Mozzarella is better when it's ripped...

posted on: Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Back into the same old, same old. My son has been at rugby camp a few days this week which has meant early (ish) starts and packed lunch assembly at 8am. Compared to the school term this is a lie-in but still, after the week of jet lag hell it has taken some doing. Our garden, which is scarred from the building work and not a shadow of its former self, is littered with paddling pools and a tent and a slip-n-slide (the inventor of which is a genius; rubber and a hose pipe - much fun). Summer holidays are in full swing and the days seem to be spent organising their life and not mine.


The building work is ongoing; I can't say it has been a pleasure as frankly I am so sick of it I can hardly write a word about it. There is progress and the oil leak is now in our past, BUT what remains is a half-done house and lots of dust. My husband says he can see it coming on - all I can see is a pile of rubble where we used to have rooms. I know it's all a process and I must man up but honestly, there is nothing like long term building work to chip away at your good mood. Where are my white washed walls??!!

I got pretty close to mass Westernised humanity in America; in Disney there were so many people of all shapes and sizes it really was something to behold. However, one thing I did notice? The tattoos. I feel like tattoos have become a MAJOR statement in recent years. Historically, I can hardly recall noticing them but now; it's like every (other) person has one (or ten). I am undecided about whether this is a good thing.


Thanks to Pinterest I like images of very small, very discrete tattoos and frankly, they seem to shamelessly work best on very attractive people. But there is such a fine line between one and too many. Between small and cool and large and ugly. Being quirky and original to being mainstream and copycat. I like all of the stories that come with them and have wasted hours looking at 'The Tattoologist' which often features cool, really meaningful tattoos. It's compulsive reading. But you do also see some tattoos that are just horrendous - a bruise-like stain on someones skin. I see so many young people with vast tattoos in very prominent places covering a thigh or a forearm.

My thoughts on this point; even if you get a tattoo for the right reasons and are entirely comfortable with your choice, there will still be places you will go and people you will meet whom you wish you could hide it from. This is a fact. And as for tattoos in old age - again I am undecided. I love that there are some mature celebrities who sport tattoos (Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirren) and there are some who will continue to carry off discrete tattoos even when they are much older. What I can't imagine though, is the 'beige' generation I have written about before (and who I fear becoming) looking good with a tattoo. Is there something sad about the way the lines blur on old skin? But then maybe that is what one should embrace? A bit like a well-worn wedding ring - an aged tattoo can tell of a life lived.

I also sense that tattoos are derisive things. Some good friends absolutely loathe them and others love them. Thoughts?

Otherwise life is good. Working stuff out. Thinking about the world of employment and whether I should be in it. Thinking about how much holidays mean to us and how we work for holidays in a way that can be somewhat unhealthy. Is everyone the same? We live for the escape. Thinking about how I look much better with a tan - such a shame and I shall wrinkle when I am old (is that now?!) but honestly there is something lovely about being sun kissed. Especially Florida sun kissed. Getting back in to the groove...



The good of the different...

posted on: Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Returning to Florida didn't put my Florida-love behind me, but it did put it into perspective and made me see that a lot of it is about escape and the difference between that tropical place and where I live. I could actually sum it up in just two words: palm trees. But beyond that, there are many other things about Florida that I could share. In places it's not the most elegant (although Naples is beautiful), it can be rough around the edges and it was packed with people at weekends. BUT...this is what it did have:

Warmth that makes your bones feel good. Clear, crazy-warm water of the Gulf. Hibiscus flowers. Tiny lizards that scurry across your path. A lot of shrimp to eat. Not to mention fish tacos. Glorious pink-tinged sunsets. Cold, cold beer. 'Publix' supermarket which sold more types of breakfast cereal than I could even imagine. I am sure if an American came to 'Waitrose' here they'd get the same vibe; there is something about travel that gives a glimpse to how other people live and it's an interesting glimpse.

That humidity every time you step out of a building from the air-con inside. Dolphins - yes, we saw them just frolicking in the bay and off the beach. This does not happen here. Shells of every kind and even better, trashy shell shops that sell white-as-white sand dollars (there is probably some environmental disaster associated with the removal of sand dollars but for now, just humour me; they are so pretty). All the ones we found in the sea we put back undisturbed.

But the palm trees - I heart them. I can't describe it, there is something about palm trees that are so different to trees in England. They represent lushness.

It was a happy holiday, spent doing new stuff with old friends.

Still love Florida...

...because it has palm tress and flags...

...because every day, despite the thunderstorms, there is a fresh beach...

...because it looks like God lives in the clouds there...

...because municipal things are adorned with palm trees (or dolphins)...


...because the water is turquoise and the sand is white...

...because there are picture-perfect houses like this; white and mint...

...because there are crab shacks that serve cold beers, where you legs stick to the chair but you don't care...


...because you can wear a palm tree sarong and feel right at home...


...because 'Nigel Pelican' from Nemo is around...

...because on my morning run at 8.00am there are beach-goers with rainbow umbrellas...

...because it feels like it's miles from anywhere that is in rural Sussex, England...


Return...

posted on: Saturday, 26 July 2014

Yes, so hello! Me; I've been gone a long time. Historically when I have left, there have been guest posts and care-taking of the blog, but this time, three weeks and nothing. I kinda get the feeling it's no biggie. Representative of how me and the blog work - we rub along - I'm not in it for fame anymore, I am in it for the interest and the big share and the pretty pictures and the writing (and the friends). So - I am back! Hurrah.

photography by david kracht from here
America was...well... America was as Americans say: AWESOME! We had the best time, a real holiday of a lifetime packed full of new experiences and actually unlike many other trips we have taken. Returning to the Florida of my youth was poignant and exciting all at the same time, being able to show my kids why it was so special to me growing up. I realised that many of my feelings about it were all tied up in a little (big) bundle of love for my Mum and how she shepherded us through a divorce and maintained this bubble of family in a place of palm trees, sun and beaches. She rocked and she still rocks.

As for my little family - they loved it. We did Disney - more observations on that in another post but suffice to say - I enjoyed it more than I ever, ever thought I would. Genuinely, even for the well-travelled, well-heeled, it offers something different. Seeing my nine year old son's face in response to the magic of Disney is all time high. We did the Everglades - I got closer to alligators than I ever needed to - biking, kayaking in Mangroves, speed-boating to white powder beaches. We stayed in Naples - again more to write on that place - and I found not only the street I want to live in, but the white clap-board, mint-shuttered, palm-surrounded house I want to live in. Perfection.

And finally we stayed on the beach; different altogether - big hotel, much more main-stream, but still an experience.

I am returned to that vicious jet lag that leaves you feeling like a deep sea diver...slow motioned.

Of course after all of that loveliness, coming back to our building site farmhouse was a shock and we have been without hot water for FOUR days!!! Plus no power for one. It's back on now but honestly - cold showers were the order of the day. A rude awakening and has accounted for my slightly longer absence from the blog!

So - hi, hello, nice to be back... :-)


Sunshine state...

posted on: Sunday, 6 July 2014

Hello...and goodbye! We are going road-tripping round Florida for a bit! Long-awaited, all quite different, probably ridiculously hot family holiday with friends. Disney, Everglades, beaches. Time for me to go back to where I spent much of my childhood :-) See you soon xxx


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