Monthly Archives: January 2020

20200128 – Oh Joyous Day – BREXIT At Last


Tuesday

Up at 05:00 for a conference call. Back to doing some ARC management consultancy.

Kayaking around Pine Island.

Then it’s an early start over to Rolf’s to got kayaking. We’re off to Pine island where we meet up with a group of about 14 from the kayaking club. Off for a 2-hour kayak around the waterways of Pine Island. Gorgeous weather, friendly people and an awesome way to spend a morning. Then we all troop off to lunch at a local fish restaurant that you’d never come across by accident but it’s packed. Good food and I even have lunch of Clam Chowder but pass on one of the 12 varieties of pie.

Kathy.

Back home for afternoon tea around the pool and yet more of that damn Handmaids Tale. Try some white wine (Gewurztraminer) a tad sweet but very tasty. Yes, I’d drink it again. Then to finish off a Basil Hayden Caribbean reserve nightcap. I really must stop drinking, but roll into bed a happy chappy after a great day. Thanks to Gerry and Diane for linking up with Rolf and Kathy, yet more friendly Americans.

Wendy’s stroll.

But the highlight of the evening has to be the visit from two burly police officers, one of them built like the proverbial brick shithouse, and both armed to the teeth. They had an alarm activation. But the alarms not even on. The big guy checks. Yes, the alarms disabled. Meanwhile, the other guy asks if we can prove we’re legally resident as home exchangers. I browse my .pdf’s, in the meantime, they both take one look at these two geriatrics, one of whom is eating her dinner on her knee, both are suffering the torture of watching The Handmaids Tale. While Wendy points out “my son’s a detective”. Clearly, we’re no felons. They leave before it all get’s too complicated and Wendy bursts into a long-winded monologue.
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Now I know I’ve arrived when I see these – heavenly junk food. Didn’t realise you could get them in a supermarket. One of the benefits of shopping with Wendy.

White Castles


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Yes, he’s let the Chinese spy on us and pissed Trump off. Great way to get a good trade deal.


Wednesday

Fort Myers harbour.

Another sunny day. Lazy morning browsing the news fro The Times (depressing) and The Wall Street Joournal (hilarious, no doubt it would be depressing if I was an American).

Then we set off to drive down to Naples but decide it’s too far and we’ve been there before anyway. Instead settle on a visit to Fort Myers, never been there. Soon discover the historic district and the Centennial Park which is being dug up so parking is a nightmare.

Florida beach.

Have a wander around the historic district. As usual, not all that historic but try and find somewhere for lunch. Settle for a coffee for me and a subway for Wendy sat on a bench by the harbour.

Drive back through Cape Coral. Then the joy of another supermarket visit before home for afternoon tea. What an exciting life we lead.

Yeah, celebration all round as we watch the final episode of The Handmaids Tale.

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Mustang image to light the way to my rump hunter.

Finally got to the last episode of The Hand Maids Tale, huraah, it’s as slow as shit through a coffe filter paper. 36 fifty minute episodes, that’s 30 hours of our lives taken up by a series that could have been over quite effectively in 2 hours. Only to learn they’re doing a season 4. I thought we’d escaped the torture of that saga. I suppose we can always do the sensible thing and ignore it, really don’t think we can cope with any more of it, just a waste of our lives.

Here are some reviews:

“…often lapses into the realm of the deadly dull, making long and redundant loops around its original premise and revisiting already established resentments and animosities between characters.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale seems to be going too slowly, stretching out the story to fill the latest season.”


Thursday

Gasparilla Island lighthouse and Wendy.

Lazy mornig as usual then drive down to Bayshore Live Oak Park for a stroll along the water front and out onto the short piers.

Wendy chomps away on her lunch and then we set off to Gasparilla Island to visit the Boca Grande Lighthouse. Don’t ask me why. It just seemed like an interesting place to go. By the time we’ve paid a toll to cross the bridge and a parking fee this little jaunt has cost us $9. Was it worth it? Sort of, but you never know until you try.

Living Oaks park in Port Charlotte.

Then in the evening, we go out for dinner with our new found American friends Rolf and Kathy. Good food good wine and best of all good company. I try the shrimp and grits, actually taste pretty good but they have cheese in them.

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Friday

Wendy at living oaks park pier.

