Friday, 16 June 2017

Love a discount......


Hubby and I drove over (he's just over an hour away) to take bilA to lunch as he has had a recent birthday.

Whenever I eat out I first check if where we are eating is included in our AA membership discount voucher which gives us 20% off and as bilA's local favourite is the Harvester it was included yaaay!

The day before in my emails I received another Harvester voucher that was a £10 off if you spend £30......even better!

It's not that we can't afford full price thankfully, or that we specifically eat in only the places that offer us incentives, it's just if they want to offer I'm more than happy to accept lol.

When we arrived at the restaurant we parked and all commented on the new and improved exterior, then through the doors to discover the interior had been given the full refurb treatment. We were greated by a very happy welcoming waitress who instantly told us today was 50% off as it was the first day to open after its makeover!

The food tasted even nicer knowing we had a super duper discount 😃😆😉
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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Theatre: Our Man in Havana......



Presented by Creative Cow 
By Graham Greene
Adapted by Clive Francis

“You should dream more, Mr. Wormold. Reality in our century is not something to be faced.” 
Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana

Cuba 1958. Meet Jim Wormold – a hapless vacuum cleaner salesman who gets sucked in to a dirty world of espionage and double agents when the chance of helping out MI6 with a job or two proves too good an offer to resist. And, quite frankly, he could do with the cash to pay for his teenage daughter’s ever increasing lifestyle. 

Thrillingly adapted for the stage by Clive Francis, this uproarious farce is filleted to perfection from Graham Greene’s hilarious, subversive and ever popular novel.

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Hmmmm well the positives were four actors who absolutely worked their socks off and portrayed so many different characters amongst them. 

The premise of the story could have been hilarious but the execution was actually boring. The scenes were far too short and because they didn't achieve anything in the rushed and confused dialogue the actors had to supplement with words to the audience to tell us what's going on. And  for scene changes the constant movement of a table/desk and chairs was distracting. 

Billed as a farce but no laugh out loud moments and all played at the same manic pace so no highs or lows. A missed opportunity as it could have been really good. 
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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Knitting......


Finished knitting this tunic last night, then today was so lovely and sunny and warm that I couldn't keep it on beyond lunch time 😂😎😅


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Diss Organ Festival.......


Sunday morning was a damp grey day and Hubby was out for the day meeting friends. He had been out all day Saturday doing his charity work too so when the weather brightened up and Daughter mentioned on Facebook that she was going out I invited myself along.

Daughter, O and I went to Diss in Norfolk for this...

There were an amazing collection of organs of all shapes and sizes, playing all varieties of music. They were mostly surrounding a large park land field but carried on through the high street too.

I can't take any credit for these photos as Daughter took them all and I've stolen them.

It was as much fun seeing the workings round the backs as it was admiring the pretty painted fronts. This mechanical one had to be continuously turned by hand.

As we walked passed the beautiful lake we bumped into Daughter's friends and stopped for a brief chat till a bored O dragged us away.


We called into St Marys church to have a look around and admired their organ pipes too. 

Lunch was in a Costa, O's choice as he knows what he likes in there. 

Then we walked on to the museum. A lovely small space that was crammed full of interesting things. Hands-on curios to investigate and the elderly volunteer on the desk came over especially to make sure O knew it was ok to touch and eagerly encouraged him. 

After walking back towards the lake and stopping in the queue for icecreams we bumped into other friends I knew and O enjoyed saying hello to their dogs. 

The Loades family, who are very well known locally, have done an amazing clean up job on their heritage model fairground which is now fully working and was here on show for the first time since the 80's. The smaller chap in the photo is about forth generation "fairground Loades" (I think) and so eager to follow us in to explain all the exhibits to us. 

And although there were very few fairground type games O still managed to ring the bell twice on this one to win himself a prize. 

A lovely day out :-)
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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Theatre: Waiting for God.......





