Thursday, 21 March 2013

February yacking

Here comes that not unusual apology for being disgracefully late with this post.  This time I really do have a good excuse - no the dog didn't eat my first draft - we have just had an eight week block of visitors staying with us.  My personal 'playtime' gets severely curtailed.  

There is a belief that oldies revert to a second childhood - we sort of do.... now I no longer have to go to school or work each day, which we get stuck with from age five, I am at last free to do what I like.  I choose playing over chores any time.  My playing over here in Naples consists mainly of writing and researching stuff I am interested in.  I live on the computer.  Clearly this isn't conducive to being sociable.

Well, here I am at last, quietly returned to my machine for a few days before we fly home to the UK and I have a couple of hours before lunch to crack on with recording my life in February.

Smack bang on the 1st our good friends P & S arrived from a week in Orlando and a week in Fort Lauderdale (also taking in Key West).  It seemed odd having them as distant neighbours in Florida before arriving at our place.  

Sunday concert in Cambier
We soon settled down into the normal living routines of four snow birds in Naples.  I am ashamed to say none of us even suggested a trip to the beach during their whole stay.  They, like us, now regard Naples as a winter home, not a holiday place.

Most of our time was filled with the normal stuff of shops, movies, concerts, library events, meals out.  Nothing especially remarkable or noteworthy.

The biggest saga which ran throughout their stay was the recurring visit of the dishwasher repair man who solved nothing.  We were eventually left with a machine that didn't work at all for the whole of our next set of visitors stay.  Washing up is an anathema to us after all these years, never mind washing up for five people!

In the middle of their stay Ken and I went off up to Orlando for the weekend to visit the Orlando Miniatures Festival.  This is the second Molly Cromwell show we get to do while we are here.  Go read about it in Bentleys if you want to know how that weekend went. 

As always we managed to stop at Smokin' Joes for the ritual ice cream.  This time we decided to have a go at the food as well.  Not the best decision we ever made.  Each of our meals would have served four and would probably be loved by the folk it is aimed at - an English palette was certainly struggling with hunks of (undercooked???) pork, tinned (!) potatoes and 'slaw, all served in a huge polystyrene box accompanied by plastic cutlery.  Mmmmmm!

Monday arrived and we were back into the usual swing of things.  This was our third week and we decided to go for the meal and movie treat at Silverspot.  It is a really good deal - lovely leather-seated movie house and a 'fine dining' meal experience all for $36 each.  The movies themselves cost (old folk rate!) $12.50.  You get to save more if you are young!

Sebring Diner on our way up to Orlando
On the 23rd we went up to Orlando for the week, courtesy of P & S.  We stayed in a terrific resort - Hilton Grand Vacation at Sea World.

First thing I did was my last Coldwater Creek clothes shopping.  It covers me for most of the year on both sides of the pond.  I don't like clothes shopping any more so it is nice to get it done and dusted in one place a couple of times a year.  Obviously you get stuck now and then for something but that is less of a chore than endlessly trawling for stuff if clothes trawling isn't something you enjoy.  Between M & S and Coldwater Creek I manage most things.

Our third movie of the month, which we saw while we were in Orlando, was a stand-out one for me - a rom-com but with an edge - 'Silver Lining Playlist'.  Check it out if you haven't seen it.  I think our others for the month were Argo (interesting) Quartet (predictable) and Skyfall (made for the real James Bond geeks)

Our meals out got to be quite funny as we ended up going back to the same place every day.  P & S had found a place called the Wood Grill Buffet.  The name is totally misleading - nothing to do with a wood grill as far as I could see, but 'buffet' most certainly!  It had just about every meal you could think of... far, far too many for me to list.  My favourites were sweet and sour chicken, swiss steak and the very best was a slow cooked beef with carrots and potatoes and onions all in the jus - no messing around with it - just basic meat and veg.  The chocolate (with nice chocolate!!) dipped strawberries and pineapple and marshmallows weren't too shabby either.

On our way back from the shops in Naples
So the month came to an end in Orlando , in the sunshine,  with us all stuffed to the gills daily and shopped out.  Not a bad life really!

As a post script I have to share this month's best signs.  Firstly, we have an incredible amount of churches in Naples.  I was told that there are forty-one of them on just one road that we use each day - Davis Blvd.  You can imagine that they must struggle to come up with original names - clearly 'St Mary's' times twenty is not going to hack it.

So, here's a sample.....

The Hispanic Church of God -  church of who else? and can you only go if you are Hispanic?
Peaceful Believers Church - so I should hope on both those counts.  I am now looking out for the Vengeful Atheist Church (probably more to my liking?)

Whilst on the topic of notices - I loved this one in a parking lot of a strip mall.  Imagine a shop with a wide pavement (side-walk for US  readers - pavement for them means road) and a (parking) road outside it - enough to park a row of vehicles with a huge backing out gap in between them and the side-walk.  When you get in your car ready to reverse, in front of your windscreen, is a sign which reads:

Caution when backing up building behind you

You would have to put the car in reverse and give it everything you'd got to hit the building.  Maybe it was a warning that the building might get you.  There is much to be feared in the New World!

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