Tuesday 7th August 2001, Chicago IL

The first task of the day was to print off the tenancy agreement from Chard. We read it through, signed it, and Julie provided a witness’ signature. Now we desperately needed to find somewhere to fax it. We were heading into Chicago for a boat trip (an architectural tour, which Brigid had been looking forward to all week), so we jumped in the car, and headed downtown. By the time we had found somewhere to park at Navy Pier, it was nearly 12pm. The six hour time difference made it nearly 6pm in London – the time our ‘merchant bankers’ had agreed to meet at Chard’s.

By the time the fax was safely on its way, the boat tour had left, and with only a couple of hours until Ree had to be at the airport, we decided to content ourselves with a slap-up lunch instead.

All too soon, Ree’s time was up, and we were waving her goodbye. Although we had only been away from home for a couple of months, it had been lovely to see her, and catch up on all the gossip. Now we were on our own again, and, I must admit, just for a fleeting moment, a little homesick.

It didn’t last. Fred and Diane were out that evening, and Joe Miroballi had invited us to dinner. At about 6pm, we walked the 100 yards or so down to Joe’s, where we enjoyed a truly wonderful bottle of wine, before heading off to dinner at a local Italian restaurant.

Over pasta and another excellent bottle of wine, we compared British and American education systems, law, medicine … and generally put the world to rights. Not for the first time, we were easily the last people to leave the restaurant.