Lazy morning. Spend over an hour on the phone booking flights. What a nightmare. You think there’d be an AI solution to this.

Then it’s pickleball followed by the delights of a visit to the supermarket.

In the evening we celebrate BREXIT with the epitome of American junk food, 6 White Castles, for tea and a bottle of wine, white wine, I’m really getting into this white wine, followed by a quiet night in. Decide to watch the celebrations on BBC
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Oh Joyous Day (to quote from The Handmaids Tale) – BREXIT at last.

Remember this 3 years ago?

Then we had 3 years of treachery and incompetence, with the great and the good doing all they can to defeat the democratic will of the British people. Fortunately, a lot of those treacherous arseholes in parliament have now lost their seat, received their comeuppance for their arrogance and treachery.

But at last, we escape the Evil Union. Our 1776 moment. Now I can start to imagine how the founding fathers must have felt when they escaped.

All thanks to this guy, dedicated his life to escaping the Evil Union, and yet not a skerrick of recognition from our government. Thank you Nigel.


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20200124 – Lazy Days In Port Charlotte


Friday

Fishermen’s Village Punta Gorda.

Another lazy morning, coffee and newspapers around the pool. How civilised is that. I’m almost missing the cut and thrust of the daily BREXIT battles between the remoaners and brexiteers, bumping up against one another like angry molecules in a cloud of hatred.

Weathers just lovely today although a tad humid.

For excitement we toddle off down to Fishermens Village. A haven for geriatrics with too much time on their hands. A harbour with boats and pelicans, plenty of places to sit and watch the world and geriatrics shuffle by and of course the obligatory shops. Shops that emphasise the the difference between want and need. Selling everything from olive oils, balsamic vinegars, tat and cheap looking but expensive clothes. In other words stuff that no one needs but may be sad enough to want.

Harbour at Fishermens Village

Call in at ABC liquor store. A real luxury, nothing like this in Utah. They have not only Basil Haydens Dark Rye, luscious, but also the Caribbean Reserve Rye. Can’t resist trying this, a blend of rye whiskey’s and some rum. Also take the opportunity to buy some of the more exotic white wines on my list of wines to try.

It’s a tad too humid to do any walking and we save the excitement of a wildlife centre for another day – have to ration out the excitement.

Back for afternoon tea around the pool. No cake or cucumber sandwiches, sans crusts, I might add.

Evening has a bottle of Zinfandel – no help from Wendy – and my new whiskey, along with the excitement of the Handmaids Tale. Amazingly I stay awake, I think. Stagger to bed.
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Another warm sunny day. Getting real lazy now not up until 08:00.


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Another great pantomime along with 18 months of electioneering, will keep us entertained:


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Saturday

Lunch by the harbour in Sarasota.

There’s an early morning stream of stick people, look like they’ve escaped from one of Lowry’s paintings, shuffling down the road, with one or two walking sticks, no zimmer frames so far. It’s amazing that the ever present vultures aren’t circling around them in eager anticipation. At least they’re taking some exercise, the more mobile of them I probably encounter at geriatric tennis, AKA pickleball.

Last night’s Hand Maids tale set new records, slower than a pregnant nun going to confession, with virtually a whole episode needed to cover a birth of a baby, followed by another episode on milking, breast pumps and baby feeding. I really don’t know why we continue, it’s not as if there’s any exciting sex. What sex scenes there are so damn slow it puts you into a coma well before orgasm.

Gay pride market in Sarasota.

Another gorgeous sunny day. Lazy morning round the pool with coffee and dull words and pictures that passes for news these days.

Then we’re off for some cultural. Drive up to Sarasota for a trip to the theatre. It’s a 50 minute drive, nothing to us American clones, getting into the American way. Have a wander around Sarasota. There’s a local market on to keep Wendy happy; picnic by the harbour watching the pelicans majestically dive bomb for they fish dinner; then we stumble across a gay pride market and sing along, free condoms, free HIV and STD tests. Yes I went to a gay, Lesbian, 52 sexual orientation jamboree. All very colourful, some really freaky clothes and body adornments. Then we stumble across a shop selling CBD so I have to investigate, is this marijuana? No it’s some 0.1% derivative.

Fancy a free HIV or STD test?

