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Author Liz O'Connor (UK Renza Afghans)

Next day, we decided to go for a walk just to get a feel for the local area. They don't have villages like we do, everything seems much more spread out and open, but we took a look around Annandale, their "village" which is very picturesque with the "fall" imminent. When we arrived everything was very green and lush but in a very short time everything was turning gold, and the countryside was beautiful. Bear in mind also that we were close to Halloween and there were pumpkins everywhere! Roadside market stalls had them piled high in all sorts of sizes, and outside homes they were cut out with candles glowing inside and flags, ghouls, ghosts and skeletons hangings outside.!

Opposite David and MaryAnn's home the farmer had cut down all the corn and the huge ploughed field had started to attract Canada Geese, they were collecting ready for their annual migration. They started off with just a few and the noise was not too bad, but by the time we were ready to leave their practice runs were beginning to deafen! I believe they were due to leave less than a week after us.

Walking down their winding road we came under the bridge and saw in the distance a police car (this is a novelty locally because they rarely see anyone, let alone the police!) Terry decided to video the police car and it passed very slowly and disappeared off into the distance. Within a few minutes the police car was back again and stopped us, wanting to know why we were filming him! Terry explained we were tourists from England and that was enough to satisfy him, but he did say he wished he'd known beforehand because he would have brushed his hair for the film!

Shortly after that we heard the sound of one of the freight trains which passed this way 3 or 4 times a day. We saw the rail crossing in the distance and ran to try and video it passing through. We came close to the rail line, Terry armed with the video camera ready to record it, only to find the line had movedbackoverthebridgeandthetrainpassedbehindus!Wefellaboutlaughing!Buttotellyouabout the freight trains, they always sound their distinct hooters, and they are so long with all their different carria9esl it can take up to 10 minutes for them to pass, and it is estimated they are all at least 5 miles ong! They don't do anything small in America!

We reached the fishing river although no-one was fishing at the time. You could close your eyes and imagine you were in England, because the setting was so similar. All this was coming to us as quite a culture shock, we just did not imagine America was going to be anything like this.

We went viewing properties along one road, and the norm is for them to be mostly timbered, although they are all slightly different in style and, of course, the amount of land they have around them . They don't like fences and sometimes it is difficult to know where one boundary ends and another beginS We came across one beautiful house with a Golden Retriever in the grounds and he came bounding up to the fence (the gateway wide open) and stopped short, just running along the perimeter. The family came out to talk to us (they must have wondered why we were viewing their home so closely!) and we asked why their dog did not come out of the gateway. He had been fitted with a collar and their property was surrounded by a new device which, when the dog wore the collar, would stop him going beyond that line. The dog did not appear perturbed by this at all, in fact he looked quite happy, so we concluded it must relay a "bleep" and not ~shock" to the dog for him to accept it so readily.

We continued on our way admiring these beautiful homes and finally arrived back just in time to collect a take-away Chinese - we were all still too tired to go out anywhere.

Over the next couple of days we were kept busy helping with preparing dogs and MaryAnn's stock for her booth. In between time we also managed to go shopping - MaryAnn and I both hunting for clothes - you should see some of their stores! - and watched numerous videos, some of them from years ago, which was fascinating to see, particularly as many of them contained some of Ali's ancestors.


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