as it was hot and steamy, so guess who had to buy warm clothes to stop from freezing to death!  (What I still don't understand was why did Mum go shopping at the communist shop with the red star???)

  We had two wonderful nights at Sam and Mark's lovely house.  This was the second, where they hosted an evening for neighbours and friends for the famous New Orleans Jazz pianist, Ronnie Kole.  Mark was doing his 'My Favourite Martian' impersonation with the antenna coming out of his head.

  A great photo of three lovely ladies.  You all looked wonderful!  Smooch x 3!!

  Mark and Mercedes McGowan looking very relaxed, and very much the lovely couple they are.

  And caught loitering in the hallway downing several glasses of wine, Michelle, Mark, Quique, and Peggy.  Mark later joined Ronnie at the piano and sang several songs, making it a truly memorable musical evening.

  Who's your daddy then you pair?!!  Great photo.

  Mark of course is the ultimate clean house freak, and was straight onto the spilled champagne so that it wouldn't' stain the (impervious) marble countertop.  Good on you Mark, just don't try the same with Tabasco sauce.

  Helen (clearly downhearted) at the grand piano with Ronnie, and his wife Gardner.  He has played for 7 US Presidents and we were privileged to hear him perform for our select group.  If you want to hear some of his music,  Thankyou again to Sam and Mark for hosting the evening.

And thankyou to everyone else also who made their visit such a memorable one, in particular Patty Ann for arranging the 'Atlantis launch' lunch and the girls night out, and Misty and Clint for a truly 'southern dinner'.  I didn't know cheese grits could taste so good Misty!  



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