The play is the “American Son” come from broadway, can’t imagine it lasted long there. It was ok, actors seemed a bit wooden. I think I’m being spoilt by professionalism and glamour of TV, Netflix and films, might give up on live theatre. But why is it that every time we go to see a play in America it’s about blacks, how they’re treated and racial tension. Has the country not got over it and moved on? It would seem not.

Theatre to see “American Son”.

Every time we’ve been to Sarasota we’ve always come across the Amish. Must be a settlement nearby. Makes me wonder how they get into town, don’t see any hitching posts for horse. As we drive home my curiosity is finally answered, there they are riding along the pavement (sidewalk for my American friends) on bicycles. I’ll sleep a lot better now I know the answer to that.

Just love Sarasota. So civilised, so much going on and such pleasant city to stroll around.

Call in for a Subway on the way home. An Italian classic with lashing of jalapeños, I’ll regret it tomorrow but they’re always amazing.

More Handmaids Tale. I really do want to give this up but thankfully we’re into the final season 3 now. Let’s hope they don’t bring out another season.
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The joy of sitting, in the warm sun, on a park bench in Sarasota harbour watching the World go by and best of all the Pelicans dive bomb for their dinner. Amazing.


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WOKE. What is it with this damn word. It seems like every PC snowflake of a wordsmith in the press and on TV has suddenly discovered it and now receives a commission on how many times they can use it.

I blame the Meghan saga. Prior to this first world fiasco I’d never heard of it. Anyway for the avoidance of doubt and to add my voice to the cacophony of absurdity here’s a definition:

WOKE – “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”


Sunday

New found American friends.

Lazy morning and after lunch we go to meet a couple of friends of Jerry and Diane at the Village Brewhouse. Long story short. Get a call from an unknown Rolf, don’t know him from Adam; Friends of J & D who has told them we’re in Port Charlotte; ringing to offer to meet up and then take us kayaking. Typically friendly Americans. Can you imagine a Brit doing that. And then people ask us why we spend so much time over here.

Have a pleasant boozy afternoon with our new found friends and two of their friends. Off kayaking with them tomorrow.

Quiet evening in yet again watch that damn series. It’s mind numbingly slower than molasses on a cold day.

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Monday

Wendy at Peace River.

Up and out for geriatric tennis (AKA pickle ball). More knee braces and other sign of geriatrics than there are good bacteria in a healthy gut. Two good games but it’s very busy and there’s a lot of waiting around.

Driving around and nearly every other building and business is associated with medicine and health care. Not surprising when you consider the average age of the decomposing geriatrics around here. Never seen so many grown ups riding tricycles.

After Wendy’s lunch we drive down to Peace River Wildlife Centre, a bird rescue centre. Interesting birds and talk from a docent, all free. Then we have a wander around the mangrove swamp.

Heron taking flight.

Next stop is the Port Charlotte Harbor State Park. Sadly the welcome centres closed but we take a circular stroll the 3 Lakes loop. Meant to be 1.3 miles but Wendy was convinced it was longer. A constant silent “are we there yet”. Sadly don’t see much wildlife, despite the warnings of don’t approach or feed the alligators. A $500 fine for feeding them. I wonder if one bites you then they fine you $500 for feeding it? Finally get to see a small gator, only about 3 foot, a baby.

Peace River Wildlife Centre.

To top off the day there’s a ‘pubics’ on the way back, more Wendy’s idea of a stroll on the wild side. Oh well yet another merchandising escapade – how lucky can I get.

Get back home and to a police presence of 4 patrol cars, police and a tracker dog. Looks like some baddy has taken flight and they’re trying to find him. Is this a dodgy area.
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I know I persecute the geriatrics, but don’t forget I’m one and every time I go to play pickle ball I count myself so lucky to still have my health and be fit enough to play. So many people our age just aren’t healthy or fit enough to play. Currently Wendy’s one of them as she’s suffering with her back.

A real pity because it’s an awesome game for people our age.


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Let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with Muslims. I have a problem with their book, the quran, and it’s vile ideology.

Opinion piece here on “Political correctness shuts down any reasonable critiques of Islam” is worth a read – https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/political-correctness-shuts-down-any-reasonable-critiques-of-islam

If we want to fight Islamic Terrorism, let’s talk about it and damn the PC snowflakes who are attacking our free speech. Let’s lend an ear and platform to those brave moderate muslim who are trying to reform islam from within.


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And still the impeachment pantomime trundles on.

