Apparantly there are a number of theories behind why New York is referred to as the Big Apple but my favourite (and least likely to be true) is that the term was derived from a popular brothel madam called Eve. But in reality it seems to be more linked to either jazz or horse racing depending on which sites you look at.

Anyway, enough of the history lesson. I’ve just come back from spending 10 days in Manhattan, with a side trip to Pennsylvania. If you’ve not been to Manhattan yourself you will have seen it on TV or in the cinema. It really is like that – it’s big, it’s busy, the buildings tower above you and, yes, there really is steam rising from the sidewalk. Although I have to confess that even after 7 visits I still get intimidated by the place despite having worked in another great city, London, for over 20 years.

Of course, the main reason I headed over to the USA wasn’t to sightsee or shop (although I failed miserably at my attempt to walk past a Superdry store without going in) but to meet up with my buddies from the Grand Canyon rafting trip. It was fab to see everyone again, we all smelt a hell of a lot better than we did last time we were together and luckily none of us had the urge to crouch in the corner of the restaurant and relieve ourselves, something we’d got used to doing in the Canyon!

Reunited - the GC rafters, and no sand in sight

Reunited – the GC rafters, and no sand in sight

We also received a lovely surprise and I did something that should have been on my bucket list but wasn’t – I went to my first gay wedding. My fellow GC travellers Kevin & Robert casually mentioned at dinner that they were getting married in Central Park 2 days later and did we want to come along. Hell yeah. My first thought was that perhaps I should go out and buy a feather boa and glitter and get ready to take some pictures of pink flamingos – after all I like to think that’s what gay weddings are all about!

Well apparantly not, not when they are taking place outside, in Central Park, on perhaps one of the coldest days of the year. It was less feather boas and more scarves and thick gloves but it was a magical moment in my life, not to mention Kevin & Robert’s and I wish them all the best for the future.

Robert, Kevin and their minister on their wedding day

Robert, Kevin and their minister on their wedding day

We also managed to fit in a show (well, we were right near Broadway, how could we not?). And considering we had 2 boys from Utah with us it seemed appropriate to check out Book of Mormon. Highly recommend it although I would leave your grandmother at home if she is of a sensitive nature unless she is happy to see fake male appendages strapped to most of the cast (and that’s all I’m saying).

On my side trip I had the opportunity to meet some of the world’s soppiest dogs, although with one of them being a pug and two being bulldogs they definately only had faces a mother could love.

Poodie the Pug, Trigger and a smiling Lucy

Poodie the Pug, Trigger and a smiling Lucy

I also got the chance to meet the granddaughter of one of my fellow GC companions. Now I’m not a child person, I don’t have kids, I don’t want kids and I couldn’t eat a whole one either but 4 year old Marley was possibly one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever seen and we shared a very deep and meaningful love of, well…onesies…

Marley in a mighty fine onesie

Marley in a mighty fine onesie

So that was my trip and now I’m back and have just under 6 weeks until the move to Turkey (eek!) so I guess I really had better start sorting out and packing up the last 42 years of my life…this could take a while.

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