ENCINITASEncinitas is just an hour or so south of LA but it felt like another world. It felt like summer vacations when I was 12, even though it was the middle of November. Southern California in November, it seems, is sunny. I have a feeling Southern Caifornia at almost always sunny. It made for a wonderful week, if a little less traditional than the Thanksiving I had imagined (people wearing busy knits, lots of wood paneling and candles, autumn leaves everywhere). As it was we sat by the pool, watched the sun set over the ocean, played old-fashioned corn-toss games in the twilight, and ate the hell out of some turkey. Two turkeys to be exact, as we were a very happy table of nine. Jordy’s brother is an amazing chef and together with his mum, a prodigious home-cook, we feasted on a brussel sprout and hazelnut salad, sweet yam mash, piles of potato, green beans coked to perfection, a mountain of home-made stuffing that smelled like very heaven, and soft clouds of warm bread. We had quite a few bottles of wine and, to follow, our choice of pies baked by dear friends that morning. I tried a little of the cinnamon laced pumpkin pie, the sweet, sticky pecan pie and the rhubarb and apple pie (yes, this means I tried all the pies).

I’ve taken to this holiday as happily as you might imagine and have an idea to bring it back to Sydney next year. I don’t know any friends who wouldn’t be want to share a table and a meal and give thanks - it really is the best kind of day.

While most of Jordy’s family drove back to LA and real-life and work-days, we stayed on to rest. Five weeks of driving around the country, eating and drinking to your heart’s content is actually pretty exhausting. So we stayed, ate a lot of fruit and bowls of healthy soup, slept late, caught up on washing, napped in the afternoon and had early nights in front of the telly. It was another kind of wonderful and the salty sea-air did us good.