So, yesterday. I’m still sick and don’t feel one bit better; maybe worse! Mikey goes off to town to find me some lasagna noodles (yeah, I know…I went to Costco and didn’t get enough noodles???); I was one box short. In my defence, the packaging is a different size here in the good ol’ U. S. of A. I head into the bath, as it’s the one place that ALWAYS makes me feel better and it didn’t disappoint. While I’m in there soaking my bones, Mikey returns and announces he’s home. I tell him it’s ok for him to come into the bathroom while I’m taking a bath…we’re married now. And what to my wondrous eyes should appear; but a single long stem rose in the hand of my love. I know, right? Melt your heart – that’s what he does to me. Then he tells me this story:-
Nice Store Clerk Lady – “A Rose. How Nice”.
Mikey – “It’s for my wife. She’s not feeling well”
Nice store Clerk Lady – “What a lovely thing to do”
Mikey – “Yes, I gave it to her – the germ”
Nice Store Clerk Lady – “Good call”
Although anxiously awaiting our Furever Friends Phil & Christine and their pup, Olive, to arrive and greet them at our (pretty much nightly event) “Wine O’clock”, I thought better of spreading my germs, so sent Mikey to the meet and greet.
Fast forward to today and I’m feeling better and can’t wait to see my buddies again! We all met at our very most favourite spot…The Beach!!
Well, it’s almost time for our Furever Friends Reunion Dinner! We’re expecting our last arrivals, Pete & Catherine, along with their furbabies, River, Echo and Tonka!
After noodling around the town, we headed back for a quiet afternoon awaiting George & Brenda to arrive and take us to dinner and then to meet their family. Brenda and George are loooooooong time friends of Mike’s…..Here’s a shot of Brenda and Mike way back when:-
George and Brenda took us to one of their favorite places to dine, The Thames Court and it was magnificent! Lots of charm and culture – cozy and amazing food. (we refrained from the fish & chips as we had them for lunch!) Although it was dark outside, you still knew the River Thames was across the small road in plain view. What a lovely setting.
We also had a “trainee” waitress that was about 5 years old that did a wonderful job. She was overjoyed to get a “tip” from us for a job well done! The conversation consisted of a lot of reminiscing of old times, which was very interesting to hear how George and Brenda met Mike (through an old flame!) Thank you Brenda & George again for the lovely meal!
Now off to meet the rest of the family at their lovely home. The home reminded me of a warm, English cottage that you read about in those romantic novels…with the fireplace and the large planked wood floors. It was complemented by a huge garden out back. I wish I had taken some shots of it, as it was done up so nice. It was large and many different areas to sit and enjoy the fish pond as well as, numerous beautiful English gardens.
The Branton family was so warm and friendly. The grandchildren were there and it was a perfect evening and ending to our day.
MIKE’S ACTUAL BIRTHDAY WITH A PUB CRAWL & A SURPRISE DINNER THEATRE DOWNTOWN LONDON – FAWLTY TOWERS!
In keeping with 2019 – everyone on the train is on their phones…well, except Sandra and I! I guess I can’t say that, as I was taking the photos…on my phone!
Our first stop in London is The Nell GWYNNE. A quaint pub that was so small you had to go outside to change your mind. That only added to the ambiance of the charming London pub. Just don’t go to the bathroom if you’ve had too many pints, as when you fall down the steep stairs, you’ll land right in the ladies toilet!
Then off to our next stop –
Next up – The Old Crown Public House!
Well, they’re all looking like the cat that swallowed the canary. They kept our next stop, “the” birthday dinner, a surprise. It wasn’t until we walked into this grand hotel that we saw the Fawlty Towers billboard!
What a perfect surprise for Mike’s actual birthday! My cheeks hurt so bad from laughing all night long…and the food was also excellent. Thank you Rob & Sandra for an amazing surprise birthday dinner!
Another couple of days in England, spent with family and friends – done and dusted.
We’re off! Well, let’s back up a moment……We were trying to get to the airport for our 6:30pm flight when “Durham’s Finest” (and I mean that in the utmost respect) pulled us over on the 115 Hwy, right where the speed limit changes from 100 to 90 kms. Caught us going 120 in a 90 – GULP, but reduced it down to 104 in a 90 and saved us the demerit points and a lot of $$. Not a great start, but we tucked that behind us and “kept calm and carried on”..
