Thursday, 3 December 2015

Florida holiday, week 2, November 2015.....

Monday 23rd - quite chilly today although we stayed in reading and relaxing till mid-afternoon,

then went to the cinema for "Love The Coopers", very American Christmas story of a dysfunctional family that all ends happy ever after. Have to say the cinema seats were extra comfy! We then went to dinner at TooJays, my special burger was definitely special.

Tuesday 24th - after breakfast we had a lovely walk to the Eisenhower recreation area then played Shuffleboard

it was good fun, especially as Hubby and I won, although we later found out that we'd been playing it all wrong hahaha. Our men had booked an afternoon of golf so they dropped us in Brownwood square first for a mooch around the shops and a coffee. We moved out to the square when the live music started and I got friendly with a cowboy!
When a few people started line dancing friendL and I joined in, she's done the "Electric Slide" lots but my first time so I was grateful to have her to copy. We'd arranged to meet the men at Cody's for dinner and we got there first, but they arrived and said they'd got there first couldn't see us so left to look round the square then came back, although I'm sure we'd been there all the time, dunno how we missed each other! Mmmmmm bbq ribs and live music by Mark Seymour (brilliant singer) and lots more dancing, fast, slow and more Electric Slide (I'm an expert now).

Wednesday 25th - friendK had to spend a huge amount of time on a help line sorting out a bill for their UK mobile, and Hubby spent some time sorting out their laptop and friendL took the opportunity to do some of her ironing and I got to read lots of my book! We went out at 4pm into Sumta town square (about half hour away by cart). We left our men guarding four chairs while we popped to a couple of shops and bought a picture frame. When we joined the men the act was in full swing up on the stage, tonight it was Scooter a mad DJ.

Photo is a bit dark, actually not a good night for photos as this is the next selfie I took of us watching
...far too serious when we were really laughing all the time but the best one was too shakey because we were laughing and then the rest of the time we were up dancing! We went off to dinner at the Lighthouse Point and all had great fish meals, and we got back to the square for the last hour of Scooter and a bumpy ride home in the back of the golf cart. Great fun.

Thursday 26th - Today is Thanksgiving here in the US and I'd made this card for our lovely hosts

We went to the Evans Prairie Country Club for their Thanksgiving buffet lunch. Lots of great food and we all came away stuffed. It was a traditional turkey dinner and I tried the green bean casserole, grits stuffing and corn succotash......all good and fun to try new things. Hot again today at 26°C / 79°F. Spent the afternoon watching tv just like Christmas day but hotter! Birdcage a film starring Robin Williams is hilarious and a must see, I'll say no more hahaha.

Friday 27th - the men went off early for a round of golf, Hubby rarely plays but says K is a good coach so he enjoys it without doing anything awful. They got back quicker than expected so we planned to head off in the car to Crystal Springs in Citrus County. The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday and it's retail sales in a big way and everyone goes mad, so we were definitely avoiding shops. On our way there we stopped at a beautiful beach,  Island Fort Gulf Beach
Crystal Springs is famous for manatee sightings. The website mentioned boat trips, talks, viewing points, snorkeling trips etc. It was about an hour drive and we pulled into one marina and could see the one we wanted across the water so we drove out and round and still in the wrong place, then our pilot and co-pilot saw a sign for Three Sisters Springs which they'd seen on the website so we headed for that which took us miles out so turn around and miles back and stopped at another car park by an information office where they told us to go back to the main road and find the big information centre to buy tickets for the trolly bus as there was no car access anyway! Very bad signage! We were hungry so drove into Crystal historic district to eat (we were all very hungry by this point) then a quick mooch round the gift shops while we waited for the next trolly bus (too expensive to buy anything but a very pretty place)

We caught the trolly bus, had a walk along the boardwalk admiring the lakes and natural springs, spoke to the guides and learnt lots. .......but not a manatee in sight!

Tonight's entertainment was Rocky and the Rollers in the Brownwood Paddock Square and when we arrived it was already packed (holiday Friday night and residents have family and guests obviously)

We went to eat in Cody's again as they had live music too, I just had to have the ribs again and there was room enough to dance before the night ended.