20200120 – Port Charlotte


Monday

Just relaxing!

Up at the crack our sparrows to beat the Manchester traffic; taxi to airport; amazing we manage to get into the escape lounge – priority pass is a rip off.

Excellent virgin flight to Orlando. Plenty off free booze; comfortable; food was even quite good. Premium economy is worth the extra.

Arrive on time. Customs was quick and unnervingly friendly. Just had to wait 30 minutes for pick up to hotel. Hotel was ok – see rant / review. Early to breed.

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Moe of the Harry & Meghan saga. Who gives a damn.


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By what stretch of anyones imagination does this count as news:

“Melania Trump’s Heeled Boots Sink Into White House Grass On Way To College Football Game.”

What has the media come too, can’t they at least generate some false news rather than this puerile horse shit.


Tuesday

One bad ass mean growling machine.

As usual first day up with the larks for typical hotel breakfast. For once I pass on the waffles. Well the whole of Florida seems to be in a corybantic tis was because there’s a cold front coming and it may get to freezing overnight. Bloody hell they should come and live in Belthorn. Meanwhile the rest of America has a new pantomime to watch with the senate impeachment trial. And I thought out politics was crazy!

Then get the shuttle back to hertz at the airport. There’s a whole row of President circle free upgrades. Some really tasty motors but hidden at the far end is a Ford Mustang convertible all 5 Litre, 460 HP and a top speed off 155MPH. I’m in love with it but Wendy doesn’t look to impressed. Chose the free upgrade to this bad ass. It’s got more knobs, driving modes, gizmos and switches than the flight deck of a jumbo.

Our new home exchange pool.

A classic rumpo hunter (if you don’t know what one is get some one over 60 to explain it to you), I’m in my second adolescence. Happier than a nerd with a Raspberry Pi.

The accelerator is scary, just the slightest touch and your arse ends up in the boot. Haven’t dare put it into one of the many sport modes, YET. Best of all though is the throaty roar of the four giant exhausts, not 2 but 4, time to get my own back on those young scrots with their noisy Fiat 500’s.

Happy days here in Florida.

Lounge.

Then is off down to port Charlotte, just a 2.5 hour drive. Religiously stick to the speed limit s as I’m sure this car is a cop magnate. Good job as we see more motorists pulled over than there are dandruff ridden tea towels in Afghanistan.

Our new home exchange for the next 10 days is very homely, spotlessly clean and looks like a loved in home, not like your typical clinical rental. With 230MB of Wi-fi I don’t think we’ll ever leave. It’s 3 bedroom but not massive like most American homes, just right for the two of us and even has a swimming pool, a couple of kayaks (Wendy’s orgasmic about that) and two bike that look like they last time they had rubber to the road was world war 2.

Dining kitchen.

As a special treat for Wendy we go to Publix supermarket. Sadly I have to push the trolley to avoid her back playing up anymore. Now I know what purgatory must be like – I promise I’ll be good from now on.

Treat ourselves to sushi for tea (dinner for you southern softies). Then settle down to watch some more if the Hand Maids Tale, it’s slower than a herd of turtles stampedin’ through peanut butter. No alcohol today after the excesses off yesterday’s flight.

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Beware of falling frozen Iguana’s.

Looks like I’d better to check my travel insurance to see if we’re covered for being hit on the head by frozen Iguanas falling out the trees because of the cold. No weasel word to exclude that.

Beware Authorities in Florida have warned residents to watch out for a strange phenomenon during the unusual cold weather – iguanas falling from trees.


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Master bedroom.

A city in northern Wisconsin will hold a vote today on whether to overturn a law banning snowball fights.

The snowball ban has been on the books since 1962 in the city of Wausau, where flinging packed handfuls of snow is outlawed alongside the shooting of arrows into buildings and the hurling of projectiles across pavements, playgrounds and other public places.

The city’s police department explained they did not seek to arrest consenting adults who have snowball fights.

Futtocking arse-mungels, these SNOWFLAKES know no borders.


Wednesday

By the pool.

Up early again because we can’t sleep, still on UK time but getting better.

Usual breakfast of granola and fruit. Amazing two packets of cereal for the price of one.

Unpack and lounge around most of the morning.

Call in a Winne Dixie supermarket, wow a much better choice. I’m becoming quite an authority on shopping.

