11th July – Santa Monica/LAX airport, Los Angeles, California, USA

Sadly today we leave. I like to think that over the year I have become rather good at packing, having moved a lot I adapted a routine knowing where best to put stuff that I needed to be handy, packing some clothes in my hand luggage should my rucksack get lost, keeping laundry separate from my cleaner clothes, all that goes out of the window for this, my final attempt. I cram, shove and force zips closed with wild abandon.

Simon and Kasia arrive and we load up the car with all of our luggage, then along with Joe drive down to Shutters on the beach for brunch. It’s an emotional morning as Mum, Dad and I say goodbye to our wonderful hosts Simon, Kasia and Joe who drive us in two cars to LAX airport. Tears, hugs and drive off waves.

Being in an airport with company is far more fun than being alone, I’ve gotten used to entertaining myself while waiting to board my next flight. The new terminal here at LAX is so much better than the old one, filled with shops to browse and eateries to munch. We are soon boarding our BA flight, Mum and Dad have slightly better seats than me in world traveller plus, I walk passed them into economy but have wangled an exit seat so plenty of legroom for this journey.

3rd June – Santa Monica/Venice, Los Angeles, California, USA

This morning I walk to Main to Dogtown for some brekkie and a coffee. Simon is working so I borrow the car to drive to LAX to pick up Kasia who is flying in from Nashville. The traffic is abysmal and my 17 minute google maps predicted journey takes closer to an hour. I arrive at arrivals and pick up Kasia.

Simon finishes work so we all jump in the car and head for lunch at Sweetfin Poké. I leave the guys and walk home to sunbathe on the roof with Cholo. I fall asleep in the sun and when I wake up a cloud has descended. Santa Monica is in a thick mist. I can’t see further than 50 metres – it is weird. As the sun has abandoned me I abandon sunbathing and after a look through my photos I find one I took at the skatepark the other day declaring the bike park is closed today for filming.

I get dressed, hop on my bike and cycle to Venice. It is so eery. What is known locally as June gloom prevents an ocean view from the beach cycle path. The tops of the Palm trees are in the clouds.

At the skatepark I speak to a cop who informs me that the crew are filming a Dior commercial. I stop and watch for a little while then jump back on my bike and cycle all the way home. I take Cholo for a walk then spend the rest of the evening watching tv.

4th May – Downtown/Westchester, Los Angeles, California, USA

I travel with Simon to work this morning. When we get there I leave in the car to visit Joe who’s recently returned from an amazing trip to the North Pole. So good to see him.

Next I drive to Burbank on an IKEA run. Driving on the highway is pretty stressful in an expensive car, on an unfamiliar side of the road with LA drivers and massive trucks. I miss one turning when I find myself boxed in by three such trucks but I eventually arrive in Burbank and after a quick runaround IKEA I’m back on the highway heading downtown before the afternoon traffic hits when I could get stuck in gridlock.

I grab a sushi lunch from Ralph’s and a Starbucks coffee for Kasia.

We go to pick up Simon from work then drive to Westchester Golf Club and driving range. I have a little go at trying to get a ball into a nearby basket but it’s much harder than Simon and Kasia make it look. Plus it’s really cold. When the basket of balls has been emptied we pop to In’n’Out burger for one of their famous cheese burgers and French fries animal style.

We are right by LAX and the beginning of the runway so stand as close as we can to watch a couple of plays coming in to land. They are so loud.