Jeffrey Holland and Nichola McAuliffe star in this premiere stage production of the BAFTA Best Comedy Series nominated Waiting For God, which delighted TV audiences across several BBC series in the 1990s. This all-new script is penned by the sitcom's creator Michael Aitkens.

All the favourite characters from the original series are reimagined by the cast of nine for 2017, facing the challenges that come with growing old disgracefully in the era of the silver surfer. At Bayview Retirement Village, battle-axe extraordinaire Diana Trent conspires with new resident Tom Ballard to give the conniving manager his comeuppance through a hilarious conspiracy with unexpectedly heart-warming results.
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Hilariously funny and I'd highly recommend it
😂😂😂

Theatre: The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart........


Venture across the wintry Scottish Borders for Eastern Angles’s next spring tour show – The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart by David Greig.
Follow Prudencia – an academic on her way to attend a conference in Kelso. As snow starts to fall, she begins a mystical adventure of self-discovery accompanied by plenty of folky musical moments. The strange and beautiful Scottish tale is told by four mischievous storytellers. Sometimes they speak in boombastic rhyming verse, sometimes through beguiling traditional folk songs, which will set your toes tapping and your heart racing!
Originally produced by National Theatre of Scotland in 2011, Eastern Angles' production will tour across the East from 15th March starting at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket.

Part live folk-gig, part folk tale, part barn-storming comedy - David Greig’s modern play will thrill and haunt in equal measure.
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"Strange" definitely,  "beautiful" hmm not that I could see.

Really not sure what to say about this one which I saw with Daughter and R. My first comment as we left the lovely small Sir John Mills Theatre was "Well they all worked really hard, didn't they?" Daughter laughed saying "I just knew you'd say that". Well I do like to start with a positive lol.

Just four performers and their musicianship and voices were really good. The Scottish folk singing was entertaining but the actual story was weird and got quite surreal in places. There were some clever uses of the limited space and the rhyming word play was quite funny in a few places, but for a script that was so weird it went on far too long.
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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Hope you don't mind.......


This is one of those times when I don't really need to write down all about today's lovely walk through a park I've never been to before, or say about Daughter's early message invite to join her and O on this lovely sunny day. "I'll come get you, pack yourself some lunch, we are meeting our friend there" she said.

So after the inevitable what-shall-I-wear debate, not knowing if sunshine means warm or not we set off and arrived after our friend had already had time to buy and drink her first cuppa. Lovely hugs as I hadn't seen her for some time. Lots to chat about, fun in the maze, finding the panda, O setting riddles and wanting passwords, picnic in the play area and baby ducks in the pond but no photos.

Of course I don't need to write it here as our friend is my blog-buddy so she knows it all already!
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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

May Challenge......


On facebook I'm in a crafting group and someone has come up with the idea of setting a monthly challenge.

The first challenge for May is to "make your version of this card".


It seems the majority of crafters in this group are card makers that watch the crafting channels and buy the equipment they sell, use dies and mangle type machines for cutting, stamps and embossing tools and other fancy gadgets.
I don't make cards like that. I rarely make cards at all.

I do craft though and wanted to join in the monthly challenge mainly to show my support for someone trying to add a little fun to the group.
So my version of that card became a bag!


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Theatre: Northanger Abbey.........



A Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds Production, on tour.
A delightful stage version of Jane Austen’s earliest novel

Catherine Morland loves a good novel and the more ‘horrid’ it is the better.
At 17, she is taken by her aunt to Bath where she encounters the social whirl denied her at home. When Catherine accepts an invitation to the Tilney’s country seat at Northanger Abbey, lurid images from her favourite gothic novel Mysteries of Udolpho threaten to overwhelm her. However, all misunderstandings are eventually resolved and, as in all the best Jane Austen novels, the young heroine finally gets her man…


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A brilliant performance we thoroughly enjoyed, my friend applauded standing!
The leads were amazing, especial Eva Feiler who gave us the wonderful Catherine, funny, naive, fanciful, polite, caring and a little forthright all in one. And she was very ably supported by the other seven actors who had to swap around to cover many more characters.

