Time to say goodbye.

Our time here in Florida is almost over. We leave on Wednesday for South Africa, stopping off in England for a few days to visit my 100-year-old mom-in-law. I’m really going to miss being here. This morning, I walked out into my back yard and just gazed in wonder at the stillness and the beauty.

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The Bromeliads we planted a few weeks ago are looking so lovely.

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I hope the irrigation system doesn’t go on the blink whilst we’re away, like it did last time. I’d hate to lose these beauties.

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I’m really going to miss seeing my feathered neighbours. The Great Egret usually comes stalking past whilst I’m eating breakfast.

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Mr Great Blue Heron who is a regular visitor on my blog, was right over the other side of the lake this morning, but I did manage a quick shot as he basked in the morning sunshine.

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Yesterday he looked quite a different shape altogether, as his beady eyes scanned the water for a tasty morsel.

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I was quite pleased with how this pic of his aerobatics turned out. It’s not easy to catch him in flight. Usually by the time I’ve got the camera ready, the moment has passed and he’s disappeared.

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He does of course have to share his hunting ground with the Anhinga, who is always on the look out for an unsuspecting fish.

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Our spectacular Florida sunsets will also have to go on without me, but I guess they’ll still be here when we return.

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So this will be my last post from this piece of paradise for a few months. We land in Johannesburg in a week’s time, and then it’s a one hour flight down to Durban. I’m really looking forward to seeing my sister and mom again, and also our beach. Later in March, we’ll be going to visit our daughter and family for our grandson’s 15th birthday.

Hubby has just gone to meet with the roofer to discuss the other house for which we’re considering putting in an offer, so we’ll see what transpires about that. I have a load of packing to do now, as well as preparing the house for our 6-8 month absence, so if you don’t see me in your likes and comments for a few days, please know that I will be back as soon as I can find some time to play again. Love and hugs to you all.

WPC: Threes…….A once desirable residence

The Weekly Photo Challenge, this time asks us for a three picture story.

We went to view a house for sale today. It has been abandoned by the owner, and has stood empty for three or four years. The location is wonderful and the house is much bigger than our present one. It has great potential but as you will see from my three photos, it needs rather a lot of work and TLC, as well as a new roof, new ceilings, bathrooms, kitchen and flooring, etc.. You name it, it needs replacing.

This is the front entrance.

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The water leaks have caused some of the ceilings to collapse.

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It does however have a stunning view, so we’re considering what offer to put in.

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Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Romance

Ailsa’s travel theme this week, is ‘Romance’, and on Valentine’s evening, love and romance were definitely in the air at the dinner dance we attended. The red carpet was out to welcome us.

There were many elderly couples there, and I was happy to note that no matter how old we may be, or how many years we’ve been married, that exciting partner ‘Romance’ is really happy to tag along. My sweet neighbours across the street are both 90 years old, and yet there she was, petite and lovely, in her bright red dress, dancing up close with her husband of  almost seventy years, and the look of love was so evident in their eyes, as the band played this song, which in my opinion is one of the most romantic songs of all time. It brought tears of joy to my eyes, just watching them.

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Myselfie going for a walk in the Sunshine State

The weather here was absolutely gorgeous today, so I put on my shorts and tank top, not forgetting my hat, sunscreen and water bottle, and off I went with hubby for a long walk around the neighbourhood. My fitbit force tells me that I’ve walked 4.15 miles today and done 9,510 steps. Not too bad for a relaxing Sunday in Florida.

I took this selfie for the WPC, as I walked out of our gate. It’s a bit late, but better late than never.

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Black & White Sunday: The Giant of St Michael’s Mount

I posted this pic in colour, a while ago, but thought I’d do a B&W for Paula’s Sunday Challenge. The Giant’s face is a lichen-covered rock formation at St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. Cormoran , the mythical giant of Cornish folk-lore is said to have once lived on the Mount, wading ashore at night, to steal cows and sheep from the villagers’ fields. He also appears in the English fairytale, “Jack the Giant Killer” and was the first giant to be slain by the hero, Jack.

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Love is for the birds!

Yesterday, the day before Valentine’s, hubby and I went on an open-air tram ride around the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge. I was delighted to see that love was in the air, as this pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks sat together on a branch. You can almost hear him asking her, “Please will you be my Valentine?”

