The next morning Nawaz, a friend of Lisa's and a NY cabbie by day, traditional Punjabi musician and singer in his hours off the job, drove us to La Guardia where we picked up the SUV we had hired for the weekend. On the way there, he decided to come along for the Boston trip the next day, which meant that not only did we have three drivers to get us there and back again (as I haven't driven since October 2003, I didn't think it would be a good idea to let me take the wheel in a strange car in a strange country), we also had another 'bum on seat', a thing we like to see at CoRo shows. Lisa took the first leg, straight into Manhattan and Pier One to pick up two papasan chairs, which when they were brought up after the shop opened, we could barely fit into the boot. Poor Jules was squashed in the back seat, trapped in a cage of rattan, but only had to endure this discomfort until we got back to the flat to unload Lisa's chair. The other one, we had to take over to Staten Island, where another of Lisa's friends was eagerly awaiting its arrival. The friend's neighbour then gave us detailed and rather complex and confusing information on how to get on the freeway to Philly, so that after 20 minutes of driving, we gave up on following her directions and found our own way which was undoubtedly shorter. Once we were on the right road, I gave superplin a call to let her know we'd soon be there ("in 2 hours...1 hour?...1 1/2 hours!")
The weather was fine, the drive relaxed, and we drove into Philadelphia roundabout 3 o'clock. Of course we couldn't resist stopping off at the Rocky steps, and Lisa and Jules ran up them as seemed to be the done thing.
There were lots of people getting married in Philly that day, and they all came to the steps for their wedding photos. It remains one of life's mysteries to me how even in the coldest weather (although it was sunny and bright, there was a cold wind blowing), brides and bridesmaids can go around bare-shouldered all day and not show any sign of goosebumps or shivers...
We were getting worried as to what might have happened to Plin, as she hadn't returned our call yet, and resolved to send her a message as soon as we had found our B&B -- which we happened upon almost instantly as we began driving around randomly. Another friend, rosamundeb had landed in Philly earlier that day and been texting us regularly on the drive up. At the B&B, we were welcomed by owners Dave and Nadine, shown how the lock on the door worked, given directions to the World Café Live, and taken up to our rooms: the whole 2nd floor! Consisting of a suite of two bedrooms, a sitting room, a bathroom with walk-in shower and ginormous jacuzzi bath and an interconnecting bit that held twin washbasins, this wasn't the room with a double bed and a pull-out sofa we had originally booked, but we made no comment and instead pronounced the accommodation adequate to our needs. Actually, there was also a laundry room, but we think that may have been the owners' private space.
After settling in, as is our wont on such occasions, we went to look for the venue taking the car rather than the recommended 15 minute walk. Good job we did, as we found out that there would be a private function on that night which was to last till 9, and only after that had ended would the live music start. Back at the hotel, we found rosamundeb had checked in, and much squee was had between her and Jules. The owners appeared, to remind us there would be wine and cheese in the library later, and asked us what part of the world we were from so they could decide whether or not to let us stick a pin in the map they had on the wall. Sadly, London, The Hague and Chicago had already been pricked and so we missed out, but Lisa belatedly remembered where she was from originally and got to claim Belfast for her own by sticking a bright green pin in it.
We tried reaching Plin again, but to no avail. We just had to hope she would find out on her own the time for the show had been delayed by an hour or two and would meet us there.
While we were having 'tea and cheese in the library' (actually having carried it in there by ourselves from the breakfast room where it had been laid out), another couple came down and joined us. They were music reviewers, who had gone to cover a show at the World Café the night before, and though we tried to interest them in coming along to the gig as well, they preferred to stick to their booking at a local Thai restaurant. Never mind. They were lovely people, and we had quite an enjoyable conversation with them, about music (with him being a music professor in real life), press cards (with him advising us to just ring any venue that doesn't allow photography and claim to be doing an article, and just blag your way to one), Richmond, London (where he was from originally), Chicago (where she hailed from) and Boston (where they live) where apparently the traffic is a nightmare and we should count ourselves lucky we were only going as far as Cambridge the next day.
Between the 4 of us (neither Jules nor Lisa drank any of the red wine), we had soon managed to finish the half bottle, and when Dave appeared after about an hour, he first expressed a dour sort of amazement that we were still there, then offered us a refill, took out a bottle, and poured us each two fingers' worth...then forgot to take the bottle with him when he left the room. 45 Minutes later, we had polished it off, and Ros and I were getting quite giggly. By now it was time to get ready, and while the couple went to their dinner, we went upstairs to freshen up, leaving Dave distinctly out of sorts with us.