My only criticism is of the use of dry smoke (or whatever it's called) which I absolutely hate. Unless there is need to walk through thick fog hiding Jack the Ripper, or misty graveyard to be confronted by zombies, which this play didn't, then I don't think it adds to the atmosphere and for us in the very front row it rolls off the stage at face level!
But of course that is a totally personal thing which I'm sure didn't spoil this for anybody else, they probably didn't even notice it.
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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Yin and yang.......


Don't know why I'm not getting here much just now, unless it's a theatre trip which I tend to do straight away. Good if I'm busy and not fitting blogging in but bad if I don't feel there's anything worth blogging about.

We bought a new mattress, we really needed it! I hate shopping and researching and choosing, then my friend happened to say they'd bought a new mattress, really good price and it had very good reviews, so I said to send me the link and I bought the same. It's thicker so higher than the last one so I have to do a bit of a Fosbury Flop to get onto it and when new it did smell a bit but that soon went.......and it's really comfortable. We got new pillows too and because I must be sleeping differently I'm guessing that's why I'm dreaming more than I ever did, which is neither a good or bad.

While knitting the end came off a fairly new circular needle, so I contacted the seller and asked for a replacement. Not knowing how long it would take and wanting emergency spares I also did a next day delivery for a really cheap set of bamboo circular needles. The bamboo ones arrived and they were sooooo smelly I didn't want to use them like that, so I washed them in perfumed liquid soap and hung them to dry over a towel to catch the drips......then I couldn't unplug the sink! Had to stay like that all day till Hubby got home. Hubby fixed the sink but by which time the whole bathroom smelt like the cords on the bamboo needles, so they got thrown onto the garden table to be left outside for a couple of days. Now two weeks later they have finally lost most of the pong! Actually the metal replacement came only a day later so knitting commenced.

In January we ordered a four piece leather suite (more horrid choosing and decision making) and in April they were ready to be delivered. Daughter now has two pieces of our original suite, but only after Hubby and Daughter manhandled (womanhandled) them out of ours into a borrowed van and into hers (needing to remove and replace porch patio doors), then took her discarded sofa and arm chair out to go to the tip, although halfway there he remembered that our tip now stays closed on a Wednesday so that became Thursdays job before the van had to go back. And while our lounge was relatively empty it was carpet cleaning time. We sat like newlyweds on the one remaining two seater sofa for the following week. The new suite (what is it with very smelly new stuff?) is brown so most of the old blue cushions looked wrong, so with my trusty sewing machine, an upcycled knitted jacket and a piece of material which had been in my stash for years we have new cushions (for free)


Yesterday was a fun celebration for an old friend's 80th birthday. We were honored to be included with mostly family and a few very close friends!
Tomorrow is the funeral for a very old friend. At the crematorium we are honored to be included with mostly family and a few very close friends!
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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Theatre: Tommy........


The New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich in co-production with Ramps on the Moon.

Music and Lyrics by Pete Townshend
Book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff
Additional Music and Lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon

Based on the iconic 1969 concept album, The Who's TOMMY is the multi-award winning epic rock musical written by Pete Townshend.

With a cast of 22 performers and musicians, this is the story of the pinball-playing boy which has entertained and intrigued audiences for more than 40 years. A one-of-a-kind theatrical event!

Tommy will feature a creative use of audio description, captioning and British Sign Language interpretation which will enhance the experience for everyone. It is the second touring production made in association with Ramps on the Moon – a consortium of theatres across the UK that are committed to driving change in their organisations. For more information, visit www.rampsonthemoon.co.uk



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Wow the music was constant rock-n-roll and loud and so was the story. Great musicians and some wonderful voices. Tragic and thought provoking story enough at times to make me cry a little. This was written in my era and I can't believe I've not seen it before.

