Yellowstone Bison for B&W Tuesday

As it’s a rather monochrome day here in the Sunshine State of Florida, with lots of rain falling from moody grey skies, I decided that a “B&W Tuesday’ pic is very fitting.

Our memorable visit to Yellowstone National Park in 2010, gave me my first sighting of American Bison.


These wild and woolly animals standing up to six feet tall, and weighing as much as 2,000 lbs,  have populated the Yellowstone area since prehistoric times. If you are interested to read more facts about these amazing animals, just click here.



‘An odd couple of birds’ for Cee’s Oddball Challenge

I thought this pic would be just perfect for Cee’s Oddball Challenge. I can almost hear the Great Blue Heron asking this duck decoy, ” Your face looks so smooth and shiny! So tell me…….who is your plastic surgeon?”


To see more Oddball pics and join in Cee’s fun challenge, just click below.


A Profusion of Pink for Ed’s Challenge

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge is “Shallow depth of field.” Ed explained how to get this effect, but not being at all technically minded, I just did a bit of trial and error. More error than success. Don’t you just love my gorgeous pink orchid though?


To take part in Ed’s Sunday Stills Challenge, just click on the link.


Simple Beauty for ‘Floral Friday Fotos’.

Floral Friday Fotos gives us the opportunity to display our favourite flower pics. This beautiful waterlily was found nestling in my MiL’s pond in England. I couldn’t resist a photo.


To join in the challenge, just click on the badge.


I’m off to be ‘crowned’ by my dentist this morning. So looking forward to the ‘coronation’. 😕 Thanks so much for all your visits and comments this week. 🙂 Wishing you all a very happy weekend.

House renovation update and another neighbour.

Some of you are eager to know how the work on our ‘abandoned house’ is progressing. Hubby has been there almost every day, with his flask of coffee and cool box containing bottled spring water. I do allow him to pop home for lunch, and also to take time off to go to the gym. He’s really been working hard, and informs me that he’s lost 7 lbs since he started, which is not a bad thing.

Two huge dumpsters have been filled with all sorts of delightful stuff such as mouldy dry wall, floor tiles and rotten kitchen and bathroom units……oh yes, and a dead rat. (Sorry but I didn’t get a photo.) You may remember that most of the walls looked like this. The bees are now gone from inside the roof, which is a relief.


The ceilings needed a bit of work too.


Sixty seven sheets of dry wall were delivered last week, and they’re going up quite quickly.


How he manages to put up ceiling board on his own, is beyond me, but it can be done, and here’s the proof.


The walls are gradually getting closed up again.


Do you remember the old treadmill which had to be disposed of?


We put it out on the sidewalk for the heavy trash guys to take away, but before they came, it had disappeared. The next day, hubby was out in the garden and saw it hidden in the bushes on the next door property. The people were away on holiday at the time. Luckily it had gone before they came back.

This week, we put out an old iron bath.


Only two minutes later it had vanished into thin air, so hubby decided to put out the kitchen sink too, which also magically dematerialised in no time flat. The heavy trash guys hadn’t been, so we didn’t know who had taken them, until the next door neighbour appeared at the front door, wanting to know how this awful old bath and sink had got into his front yard. Apparently his gardener had seized the opportunity to grab our stuff, and had dumped it in the garden until his transport arrived. Luckily the neighbour has a good sense of humour.

We’ve been out looking at hardwood flooring and also tiles for the bathrooms, and have just received some really nice samples of flooring through the mail. Deciding which one to go for, is the most difficult part, as there are so many to choose from, but we’re almost there. This is going to be a long project, so don’t hold your breath to see the finished house. I’ll do some updates when there’s anything interesting to show you, but for now, it’s all pretty mundane stuff. We’ve ordered all new windows and sliding glass doors, which should be going in by January. Of course they all have to be double-glazed and hurricane proof, which makes them quite expensive, but “In for a penny, in for a pound” as the old saying goes, or maybe that should be “In for a cent, in for a dollar.”

