Stepping off the merry-go-round

Sometimes the merry-go-round isn’t so merry.  It never hurts to jump off for a while and take stock.  So I’ve jumped off into a rather lovely place to sit and ruminate and ponder the meaning of life.

Currently in Palm Springs, California where the daily temperature averages 100 degrees in June.  Right now in the UK it’s freezing cold, rainy and windy and I’m grateful for the chance to take time out.

Palm Springs house with Mt. San Jacinto in background

It’s easy enough to get hung up on the things we haven’t got  when at home and in the thick of ‘life’ but it’s important to take a step back.  I realise I need to take my own advice and be a little more grateful for what I do have.

This has been a wonderful trip – starting out in San Francisco.  Although it’s my third time in the ‘sixties city of love’, I’ve seen and done things I’d not done before.  Like… walking across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Walking across the Golden Gate

It was freezing cold with a gale blowing across the Bay but so worth doing.

Leaving San Francisco on Highway 1, the coast road drove to Monterey briefly and then through Big Sur with some hair-raising hairpin bends we headed towards San Simeon.

Our destination was Hearst Castle, the opulent home of William Randolph Hearst, newspaper magnate and one of the most powerful men in America in the early days of the 20th century.  I expected lavish, I didn’t expect this huge eclectic collection of European treasures thrown together with no particular style.  But the place works – it’s outrageous but wonderful and the views are to die for.  His two swimming pools are lavish beyond words.

Hearst Castle outdoor pool                                         

The outdoor pool is sumptuous but the indoor pool – well,  I could imagine it belonging to a Roman emperor or small country dictator.

Hearst Castle indoor pool

The indoor pool is very deep and since many of Hearst’s celebrity Hollywood guests weren’t great swimmers, the staff were allowed to use the indoor pool.      Think I like the sound of the man.

Moving on from Hearst Castle the next day was the long drive to Palm Springs, some of it along the coast road – stopped in Santa Barbara for lunch.  Just as we remembered it but colder… really looking forward to the Palm Springs heat!

‘Stardust’ – our home for two weeks

Finally arrived in Palm Springs in the afternoon and were greeting at our rental home by Johanna.  It’s a stunning place – not Hearst Castle but very stylish.  It’s in the Movie Colony area of Palm Springs and is of the era but much remodelled.

So, here we are and now about to start our second week – I’m beginning to adjust to the time difference (been getting up at 5am or earlier every day) and I’m in that phase of navel gazing where I’m taking stock of life at the moment.  So it’s good to take time out…

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