Above Machu Picchu for Ailsa’s Travel Theme.

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week, brought to mind the wonderful view from the top of Machu Picchu, the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, which I was privileged to visit in 2003.

(Click on photos for a larger, sharper view.)

This ancient Inca city, is believed by most archaeologists to have been built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-72). It had lain hidden amidst dense jungle-covered mountains until in 1911, when American historian Hiram Bingham, announced his discovery.


The well-preserved ruins overlooking the Vilcanata river valley, seem to almost cling to the steep hillside, and are surrounded by colossal green mountains. Even if you’ve seen photos of this wondrous structure, it doesn’t really prepare you for the breathtaking and awe-inspiring sight when you see it firsthand.


Of course, to see the amazing views from above, you have to actually get up there, and we were transported at speed along this narrow winding road with many hazardous hairpin bends. Meeting another vehicle head on seemed a very likely possibility, but the drivers were fortunately very experienced, and although my heart was in my mouth most of the way up and down, we made it safely.


To see more entries for Ailsa’s Theme, just click here.



So, how did Mr. A and friends, spend their ‘Thanksgiving’?

Yesterday we were intending to start our day with an 8am ‘Turkey Burnoff’ aerobics class at the gym, but because of having had our medical exam for our Green Card application on Wednesday, which included compulsory shots for ‘flu, pneumonia and tetanus, our arm muscles were so sore, that we decided to rather go for a walk in the Green Cay Wetlands which is just down the road. Many people had got the same idea, and the serious bird watchers were out in force equipped with humongous zoom lenses which any National Geographic photographer would be proud of.


Of course we were curious to know what all the excitement was about, and saw, way in the distance, a red-shouldered hawk, who seemed to be enjoying all the attention..


Our little Nikon zoom didn’t get such a great image, but last year, we were privileged to see a pair of these gorgeous birds up close, and they posed so nicely too.


Not nearly as rare or popular with the photographers, were the hoards of ducks who have arrived in Florida for the winter.


A little further on, we spied Mr A, sleeping his Thanksgiving Day away in the reeds.


He did have a contented smile on his face, so maybe he was having thankful daydreams.


A Wood Stork was keeping lookout from the top of a dead tree.


Mr Anhinga was also enjoying the morning sun from his favourite perch.


A pair of female Mottled Ducks were having a quiet snooze in the shade of the bridge,


as a Painted Turtle made it’s ponderous way through the reeds.


I was thrilled to see that Leo the Lion was still lurking along the boardwalk. I always look out for him, and say “Hi.”


The afternoon and evening were spent with good friends, shrimp starters, plenteous wine, delicious turkey dinner, followed by four different desserts, not least of which was my decadent chocolate pie, which went down very well.


I hope that your Thanksgiving was equally wonderful. Have a great weekend.








‘Around the World in Colour’ for Ailsa’s Travel Theme

Ailsa has requested an injection of colour to brighten up the “low light” winter landscape of the northern hemisphere. Let’s go travelling around the world with a few of my brightest photos, to cheer your Monday.

We’ll start off with the gaudy colours of a country market in Peru, on our way back to Cusco after seeing the wonders of Machu Picchu.


Such colourful wagon wheel artwork found in in Sarchi, Costa Rica, is bound to lift anyone’s spirits.


This lovingly cared for garden at Lanhydrock House in Cornwall,  was a real work of art.


A boatload of flowers at Polperro, a Cornish fishing village, where the roads were so narrow that cars were banned from them, really brightened up our long walk from the car park to the harbour.


In Singapore’s Little India, the Veeramakaliamman Hindu temple was painted in a great variety of colours.


Our hotel in Hawaii, had an exquisite Koi pond, which really shimmered with beautiful colours.


Two identically coloured parrots in the Cairns Kuranda Bird Sanctuary, must surely have been twins.


Feathers don’t come much brighter than this cute little Rainbow Lorikeet.


At the end of a relaxing day at the beach in Punta Cana, a little colourful exercise is a very bright way to whittle the waistline. 😉


I hope you’ve enjoyed my vibrantly coloured and cheerful images. Have a great week.

