If you're one of the thousands of people who depend upon my weekly posts for your entertainment (!!!), my apologies for the gap - I've been on holiday.
You may recall my quip earlier this year that "I shouldn't be here" when my holiday plans were scuppered by the Icelandic volcano ash cloud which closed down UK air space a few minutes before our flight was due to leave - we were actually on-board, had heard the safety talk, and were planning our in-flight movies, etc. Well, this time we made it. We had almost 4 weeks doing a fly-drive trip out of Los Angeles, through the Mojave desert to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas before heading back to the Californian coast at Santa Barbara and back to LA. I guess the 2100 miles we drove, and the flight itself, puts me in something of a carbon debt, so I need to get planting even more trees!
I must praise the ALK "CoPilot Live - North America" sat-nav app on my iPhone which only cost me £12 and faultlessly guided us around for free - the maps are loaded onto the iPhone, so it doesn't need a data connection after the initial WiFi connection (free at MacDonalds or Starbucks!) to let it get its initial bearings. "Park'n Find" was also useful for helping us back to our hire car in the huge parking structures at theme parks (we did "Universal Studios") and the large hotels in Las Vegas & Hollywood.
As well as the varied natural terrain, including US National Parks, between cities, we did get to see a few gardens along the way, so over my next few posts I'll cover some that I hope will be of interest.
Meanwhile, those clever guys at Google Blogger have been busy releasing a bunch of new features, so I've given my blog a "makeover" including a new layout/style, shifted some of the gadgets around on the right-hand side, added a bit more about me to the profile description (sorry it looks a bit messsy, can't find how to "justify" it) and moved the Facebook/Twitter "share" buttons to the new share facility beneath each post - so it's much easier for you to share individual articles you like via email, Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, etc. I've also added the "instant feedback" buttons (funny/interesting/cool) so you can just click these if the fancy takes you.
Hope you like!