Solar Queen

I read the weather forecast in the morning. My host, Tycob, a Hawaiian displaced from his native islands by exorbitant property prices, was expecting rain. Rain meant the lower part of the street might flood and prohibit him going to work at either of his two driving jobs. He was both an Uber driver and a delivery driver for Domino’s pizza.

The rain never came but the kind of humidity that precluded a thunderstorm lingered all day. 

Expecting a wet afternoon, I spent a few hours wandering around The Gibbes Museum of Art. The museum specialises in artwork by southern artists with some works dating back to the 17th century.

Alongside the amazing paintings, photographs, illustrations, and sculptures (my favourite painting was the one above; even up close the child looks like a photograph – the whole picture was created using watercolours!) I found an interesting item in the museum gift shop.

At first I thought this quite random but then I realised why it was there amongst the history books and artist biographies. HRH Lizzie – our Liz – has donated numerous pieces of artwork to the museum for display including watercolour illustrations by artist and naturalist (not “naturist” as I first read it – that’s something completely different) Mark Catesby. These studies are from the Windsor Castle collection and show Catesby’s skill in painting studies of birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles – including a rattlesnake he found in his bed!

After almost 3 hours in the museum, I decided to head to a converted church on Market Street. It was now a restaurant but not much had changed about the buildings previous occupation – it still possessed the high ceilings of the main hall and stained glass windows. However, I didn’t quite make it there because I got pulled in by the allure of another menu, this time boasting southern fried chicken in a sweet tea glaze! The restaurant was called Toast!.

“I recommend the chicken,” my waitress, Vicki, said, “you get a choice of two sides, right here – Carolina red rice and coleslaw are good, I recommend that.”

Sat in a worn leather booth beside a cabinet filled with cakes of monstrous proportions, and to a soundtrack of horse-drawn carriages outside, I think I found my higher power.


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