Click here to see more colourful entries for Ailsa’s Travel Theme.


B&W Sunday: One of the big cats for ‘Beauty in the Beast’

Here’s my entry for Paula’s Black and White Sunday Challenge. This week she suggests the theme, “Beauty in the Beast.”

This gorgeous Cheetah was just a few feet away, as we stopped in our open safari truck to admire her. She looked absolutely magnificent in her natural colours, but I think she looks pretty good in black and white too.


To join in Paula’s challenge, just click on the badge below.


Mr Anhinga agrees to a photo shoot

It’s another grey morning here in the ‘Sunshine State’, and this morning, Mr. Anhinga paid his usual visit to my back yard. “How about a photo shoot for my blog?” I asked. “Good idea” he said,  “but be sure to get my best side. I understand that ones left profile is more attractive than the right. So, how’s this?”


“Now be honest with me; is my right side better or worse?”


“Perhaps if I tuck my neck down a wee bit,  to show the softness of my throat feathers, and I’ll also shake out my wings just a little?”


“Now I think I should spread out my glossy black wings, and if we can get just some of that colour in your garden,  for a bit of a contrast.”


All the while this was going on, Mr. GBH stood like a statue, pretending that he hadn’t noticed that he wasn’t the subject of my photos today. ” See if I care!” he muttered with a bit of a sniff, as I disappeared back into the house to have my breakfast.


Have a wonderful Saturday.

‘T’ is for Tiramisu

Frizz is going through the alphabet, and this week his challenge has arrived at the letter ‘T’.

When Tiramisu features on the dessert menu, who can resist? Certainly not me.


To see other entries of this challenge, click on the badge.


Wishing you all a delicious weekend.

WPC ‘Achievement’: There’s a first time for everything.

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Achievement’ had me racking my brain for something really impressive to tell you all. I suppose there have been a few times in my life when I’ve had a sense of achievement, like the one time when I actually got up the courage to go water-skiing, even though I couldn’t swim and was absolutely terrified. I skidded along on my haunches most of the way, but at least I was able to cross it off my Bucket List. My little jaunt up into the air attached to a parasail in Phuket, some of you have seen before, but it does bear repeating here, as I will probably never do it again.


I have enjoyed doing gym for quite a few years now, and last week, signed up for the Sunday ‘Boot Camp’ class. I haven’t done such vigorous non-stop exercise for a couple of years, since hubby and I used to attend ‘Cruel Neil’s’ aerobics class at our gym in South Africa. I will never forget the agony, as we hapless victims bent, stretched, reached for the sky, touched toes, did countless push ups, tummy crunches, and weights, whilst Neil’s strident voice kept urging us to ‘Keep going, keep going. One more set…….five, four, three, two, one, relax,” but only for a split second, before we were on to the next tortuous exercise. This went on for a whole hour, and I would keep looking at the clock, thinking. “What am I doing here? Let me rather die NOW!”


Balancing stork-like on one leg and then the other for a minute each side, always signalled the blissful end of the hour of torture. I can still do this, which I suppose is quite an achievement for a granny. Shortly after joining our gym here in Florida, I was selected to be ‘Gym member of the month’, which I guess does count as an achievement. Although I was sweating streams by the end of the Boot Camp class, the female instructor wasn’t anywhere near as cruel as the dreaded Neil, so hubby and I are definitely going to become regulars there.


After showing you my sister’s fantastic painting achievements last week, I asked the question,” I wonder how many of us have hidden talents which will never be used? It’s certainly food for thought, isn’t it?” Well, I decided to ‘put my money where my mouth is’, and signed up for a weekly art class. My first lesson was yesterday. It took me ages to work up the courage to put the first splodge of paint on my pristine white canvas, but once I got going, I quite enjoyed myself. This is just the beginning, but in six weeks’ time, I’m hoping it will look presentable enough, at least to hang in my closet. I’m sure you’re not at all surprised that I chose to paint a lighthouse. 🙂


To see more entries for this challenge, just click on the badge.