Thursday, 15 December 2016


Between flights I always forget completely how uncomfortable air travel is. 
At the start of a holiday, it's an inconvenience to be overcome, in order to get to a destination. So no matter how tedious and bone-crunchingly (or more to the point muscle-tighteningly) uncomfortable it is, there's always the holiday to look forward to.  
Coming home is slightly different. Yes, there's home and family and friends and pets to look forward to. But it's a night flight for us these times. And even with extra leg-room, three seats each to ourselves, head-phones, blankets, pillows galore, books, and music, nothing (nothing) can dull the engine noise (it roars, like white noise gone horribly wrong) and screaming babies. 
But oh what memories.

And what to look forward to - home. 

And Christmas. 

I think I can lie down and try and sleep now. Unless the dulcet tones of the captain get through the racket to announce turbulence and seat belts. 
Oh for the 'chance to dream'. 
I slept for one hour. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Packing to leave means looking through some photographs. It does. Really.  With a nice cup of tea.

And some furry-ish friends. 

And some not so furry, or friendly.

What a time we've had. 

Okay. I'm going. One bag packed......

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Frank Lloyd Wright

Much of Florida is only about a metre above sea level.  This means that wherever you go, you're not far from a lake.  In fact I've just googled "how many lakes in Florida?" and the answer is over 30,000.  Thirty thousand!  On 3 million acres of land.  Lake Okeechobee, not far from here, is the second largest lake in the whole of the United States.  So, when we decided to go to Lakeland, a town only thrity minutes drive away, we knew we were in for a treat. 
And yes there were lakes galore.  But first we headed for Florida Southern College.  An amazing place. Many of the buildings were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and some weren't actually built until decades after his death.  But they are all true to his vision and design, well ahead of his time.

This is a wall of one of the chapels he designed for the college. This inner wall echoes the outside walkways that he installed so that students were under cover for much of their day.
And yes, they are quite low.  No basketball players here, I would surmise! 

The window in the smaller chapel is striking,

and let's in a lot more light than the 'windows' in the other.

I found the whole experience really fascinating, and I rather wished I could have been a student here.

But what about the lakes?  Well, I could imagine living in one of the houses around Lake Hollingsworth.  I was so impressed by them that I forgot to take photographs!  It would be very tempting to buy one, if I won the lottery. However, I understand that in order to win, you have to buy a lottery ticket.  Hmm.  

We had lunch on the banks of one of the lakes.  And we had plenty of company.

I must say, they were very polite birds.  No squawking.  No pestering.  No pecking.  Just pathetic, begging looks!  
But we were hungry after our college walk.  They begged in vain. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Disney in the rain

These photographs were all taken with my iPhone this morning after a huge deluge fell on Magic Kingdom, but before I had to run inside a store to hide from the thunder and lightning! It's December 6th. 

It was lovely to look at the world of Disney from a different angle.  Nothing artificial.  All beautiful.  

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Another day. Another destination.

Bok Tower and its gardens are only an hour's drive from home, and are a place of beauty and tranquillity, even when the 60-bell carillon in the tower is being played!  We spent a very peaceful afternoon, after our picnic in the grounds, ambling about from tower to kitchen garden to the boardwalk (over what was supposed to be marsh but what is actually completely dry) to wild garden, in search of the gopher tortoises - no luck.  On our last visit here about two years ago, we found by chance an enormous tortoise lounging in the sunshine on the side of the road!  Today when we were looking for them we found nothing!  But there was plenty to interest us.

And wise words to end our visit.  

On our journey home from the sublime, we met the ridiculous.  Unusually, John was exceeding the speed limit, yet we were still overtaken by this very interesting looking and incredibly well-restored Ford.

John slowed down after that - a form of hanging his head in shame I suspect - and we saw this...

Father Christmas is carrying a fish. Why?  But more importantly, the snowman is carrying a gun.  Clearly this family has missed the point of the Christmas message. 

(The last two photographs are very grainy because they were taken through the window of the moving car, in one instance a very fast moving car!)   Thanksgiving is over.  It's time for Christmas, decorations are going up everywhere, and shopping is king.  Barnes and Noble here we come.  

Friday, 25 November 2016

Sleepless nights

Despite the fact that I am on holiday, in the sunshine, with places to visit, with Disney things to do, life is very stressful, and I would prefer to be back in the UK.  There is a great deal to worry about, and I'm a worrier when there is nothing to worry about so .... 
The result is that sleep eludes me for long swathes of time, so I look at photographs. This is a random selection from the past few days.

This tiger looks so peaceful, hiding amongst the leaves.  Actually, just after this was taken, he turned and glared, then he opened his enormous mouth and snarled in a very ugly aggressive way.  You can't be too careful with tigers.  Beauty, and the beast within. 

The complete opposite is Lewis, my very well-travelled bear.  He never snarls or growls.  And he is a little bit of comfort right now.

When you want to fly home and the person you want to fly home to insists that you stay where you are and remain on holiday, you take comfort where you can...

Knitting maybe. But because you can't concentrate properly, you make mistakes.  After unraveling an incipient cardigan four times because of one tiny counting mistake three or four rows back, d'you know what you do?  You throw in the towel.  You give up.  You look wistfully at the rather nice wool, feel a bit guilty that you won't complete your knitting club challenge, and then you go back to the book you're reading. 

You go for a walk or two.

You find things on the Internet.

You write a random blog.  And when you see that it's almost dawn, you try and sleep for a couple of hours.