I really did not feel like going out for my jog this morning. All the excuses were there but I eventually persuaded myself that it would do me good to shake off the lethargy from eating too much yesterday. I paced my usual route and a story unfolded in front of my eyes. Rubbish was spilt on the right hand side of the road, all the wheelie bins were out for dustbin day and a scavenger must have knocked one over. Next up, on the left, Turkey Vultures were pulling a grey fox apart. A truly disgusting site but that fox must have been ransacking the bins earlier. As I was getting over those hideous vultures I saw another fox on the left, it calmly crossed the road ahead of me and I assumed it was looking for a sadly departed family member. As I got closer I realised it wasn't a fox at all but a large cat. It looked enormous for a domestic cat so I looked for it's collar but it didn't have one, it must have been a wild one. Short stubby tail, pointy ears and it calmly sauntered into the bushes just as I managed to switch my camera on. I looked up this feline on my return and it was a bobcat. A reward for going out and certainly a tonic after witnessing the breakfast bunch previously.
Someone has put fast forward on December and having seemed so far away for so long, Christmas is finally here. The Welton family arrived from the UK this week to join us in their villa and they bought cold weather with them. There was even a frost on the ground this morning but as it's Florida the temperature is rapidly rising and we're now enjoying a beautiful sunny day.
Last weekend we had a mini break with Patty and Jim in Ruskin, They didn't consider 60 miles to be very far away and came and collected us in the car. We last saw them during 2008, the RV disaster year. Jim had said they didn't get up to much but we kept very busy with a different social gathering every day and a great afternoon out in their boat along the Little Manatee River.
I saw a blood transfusion service bus last week and completely uninfluenced by the offer of free cinema tickets I decided to donate a drop of my highly sought after O negative blood. I was turned down and instead received a T shirt as a consolation prize. I posted this turn of events on Facebook and a school friend commented that this was because us Brits are considered to be a high risk as potential carriers of BSE. As she has lived in Colorado for the past 9 years I view this as sound information. I had naturally assumed that they couldn't cope with my fine blue blood, but no, bovine rather than blue. Typical.
Wishing you a very Happy Christmas wherever you are.
Lots of Love Ali and Mike xxx
It's boiling hot here!
I've just seen the 'Beast from the East' headline for the UK weather forecast on Sky News and we're feeling smug with our decision to have a winter off, away from the motor home. We struggled enough with the cold last year in Greece and Turkey, so the Floridian climate is providing us with a winter duvet.
As we had time on our side we took a transatlantic cruise to America. 13 nights from Barcelona with stops in Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and Tenerife. The first crossing for the brand new 5 1/2 star Celebrity Reflection. It is a beautiful ship, loaded with all the latest technology. The food, however was deemed a bit too 'Arty farty' by my picky husband. That wasn't their fault, hearty stews with loads of sauce would never have been high on the agenda for the chefs, passengers or crew. As you can imagine Mike wasn't left to starve as there was always plenty of choice. Diners were well behaved around the buffet and we didn't see the stereotypical 'plate piled high syndrome' featured on fly on the wall documentaries. I marvelled at a woman who was asked to walk to the other side of the counter for the patisserie selection because the server was trying to clean the area. A distance of under 60 feet must have pushed up her stress levels beyond tolerable as she actually stamped her foot and said she couldn't walk that far!
Security were called one day over an incident involving Germans and sunbeds so I guess we could have been next to any pool in the world based on that holiday observation. Fortunately no-one noticed the day I found Mike lying on his sunbed, showing off his natty 'Y' fronts when he thought he'd already changed into his Speedos. Very few men can get away with wearing Speedos, but even fewer can show off their shreddies for the benefit of cruise companions. The excitement could have been too much and security may have been forced to throw him overboard.
The itinerary promised 6 days at sea to cross the Atlantic Ocean but this was increased to 9 and the stop in Tenerife was cancelled because there was some problem with one of the engines, preventing the ship from reaching full speed. I must confess that I worried about this. The anniversary year of the sinking of the Titanic and we were making the crossing, away from icebergs but were we risking our lives? Would the headlines wonder what we were thinking? Was the crossing being made in view of commercial pressures and passenger safety on the back burner? Well, of course not. They'd fixed the engine before we left the Mediterranean and the rumours were building up amongst us passengers.
So what do you do with 9 days at sea? Not a lot. Read, sleep, eat, watch TV, sunbathe, go to the theatre, work out in the gym, people watch and make up gossip to scare other passengers. It was relaxing but a tad too long without stepping on dry land.
I love travel, any type. There is always a buzz in finding & exploring a place for the first time, meeting and making new friends and if you return things are never quite the same.
Going away? Travel essentials from across Amazon
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