This performance had the most amazing cast of mostly disabled actors and for Tommy to be played by a deaf actor made the story of the "deaf, dumb and blind kid" all the more poignant.

I thought it was amazing, although I have to say the two friends I went with almost left at the interval because it was such a barrage on all your senses but they were glad they stayed till the end.
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Friday, 17 March 2017

Theatre: Silver Lining.........


An English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston co-production
     On one dark and stormy night in the upper day room of the Silver Retirement Home, five elderly ladies are trading stories of their remarkable lives. With the storm floods rising and no rescue team in sight, the ladies are faced with the sudden realisation that in order to survive they are going to have to do what they have done for their entire lives – do it themselves!
     Silver Lining is the hilarious new comedy by writer, actor, presenter and political activist Sandi Toksvig. Starring Sheila Reid, Joanna Monro, Amanda Walker, Rachel Davies and Maggie McCarthy. It tells the tale of five extraordinary yet forgotten women, who come together one treacherous night to recreate The Great Escape – senior citizen style!

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This was hilariously brilliant. The script was brilliant because it rang true of cantankerous old people (scary as I head towards it), the cast as you can see are all much loved very talented actresses we've all seen on tv. My only criticism is I found the young actress who arrived as a carer was very shouty but I'm sure she will improve by working alongside such seasoned performers. Totally recommend this if it comes your way. 
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Saturday, 11 March 2017

Theatre: Bang Bang......



A Made in Colchester production
     “You know, some husbands pretend to love hunting, but when they leave home they set their sights on other prey.”
     In a brand new adaption by John Cleese, Georges Feydeau’s hysterical farce Bang Bang erupts onto the stage in our first Made in Colchester production of 2017.
     Leontine, a respectable lady of high society, is in danger of being hoodwinked by her husband Duchotel. When Duchotel goes hunting, his prey is not four-legged animals!
     While he is away (“bang bang!”), back at home his lifelong friend comes calling – and he’s on the hunt too. Will Leontine get caught in his sights, or instead set a trap of her own?
      Saucy secrets unravel as the devilish Duchotel finds himself snared in a door-slamming, trouser-dropping, lover-hiding, balcony-climbing night of chaos set in the stylish apartments of Paris.

     John Cleese collaborates with the Mercury Theatre Colchester to bring this rarely performed comedy classic to the stage, directed by veteran of theatre, television and radio, Nicky Henson.
     Banish the winter blues and join us for a sizzling summer evening in France!
Based on a translation of Georges Feydeau’s Monsieur Chasse!


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What a lovely surprise visit to the theatre. Daughter phoned to say she had theatre tickets she'd only got today for today and she was taking R and had a spare ticket, was I free, and I was yaay!

I do like farce if it's done well and mostly this was done well. It was well cast apart from the doctor who got a bit shouty a few times. Loved the maid but didn't like her little stint as a policeman. The costumes were all lovely. The funny snappy typical hiding running around farce bits were really good but actually the script was far too wordy and slowed the action down so some of it took too long to get to the funny snappy bits you knew were coming.

Guess I'm being over critical as I've seen so many great farce, but overall we did all enjoy it and all the more for a sudden extra night at the theatre.
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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Another mixed bag......


More delay in adding to this, probably as each thing isn't newsy enough for its own post and not many photos to pad things out, but actually when I think back quite a bit has been going on.

Eventually cleared all the washing from before and during our holiday, haven't done much of the ironing though as I'm very good at finding alternative employment, even to the point of completely defrosting the freezer rather than plug the iron in, did need it though, and Daughter, O and R arrived just as I'd started that job so understandably it took longer as I kept stopping to chat.

My niece and her new man had an engagement party which was noisy disco fun with lots of dancing. Hubby and I took Daughter and O so just the one car. Unfortunately many family members couldn't make it but it was lovely seeing the ones that could. My brother took this opportunity to tell me that he was now separated from his wife, he said that they have now settled into an amicable friendship. The next day I messaged them both with my support.

