On 5th March, Jonathan and Corinna Downes, the Director and Administrator of the Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] the world's largest mystery animal research organisation, fly to Texas. Together with their friends and colleagues Richie and Naomi West who very generously financed the expedition, they will spend two weeks continuing the research into the Texas blue dogs, first carried out by Jonathan Downes in November 2004..

Thursday, 18 March 2010

CORINNA DOWNES: Thirteen Fateful Days in 1836

CORINNA’S DIARY: Wednesday, 17th March

Last night we partook in an evening of celebration to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, US-style. We were in San Antonio to take part in the annual merriment and perambulated down the Riverside Walk – a kind of towpath that runs alongside the river that weaves its way through part of the city. There was an abundance of green of various different shades everywhere – it was like the early summer countryside of England before the sun has dealt whatever torment it wishes on the earth below; at least during those summers where the sun does shine in the UK for more than two days in a row, that is.

Everywhere you looked you were confronted with leprechauns of all shapes and sizes, and all nationalities too. In fact, we did wonder on more than one occasion how many of those sporting habillement vert did actually have Irish heritage, but that is by the by considering everyone concerned appeared to be enjoying themselves thoroughly, especially those who owned the riverside eateries that were packed to the gills with revellers. But I suppose that is a trifle cynical – but as you have probably realised by now, I AM a trifle cynical.

But back to St Paddy’s Day. We ate in a Mexican restaurant where we were joined by Ken Gerhard and Jon enjoyed a couple of double margaritas in a ridiculously oversized glass (only in Texas, eh?), the size of which I had never seen before. But then when on holiday, it is no bad thing to relax in the company of friends over a nice meal and a drink or two.

Earlier in the day we had visited Devin again and taken him, Jonathan, and Chad (more of whom tomorrow) out for a drink at a nearby bar, along with Nancy who runs the local store in Elmendorf and whom Jon knew by reputation but had always wanted to meet.

From left: Richie, Devin, Naomi, Me, Jon, Chad, Nancy and Jonathan

We then set off for San Antonio to spend a day or two as holidaymakers and to celebrate the saint day mentioned above. But first we visited The Alamo – somewhere I had wanted to visit for a long time. It was a poignant visit – as soon as I walked through the doors into the mission the desperation and bravery of those who fought to the death in “thirteen fateful days in 1836” firmly hit me between the eyes. As I always do in such places I laid a hand on the stones. It is the only way to get the vibe of a place such as that – feel the stones and feel the history absorbed by them. It was a moving time as we made our way through the building and grounds outside.

After our evening out Jon and I took a carriage ride back to the hotel. It was a lovely evening and our driver, who was a jolly nice chap, steered his horse Hardy around some of San Antonio pointing out landmarks as we went along. It was a lovely treat and the first time I had taken such a trip by that method of transport.

After a shower it was crawl into bed where I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

1 comment:

  1. Did you ask the carriage driver about the ghosts? 'Cause our whole downtown is haunted as all get out.

    You were in the Alama as soon as you stepped on the Plaza, by the way. The Alamo everyone thinks of is the chapel. The long barracks aren't the original, but were rebuilt in the 30s. The Mission isn't just about the battle, either. I could go on and on and on if you give me the chance.