While the rest of America was out celebrating Independence Day last weekend, we had our own little celebration in the Nappy Valley household; our shipment finally arrived from the UK.
I never thought I would be so pleased to see such prosaic items as sheets, towels, pots and pans, let alone my coffee table, carpet and writing desk. Knowing that such things were coming, we have been living without a few of the kitchen essentials. Not exactly being a paean of domesticity, I can safely say that I never imagined being pleased to see my cheese grater or my tin opener. But after four weeks of trying to ram holes in cans of tuna with The Doctor's penknife and nearly stabbing myself, I was overjoyed. He, meanwhile, spent a happy morning watching Wimbledon while happily unpacking his boxes of computer equipment, wires and boxes of software.
The Littleboys were suitably delighted to see their toys and books. I am optimistically hoping that the arrival of several tonnes of Lego will mean that they spend slightly less of their time at home glued to Noggin (strapline " it's like preschool on TV". Er, yes, if preschool consisted of semi-educational cartoons with insanely annoying and repetitive songs)*.
Our family photographs and a few paintings from home now adorn the house, giving it the feel of an uncanny fusion of our old and new homes. And our coats and scarves are hanging in the closets ready for the icy Long Island winter, although at the moment it seems hard to believe we will ever need them here.
We celebrated this momentous occasion with a trip to the beach at a State Park, which was packed with daytrippers from NYC. Everyone produces the most incredible amount of equipment; massive iceboxes, beach umbrellas and chair, drag-along carts full of beach gear, whole Weber barbecues. Back home, you might have taken along a bucket, spade and a beach towel and possibly a couple of sandwiches wrapped in foil. Mind you, we have already conceded to the American way and purchased the beach umbrella and icebox, managing to fill the rather capacious boot of our car quite easily.
Back home, we ate barbecued ribs and hot dogs on the porch, and watched the Manhattan fireworks on TV, to a soundtrack of patriotic American songs.
I think perhaps we are becoming indoctrinated.....
*Actually I am being slightly too mean about Noggin (which is part of the Nickelodeon stable). It's a lot better than I was expecting from American kids' TV, it's ad-free and bears some resemblance to CBeebies. I even find myself singing along to some of the surprisingly catchy songs sung by a cartoon Moose who sounds a bit like Jack Johnson. I think perhaps I need to get back to work....