In the middle of filming the second series of Poldark, Angharad and I went on a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) promotional tour of the States. The first series had just started to play there. It was late spring 1977.
Boston, New York, Washington, and Dallas.
Five days–four cities; crazy, glamorous and fun.
At nine o’clock, the morning after arriving in Washington, we were given a private tour of Jimmy Carter’s White House–including the Oval Office.
Bleary-eyed and jet-lagged at the time, I recall very little.
Did “Ross Poldark”–veteran of the losing side in the War of Independence–back in enemy territory, cheekily sit–momentarily–in the seat of power behind the desk?
I sincerely hope not!
Fast forward forty two and half years and I was in Washington again–with Meredith this time, to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama as President.
It was a bitter cold day with a brilliant blue sky and in the streets a solid mass of people were proceeding slowly towards the Mall to hear the new President speak.
There was a palpable feeling of hope and expectation in the air–of healing and renewal.
Meredith was elated–she had a ticket for the enclosure in front of the Capitol.
When I dropped her off at the subway at six a.m., she was clutching her purple ticket in her hand.
Four hours later she called me on the cell phone–in tears–to say there was a problem at the purple gate and it wasn’t looking good.
In the end 10,000 people failed to get through the purple gate!
Poor Meredith joined us at our friend’s club close by, to watch it all on television.
She calls it an inexplicable “snafu”–nobody ever found out exactly what went wrong.
A couple of glasses of champagne and the sight of history being made helped to restore her spirits.
A little over two hundred years after Captain Ross Poldark limped home to Cornwall and General George Washington became the first President of the then thirteen United States of America, an African American was entering the White House as President–which black slaves had helped to build.
It was a momentous day.
Fast forward again–Washington to London yesterday–Stansted to Carcassonne this morning and whoosh–we’re home!
President Obama and the First Lady– forced to curtail their Irish visit by the ash cloud–flew into Stansted last night on their first State visit to the UK.
This morning they met with the present incumbent of “Buck House”, with whom–we’re told–they have very friendly relations.
(George III bought Buckingham House in 1761 for his wife Queen Charlotte–before going on to lose “the Colonies”.)
The world goes around…!