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Today’s rest day began with an email from Alain to say that the car rental people had charged his credit card, while I had paid the bill in full in cash. I retrieved all the paper work from the car and regrettably for both of us, had to agree that we and the rental company had over looked the US$525 charge for Mexican Insurance. This made the car rental quite an expensive affair, especially as this amount was just split between the two of us.

At the same time as resolving this issue, I fired off an email to Ian & Cliff warning of the hidden extras which bump the price quoted on the website significantly.

On the brighter front, Eunice Thompson, the President of the Long Beach Society, had managed to clear her work schedule and find a dog & house sitter, so that she can join us for the March Bajathon. Splitting the car rental and fuel 4 ways instead of 3 will be good and Eunice will bring along her knowledge on Agave, Dudleya, Fouquerias (I’m still learning how to spell that)  and help us with local knowledge, particularly with plant nurseries at the very end of our trip. Welcome aboard, Eunice!

Tonight we attended the meeting of the Orange County C&S Society where Tim Harvey – originally (13 years ago) from Birmingham, England, now living to the north of L.A.  Tim does not work at the Huntington as reported earlier, but just volunteers there on a Tuesday. Alain should know him from the Cactus_Study forum.

I was going to ask him why he moved from Birmingham, but then he showed us how he grows the touchiest of succulents and caudiciforms to a huge size, simply by planting them out in his garden. This includes many Madagascarians! Excellent talk!

This club was a lot larger in membership numbers than Long Beach, although Long Beach has existed for 75 years and is the oldest of the US Societies.  It seems that the number of Societies is quite high in the L.A. area and people are members of several Societies, so that they can attend meetings on almost every week of the month. Must be difficult for talk organisers to get speakers that no one has seen before. All the features of a UK Branch meeting were in place: the raffle (I won a prize!), the table show, judged by the speaker (actually, this was in place at Long Beach but I must have missed it at Orange County), and the branch library that apparently had made its first appearance for many months, as just like in the UK, it requires a lot of effort to cart all the books around when few people actually use the facility. I was pleased to see that Keith’s & my book was in the library – I had not seen a copy since ELK! Also interesting that this Society’s President was called Roger Claassen, with German ancestry who preferred a C to a K. I was asked to sign the book and was introduced for the meeting. Fame at last!

The only other highlight of the day was that I used the motel laundry to get 4 week’s of washing done. I managed to scan read the 2004 CSSJ Dudleya issue while keeping an eye on the tumble drier going round. Those were the days in the early 80’s! Sunday morning in the Laundromat before a few pints and games of darts at the Plough before going home for Sunday’s roast followed by falling asleep in front of the TV during Match of the Day or Cricket Highlights.

The plan for tomorrow is that I’ll leave urban Fullerton and head south to the Carlsbad area, and pay a visit to the little town of Julian that Alain & I drove through last Thursday – the Walton’s look-alike town, for some pictures, before  finding a motel. This will make a good launch pad for another scout around the Anza Borrego Desert State Park and inspecting suitable nurseries for Ian & Cliff in Vista in days to come.

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