Saturday 28th - this morning we walked around the farmers market

We had a coffee stop with cheesecake and apple pie. .....but I chose this

Then we went to play Bocci

When we got back we met the lovely neighbours that live opposite and while we were chatting they invited friendsL&K with their daughter who is visiting soon to join them for Christmas dinner, what a special community they have here, I'm so pleased for L&K. So many houses here are starting to put up their Christmas decorations so our first stop this afternoon was Walmart for friendsL&K to buy some outside bling and Hubby and I had a good wander and bought a few bits. We then went to Eaton's Beach

We were there especially for the restaurant and on K's recommendation I had fried green tomatoes as a starter followed by shrimp and grits for main course, both new to me and both really really good! TV before bed was actually a two hour drama on National Geographic called Saints and Strangers about how the English Pilgrims invaded and settled in America and their problems with the Native Indians and disease and starvation etc.

Sunday 29th - our last full day here! Lazy morning and after lunch we went to look at the new nature reserve

Then to Bonifay Country Club for coffee and key lime pie mmmmm! We had to hang around for our 6:30pm online check in for our flights tomorrow, then out in the golf cart

We ride "shotgun" at the back, (altho that pic was taken during the day not at night of course) for a lovely Italian meal. On the way home we drove around to see all the Christmas decorations going up, Hubby loved this biking Santa
We finished the evening by watching the second part of the pilgrims drama. It was gripping stuff.

Monday 30th - you know how you never want a great holiday to end. .......well we now have an extra 12 hours as Hubby checked his phone first thing to discover our flight home at 6:15pm had been cancelled! After logging in on K's laptop and making phone calls we are now booked on the 6:15am flight Orlando to Philadelphia, Philadelphia to Heathrow, then bus Heathrow to Gatwick where our car is! So we made the most of our extra day by first going shopping for all the extension cables they need for all the Christmas lights, then we went for brunch and came back for the men to get all the glitz fixed and lit, looks very pretty

When it was dark we had a lighting up ceremony. We spent a while outside chatting to neighbours and admiring our lights and theirs, and came in when we realised that we were all getting bitten! I've now three more bites one of which is getting quite large on my forehead. Out again in the car, and we ate quite late at Gaitors then walked to the square to catch the last 10 mins of the country and western trio, and we were introduced to another friend of theirs. All packed and ready so watched rubbish on tv and golf (when Hubby and L both went for naps) where I got some interesting explanations by K of what's going on, all really just wasting time!

Tuesday 1st December - we said our goodbyes and left our wonderful hosts at 2am, I'd already given them their Christmas card and we've brought some of theirs in a large envelope to post for them in England. Then to Orlando Airport and the first hurdle as we couldn't just park the car and plonk the paperwork on the desk as we needed to pay for the extra day and fuel (we'd missed the fill-up place) and we had to get a receipt so we had to wait a while. ........then with a little time to spare we stopped for tea and a toasted bagel. hassle flight Orlando to Philadelphia. ......just 20 mins from getting off that plane to the boarding gate of our next flight and it was a very fast walk from one end of the airport to the other (should have worn a pedometer and reported the result to friendL haha), there were a few people at the gate who also should have been on our original cancelled flight and they were "furious" and "so angry" and Hubby said "well they wouldn't cancel without good reason, and I'd rather not be on a plane with technical faults, would you?" they shrugged and moved on to moan to someone else!........Philadelphia to Heathrow and the plane was half empty so we could spread over three seats and the seats had more leg room anyway so we were quite comfortable apart from the whole cabin temperature being quite chilly so I was under blankets all the time. The food was really good too. We landed about 10:30pm (back on UK time now) but of course we are still in the wrong rather than waiting around for the airport shuttle bus we jumped into a taxi who agreed a fixed price of £100 (meter would have clocked up £140) we asked for a receipt to add to the claim. Lots of road works made him do a longer diversion and then obviously he couldn't go into the long stay carpark so he had to take us to the terminal........for us to go inside then out the right door to catch the bus to our car. As we'd overstayed we couldn't drive straight out as we had to go into the office and pay extra and get another receipt of course.........then the drive home with more roadworks and diversions.

Wednesday 2nd December - finally walked through our front door at 2:15am and so grateful that our lovely neighbourA had put our heating on. Quick message to friendsL&K to say we are home but not to anyone else as they would all be asleep and very soon after so were we! Very sweet dreams of our lovely Florida Villages holiday.


Michelle said...

Does sound like a wonderful holiday. Sorry about the failed manatee hunt.

MumB / @mumbosh said...

We'll just have to go back to try again ;-)