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.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The other side

Back in the Florida sunshine, I've been reviewing our road trip, looking at the photographs that wouldn't normally warrant a second look.  
Firstly, John back home in our little red house and clearly exhausted (taken by me, also exhausted, lying on the other sofa).

Then, some views of the road.

And the side of the road.

And random little towns.

And churches.  If I'd just taken pictures of churches, they'd fill a book. Sometimes four, five, six, churches in a row.

And other things that caught my eye.

Enough said. 

Friday, 18 November 2016


New Orleans

The excitement was palpable!  This is a childhood dream come true.  ON the Mississippi River. An evening cruise with jazz and food. And cocktails. Only one cocktail, so the blurriness of this picture has nothing to do with alcohol  and all to do with a moving boat and an iPhone!  Actually the blurriness rather enhances the whole thing, I think.  I was so excited I was almost shaking! 

And the city of New Orleans?  I loved it. The streetcars.  The music.  The food (jambalaya). The whole ambience was very exciting.  And we had a delicious ice cream too!  
 I want to return.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Natchez Trace Parkway

This turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. 440 miles of beautiful scenery.  We found the Fall in full glory.

We found history.  The trace is an ancient route use by the Indians and by traders. Now it's a narrow almost deserted (when we were here anyway) highway, immaculately kept and utterly beautiful.  And sometimes you can walk the original path.
Some of the path is part of the Cherokee Trail of Tears.  And along the way there are burial mounds tracing the paths of the Indian tribes.  

These gravestones mark where thirteen unidentified Confederate soldiers were buried, directly along the path, so that no one would ever forget them.  It was a sad place, not only because of what it was but also because of the faith people have that things won't change.  Now, you have to make a special effort to go and see these gravestones.  No one routinely passes by here anymore.  The road is some way away.  

For me, one of the loveliest places along the Trace was Mount Locust, a house not a mountain!  It was built in the 1780s as a home and then as an Inn along the trail.  It was a very basic house, completely isolated, surrounded by huge oak trees and farmland.  It is one of the most welcoming places I have ever been.  

John too was taken with the calm and welcome it seemed to give.  It's odd really, because this was in effect a small plantation.  They had slaves, and there was a beautiful area that was the burial site for the few slaves they had.  So you'd think it wouldn't be the comfortable place that it is (to me, anyway).  
And so, moving from the history of the Native Americans to the history of slavery in the south, we got to the end of the Parkway.

I'd like to do it again and next time take longer.  I don't suppose we shall.