Lunch time we drive down to Punta Gorda to explore pickle ball opportunities. Looks like there’s a great drop in with 4 courts and only $3, but oh so busy.

Not a good idea to swim then!

Doesn’t seem much around Punta Gorda so it’s back home for Wendy’s lunch – needs her sustenance otherwise she gets so hungry she’d eat the balls off a low flying duck!

Then we set off for a short walk to the local park. At least here we don’t get socked wet through or have to battle against a howling gale.

Evening see’s us trying to keep awake through the fast paced Handmaids Tale. Not help by having drunk a bottle of Chardonnay between us. Yes Wendy’s trying wine and I’m starting to widen my horizons and exploring white wine. So far so good.

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At last. Will the removers now accept it and get behind it. I doubt it.


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Just after a time of year when Christians throughout the World were celebrating Christmas, it may also be worth reflecting on what is happening to freedom of religion and how many Christians are being slaughtered.

A quote from the Times sums it all up “A review led by Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro, and commissioned by Jeremy Hunt when he was foreign secretary, concluded this year that the persecution of Christians is at near-genocide levels in some parts of the world.

It is an under-reported crime.”

Near genocide level and yet no one, including moderate muslims, dare talk about the elephant in the room “Islam” for fear of persecution or being called racist. It really is about time we started talking and doing something about it.

Remember “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/the-times-view-on-the-preservation-of-religious-freedom-faith-under-fire-3grrl20rd?fbclid=IwAR0TVYyl4LpGgSwyHMpBneWkEwosyYxrrHMJN0PBqGhZjFmBuY8D1BcC7M0


Thursday

Wendy chases Victor. Victo wins.

Yet another lazy morning but at least staying asleep longer. Who knows we may even stay up until Noddies gone past Big Ears tonight – 22:00 for those of you who never had a Noddy watch or don’t have a clue what it means.

It’s a warm sun and cloud day, mainly sun and 75 degrees. Get to spend sometime sat out around the pool.

Have to pop down to Pubix for tonights tea.

Then after Wendy’s lunch I head off to pickle ball and Wendy goes for a stroll. Pickleball is busier than ants at a picnic. They’ve 4 courts but could do with 10, so only manage to get 5 games in during a 2 hour session, but every ones friendly enough.

More Hand Maids Tale and as it’s a non alcohol day we may even manage to stay awake.

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Another American political pantomime keeping us entertained. If only the senators can stay awake.


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The snowflakes are at it again. This time they want to ban chlorinated chicken for the USA under any new trade deal and yet:-

The canal at the bottom of our garden. Can’t wait to launch the kayak.


As long ago as 2005 the EU’s own Food Safety Authority said: “Exposure to chlorite residues arising from treated poultry carcasses would be of no safety concern.” In his pamphlet Fertile Ground, published by the Institute for Economic Affairs, Shanker Singham points out: “The [European] Commission even submitted a proposal in 2008 to relax EU rules on PRTs. The effort, however, was struck down by member states with all except the UK voting against.”

So here’s the situation: when we were committed to remaining in the EU, our government wanted to accept so-called chlorinated chicken, but now we are leaving, supposedly to escape from the suffocating embrace of anti-competitive, one-size-fits-all regulation from Brussels, our government is determined to remain subject to it. There’s not even method in this madness.

It’s not as if we have the slightest right to lecture America on food safety. According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, US citizens eat more than twice as much poultry per capita as Europeans, but instances of food poisoning by salmonella and campylobacter per 100,000 population are 20.4 and 66.3 in the EU and only 15.45 and 13.45 in the US. And the 2019 figures for global food quality and safety (as measured by the Economist Intelligence Unit annual survey) have America in fourth place, behind only Finland, Norway and Sweden. The UK is in 18th place.

Ollies pond, the in place to swim with gators.

In fact, our own broiler chickens — like those in America — will find more space in an oven than they ever did alive.

In short, there are no morally consistent animal welfare grounds on which to reject mass-produced American poultry, unless we were to demand our own industry move exclusively to free range. But only 3% of chicken bought in UK supermarkets is free range — showing the vast majority of Britons are captivated not by the thought of their dinner having had freedom to roam while alive, but by the fact they can buy a whole chicken, and thus feed their family, for £3 or so.

Besides, why can’t the British consumer be given the choice? Let him or her buy American chicken, labelled as such,