After a great flight (Thank you British Airways!) and upon our 6:30am arrival London time ( 1:30am “our” Toronto time) we gave into a quick two hour nap. Our gracious hosts, Rob (Mike’s brother) and Sandra (Sis-In-Law) live in Egham, just outside of Staines-On-The-Thames. We decided to stretch our legs and went off on a 5 mile dog walk..(and no, I’m not complaining!) with Rob and his two white Alsatians (German Shepherds), Rocky and Barney, who would scare the poop out of you if you arrived unannounced. Good thing they can smell good “dog” people; luckily we were pardoned.
Later that evening, we headed to the High Street in Staines-On-The-Thames anxious for a pub dinner and at Sandra’s recommendation, arrived at Nostrano’s Lounge (https://thelounges.co.uk/nostrano/). Although the food was excellent, they already had me at “Dog Friendly”
Our first full day starts with a walk to Staines train station, where we come upon a sculpture called “The Five Swimmers” built by British artist David Wynne in 1980. It’s located in the Memorial Gardens in Staines-On-The-Thames. It was vandalized and repaired after one of the five swimmers was ripped off. Who does that? Happy to see it back together and beautiful as ever.
Another awesome monument is The Swan Master
The crown still carries on with an annual ceremony it started 800 years ago; Swan Upping. Every July, the Swan Master and his team of Swan Uppers row along the Thames for five whole days. When they see a brood of cygnets, they stop to count and measure them. It’s a way of monitoring the mute swan population. A cygnet census. Maybe once upon a time the census was carried out so the king would know how many swans he could have for his dinner. But now, it provides a good opportunity to give the swans a health check.
On the High Street in Staines, there is a very cool monument depicting men who worked on the “Lino”.
After arriving in Waterloo “Tube” Station, we decided to grab a quick bite and a coffee. We hadn’t as yet had our morning coffee, so we were anxious to have some java! “Coffee, please…cream, no sugar”…um, that didn’t happen as apparently the shop keeper had decided that “cream” was unhealthy and they only served “healthy” food and drink there. For me, it’s one or the other….”Coffee, please – black”. Off to the British Museum!
So, this is my first visit to the museum; Mike’s original visit was years ago and like most things London, it’s presence is over the top! AND IT’S FREE! Now I could add about a bazillion pictures here, but I’ll limit it to the really interesting one’s…hang on…that won’t work, so I’ll limit them to the most famous ones….gawd, as most of you know, I’m not good at culling.
One of the most famous attractions is the Rosetta Stone .
And the Portland Vase, which was the inspiration for Wedge-wood China
Of course, a museum isn’t a museum without mummies….
And then there’s the Elgin Marbles, (which by the way, the Greek want back. They are safe here in the British Museum, where hopefully they will stay!
Now off to my favorite…..Central London!
I love London. I’m obsessed with London. Especially Big Ben. And poor Ben is under major renovation! Well, all but the actual clock on one side, so we’ll take that. What I recently found out is “Big Ben” is actually the nickname for the BELL and not the clock. Oh well, the whole package of that historical Tower is breathtaking, even all bandaged up.
The majestic, beautiful Westminster Abbey is our next stop. One important caveat here is that Mike actually sang in the Abbey, as well as, St. Paul’s Cathedral as a choir boy in his youth! How awesome is that?!
Now off to Westminster Bridge to shoot the London Eye!
On the other side of the Bridge, close to the Eye, we drop into a Chippy for a pint. Well no pints here, just bottles, so we had a couple. AND, we refrained from the fish & chips (although to fragrance was almost too much to bear) as we were headed next to meet Rosie, our Niece for dinner at the Duke of Sussex Pub! (http://Duke of Sussex Pub)
Hey Peeps! It’s been a while since I blogged. Here’s one of the reasons….You can’t just un-see the unbelievable disaster that is now Mexico Beach, once a prime tourist spot for us Snowbirds to get away from the cold and enjoy a little bit of paradise.
My husband Mike and I went to photograph the devastation there in order to continue to get the word out. We were hesitant at first, as we did not want to disrespect the suffering people of Mexico Beach. However, we do not want to become oblivious to the despair just North West of us. It’s gobsmacking awful to see. It is vast. It is sad. It is mean. It’s simply difficult to process. I’m trying to figure out what my message is here.
….So. I’ll do my best. And you tell me what the message is. Is it “C’mon folks who have plenty; share the wealth”? Or, is it “Boots on the ground, folks-let’s help re-build”? Or is it all of the above and more?