Hubby has had lots of SERV (blood runners) charity meetings. He has also bought both a new car and a new bike

Well he is getting his pension now so guess it's another late mid-life crisis hahaha. 
After picking up the car we had a lovely run out to Southwold for some lunch. 



I've had another craft day at Acorn Village. Each time we attend we add just £2 each to the kitty tin and this time we saw what to donate it to as the recent Storm Doris had done some irreparable damage to the cover of their polytunnel, hopefully our donation will get them a little nearer replacing it. 

We've had all our usual social stuff, eating out with friends, hubby ten pin bowling and I'm filling up the diary with future meet ups with friends too. At this rate we will never catch up with all the tv we've recorded! 
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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Breakfast.......


Woke this morning to the birds outside making a right racket, sounded mostly like gulls.

Came down to see a sparrowhawk eating breakfast.


Actually Hubby got a much better photo

Friday, 24 February 2017

2017 Feb - Florida holiday - week 2.......


Tuesday 14
Hubby's birthday!
We started the day with Hubby opening his cards (mine L&K's and those early arrivals I'd brought with). The weather was cooler and windier so we decided not to bother with the trolly tour again and had breakfast (I tested out the hotel waffle iron gadget which was more fun than delicious) then checked out of the hotel. Hubby set the sat nav then between him and K navigated totally against most of her directions, some of the time she sounded quite cross. We took the coastal road which was quite scenic and headed to Daytona and just like our trip there in 2012 we couldn't get onto the beach, so as compensation we made an early lunch stop at the nearest ihop. While Hubby did all the driving we kept him going with regular bursts of singing Happy Birthday, he was thrilled of course hahaha. In the evening friendsL&K had planned which restaurant we should have his birthday meal, but they couldn't book and of course valentine's day is very popular for eating out so we couldn't get in.....back in the car heading for one of the country clubs but when there we found it to be a special 3 course menu which none of us wanted........back in the car and to an Italian restaurant called Meza Luna. Yummy and such a shame I couldn't eat more than about half of my chicken carbonara as it was huge. Of course being the US the waiter immediately asked if I'd like it boxed but I declined. Back home early so Hubby could have a beer or two as he'd been driving. Think it was a successful birthday/valentine day.

Wednesday 15
Well it was our usual lazy relaxed start to the day for Hubby and I, friendsL&K had been to their early pilates class and back mid-morning. Hubby and K had a little job to do putting some lights back up around the lanai then we had a sandwich lunch while going through the villages daily papers to decide what we should do with our day. Then it started raining. And then an alarm sounded on L's mobile phone with a weather warning, so the tv went on
Of course that looks a lot worse than it actually was. We had very loud thunder, some lighting and very heavy rain for about an hour or so then stopped completely. So the plan changed to late afternoon cinema then straight to a restaurant and maybe dancing in the square afterwards. The men were happy as we saw Star Wars Rouge 1 (don't think L or I would give it a glowing review so I'll say no more lol). The streets,  restaurants and square were really quiet, guess the thought of more rain had kept people home. We ate in the Bavarian Brewhaus, and it was lovely. We've not been having desserts at all as meals have been so filling but on our way out I noticed some cheesecake in their cabinet and said yum, so L then promptly ushered us down the street to Too Jays and we bought a whole New York cheesecake to take home. Cuppa's all round and half the cheesecake eaten and it ended up a quiet evening of laptops/sudoku/crosswords etc stuffed and content.

