We ate breakfast in the Waffle House across the road from the motel, did our laundry, and called Lori to confirm dinner arrangements. The rest of the day we spent chilling out (keeping out of the afternoon heat) in our air-conditioned hotel room.

Not wanting to arrive empty-handed, we went out at about 5pm to look for a bottle of wine or some beer for Lori and Howard. As usual, our first line of enquiry was the hotel receptionist.

It turned out that Garland was ‘dry’. In common with most other suburban towns, there are no bars, and alcohol is only available in a few specialist outlets. A few restaurants have a special licence to serve beer, but only on production of ID. In order to buy alcohol, we were going to have to drive about 10 minutes down the Interstate! We duly took down the directions and set off in search of the ‘Chilly Mart’ Beverage & Liquor Store.

The receptionist had assured us that we would see Chilly Mart’s Budweiser sign from the road, but having driven for about 10 miles, we became convinced we had missed it, and stopped again for directions.

We hadn’t missed it, but we became more and more confused and frustrated, going round and round in circles, until we eventually spotted the sign. By the time we got back to the hotel, we must have done a 30 mile round-trip!

When we arrived at dinner, Lori and Howard smiled as we presented the beer. They must have known how far we had to travel to get it!

(Texans are not big drinkers. Presumably because of the heat, the most common accompaniment to meals in Texas is iced tea – served with lemon, over a tumbler full of ice cubes. Lori and Howard nearly went mad when they visited London about 15 years ago, because no one understood the concept of iced tea. British restaurants just didn’t have the facilities to produce tumblers of ice.)

In the event, we had an excellent dinner with Lori’s family. Britni is now nearly 15, and Tyler is 11. Both kids are great company and a credit to their parents.

Lori and Howard had been scratching their heads trying to think of things that might amuse us during our stay. The Mesquite Rodeo is world famous, but only takes place on Friday and Saturday nights, and we were due to leave on Wednesday. It seemed such a shame. We were in danger of not seeing a rodeo at all during our tour. So, when Lori and Howard offered to take us to the Mesquite Rodeo the following weekend, we quickly agreed to stay.