Here’s another of our neighbours. We’ve been told that by December, there is usually a whole family of pelicans living in the tall trees just at the side of the lake. Oh bliss!


Meet some more members of my family.

As regular visitors to my blog may have noticed. I’m a very family orientated person, and love sharing news about them. I only have one sibling, and even though our personalities are very different, my sister and I are the best of friends. Yvonne has always been somewhat of an extrovert, and I remember her at a very young age, ‘playing the drums’ on our metal dustbin lid. Not a great hit with the neighbours, so her aspirations as a rock drummer died an early death. I was sent for piano lessons, whilst she had singing lessons, and soon she was winning first prize in all the local music festivals. I remember the two of us entering a talent competition at the beachfront, during one summer holiday. She won first prize with a stunning rendition of  the very moving religious Victorian ballad,’The Holy City’. Following that, in stark and comical contrast, the two of us had the audience in stitches, as we sang and enacted that old song, “There’s A Hole In My Bucket.” She was Henry and I was Liza, and we made some good pocket money out of that particular episode. She went on to study singing at college, and became an opera singer with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in London, supplementing her income with a bit of modelling and acting in her spare time. On the wall of her art studio, is a framed newspaper clipping from the 1970’s, when in a moment of zany madness, she posed for a well-known British tabloid, and earned herself the dubious reputation of being the D’Oyly Carte’s one and only ‘Page Three Girl’.


Our dad only found out about this because one of his colleagues brought it to work to show him. He was not amused, or so he said. 🙂 Freddy Lloyd O.B.E.,the General Manager of the D’Oyly Carte at the time, summoned Yvonne to his office, and she was sure that he was going to give her notice for bringing the opera company into disrepute, but fortunately for her, he had a great sense of humour, and suggested, tongue in cheek, that they might find a way of interpolating her scanty outfit into the last night of the London season. Sadly, the idea was dropped, but I’m sure she’d have been a hit with the opera goers.

About eight years ago, she and her friend decided to go for art lessons, just for something to do, and her art teacher has really brought out the artistic talent which had lain dormant within her, for more than fifty years. Now, she spends much of her time, happily painting a variety of subjects. She loves the African bush and enjoys painting the animals found there, especially leopards.


She also has a great talent for painting portraits of Southern African people.


She was commissioned to paint the late Nelson Mandela, and this painting now hangs in a South African museum dedicated to his memory.


After my sister had been painting for a while, she did some research into our family history, and discovered that our great, great uncle was non other than Jan Toorop, the first Dutch Symbolist Impressionist and Art Nouveau Painter, which might explain why she has such artistic talent. Some of you may remember my post about her paintings being exhibited in Moscow last year. Who would ever have imagined that something like this could happen at this stage in her life? If she hadn’t taken that first step, she’d still be thinking that she couldn’t paint or draw anything other than matchstick men. I wonder how many of us have hidden talents which will never be used. It’s certainly food for thought, isn’t it?

Yvonne has just started a blog on WordPress, and if you would like to see portraits which she has done of her family, including one our late father, just click here. Tell her I sent you; I know she’ll be delighted to meet you.

Safety in Numbers. Companions for Sue’s Word a Week Challenge

Our dear little ducks have been missing since we got back here to our home in Florida, and I was thinking that the alligator had perhaps eaten them all. At the weekend I was so happy when they decided to put in an appearance on the lake. The members of this little group, look very companionable, and the one bringing up the rear, seems to be on lookout duty. (Click on image to enlarge.)


I found some interesting info about ducks on this ‘PETA’ site, which says that ducks are very sociable and happiest when they’re in larger groups of other ducks. These groups are called ‘Paddlings’, which I think is rather cute. They swim around together in shallow water looking for food, and then snuggle up together with their fellow ‘paddlings’ at night.

To see more ‘companions’ for Sue’s challenge, just click here.