Thursday 16
General sort of lazy day apart from three of us going out grocery shopping while L did a bit of housework (she kicked us out lol). I don't actually do supermarkets at home Hubby does it all, so here it's not only a novelty but fun to look at all the products we don't have. All dressed up for an evening out, to The Eisenhower recreation centre for The Collierite's Valentine's Party. (L&K live in the Village of Collier). Great bbq buffet, lovely people, Blake Guyre was the lead of our three piece entertainment and they were really good, so dancing all night too. Wonderful evening



Friday 17
It was a Shuffleboard morning and friendsL&K beat me and Hubby 2 sets to 1

Lunch at home was added to by last night's leftovers, so much food at the Valentine's party that couldn't go to waste, so we enjoyed cold beef and baby potatoes along with salad etc and then we finished off the New York cheesecake yummy. Late afternoon we headed out in the golf cart into Brownwood for a little bit of shopping then a brief stop at the square to watch Scooter entertain the crowd then to Too Jays deli restaurant and meeting up with more friends of theirs, a couple that live opposite them. Six of us eventually had a lovely dinner, took nearly an hour for our meals to arrive, but gave us all something to laugh about. After dinner we all came back and had a really fun evening playing Mexican Train
I actually won three rounds and came second overall, must have been that half glass of prosecco I had hahaha

Saturday 18
FriendsL&K had been invited to a surprise 80th birthday party and when they said they had friends staying the birthday boy's children who were hosting the party insisted that we came too. So a lazy morning, a quick lunch and we arrived for 2pm as instructed. Hubby and I were made so welcome and we'd met some of these friends previously at the British-American night so we had some lovely conversations. A big shout of "surprise" when our octogenarian arrived and he was definitely surprised, after our introductions I then got to meet his wife who happens to have the same Christian name and surname I had before I got married and friendL had already told each of us all about the other. There was a lot of really yummy food. So when we left there was no need for dinner so we decided to have a night in with Netflix.

Sunday 19
The men had a golf game booked starting around lunchtime so instead of having breakfast then an early lunch we decided to go out for brunch but couldn't go out until K got a help-desk call back on a techy problem even Hubby couldn't solve. 10am and the call came as booked, lasted about 20 mins and K was told he'd get an email with instructions within 24 hours and it would then be valid for only three hours! So a yummy brunch then home in the cart, check emails, then because we can't have four people and two lots of golf clubs in the cart at once we all went in the hire car for the men to drop us girls in Sumter then back to check emails and swap car for cart and out again for golf. We shopped and there was a great craft market that seemed never ending. We both bought stuff and briefly stopped for a cuppa then shopped a bit more

We'd arranged to meet the men at 4pm under the clock and they both popped back to the cart to stow our shopping, then we watched a bit of a jazz band on stage and met up with friends making us a group seven. It's always good fun on the squares people watching, happily dancing or getting very possessive with the chairs. They all had a drink as it was happy hour then we went to eat at Thai Ruby. We got back a bit early for bed so put a film on, "Woman in Gold" starring Helen Mirren. Brilliantly done and made me cry. All to bed but still no email!

Monday 20
Today we made plans to have the day out but first we'd been invited over the road by their lovely neighbour friends for breakfast, so K having checked his email and still nothing we went over. They had gone to so much trouble, first offered coffee but as Hubby and I prefer tea K had brought over the tea bags and had to make it as they don't know how. We had home made pancakes some stuffed with cheese and others with fruit preserve (even our hostess isn't keen on US jelly) they'd made a huge bowl of fresh fruit salad and toasted muffins and it was all delicious and we stayed quite some time chatting. Back home and finally the email had arrived so K could sort his problem before we left again. About 30 mins by car and we were in Silver Springs State Park where three of us took the glass bottom boat tour with Captain Oscar


If you can zoom in on this last picture you may be able to spot three turtles a cormorant and a baby gaitor. Meanwhile L was on shore eating a huge icecream so when we came ashore we had to queue for icecreams too. Just the four of us out to dinner tonight and back for another film, this time L chose it as she'd read the book Before I Go To Sleep which was a psychological thriller with Nicole Kidman playing the lead. I would highly recommend it.

