all along the rocky shore

monterey coastlineThe Monterey Peninsula is some of the most incredible coastline I’ve ever been to, and it’s teeming with wildlife. And massive expensive houses. We drove the 17-Mile Drive, getting out every so often to take pictures, paddle in the rockpools, spot whales (and we did! out in the distance), and I even managed to scribble a few quickies before hopping back into the car. There’s me sketching quickly by the rocks. The last time I’d been, the fog rolled in and out like an army of ghosts, but this time it was warm and sunny.pete sketches monterey

We visited the Point Pinos lighthouse, which was very interesting. It dates back to the 19th century, and is pretty well preserved. point pinos lighthouseYou’re not even allowed to use the toilet, it’s so well preserved. When I was a kid I used to want to live in a lighthouse (so many of them in north London). I think it was because of that show Round the Twist, where they all lived in a lighthouse, or it might have been because of Fraggle Rock. Let’s face it, it was the latter. My son enjoyed ringing the huge bell downstairs, but we weren’t allowed to go up to the lamp. During World War II, in fact only days after Pearl Harbor was bombed, Japanese planes flew by Monterey Bay, and this lighthouse was used as part of the coastal defences.

After 17-Mile Drive we lunched in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where Clint Eastwood was once mayor. I popped into a little candy store that sold British chocolates, at a price. $2.95 for a Curly-Wurly!!! Can you believe it? They used to be 15p. There was a Lamborghini parked outside. Curly-Wurlies are surely not luxury items. I imagine this rich movie star now, supermodel girlfriend, Lamborghini zooming down the coast, chomping on a Curly-Wurly. Didn’t stop there. $3.95 for a Fruit-n-Nut! Four bucks for a Walnut Whip, sod that mate, I’ll go without. I didn’t even check how much the box of Maynards Wine Gums were. We drove on to Carmel Mission, which is an absolutely gorgeous building on the edge of Big Sur, which looks like a trip back into the Mexican West. Another quick study, this time in wine red copic, and then off again.  
carmel mission

over there between the land and the sky

We went to the opposite end of the country this past weekend, to New York. I love New York. I want one for Christmas. I did a lot of sketching in the city, in rain and shine and falling leaves; those will come later. We stayed out in Long Beach, on Long Island.

windows vista

Above, the view from my sister-in-law’s apartment window, as viewed by max the cat.

Long Beach is really that – a very long beach. I was last here six years ago, at Christmas, when thick snowed piled in on Christmas day, and we were throwing snowballs on the beach on the 26th. looking out at the atlanticYou can hear that Long Island accent everywhere, dawgs and pawks and cawffee, it’s so cool (while in New York City, most accents I heard were actually British). It was cold, but not that cold, not yet – the fall leaves were deep red and bright yellow. But you know you’re not in California any more, when you see people wearing coats that look like sleeping bags with sleeves, and the heating in donut shops is slightly higher than the surface of venus. You need the cold sea air to cool you down.

I was watching the Godfather last night; I didn’t realise before, the Corleone’s lived in Long Beach, in the movie.

I do love to be beside the seaside. For us, it was always the North Sea, or the Channel, but here it’s the Ocean, be it the Pacific or the Atlantic – even their seas are bigger in America. It’s funny, but looking out at the Atlantic I felt more of a connection, that home was just over there across this watery desert, rather than on the other side of the world. Then I thought, you do a lot of thinking when looking at the sea. And then I thought about Seinfeld, how whenever he had to do some deep thinking (such as that one where he has to decide whether or not to give up making silly “hello” voices about his girlfriend’s belly-button), he’d come and look at the ocean. All this thinking was making my brain cells nervous, so I met the others, and went and had a burrito.