9th July – Santa Monica/Venice/Culver City, Los Angeles, California, USA

Coffee at coffee bean with Joe and Cholo has become a morning ritual. The trainee at the service counter is nervous and has trouble understanding my accent accidentally adding super sweet vanilla syrup to my latte, my teeth are on edge. I munch a toasted bagel with whipped cream cheese. Dad jumps in an Uber to Roger Dunn’s and mum and I walk down to 3rd street promenade for a wander. We pop in and out of the shops including Bloomingdales and the Barney’s department store. We walk to Main to meet Simon and Dad for a slice of pizza in the restaurant next to the Doves salon. A couple of Pinot Noirs later and mum and I are in an Uber heading to Venice Beach to take in the sights of muscle beach, the skate park and the bustling beachside market. It’s fun showing mum all the places that I’ve been hanging out on my two and a half months here. We stroll along Venice beach until Simon calls to say he’s finished work.

He collects us and we go cake shopping at the Vanilla Bake shop, famous for their beautifully decorated celebration cakes and cupcakes. We purchase a big chocolate and vanilla cake, it’s tall and iced in white frosting decorated on top with crisscrossed milk chocolate piped icing. I run next door to whole foods to buy a selection of fresh berries to accompany.

A quick shower and change and we’re off for a BBQ at Danny and Aubrey’s. Their home is lovely, warm and inviting. Cagney and Lacey, the affectionate chihuahuas, welcome us and lap up the strokes, hugs and belly tickles lavished upon them by each of us in turn. We join the party with Sonia Dove, her husband and his mum. The wine flows, the laughter increases in volume and the food is cooked. Danny has lovingly prepared homemade chicken and Gorgonzola burgers that are divine. An evening of stories, banter and fun ensues and we leave having had a wonderful night.

18th June – Santa Monica/Venice Beach/Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA

We have a Dogtown breakfast at Doves before running a few errands. Kasia drops me at the beach in Venice. Unfortunately I didn’t think to bring bathers with me so make do with a pair of Simon’s that happen to be in the car and a Welsh flag golf towel – very patriotic!

I sit on the beach with a view of the popular surf wave watching the surfers ride the waves. I spend the day people watching and writing on the sand.

Later Kasia picks me up and we head back to Doves. I spot Joe’s beautiful Chevrolet turquoise truck parked on Main. He’s in Dogtown so we wait for Simon chatting with Joe. Everyone wants to go to the Roger Dunn golf shop, I don’t but I have nothing better to do, so I drive the Merc while Simon and Kasia have a ride in Joe’s truck.

Back at the apartment , hungry, Simon and I order LA Cafe home delivery. Yummy!

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.

2nd June – Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, USA

Much the same as yesterday my morning routine involves a Cholo walk, a Coffee Bean coffee and a cycle across Santa Monica to Doves.

Today Simon and I grab a sandwich from the store across the street and eat them sat on a bench down by the beach. I’ve written this before – It’s nice to experience someone else’s life, just the little everyday mundane things to them, like eating lunch with a beautiful view of the ocean at a holiday hotspot, watching the bikers, rollerbladers and strollers passing on the beach cycle path. We walk back to doves, I don’t have a bag so carry the remaining half of sandwich in my hoodie’s hood!

I head down to the cycle path and bike down to Venice, walking through the market, watch the street performers, lock up the bike and watch the skateboarders doing their thing in the skatepark. So cool.

I sit by the beach and watch the world go by for a while before jumping back on the bike and pedalling along the path up to Santa Monica Pier and then home.

I’m sunbathing on the roof with my little buddy cholo. Simon arrives and I go to Westchester Golf Club where I sit at a bench and write while Simon works on his short game. It’s freezing. He treats me to fancy sushi nearby, it is so good. The K2 rolls are amazing.