8 weeks left ,7,6.....

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Nov 25, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Last 8 weeks in Florida…..7 ,6 …..

After 4 days of torrential rain , we have finally woken to a clear blue sky this morning , so after the ‘walk the dogs’ , G & me set off on our bikes for a 30 minute ride. Now home, recovering out of the heat in the cool of the air conditioning. Driving out from our road yesterday , the rainwater covering the road, swelled right up onto the bonnet of the car. There is no drainage out in our part of the countryside  and , the surplus flooding just has to drain away naturally into the scrub and trees , or be soaked up by the hot sun when it finally appears. Everyone has had enough of the wet weather.

Halloween is right at the top of shoppers list here and the shops are full of wonderful creations to wear on ‘the night’, and items to dress your house up with . Connie has a VERY large witch , with her cauldron smoking, standing in her entryway…. (“boy it’s hot in here “, she says as you pass).
A local shop ROSS was offering a sell out of costumes , and Todd had arrived over to show us his ‘Darthvada ‘costume he had bought  the night before. We decided we  would get in the mood too, as Barb  is all costumed ‘ready’ as well . Garry found a “demons of metal” costume and I have a “sultry voluptuous sorceress“ costume., with a black/white wig and hood over my head..
We dressed our selves up as a test run , and were just heading across to show the family when Bulldog (Rugby ) spotted us - his heckles rose and he looked in total shock at the sight of G & me (in costume), spun around in a circle not recognizing us, and fell straight into the pool….. (great guard dog!!) Oh , one of those moments when a video camera would have been  wonderful.

Venice is our favorite village only 15 minutes North from here and home to more outdoor fountains than most cities. Ornate statues surround some ,while other fountains light up the night.. Children run through the one in central village park, giving them a cool down from the hot sun , while the parents sit under the  oaks & Canary Island date Palms that are prominent features of this 52 acre open space.  Venice is known for its Italian architectural style and grace and  creates an  Island, separated from the mainland by a man made canal built in the 1960’s., known as the Intercoastal waterway ,connecting Venice to Sarasota by ocean water. The 1960’s also saw the arrival of the famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum Circus.. The circus animals were bought by train to winter over in Venice.
There are fountains also in many of the public park lakes and entrances to the many gated communities which Venice is known for . The main street is lined with Canary Island date Palms, towering over the individually owned  shops facing out to a large park and Oak trees  dripping with Spanish moss, with many outdoor colourful sculptures of  oversized Turtles done by local artists, standing on each street corner.
We drove up there for a day , parked up at Barbs condo on the beach, and walked into the village. Stately Oak trees  offering dappled shade from the hot sun while we admired the lovely old Spanish looking homes from the slower pace of walking. Stopped at Barbs favourite little café for a cold tea and snack, before walking back for a cool swim in her pool complex. The beach across the road from Barb & Kens condo is white sand and manned by lifeguards 365 days a year. The present water temp is 27c degrees and always lined with sun worshippers on their sun chairs ,turned to catch every bit of the sunshine; some with their white bodies , others looking like tanned leather . Their conversations  over heard can be in any language , with a large majority being German tourists -  many own condos in Venice, arriving here like the Snowbirds from Canada for the lovely Florida winter..

Best laid plans - sometimes miss their mark. G & me were to have looked after the children  while Todd & Talley  had a weekend away together in Orlando … Talley attending  Physical therapy Lectures, however this weather has put Todd behind in his outdoor business and messed up their plans. G & me did however carry on with taking the children to their swim meet in Punta Gorda Saturday, while Todd worked another day to catch up. An early start for us , as they had to be there for an 8am warmup!!!!.
‘City of tents’ around the pool , to try and keep the sun off the competitors for the day . We did have our outdoor chairs and G strapped our beach umbrella to my chair, to offer a little shade. Again the event commenced with the American national anthem, and spectators and competitors all stood tall, turned to the large American flag fluttering over the event and listened , with their hand on their hearts while the music played out loudly over the event.  - it always is a pleasure to be a part of that ceremony. Anyway the 3 children each competed in freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke events….their coach extremely pleased as they each broke their personal bests .. Isabella did win her breastroke event , and had placings in each event she entered …. now she has a ribbon to show off with the other 2 from their 5 k run placings a couple of weeks ago. Again the conversations going around us from supporting parents were generally NON American …..An amazing melting pot of nations.

Another one of those moments in life ..
I was biking Sunday morning with Sophia & Couper. While riding along single file (main road and being particularly careful) ..Couper asks me “why are you not riding behind me?“ .I replied “I am just riding to keep you safe“. 
He replied “ Nan”  , I‘d put my life on the line for you , anyday!!!”… gee , what words from a 7 year old.

The weather pattern has changed and the days are now clear , settled and the humidity has gone. Garry & Raymond are continuing their golf days , on their own with Ken having gone back to Kentucky, and they managed to get a full 18 holes in today on a cart.. The golf here is extremely affordable …ie $15 with a cart and play as long as you like on the 27 hole course. Guess that will change next month, as we see the ‘snowbirds’ are arriving already.

A busy weekend , with Todd turning 40 and Talley wanting to celebrate by throwing a party in his honour.. About 30 people attended and we all enjoyed a lovely balmy evening, with lots of mingling and good food ; with dancing  to the disco and the children , swimming in the pool with the lights bobbing about in the dark. .We are very thankfull to be able to be part of the life our family have here in Florida.
Sunday …….and Garry has been talking about buying a set of golf ‘woods’ to bring home with him. So today it was back to Sarasota and visit the golf shop (again) at the Red Barn. On the way we stopped  to spend an hour at a Classic car event , that had all the streets closed off in Venice  .The vehicles were all on display by their proud owners with over 200 on display . In the lineup on the streets were Camaros, Chevs , Monaros, Thunderbirds, Mustangs (muscle cars mainly)….many of them convertibles dating back to the 50’s, and a few ‘Al Capone’ style vehicles from the 1940’s.. A glorious sunny morning, with all various coloured paintworks shining brightly in the hot sun.

The Red Barn in Sarasota (have mentioned this in a previous visit with Erin & David) is home to hundreds of  stall holders. Some inside in the cool of the air conditioning, with many outside  in the heat…..Lunchtime and we enjoyed a Cuban sandwich while listening to a Johnny Cash ‘sound alike’ entertaining the visitors . Some people take their pets too, and there beside us perched on his owners shoulder was a beautiful very large Macaw . A very brightly  coloured parrot, with a  golden underbelly, a  LONG brilliant blue tail trailing down his owners back and a bright green and black head. He enjoyed the music too and shared his owners icecream.. Garry did purchase his 3 Taylormade golf woods.

Having Barb in Venice is a bonus this year ….this week she and Garry have done cobbling for Connie & Raymond and yesterday while G & Raymond played golf, Barb and I walked the Venice beach to the harbour entrance and Pier to a little waterside café for a light lunch. Able to sit oceanside under the trees munching our lunch , while watching the many surfers taking advantage of the waves created by the latest ‘front’ to go up through the Mexican gulf ….not a wet suit in sight - just riding the waves in their shorts and T shirts. G , at the end of the day, was SOOOO happy with his new clubs, and they are going back to NZ with him……watch out Derek and Ross!!!!!
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Lynda on

Hi Guys.....really looking forward to having you 'home'......lots to talk about.


garrynjan on

sounds interesting .........HMMMM????

Barbara on

Enjoyed your plog even if I had already been part of it and heard the stories....
Enjoy your day on the golf course.

glenna gray on

Love the great pictures. It is hard to believe that your holiday is almost over. Time does fly when you are having fun. Have a safe journey home and ... please, keep in touch!

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