Tuesday 21
All too soon our two weeks have ended so up, packing, stripping the bed and ready to leave after lunch. Big goodbyes, we love L&K and they are brilliant hosts. Journey home was all pretty much as it should be apart from a fair bit of turbulence during the flight. Actually worth noting I used the toilet on the plane and that is a first for me hahaha. Hubby had a short nap but I didn't. And somewhere over the Atlantic the day changed.

Wednesday 22
Landed on time and nicely through the automated passport control but our cases were the very last to hit the carousel. We now have "hive" on our heating so it was great for Hubby to switch on the heating at home before we'd left Gatwick. Walked through our front door just after 10:30am. Made tea before anything else (Daughter had previously bought fresh milk and bread) then I unpacked so I could sort out the gifts as Daughter was coming 1pm-ish and we saw O and a bit later R as well. Thankfully neither of us seem to suffer jetlag so we kept to our usual Wednesday night activities although when friendH offered to drive I gratefully accepted, wouldn't want to fall asleep driving home at midnight.

Thank you friendsL&K xx

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

2017 Feb - Florida holiday - week 1........


All packed and ready (even bought a new suitcase) for another trip to friendsL&K's Florida home. Really looking forward to seeing them especially as they've both been unwell recently I'm sure they could do with a hug brought from home. Have to say with all the President Trump news of late I'm a bit concerned what we will find there, protestors and holdups at the airport are my first concern really.

Tuesday 7
5am start from my lovely warm and snuggly bed and out of the house about 6:20am, so a little later than Hubby had wanted but not a problem as he'd allowed plenty of time. But that little bit later meant a lot more traffic so it seemed to take forever to get from home to Gatwick. We were all on board and had about 20mins to wait before take off as something in the hold had to come out of the hold and go back in. All minor hiccups including the quarter of an hour or so of minor turbulence that coincided with us all trying to eat and drink from the meal trays we'd been given. I wasn't giving up as it was delicious and thankfully I didn't get any down my front. On arrival we were pleasantly surprised to find the whole passport control system had been greatly improved since our last visit. Our case came off the carousel as one of the first but unfortunately our other case was one of the last or we would have whizzed out of there. But the delay for luggage did mean when we went to the car rental desk there was no queue and that took minimal time. It was really lovely arriving at L&K's with an evening of dinner and lots of chat. There was a huge storm just as we went to bed, lots of loud thunder and bright lighting with some much needed heavy rain. I don't think it actually lasted too long or maybe we were so tired we fell asleep despite the noise.

Wednesday 8
L&K went off to their very early pilates class and Hubby and I had a much less active start, just breakfast, unpacking and showers, then L&K were home again. After they'd showered and fed and watered we all ventured out in the golf cart, stopping first in Brownwood town square
And the men mostly found a bench outside each shop we popped into.
Then onto Lake Sumter Standing, another town square, for a lunch stop and walk

Looking really cloudy but actually 27°C so definitely shorts and tshirts weather.
Home and out again about 6:30pm into Brownwood for dinner at Cody's restaurant, where Dangerous Dave was the live music entertainment and you eat peanuts from little buckets on the tables and the shells just get thrown on the floor. Our table was of the high bar stool variety but I managed to get up and down without making a fool of myself hahaha. Dancing in Cody's then just enough time to catch the end of the town square entertainment and a bit of line dancing. Pleased I'd remembered how to Electric Slide from our last visit.

Thursday 9
Really cloudy blowy start but still 23°C, so at 7am I'm sitting in my PJs in the lanai (outside room) while the others are still sleeping
Another lazy morning, total holiday relax. Our men do like to get a few jobs done though, some of it was techy Hubby sorting out their tablet with a promise to do the laptop later and some was actually measuring up the lanai and friendK doing lots of online research for retractable screens with the big debate between them of professional or DIY. When we headed out mid-afternoon the first stop was Home Depot (Hubby can't stay away from B&Q at home and this looked just the same) to price up stuff they unfortunately don't sell, hahaha men were searching up and down all the isles for ages so I went and asked then we left! 

