Barry. Thank you SO much m'dear, for giving such a wonderful story of the hunt. Might I ask your permission to copy and keep your description and beautiful photos please? If I ever show them to anyone, I would always give you credit of course.
Re. The recession. I doubt it could be any worse than in S. California. Entire streets with foreclosed, empty homes. Thousands living on the streets. Horrible crime. Gang problems everywhere. Huge taxes. Millions of illegals and the list goes on. I came here many years ago and S. Ca. Was nice then. Now, almost all my friends have moved away to other states and many to other countries.
Just recently they have been lettng criminals by the thousands, out of our jails because of overcrowding.
I can no longer walk my dogs, because of all the macho idiots walking their Pitbulls. We no longer go out at night at all. We are on SS and it becomes more difficult each year, to make it to the next month. Add to that, the horrible problem of health care here.
Certainly there are some nice and safer places in S. Ca. Where my daughter lives (who owns all the Gypsies I show here) it is really quite nice and relatively crime free. But for millions, life is very difficult here. Most of my family in Wales, seem to be doing a whole lot better than us.
I think many over there, still have the feeling that anyone in California, must be wealthy, sitting by a pool and sipping something cool all the time. Maybe that comes from movies? I don't know. I know one of my elderly cousins in Wales, seems to feel that way and I constantly try to explain that she is much better off there. They own their own home, have a nice pension, free health care and a new car every few years. They go for a nice walk down to the pub a couple of times a week and meet up with old friends. I doubt they ever have to worry about where the next meal is coming from.
A few years ago, I lost a home I dearly loved, when gangs took over the whole street, little by little. They attacked homes on our street almost every night, until it became impossible to live there. We moved out overnight, in fear for our lives. The police were little help, since by the time they'd arrive, all gang members were gone. These gang members were mostly young and illegal, according to what the police told me. They just couldn't catch them. I lost my home of many years, all the money I'd put into it and of course, my good credit, since I had just moved out and abandoned it. I had put over $100,000 just in upgrades, quite apart from what it cost in the first place. Sadly, my elderly neighbour who stayed there and thought he'd fight it out with the gangs, was shot through his front room window, just months after we moved. I look at the house on google earth and it looks as though it is still empty, 14 years later. Probably just a hangout now, for gangs and druggies. This was in North Hollywood.
Strangely enough, just weeks before, I had seen a fellow on the news, who had been forced to leave his home in similar circumstances. I never forgot his words. He said, "Remember, it's me today. Tomorrow it could be you." And in our case, it was.
I have been in the US for 48 years now and have lived in many states. I'm afraid I like all, better than S. California.