Here’s what I do know. The people that remain there, who are not part of the affluent who may have left and sold to developers, are in need. Members of Facebook pages are pleading for enough gas money to get to work. Mothers are asking for diapers for their babies. Parents are asking for clothing for their children. I read about one individual who told a story of driving a single mother of two small children to the “Group Home For Children”, as she did not have enough food and shelter for her babies. She writes that “they all cried on the way to the shelter” and once they arrived, this sweet soul could not bear to watch the gut wrenching emotional good-bye. She packed all three up and took them to her home that she already shares with three other homeless families.
I will never be able to “un-see” the rubble that once was a home that perhaps a baby was brought home in; that Sunday dinners were once cooked in; that holidays were celebrated – that are no more……
The well-to-do have already moved on. Sold their lots. Settled with their Insurers…But what about the ordinary people? The locals who have lived in Mexico Beach all their lives; who need the tourists to make a living; who want nothing more than their beloved town back. What about them? What is being done? Here is a link to a great article forwarded to me by one of my furever friends:-
The landscape is different now and will take years to become what was once the beauty of this sweet little vacation town in which the locals were able to raise their families, find jobs and thrive….
While Mexico Beach fared the worse by far, our little town of Port St. Joe was also hit by this terrible storm.
So here’s my message…For the people of this “Forgotten Coast” who have now slid off the grid, all the while we, here at The Cape, watch our beloved ‘dunes” be reconstructed. Please remember, 20.1 miles away, the residence of Mexico Beach are wondering where their next meal will come from. C’mon friends, Snowbirds and Residents – dig deep…and “give a little bit” of your time and/or wallet to those in need.
Please click on the below video, which provides in detail, the needs of Mexico Beach.
Please be diligent as to where you donate to ensure all your hard earned dollars go directly to relief.
What’s so weird about Christmas in January? Not a thing. Each year, we celebrate Christmas dinner with our Furever Friends here at The Cape! It’s the full monty, people! Turkey (a 17lb turkey here in the Panhandle is just over $12.00 U.S.!!), stuffing, sweet potato, parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts (Jann says, “YUK”), roast potato, Yorkshires (Jann says “YUM”), gravy, not to forget the yummy appetizers and Pecan pie for desert!…..And I wonder why my shorts are getting snug!
Three things I’m grateful for today:-
I’m grateful that I have friends here that are as “off beat” as I am – e.g., Christmas In January!
I’m grateful that Catherine captured the Blood Moon tonight!
I’m grateful that my sweet husband, Mikey and our bestie, Trevor, are shopping at Walmart to gather needed items for the people with homes destroyed and left with virtually nothing (Hello FEMA WHERE ARE YOU?) Our amazing Furever Friends all contributed to this special cause. Mike and Trev will drop off the goods in Mexico Beach today.
Yay! Apalachicola Oysterfest is here! But, the day is suppose to be cloudy with thunderstorms. So, we decide we’ll get over to the Oysterfest BEFORE the rain is to start, around 2pm.
Off we all go, with the exception of two of our pack, as one is under the weather 😦
I didn’t bring along my camera, as I had loads of pics from last year, so I’ll add a couple here….
That was last year. This year, although it was suppose to be a cloudy, rainy day, the sun came out and we indulged in Oysters and Oyster Stew…YUM!! Then it was time to go shopping, so Mikey and Trevor headed over to their favourite drinking spot with the pups…Oyster City Brewing Company. It’s an amazing place to have a pint and bring your pups. We end up meeting the rest of our gang there, who are also enjoying a brew. AND, dum..ta…da…dum….We find out it is Pete and Catherine’s 17th wedding anniversary! Wonderful? Yes! But not for PETE! Oh no… He forgot the day..got it mixed up actually and man did he have a lot of “suckin’ up to do”. So, we’re all sitting there – brewski’s all around (well except for Suz and I as one of us will no doubt be driving our men home!)
So Catherine, what are you looking at off in the distance?
Lookie what she got!
Pete, please put this date in your diary for next year! JANUARY 19! K? HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO YOU BOTH!
Before I forget, here are the three things I’m grateful for:
I’m grateful the weather held and we were able to enjoy an amazing day at the Apalachicola’s Oyster Fest again this year
I’m grateful the most amazing and dog friendly town that Apalachicola brings
I’m grateful the “Tornado Watch” didn’t turn into a “Tornado Warning” last night, although many of us didn’t get much sleep listening to the winds!
Are these blogs becoming boring, mo·not·o·nous (I had to look up the spelling) and uninteresting? Well, here it is. Some days, that is my life – therefore, although I’ll keep on going with the 21 Days of Grateful, it just may not be consecutive days. I mean after all, a gal needs some downtime!
