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The conference was fab as ever, it’s huge and a tad overwhelming (especially as this time I was working for some of it – not wandering around picking up the best freebies from the stalls!) and on Monday I went to a lecture on Dad’s behalf, as he’s brilliant but not yet able to be in two places at once. Walking in was entertaining, it was a technical update on an Agusta Westland heli engine, and I was the youngest by at least 25 years, plus the only female in the room. Fortunately they send out slides by email afterwards, so I didn’t have to pretend I actually knew what was going on. Phew. An experience though…

I’ve covered mine & Mum’s shopping at the mall in a previous post, although I will just say again how proud I was that I got us there and back again without Dad and didn’t kill us or get us hopelessly lost 😀

So Wednesday, our last day in Texas. We’d left it as a sort of spare day, so that if we needed or wanted to do anything we could without having any prior commitments. This was a precious rarity!

We decided to go and see Cabela’s, which is a hunting, fishing and camping shop – man heaven! It also has a zoo of stuffed animals, which although I’m not usually one for heads of moose or whatever stuck to the walls, was strangely fascinating. God alone knows where they got their elephant from! I almost turned left onto the wrong side of the road – there was just one car coming the other way, and he was in the middle, so on autopilot I headed straight towards him, oops. He looked very surprised! To my parents’ very great credit, they didn’t have hysterics, just suggested rather sharply I should perhaps try driving on the correct side of the road – lol! Actually that ended up being my only major cock-up for the entire trip, and I’m amazed I didn’t do anything similar on the rally. (maybe I did, and have blocked it out of my memory?! But I don’t think I did…)

Then back to the hotel to meet Jack, an old friend of Dad’s who’s happily retired, wonderfully Texan and took us to lunch at Jason’s Deli before showing us the handguns he keeps in his car. I learned more from that lunch than I’ve previously ever known about guns in my life, which I touch on briefly over at Project Pin Up. It was fantastic to meet Jack, he’s someone I’ve heard lots about my entire life but never actually met. And the sun came out, and it was warm and lovely! (Cue another conversation about how my parents should retire to Texas, hehe).

Dinner in the evening was planned for 7pm, and we had the rare (possibly never before, in fact) occurrence of six friends all together, plus me, and they felt like my friends by the end of the evening! Bob and Ellen, Walter and Bev and Mum & Dad, all in one place. Amazing. Walter & Bev I’d likewise heard lots about but never met, so it was wonderful to get to know them – Walter is originally from Germany and both he and Bev have travelled extensively, including to Romania, so we had a lovely chat 🙂 And I very much hope we’ll stay in touch!

It was bittersweet, because this dinner had been planned all along to mark our last evening in Texas, but it was so fantastic to see everyone that I didn’t notice I was sad until right at the end of the evening.

Texas has been, as before, amazing. I keep saying I could live here – it’s not the idle chat of someone enjoying their holiday, when I walk through the stockyards I feel like I’ve come home, although I’ve only previously been there once. I love England and it will always be truly home, but I think Texas could certainly be home for a while, should I ever get a chance to work there in the future. (or, you know, take myself and my own business out there one day… it’s not completely impossible).