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Wishing you all lots of  love, caring and sharing, today and every day.

Cruising down the Intracoastal for Marianne’s Challenge

Marianne of East of Malaga blog, has a new monthly challenge. She encourages us to think of a place that we’ve been meaning to go to, and then make the effort to take ONE TRIP EVERY MONTH and do a post about it.

Since we bought our home in Florida, we’ve been living here for six months of the year, and have kept saying that we really must do one of the sightseeing cruises, which leave twice daily from Delray, so last week, we boarded the Lady Atlantic for a two hour narrated tour of the Intracoastal Waterway, between Delray Beach and Boca Raton.

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Our trip would take us through three bridges, which would all have to be raised to allow our yacht to sail through. The first one is the Atlantic Avenue drawbridge. This is a real authentic drawbridge that opens every 30 minutes for boats to pass through.

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It was so fascinating to watch it open and close again. The original bridge was erected in 1911, and was hand-cranked. Wow, can you imagine how long that must have taken?

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As we sailed past some really awesome mansions, belonging to the seriously wealthy, our captain kept up an interesting commentary. He told us that many or most of these, are holiday homes, which are only occupied for a few weeks of the year. They are fully staffed at all times, some even with a barman in attendance, just in case the owners or their friends decide to pop down for few days relaxation.

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This curved house with a copper roof, was designed this way to make it hurricane-proof.

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There were still a few single storey houses sandwiched between the mega-mansions.

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These are know as ‘tear-downs’, because when they come up for sale, the new owners immediately tear them down and build a two, or sometimes three-storey residence in its place.

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This house might be classed as a teensy bit ‘over the top’, with its six kitchens and glass elevator.

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Not to be outdone, their neighbour had all his windows replaced, and paid $70,000 for new curtains, and $20,000 each for fully grown palm trees.

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Most homes had a boat moored outside. Some were quite modest,

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Whilst others were a bit bigger.

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This one had met a cruel fate during the heavy rainstorms in January. No one has claimed it yet, and residents are concerned because it’s leaking oil and polluting the waterway.

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Occasionally, our leisurely yacht would be overtaken by more exciting and faster craft.

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and youngsters having fun on their jet skis.

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Our captain said, “You may be wondering what sort of jobs these people do to be able to afford such a lifestyle. Well, you will be surprised to learn that many of the owners of these properties have never had to work a day in their entire lives. They have inherited the wealth, and can just play all day.”

Wayne Huizenga, who started his business with a single truck in 1968, and did work very hard, went on to become the founder of ‘Waste Management’, which he grew into a ‘Fortune 500’ company. He gave this lovely house for his daughter as a wedding present.

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Of course it wasn’t all about the mansions, although for me that was the most fascinating part of the trip. We saw beautiful birds flying overhead.

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and some rather untidy nests high up in the trees. Are they eagles or ospreys?  I’m no expert, but I’m sure our bird expert, Phil Lanoue will know.

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We got to peep down one of the side waterways leading to an even more expensive and exclusive community called ‘The Sanctuary’. This stretch of water, behind the mangroves, is patrolled 24/7  by armed security, and absolutely no-one is allowed down there without a permit. One resident, a former CEO of ‘Tyco Internationa’l, has recently been released from jail, after serving an eight and a half year sentence for fraud and corruption on a grand scale, and rumour has it, that he once spent $2 million on his wife’s birthday party. Must have been quite a party.

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We heard so many interesting stories, like how the Coca Cola family had a $24.5 m house built, but because of a kidnap threat on their daughter, they never moved in. The house was eventually bought by a movie company and was blown up during the making of ‘Bad Boys 2’, starring Will Smith. Then there is the cardiac surgeon who bought the neighbour’s house  for $4 m, and had it demolished so his kids could have a nice big play area.

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A really bizarre story, and the one I liked the most, was of a business tycoon who has a home here, and would take a short cut to the beach every morning through the grounds of an exclusive apartment block behind him. The residents objected to this, and when they complained about it, he showed them who was boss, by purchasing for cash, the most expensive condo in the building, and the only thing he kept there was his bathing suit.

All too soon, our two hour trip was almost over, as we passed through the second to last bridge. (What makes you think that our captain is a ‘Boston Red Sox’ supporter?)

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I hope you enjoyed coming along with me. Next time we’ll take the north-bound cruise.

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