We did have the very first Furever Friends movie night of 2019. We watched “The Green Book” Check out the trailer here. If you haven’t seen this movie, It’s worth a watch. I’d give it a 5 star! It’s nominated for best picture and although I haven’t seen any others (yet), so far this is my front runner. Oh please, “Academy” don’t do what you did last year and vote another “fish” movie as winner!
Mikey preparing the couch covers for our furry “guests”
Catherine and River
OKAY, we’ve got our wine..let the movie roll!
Jann trying to make herself look small so she doesn’t get run over by the pups…..again!
Just a little “Magic” for Christine
OOOOPS, someone is trying to take the shortcut!
Phil with his Boston Bruins jersey, hoping for a win tonight!
Red Rover, Red Rover, Let Tonka Come Over??? Hang on there, Christine!
What’s a good movie night without the pups? (missing, Journey & Clover..Tonka is here somewhere!)
Brody and Tam Tam having their daily wrestle
Our sweet Nancy
Fast forward to today, a VERY SPECIAL day, as it’s our granddaughter, Hannah’s 7th birthday! What a joy this little girl is. She is Smart, Sweet & Sassy…oh yeah! Love you Hannah Banana to the moon and back!
Grampa’s girl. We both had the honour of attending the birth of Hannah Elisabeth Eden Robertson
So yesterday was a bit of a quiet day. Mikey went off to golf for the day, so Brody and I hung out. After a good soak in the tub, we headed out for a walk. Down to the beach, nothing happening there (and it’s still a little on the chilly side; sun or no sun) so we headed out through the Barrier Dune’s gates (that are now working since Michael tore them off!) and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but two BEAUTIFUL bald eagles, flying in synchronized wonder. Did I have my camera? Noooooo…but the iphone was in my pocket and was better than nothing. Now in defense of the iPhone’s camera, these birds were pretty far away!
I bump into Catherine, who is returning from a long bike ride and excitedly tell her about the Eagles. Catherine and I spent hours on a beach last year, close to our favorite Indian Pass Raw Bar, on our bellies waiting for a majestic Eagle to lite. (see below)
As we’re talking, she looks up and there they are! So beautiful. Flying together and enjoying the sunshine. We start to walk back, chatting about how cool it was to see the Eagles, and we see Jann and Nancy sitting outside reading with their pups. We go and tell them about the Eagles….And they appear again. After watching them for about 20 minutes, Jann insists that I run home and get my camera. I have never seen two eagles flying together…Usually just one, so I looked up the mean of two eagles flying together and this is what Google found:
Hello! Two eagles flying over your house is a good sign indeed! Native Americans use signs from Nature for guidance and direction from the Great Spirit. Eagle as a “power animal” or “Totem animal” is significant in its spiritual meaning. You can google “totem animals” and get some really great information or go to the library and check out books on totem animals or power animals as described by Native American authors. An example of eagle as power animal would be: Exerpted from Sayahda.com: Sacred Messenger carrying prayers to Creator and returning with visions and gifts for the people. Eagle feathers are sacred to the native Americans as their energy brings in spirit for healing. Gift of clarity and inner vision to use for the good of all people to bring light out of darkness.
On the way back, toting my camera, our friend the Blue Heron, who has a name which escapes me (if you know it, kindly let me know!) was waiting for his photo shoot, so I complied…
Unfortunately, when I finally got back to Jann and Nancy’s the “eagles had landed”….No worries, I’m sure to see them again and this time hopefully packing my camera!
Here’s shot from the top porch (one of many, many porches they have! I actually got LOST trying to find my way up to the top floor..that’s how large this house is!) capturing the lighthouse from Port St. Joe. See it waaaaaayyyy of in the distance between the branches? Oh, if only I had a 400 lens…ahem.
The day ended with Catherine and Pete coming over, as they were having trouble with their internet. Catherine is an amazing photographer and a dog trainer! So to my delight, she worked with Brody and I so that he may eventually learn not to hoover everything off the beach. My day didn’t start so well and I ended our beach walk early due to frustration! So Thank You, Catherine, for your help!
My three grateful’s today are:
I’m so grateful to be able to watch the beauty of the Eagles
I’m grateful that after a frustrating walk first thing in the morning, I was able to turn around my day into a positive one
I’m so grateful to Catherine for coming to my aid and helping me to understand “dog speak” so Brody and I can enjoy our beach walks once again