I finally found out what the funny stuff hanging from trees in the South is called. It is Spanish moss. It looks lethal but does not in fact harm the trees at all - and does not favor any particular trees. I have forgotten already why it is called Spanish moss - but there is a good reason.
The plantation we visited was called Magnolia. It is where the British landed to force the surrender of Charleston in the revolutionary war - which I realized I know nothing about. More reading required.
In the evening we went to Poogan's Porch where I had - for the first time - fried green tomatoes. Delicious. I have decided that I like the South and it's food.
A surreal experience (for Australian readers only) was that we were in fact sitting on the porch next to the street and cycling along the road came Eddie McGuire. He stopped outside the restaurant because someone wanted to take a photo of him. Some Australians sitting next to us shouted greetings. He responded cheerfully and rode away.
Tonite we are in Asheville NC. We had planned tomorrow to do some exploring and then see the Biltmore estate - and leave Saturday morning. But - a gigantic storm is cutting across the Midwest from Texas to Ohio with snow and ice storms and all kinds of ugly shit. Indianapolis has apparently already been buried under a mountain of snow.
So we are going to check out a day early and get as far as we can towards Indianapolis before we have to stop. Then we will hole up until we can get home safely. All this is tricky because Cate leaves for Brussels on Monday so we have to be home on Sunday at the latest.
We are actually more worried about the cats than anything else. It is below freezing in Indianapolis and while we have set the heating to keep the house at a reasonable temperature if we get a power cut - which is apparently a regular occurrence - they will get bloody cold because we did not think to teach them how to turn the gas fires on.
We expect rain, snow and ice on the way home. It is likely to be - as was our trip to Virginia - a terrifying experience. I may have to play Bluegrass all the way home to calm Cate. She will not let me drive because she says I frighten her. Well she scares the bejesus our of me but I can suck it up.