Back in Lancaster again, which always looks and feels a lot smaller after NYC. Ironically, because Lancaster (population 46,000) has a cathedral, it's a city, whereas Greenwich Village - which has towering residential apartments of many floors, gets to be a village. Everyone wants to be something they ain't.
One disconcerting aspect of being in America for me is that people talk louder than they do in the UK. When my fella and I are out in public, we mumble to each other so that nobody within a mile's distance will be able to hear our conversation and realise how weird we are. Unfortunately, this frequently means that even we can't hear each other, so if anybody did successfully eavsedrop on us, all they'd hear would be "what?"
On the other hand, whenever we hear anybody else say anything audible in public, we quietly make fun of them. NYC is therefore an endless source of opportunity, as everybody is so articulate and interesting - and they all do everything bigger, as if they're in a play and want to ensure that even the people in the back row get their money's worth. They like the attention, and really, it would be churlish of me not to give it to them.
What is weird though is the practice of talking or thinking aloud, which appears to mark out a large difference between British and American people. We passed a man searching for something in his wallet. "Where's my damn money!!" he shouted out loudly, voicing his thoughts. And when my fella was innocently crossing the road, another man shouted "You're all walking into the path of death!" So, sometimes, I felt like I had wandered into an episode of the Twilight Zone having temporarily being granted the ability to hear everybody's thoughts. (One channel was showing a Twilight Zone marathon over the New Year period, and that was actually an episode.)
We spent a lot of time on this holiday walking up and down Bleeker Street, which is full of interesting little shops. I had wanted to see the Magnolia Bakery - which is credited as kicking off the "cupcake craze" which has even got to Lancaster. I was a bit disappointed to see that it looked a bit shabby from the outside - and had net curtains that made it look like a rundown cafe in a British seaside resort.
Another cupcake place called Molly's was nicer - although every time we went in, we had to get take-out as it was so busy (and we went in a lot). And the lady serving kept validating our choices "that's my favourite one!", which is a bit much when all you're buying is a cupcake.
I noticed several shops on Bleeker Street that were selling 1930s style hats, so I suspect that once this trend works it way round the block, that's what I'll be wearing in 2015. Despite liking the hats, I didn't buy one because had I done so, I would have immediately killed the trend.
This sinful billboard was right by where we were staying.
Not of God! Not Christian! Dark-sided!
I saw it and was instantly morally corrupted. I think I saw those two chaps at the gym I used while I was there. In fact, everyone looked like that at my gym (except me). The effect was even more demoralising than usual.
But when I got home I had an email from someone who had seen me in a cafe in Chelsea and recognised me from this blog.
It wasn't Andersen Cooper. But I'm still pleased.