I'm absolutely cream-crackered but sweetly content. Gardeners out there will recognise the feeling. I've just spent most of the day in the garden beginning the clearing up after six months abandonment. It is always a cross between the Secret Garden and Miss Haversham's when we get back but at least when you do it there is a huge payback. It was so hot today - actually summer temperatures (around 18C) so absolutely no excuse not to get on with it.
Had we not had six breaks in our cold water pipes and a broken boiler thanks to the -17C experienced in Bury (the repairs were finished the day we were flying home!), I would have thought you lot were telling porky pies. Clearing the veggie beds today I dug up proper radishes; only the slug damage prevented them from going on our salad. There were half a dozen potatoes all sprouting into life and showing above the soil and the land cress that I’d left to rot down over the winter to improve the soil was eighteen inches high and in flower. We have rhubarb almost ready to pull and so far I have only one dead plant to report. This is an incredible result following the winter the
had again this year. UK
Sitting down to do this at last I realise I am missing three months - nothing new there then. Having had a slightly discontented time in
(just me, not Ken) it actually feels more like I have actually lost six months. Naples
Just looking at my collection of disconnected reminder-words on scraps of paper not a lot springs to mind: I suspect that won’t stop me.
... so back to January........
On the 7th we took off for
Daytona Beach for an overnighter to do a Dollhouse Fair in the following day. Note the American/English difference – dollhouse in Port Orange America, doll’s house in the . UK
The journey from
Naples to Daytona along the back roads was really interesting as we got to see the true heart of which seems to be hidden by the beaches, Disney and general tourist life of the State. Florida
The heartland was actually populated first, mostly by ranchers and quite a lot of those beginnings remain. I wonder if, like me, you hear ranch and think ‘big farm’. It is difficult to imagine the size of some of these properties. One of the ones to recently sell out in various ways was The Babcock Ranch. This was 100,000 acres and valued in 2004 at $460,000,000. Yes, that's millions; I didn't make a mistake with the zeros.
As always with this sort of thing the owners might be as rich as Croesus but the workers were always dirt-poor and seemingly still are. The shacks and shanties which you see along the route take some believing in this day and age. Think ‘Winter’s Bone’ – a movie which if you haven’t seen you must try to get on DVD. I suspect many of the original crackers* have given way to a new immigrant population. This is visible as you drive through the very small towns. Almost all of them are Spanish in language and content. Many ranches now, of course, have become orange groves. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
The sort of endemic poverty is underlined by the huge billboard advertising along the route such as one declaring 'medical - no insurance? no problem' and one that we did find astounding 'Don't abandon your baby'.
I seemed to have made a note of loads of signs that simply made me smile such as the Yacht Club - hundreds of miles inland in
- that proudly stated its name as - The Red Neck Yacht Club. Arcadia
Then there was the demolition company called Balls Wreckers, and the Baitesville Casket Company had me a tad worried as clearly Norman is alive and well and running exactly the right business in Florida.
Ken, of course managed to find a selection of fifteen hand-dipped ice creams en route, way out in the back of beyond at a glorified truck stop with a couple of huge smokers for ribs. We managed to get to that place three times!