Saturday 28th July

“When you go, will you send back a letter from America?” So sang The Proclaimers as some of us heard last Sunday … and this is my answer.

I’m writing this in our hotel in Jersey City, which has a roof terrace with views across to the iconic Manhattan skyline. However, it has not been an easy journey.

We left home for the airport on Thursday morning when Jonny took us to Heathrow. Just as we were arriving at Terminal 3, I received a call from hospital to say that someone needs to come to see a doctor about my mother who is ‘unwell’. My mother had fallen and was in hospital recovering from surgery following a fractured femur, but I had seen her the day before and received assurances that she was on course to recover. We decided that we needed to go the hospital and cancelled out flight and rebooked for the following day. So, with luggage in tow, we got a taxi to the hospital, saw the doctor and saw Mum, before getting a taxi back to St Albans. My mother is elderly and has some underlying health problems and so the doctor wanted to make us aware that recovery is not inevitable.

The staff at the airport were extremely kind in what was a rather traumatic 24 hours and we got away on the same flight on Friday afternoon. Not many minutes after take-off there was a loud bang and flash. Some of the passengers were a little concerned, but cabin crew came past and said that it was ‘only’ a lightning stroke and nothing to worry about.

The flight was early and we were picked up by a car driven by Mr Ramirez. He had the honour of being my first live subject to be interrogated about faith and politics. He was happy to talk about the President from his perspective – that of a Dominican immigrant. More of that when I return. Friday night traffic in New York means it isn’t a great time to be travelling from Queens to Jersey so what should have taken an hour took two and a half.

‘No animal news?’ I hear you say. (Readers of my last travel blog will understand.) Well, not a lot to report, although a rather cute dog was going through security at the same time as us. He seemed to like being patted down.

Here’s hoping for a less eventful next few days …