Ree had arrived in the States with a credit card, which was demanding to be used. Today seemed just right for some serious SHOPPING! Diane recommended Oak Brook, a few miles to the north of Orland Park, a huge up-market mall with all the big name stores: Nieman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks 5th Avenue, etc., etc. The great thing about American malls, is that they are usually air-conditioned, thereby providing a perfect refuge from the searing heat outside.

We ducked in and out of all the stores, Ree hunting for unusual gifts and souvenirs (she was determined not to make the same mistake she had in New York, where after a week’s Christmas shopping, she forgot to buy anything for herself), Brigid in search of new undies, and John sulking because both ‘girls’ had vanished … just when he needed some advice about the fit of some new trousers!

At the end of a successful day, we arrived back home with (amongst other things) a psychedelic pink table lamp, blue fluffy steering-wheel cover, a Cubs sweatshirt, and a brand new airline ‘carry-on’ suitcase. (No prizes for guessing who did the most shopping then …)