The taxi drivers, cocktail waiters and purveyors of brunch in Portland, Oregon (whose nickname is, very pleasingly, Stumptown) will have noticed a steep decline in profits since my return from a wonderful week visiting Anna. I had a good feeling about the trip as I was wheeled straight to the front of a queue of several hundred people who had clearly been waiting for a very long time at immigration.  The wonderful Riverplace Hotel lent me a wheelchair and Anna – the most generous, funny and thoughtful of hosts – gave me guided tours of the city, her neighbourhood, college and favourite haunts; I took the train to Seattle and spent a lovely day with an old school friend; I spent hours browsing in Powell’s City of Books and sitting watching the people of Portland going about their business, many of whom were doing their best to “keep Portland weird”.  Complete strangers were extraordinarily kind.  One shop assistant, realising I was burdened by a complete lack of any sense of direction, heavy bags of clothes for the now very slim Nurse J, and a prosthetic leg, escorted me all the way to the correct exit of the shop, carrying my bags and chatting about the delights of the city.  And I didn’t fall over once.

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