Friday, 6 March 2015

An aside....


Something which was sent to me today and describes to the letter what I perpetually suffer from.  I so wish I didn't.  A more precise version of 'count your blessings' and other homilies.  Trouble with me is I know how lucky I am and can easily begin the long list of good stuff in my life, BUT it will always be rapidly squished by the word 'but'..........

I reckon people are born with their happiness quotient built in and whatever happens to them in life doesn't change it.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

February 2015 - next visitors

OK, you have had a bit of a breather - here comes February...

Having arrived on the last day of January, nice and tidily for February, our friends P and S started as they meant to go on with a trip to Bonefish for lunch following the usual Sunday concert in the park.

They have been here enough years now to just live here like we do.  They are waaay past the tourist/holidaymaker stage so we don't actively search out anything thrilling to do or places to go.  We just puddle along day on day.

We were speedily into the regular visits to shops and restaurants having covered Bealls on day two and Miromar Outlets on day three.  Miromar worked for me as I found comfortable shoes - yes, that is a thing worth noting - emphasis on comfortable.  Also, not being a shopper I came across our two other halves having a sit down and coffee outside Le Macaron - what could be better - chairs, sunshine and a couple of macarons.....nom, nom, nom.

Image result for le macaron miromar outlets images

We tickety-pooed along in this way until the 15th when we left on a trip to Bimini.

This was a bit of an odd experience for me.  On the one hand it was upsetting to see what a 750 acre resort can do to an idyllic Bahamian island but this was utterly hypocritical because if that hadn't been happening I would never have seen it.  On balance I am really glad we went and I managed to get the lingering flavour of what must have been a lovely island.

We crossed from Miami in 'the fastest ferry' in America.  It did take three hours to do a two hour crossing as it was totally centered around the on-board Casino - more time at sea - more money spent.
Our ferry

You could opt to stay aboard for the three nights or pay extra and stay in the resort.  We chose to stay in the resort.  To some extent it is still under construction with the Hilton hotel being built, but there was enough there to get the 'flavour' of it.  I am sure it will be very popular with zillions of people  (each to their own) but for me it smacked of a potential Club 18-30/Casino resort and I can't imagine how hugely crowded the pool areas and lovely little beaches will be when it is in full swing.

We were so lucky to have the beach entirely to ourselves for the first couple of hours in the morning. Sheer bliss.  The whole water line was demarcated with washed up conch shells and the sea truly turquoise and crystal clear.

Cliche but lovely

Hiring a golf buggy rather than a car as a mode of transport was certainly different.  We managed to cover the North island from top to tail.....

That's me in 414
stopped by the famous Big Game club for a drink and watched some bull sharks swim by...

lovely colours - Big Game Club

followed by a trip round the museum....  now that was quirky to say the least.

The museum

On the 18th we were back to reality in Naples but not before a mini drama at sea. We spent an extra two hours on board while our captain had four goes at berthing the ship in Miami.  Eventually, on attempt five, we were pushed in by tug.  So much for high speed.

Clearly we hadn't had enough of boats as a week later and we were on another one.  We hired a boat for half a day to go out to lunch.  You always feel like the real thing when you dock and ask someone leaving the restaurant the name of the place and she says she has no idea.  It turned out to be Pelican Bend at the Isles of Capri.  Ten Thousand Islands lives up to its name when you are on the water.

our boat front left and our eatery under the chickee

A couple of days later and it was the end of the month and time for our friends to leave for their last few days R&R in Orlando before flying home.

I thought I might leave you with a couple of images captured by Ken this month just to prove it's not all heaven out here.

Incy Wincy 
This little lime green gem travelled around with us on the boot of the car for a couple of days.  I am just praying it didn't get inside.

the hungry caterpillar

It does look like our huge hawk-moth that we have in our front garden in the UK but I admit this is a bit bigger.... presumably eats whole trees rather than leaves.

Hey ho, that's February done and dusted.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

January 2015 - say hello to a very new Year

Well flip me... when I came to write up February's doings I discovered that January hadn't happened.  This is a testament to two very busy/distracted months. So - here I am on March 1st patching together January's memories.

New Year's Day and we were off on our regular jaunt for part deux of our winter stay in Naples.

We have taken to flying to Orlando for the last couple of years as it is a direct flight - cutting out the boring flight change en route to Fort Myers and also eliminating the risk of getting stuck somewhere in the Northern USA due to bad weather.  Mind you this can be interesting as we have overnighted in 'hubs' such as Chicago and thereby discovered places we'd like to see.  The downside is that generally you are only equipped to travel from a relatively moderate English  winter to a hot destination so are not kitted out for having your head blown off at sub-zero temperatures in Philly or Chicago etc.  The alternative of flying via Atlanta avoids this but limits choice of cost/airline/dates etc.

So, yet again, we were flying Premium economy back to Orlando and overnighting there.  This time, it turned out to be in a not-great motel.  To add insult to injury or, in this case, injury to insult our room was opposite the lift and next to the laundry!  You can imagine how much sleep I got and how sweet my temperament was for the four hour drive back to my gilded cage the next day.  Nothing like starting off as you mean to go on.

We had a few days to ourselves to do movies (The Imitation Game - good one) and shops and restaurants and get ready for the arrival of my son and his family.  My grand-daughters are four and a year old so it was a challenge to accommodate them all but it worked out OK.  

They were taking a fifteen day vacation but spent the first couple of days in Orlando to go to Disney. 

 By the time they got to us they were ready for some feet up time.  Over the next twelve days Ken and I got to see a whole different aspect of Naples from the now familiar play areas in Cambier Park to a terrific Children's museum. 

Because they had been a couple of times before it was easy for them to get around in their own car so we did some things with them but not everything.  It also gave them a chance to spend some time with one child at a time and a couple of times we had both of the girls so they could get some time on their own.

Golisano Children's Museum was decidedly the best I have ever been in but as it has been a while since I did the one in Halifax there may well be great ones everywhere.  We need to borrow a child so we have an excuse to go back as there was a ton of stuff I want to spend time with.

 We did all the expected stuff like shops and beaches.

We had bought L a bike so she got to ride that around the community and she played tennis with Pop.  She turned out to be a star player hitting four out of five with a full size racquet.  Lots more park and pool and Ken and I took L to see 'Paddington'.  Now that was an odd film - not sure who it was pitched at.

Needless to say, being us, much of our time was spent eating and we finished our break together at what as become the traditional last restaurant before they leave - Buca di Beppo...

Well, that would have been the last photo in this post except we had to take them to Regina's for a final ice cream.  M had no trouble tackling her first one!

We had breakfast with them the next day in Cracker Barrel and they left us for their overnighter in Orlando and trip home.

The day they left our next guests arrived in Orlando.  We had a week to do a Widow Twanky's worth of laundry and restructure the guest room for two adults who arrived on the 31st...... and so January had disappeared.