Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Farewell Blustery Beach

Dateline: Golden Beach, Venice, Florida (but sadly not for long)

On Easter weekend the surf was up and the beach was blustery.

 The clouds scudded

And the sea churned

 An ominous grey colour. A couple appeared, hopefully, with rolled up towels but soon changed their minds. It wasn't a day for swimming.

The tide was rushing and roiling, devouring half the beach. A buffeted great egret flew overhead. Still it hasn't made it easier to say goodbye as the blog heads north on another road trip. As always, who knows what the next few days will bring.
See you in a week or so, in very different spring surroundings. Until then, watch this space...

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Look Who's Here!


Frankie Comes Through for Easter

I had been on tenterhooks. Would Frankie the Frangipani flower before I left?  A few weeks ago, things started getting hopeful.

 Slowly, slowly I was seeing some progress.

And then just in time ..

The blooms sprouted as if by magic from what in the winter looked like dead deer antlers. Another of Nature's Easter messages. They are so exotic it's ridiculous, the waxy blooms that make up those Hawaian garlands and grace the ears of countless B movie stars. To top it all, they're suffused with a heady, almost artificial perfume that would belong at the Walmart cheap air freshener counter if it didn't come straight from the flower and thus be, well, just glorious.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 20, 2019


As I was driving along, I saw something dangling from the car roof over the windscreen. A leaf? No, when I got home I observed it was more like a mangetout with legs.

A big mangetout

It seems he dropped, whether by accident or design,  out of the tree outside the Lutheran church hall where I'd parked for my French conversation group and then clung on for dear life. Luckily I had the soft top on.  Perhaps he was a Brexiteer.  He must have had an exciting journey. Anyway I transferred him to the hedge and hoped he'd find his new home congenial.

He blended in pretty well. Isn't nature wonderful! So is Google. I put in "Florida large green insect" and got a swift answer.  I believe my friend was a Katydid. What Katy Did - one of my favourite children's books. Funny how life catches up with you.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Lady of the Beach

Dateline: Golden beach, Venice, Florida

   It is a truth universally acknowledged (ugh, what a cliche..) that dogs are not allowed on the beach.

I have many friends with delightful dogs who would love to take them for a little paddle but they're law-abiding citizens and know that, in a town where you can't turn a street corner without bumping into someone walking a dog, universal permission for pooches on the beach would lead to mayhem. And there is, by the way, a dog beach. Not every dog's cup of tea perhaps but it's there, if they're desperate.

  Well, not quite universally acknowledged. The other afternoon, I was sitting on the beach reading my book when I perceived a vision looming up out of the haze. There, along the seashore, in skimpy bikini and Florida tan, strode a lithe lady of a certain age walking a small dog. No, actually, not walking the dog. The dog was loose and running around and eyeing my chair  with an ominous interest. I asked the apparition, "Excuse me, are you aware that dogs are not allowed on the beach?"
  "Yes", she smiled. And happily continued on her way.  I muttered something about, "Rules are for everyone you know", and cast exasperated looks at the other people along the beach who turned a blind eye as the Lady sashayed past. Just like the London Underground.
  I mentioned it to my neighbours later and was depressed at their response.
  "Oh not her again! She's always there. I've tried talking to her twice and she still comes back. The first time she claimed she didn't know the rule. Now apparently she's trying another tactic. Just smile and ignore."
 Well, what does one do? Take her photograph, follow her to her house, note her address and report her?  As my neighbour said, the police probably have better things to do. And we ordinary citizens are left helpless with a perfectly sensible but totally unenforceable rule.
  How very sad for this poor lady, having reached a stage in her life when she should know better,  to feel so brazenly entitled, so convinced that rules don't apply to her. Human nature is a strange thing.  If I got told off I'd be hugely embarrassed and mortified. But, as another neighbour commented, with the way kids are brought up these days, their every whim indulged, things are only going to get worse.
 On the other hand, a different type of sign might just do the trick.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Small Scenery Change

Last week it was a bit of this. The sort of view from your bedroom you don't get in Florida.

And a fabulous lot of this ...

...and now I'm back to sea level.

As someone famously quipped, "Where did it all go wrong?" 

Anyway, be assured that the blog is busy counting its blessings.  Meanwhile, early morning on Golden Beach was peaceful, with just a couple of sharks' tooth fishermen diligently searching - while I was away, it seems, many of the Jan/Feb/March seasonal visitors upped sticks and left. As my neighbour put it, you could almost hear the Island breathing a sigh of relief. (And talking about searching for sharks' teeth, I heard that someone caught a shark off the pier and proceeded to extract its teeth. That's not cricket.)
   There was also someone on the beach I hadn't met before.

Consulting the bird book, it looks like a yellow-crowned night heron but I could be wrong.

  But more excitement is looming. May marks turtle season and Golden Beach goes into full turtle mode. First the steep sand cliff that appeared on the beach after all the wind and waves (take my word for it) is going to have to be flattened - expect "heavy machinery" working against the clock. They haven't managed to finish the downtown roadworks on time but turtles are non-negotiable.

 Then all the houses along the beach have to dim their lights at night, or else invest in special (undoubtedly very expensive) glass for their beachside windows.  Even the street lamps are muted to a yellow colour. And woe betide anyone who leaves the odd deckchair out. That's so the newly-hatched baby turtles, trying to find their way to the sea, don't get confused. The beach probably has more rules and regulations than the motorway.

Well we wouldn't want to lose it.

It seems on the mend now, after the curse of the red tide.

I walked past by some remaining jungle. Let's hope we get to spare it from the encroaching developers.

 And by the Likely Swamp, an anhinga was stretching out its wings.

It's good to be back - though, alas, just for a few more days. I shan't be here to see the turtles crawling their way up the beach to lay their eggs. Put that light out!