Greetings from Seattle. I will not say, “Greetings from sunny Seattle,” as that would be a bit of a fib. A greeting from soggy Seattle just doesn’t have the right ring to it, so I’ll just leave it as simple as possible.


I have now been playing bridge for three whole days, and I think I can safely say that it is as if I have never held a deck of cards in my hand.

Greetings from Seattle. I will not say, “Greetings from sunny Seattle,” as that would be a bit of a fib. A greeting from soggy Seattle just doesn’t have the right ring to it, so I’ll just leave it as simple as possible.


I have now been playing bridge for three whole days, and I think I can safely say that it is as if I have never held a deck of cards in my hand.


My darling hubbie, Sir, and I have been playing bridge together for 12 years, and for the most part we play online, as it’s so convenient to be able to play in your jammies rather than to have to tart yourself up to play live.


So I’m very used to seeing everything on a screen – and it has obviously completely unsettled me to have to confront actual living breathing (for the most part) people. My brain is obviously in curdle-mode and is holding its own Occupy Wall Street movement and staunchly refuses to think along any particularly logical lines. Thank heaven, Sir has been amazingly patient with me, for which I thank him from the bottom of my heart.


I was able to duck out for a little while the other day for a brief respite to run down to the drug store three blocks away and ran into the Seattle Thanksgiving Parade, held on Friday. What fun! I have never been to a parade in my life, and it was a bit of a treat trying to cross streets while dodging oversized cupcake costumes and huge brass bands.


Today Sir is playing with our gorgeously crazy friend from Portland, so I have been given a reprieve – thank the Lord.


Because I’m obviously bridge-fried, and Sir is going into his mental crummy weather mode, we’ve decided to cut our visit to the Pacific Northwest short by a few days so we can elongate our up and coming time visiting our magnificent aunt, Boston Lil, in Palm Desert.


Naturally in order to do this we – and for “we,” please read “I” – had to change our flights, our rental car, our ride to the airport. Sir managed to do his usual urging soft shoe shuffle at the front desk here, so we are not going to be penalized for ducking out early.


Now I am here to tell you that I absolutely adore Southwest Airlines. I don’t think I have found a company with better public relations and customer service anywhere in the world. Southwest is a straight from the shoulder, honest, no hype airline. Needless to say, after this small rave review, I was able to change our tickets with a minimum of fuss, and we take off tomorrow for warmer, sunnier, less soggy climates.


Don’t get me wrong, I like Seattle. It’s a wonderfully self-confident city, but being stuck in the confines of its truly splendid conference center for three days, and then in the comfort of a big hotel, I may as well be anywhere in the world which can be seen from inside four rather large walls.


I know you will have absolutely no sympathy for me, but I am a smoker. I know, I know, it’s a filthy rotten habit which does me no good, but hey, someone has to do it. Just think of the lovely taxes we are adding to the governmental coffers without actually reaping any special benefits for having done so. And last time I looked, it’s actually a legal activity.


Up in our aerie on the 17th non-smoking floor of a hotel which has pretenses to grandeur, it is a Great Trek just to get outside as you take heed of the warnings in the room that if you even think about lighting up there is a $200 cleaning charge added to your bill.


Meanwhile, next door to us, is a lovely lady with her bull terrier. Up the corridor I’ve tripped over the odd Peke, a couple of Shi-Tzus and a variety of poodles.


So I guess it’s OK to stink up the joint with doggy type smells and to pollute the rooms with dog hair and fleas, but it’s not OK to smoke.


I try to be one of the considerate types, and won’t burst into flames where it will bother crowds of people. The set up at the convention center is one where, in order to dash outside for a gasper between rounds of cards, I think one has to be qualified to run the London Marathon.


There are 18 sets of doors from the convention center floor which will get you out to the (soggy) courtyard, but on 17 of those sets great warning signs are posted that if you attempt to touch the door handle, alarms will sound, police will arrive and savage K-9 units will set about your person without mercy. Naturally, the one door you can use is diametrically opposed to anywhere you might be within the building at any given time.


Sorry about that – just had to go off on a bit of a tangential rant for a bit. I’m OK now, I promise.


I’m off now on my Seattle expedition, where I suspect there will be a modicum of low-level, black-belt shopping to be done.


Click your heels together Annie, and repeat after me:


There’s no place like home.