I was two and three quarter hours from Camden, SC – the venue for this weekend's wedding – when I woke yesterday morning. I loaded the car, said farewell to my Russian hostess as she went out to her gym and then breakfasted with her American husband at the development's golf club. By mid morning I was on my way along local highway SC-11. I set the radio to a local country station and turned on cruise control at (or about) the speed limit. As I headed south the Autumn colours faded and it was Summer again. I lowered the ragtop and cruised, just as I had imagined this trip, with my elbow on the driver's door. I was back in my favourite place – on the American Road.
On arrival I parked up and removed all the lighting gear from my case, Dumping it on the back porch amid the rocking chairs, I set about scouting locations for a portrait shoot for the bride and groom to be. Having found my spots, I set up the lighting and enlisted one of the guys preparing the wedding marquee to hold my light stand steady. The shoot was all over by 5.30 pm. I headed to my cottage at the local country club to shower and prepare for the evening's karaoke party.
Fortified by a few whiskys, I did have a go at singing. Rather ballsily I thought, as the only Englishman in the room, I gave them "America the Beautiful". I hit the limits of my vocal range quite quickly but it was well received. I guess my intentions counted for something. During a debate in my student days I noted that English has a name for those who like the Chinese (Sinophile), the Russians (Russophile) and even the French (Francophile) but none for those who like Americans. I coined the word "Yankophile" because I am one. I am not sure that coinage would go down too well this side of the Mason-Dixon Line but the fact I love this country and feel very much at home here is pretty evident to my Southern hosts. And I know enough of "the late unpleasantness" to realise that the issues at stake were more complex than the Yankees would have you think.
Carriages were at 11pm and I settled down to write this before heading for bed. I had had too much Laphroaig for that however so I left it to this morning. I have lots of leisure today as the wedding ceremony is at 3pm.
The map of the tour is here.