Several big intrusions from real life get in the way, so it’s time for a bit of backstory. The Czarina’s family owns a rather large ranch in West Texas, alongside the Brazos River, and it’s become quite the playground for the extended clan. Her parents come out regularly to relax when their own workday routines start to tear them down. The kids and the grandkids (with possible great-grandkids very soon) come out to fish, race all-terrain vehicles, and wonder “Hey, what the hell is Paul doing this time?” And me, I come out there to study.
In any case, I’ve spent the last ten years doing my best to convince my UK friend Dave Hutchinson is nothing but an elaborate set for Peter Jackson’s planned remake of The Valley of Gwangi. If only: I may be joshing him, but it’s odd enough out here as it is. For a moment, though, I’ll spare him the horror of what my adoptive land is like, and settle for a few moments of beauty.