Thank God it's Friday

19th May 2006 at 01:00
Monday Boston, Massachusetts, and the first day of a fly-drive tour of New England. The local paper has a story about Sats. Apparently, there are concerns about the accuracy of the marking. Surely not. I also learn a new term for a person who bangs on at meetings: "harangue-outang". Most places of interest are closed until summer, but we find the Gibson House, which was given to a trust in the 1950s and which has been left pretty much as it was at the end of the 19th century. We are the only visitors, but the guide has clearly suffered at the hands of school parties, as he has developed a verbal tic that causes him to mutter "Don't touch" at the end of every other sentence. This induces a paranoia that has me bouncing around each room like a deranged pinball, trying to avoid contact with any object.

Tuesday Cape Cod. Our hotel has a sign proclaiming it to be one of the historic inns of America, with the date 1694 prominent. Closer reading reveals that the original building burnt down in 1971 and that this one dates from 1973. We drive to Hyannis. Everything is closed and we are reduced to eating at the British Beer Company. I don't expect it to be anything like a British pub. Unfortunately, it is.

Wednesday Sturbridge Village comprises old buildings that have been rescued from all over New England. There are working flour, carding and sawmills, but our footsteps are dogged by a machinery bore who insists on questioning the staff about "bifurcating reciprocal flanges". Our restaurant in the evening advertises "horse-drawn weddings". We debate whether the horse uses pencil or charcoal.

Thursday My heart sinks when I discover that we are sharing the hotel with a British school ski party, but apart from the odd herd of bison impression from the floor above, and the fact that they pinch all the bacon from the breakfast buffet, they are pretty well-behaved. We walk part of the Appalachian Trail, where we see lots of evidence of beaver dam building and piles of moose droppings, but not a glimpse of either creature.

Friday We try to take the old cog railway to the summit of Mount Washington, but it's closed so we walk up to the Arethusa Falls. We only see five people on the ascent and descent, but we find some large tracks in the snow that could be black bear. They are worryingly fresh, but the only creatures that we do see are chipmunks. Later in the day we splurge at a factory outlet shopping village and have to buy another suitcase so we can bring our purchases back.

David Meaden is an adviser in an outer London borough. If you have a diary to share (no more than 450 words), write to TES Friday or email We pay for every article we publish

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