Dinner was at Ruby Tuesday and it was yummy. I had southern fried chicken with a plate full of help yourself salad bar. As they were leaving a man from the next table gave us some vouchers they had extra so we got a bit of a discount too!

Mark Seymour was the singer in the square and he's got a great voice, so we stayed for a dance or two or three. 

From there we went to one of the many recreation centres as tonight was the British-American Club meeting that L&K usually go to. Hubby and I were introduced to a lovely bunch of people, very welcoming. One of the members had arranged the film show in the style of early cinema with lots of short clips and old news reports, very nostalgic and very entertaining. Good use of our hire car today as these venues were all a bit further away from home and from each other so would have taken ages in the golf cart. Back at home we ended the night with some heavy discussions on the political situations both sides of the pond, really hard to avoid talking about it the way things are. 

Friday 10
I was up at 6:30am and now at 7:30am it's bright and sunny with a clear sky but only 8°C so far. Everybody else up by 8am. FriendsL&K went to their pilates class and again we both declined. After some lunch we headed out as there was some shopping needed, friendL did better than the rest of us in the clothes shop . In the evening we went out in the golf cart to Brownwood Square and met up with another English couple L&K are good friends with and all went to World of Beer to eat. Food was great, men tried lots of the beers, lots of laughter by all, fun evening.

Saturday 11
Football was on tv all morning as we are five hours behind so live in the afternoon in England. Then we went out to the Polo Club for a really good craft market.
We had an early dinner at home as we were meeting last night's friends again for dancing, but unfortunately the husband's back was painful so no dancing for him tonight but we went anyway. Scooter was performing in Sumter Square and he is hilarious and gets everyone dancing silly dance routines. He works the cruises too. It's also fun to people watch and L nearly got in trouble when she tried to use a chair someone else had obviously laid claim to but wasn't actually sitting on lol. There always seems to be a happy hour in the drink huts around the square and when K bought L a glass of wine he was given a pint!

Sunday 12
This is day one of our holiday-holiday! The four of us have arrived in St Augustine, about 2hrs 15mins drive to the east coast. Hotel seems to have all we need, nice big rooms and very welcoming and friendly staff. So bags into rooms then out to explore. FriendL had booked a great location as a very short walk and we were through the gateway (no actual gates) into George Street

Which is full of food and drink places and lots of shops of the gifty variety (most a bit expensive though). We seemed to be shopping for hours but there was an early lunch stop and a later relax with drinks in a garden bar then back to the hotel for a quick freshen up and out again for dinner.  Harry's Restaurant was lovely and our waiter was brilliant at explaining flavours and making recommendations. We all came out feeling really full and had to walk it off before heading back to the hotel. Hopefully we can sleep ok with this noisy air con unit that we've set to auto so it only comes on every now and then when it needs to.

Monday 13
We are booked as breakfast included and thankfully L had warned me US hotels are not great at providing breakfast, especially a selection that we are used to. I was not disappointed as I'd been warmed. Very basic, the eggs looked like processed food, had to have coffee as no breakfast tea but none of us went hungry. We crossed the road and bought tickets for the Tour Trolly Bus, expensive but the full circuit takes about 90 minutes with constant commentary, we can also use it as hop on hop off, and we can use it tomorrow too. Had a late lunch in a Greek restaurant then back on the trolly to the museum.



St Augustine is so full of character and historic stories laying claim to being the oldest settlement in America, you may want a quick history link here.
Unfortunately half way round the museum friendK didn't feel too well so with L they went back to the hotel, Hubby and I followed taking in a few extra shops on the way. A brief hotel rest and K felt so much better. So out we all went to eat at O.C.White which we'd seen advertised and had a voucher for. The waitress was lovely chatting all about England as she'd spent some time there. Meal was lovely. Then over the road to a pub which had about 20+ beers on offer!

So a week has whizzed by but only half way though our holiday.
                    To be continued.............