California is not new to me. In fact, it is a very beautiful part of the way I grew up. Thanks to a chance meeting of like-minded people on a train to Florence, almost thirty years ago, we have friends as good as family in the Golden State. Many of my childhood summers were spent road-tripping around and falling deeply in love with the wonderful country, so this summer was all about finding my California again and showing it to my boy. The warmth of the ground, the cool dampness of the pacific breeze, the smell of warm pine needles and that fragrant sweetness, which I can't quite put my finger on, the taste of cinnamon; all making me feel at home in my memories. This is Santa Cruz: home of the Beach Boardwalk, where you can half imagine you're a giggly girl of the 1950s, wearing a starched swing dress and peering nonchalantly at your strapping young date from behind a puff of candyfloss. Here we did things properly. We stayed at a Super 8 motel, rode the 1925 rollercoaster, strolled on the beach, dipped our toes in the pacific, caught the old train up to the redwoods, went to the bowling alley, saw Berlin performing 'Take my Breath Away', walked along the coast to Natural Bridges, ate corndogs and churros and chilled out with a coffee and a book at Mr Toot's Coffee House in colourful Capitola. Definitely a place to lose yourself in imagination, which I feel we did to great effect.