Friday, 27 February 2015


There's a diner near us. 

I like it there because they make a perfect strawberry milkshake. So on our trip today into the middle of nowhere, somewhere in central Florida, we saw one. Lunchtime. Would they also make the perfect milkshake?  

Another thing about diners is that you can hone in on someone else's conversation.  Sometimes that's intriguing. 

I've not been formally introduced to Mandy.  Nevertheless I know everything there is to know about her except, it occurs to me now, her shoe size.  Mandy is in her mid-forties. She has brown hair tied back from her face so you can easily see her prominent cheekbones and wide smile. And she is a very large lady. No sharing a seat in a booth for her. And opposite her was Lloyd. 

Mandy has two sons, and one of them is like, gay. She was shocked at first when she found out but then she was like, totally supportive. And she wondered if maybe her dad was like, gay actually. But not like, out.  But he's dead now so she can't like, ask him.  But, moving on .... Oh no, there's more. She's like, okay with it all - so okay that she can't stop talking about it. 

Oh  ... She's worked as like, a salesgirl. But her favourite like, job was working with like, old people. Most of them are like, schizophrenic.  They all like, hear voices in their heads. And then they like, commit suicide. Or have like, heart attacks. And someone she knows has like, MS.  All I know is that Mandy has like, the most irritating voice and a very loud laugh!  

And what about Lloyd?  Well he didn't have a chance to say anything. Maybe he fell asleep. Then, suddenly, she asked him if he knew her name (?). 'Oh Emily or something.'  Another loud guffaw and 'Oh you can call me anything you're comfortable with, sugar.'

I forgot to have a milkshake. 

Monday, 23 February 2015


Having visitors is fun. Having visitors is interesting. Having visitors in our home near all things Disney is exhausting!  Having visitors has its compensations:
Drinking delicious cocktails in a revolving restaurant on the Gulf of Mexico.

Pretending to be an astronaut at Kennedy Space Centre.

Going on safari.

Watching the fireworks at Magic Kingdom

Pondering the meaning of life in Animal Kingdom

Travelling the world in Epcot


Beauty at a shopping mall

Evening walks

All these photos were taken with my iPhone. Travelling light is my new motto. Unfortunately it has also become my husband's. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

Imagine this

Imagine - A warm February evening.  The Boardwalk. With my brother. And our cameras. Laughter. Always laughter. 

He is my best friend - I don't have to imagine that :-)

Thursday, 12 February 2015


Sometimes imagination is a blessing and a life-saver, a comforter in troubled times.  

I've started collecting photos of places to see and things to do with my brother when he is well again, and well enough to travel here, to this place that has so much to see and do.  So occasionally I shall post blogs that are part of this plan.  Then he can see what he has in store. Maybe sometimes when he's feeling really unwell, the pictures will help him to imagine what it will be like when he is here.

He can sleep
He can swim
He can lie back and do nothing


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Floating lemons

Oh dear.  I thought today would be easier.  It wasn't. 
Maybe if I'd followed the instructions I'd have done better - hmm.  (But somehow I doubt it!)
The lemon on the left actually looks angry (so that's an achievement, right?).  Maybe that was my problem.  Maybe I was angry - at my output.  

However, despite the results, I am enjoying this (on some level somewhere).  

And while I was doing this, my dear husband was doing this:

He was happy. 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Out of the comfort zone

My comfort zone is anywhere with a book.  The sofa, at the dining table, bed, in the car, in the kitchen (not to be recommended).  Anywhere.  But I do also like to play with pencils and paints and watercolour paper and glue and colour.  'Play' is the important word here.  Nothing serious that I can judge and find wanting.  Just playing.  

However, last week I signed up and paid for an online drawing and watercolour course.  By this morning I'd put it off for long enough, so I sent my husband out of the house to buy wood for his workshop shelves (clever psychology there), I locked our door so our friends would think no one was in, and I set up all the things I would need.  

Of course it wasn't as easy as that. It involved a lot of too-ing and fro-ing and procrastinating.  Well I had to prepare tonight's dinner in the slow cooker, which then led to a necessity to scrub all the surfaces and clean the sink.  But there came a moment when I couldn't put it off any longer

My first attempt ...
Maybe tomorrow won't feel so scary. 

The road goes ever on. Exploring Florida.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Day trip: version two

I love looking for unusual place names and road names. I suspect it's because I was brought up in a house in a tiny village in Wales on a road called Gwernllwynchwyth Road. I have to look quite hard to find road names that live up to that. 

Imagine my delight when, on today's trip, we passed Lust Road.  I was asleep when we passed Excitement Drive. When we got to Mount Dora I wasn't sure if it was the name of the town or an instruction.  And we drove through a town called Tangerine. Then later in the day we found ourselves in Satsuma. Wonderful. 

Our destination today was to a very small village called Welaka.  We drove through swamp and spring country and along dirt tracks to Lake George and the ferry crossing spot. Very excited to be going on some ancient contraption that carries two cars only. You have to stop your car on the water's edge and flash your headlights to get the attention of the ferry operator on the other side. You pay ten dollars for a five minute heart-stoppingly low in the water trip, essentially towed by a boat. Or so I'm told. Because when we got there, having driven quite a way and then seven miles on a road made of sand, there was a sign with the ferry times. It runs all day, every day, except Tuesdays. 

Today is Tuesday. 

We didn't see bears either. It was very disappointing. 

Day trip: version one

What do you do when, half way through your day trip to another part of the state you don't know, your navigator, an avid map-reader, suddenly feels rather unwell?  When she suddenly really has to lie down?  Now!  

You stop the car as soon as possible. You help her to walk around a little in the fresh air. When this doesn't work and all she can think of is her need to lie down, you clear the back seat. Where did all this stuff suddenly come from?  Two coats (it's a cold sunny day), a camera (unused today, as it turns out), a bag containing a hastily prepared but now half-eaten picnic of grapes, Brie cheese and crisps, bottles of water, a cardigan, a road atlas, a book, a magazine, the unused and uncharged GPS, a pair of shoes, a paper bag. Did they all spring out of the boot (trunk) while you were driving?  On the very day when you need an empty back seat?  Quickly. 

Your navigator lies down. Then you have to contort yourself - and her - to work out how to strap her into a seatbelt. After many variations and much quiet swearing (she really doesn't feel well), you leave her to sort it out herself. You cover her with a blanket (a useful thing left on the back seat) and get back in and drive. Home. 

Echoing in your head, while you're trying to remember what she said about which road where and in what direction, are also her words, "Just in case I fall asleep, or die, follow signs for Mount Dora. You can find your way home from there."

You spend the next two hours driving faster than you find comfortable, worrying about getting lost, and trying not to constantly look behind you to see if your navigator is dead. 

You really need to learn how to use the GPS/Satnav.