Friday, February 19, 2021

A Duckpond on the Beach

 Mercifully GB wasn't named on a recent survey of  the Ten Best Local Beaches. Good. People can go south to Caspersen - plenty of room there, or the dog beach if they're so inclined. We like our peace and quiet here. There are no cafes, fitness areas, interactive displays, souvenir shops, no, not even any lifeguards. But, guess what? There is a duckpond!

A duckpond on the beach! That was a surprise. The channel that goes out into the Gulf has gradually changed position and is now mostly closed in. I walked past and had a look at it the other day and did a double take. 

If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck....

It's very definitely a duck!

And there wasn't just one but several. 

I've seen ducks swimming off the beach in the sea once before, looking incongruous among the seagulls and pelicans. But now they have their very own pond. Wonders never cease.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Little Green Shoots

 Of hope - metaphorically speaking. The passion flower vine, which was ruthlessly decapitated by hands unknown last year, is making progress, painstakingly crawling its way along our ricketty wooden fence with an occasional spurt of glorious colour.

And amazingly the politically incorrect Confederate jasmine has thrown out a couple of blooms. Does it know it's February?

The chilly weather of the past few weeks has warmed up, though it's still very windy.

And, wonder of wonders, hubby and I got the Phonecall, (and the Text and the Email) all buzzing and beeping and ringing and vibrating in a simultaneous cacophony to present ourselves for our first Covid jab, or shot, as the Americans say.

  It was one of those days when I breathed a prayer of thanks that we're in the United States of America. After all the uncertainty and chaos of trying to sign up in all kinds of different ways, the event, when it happened, exemplified so much that's good about this country.  We drove to a redundant shopping mall,  requisitioned for the purpose - there was a natty little video on the website showing you exactly where to go - and joined a long, long queue that snaked all the way around echoing corridors, surreally interspersed with the remnants of happier days, shopping trolleys,  a former children's play area, signs pointing to stores long closed down. But the queue shuffled steadily forward, never stopping, everyone dutifully six feet apart. Every few yards we were met by a cheerful volunteer - Florida driver's licence? Great, awesome, now you can put it away - we shan't be asking you again. Consent form? Thank you - now just go that way, to that desk. Here's a number, someone will tell you what to do next and so on. And everywhere someone did. One woman was a discrepancy - evidently one of those who regularly turn up at the end of the day hoping for a left-over jab. A jolly paramedic explained patiently that, no, we don't do that. Then at the last stage in a vast warehouse of a room, stripped bare of all its tills and display racks,  we sat in neat ranks of socially distanced chairs that emptied themselves in strict order - Your turn now - go to number four - until finally a reassuring nurse in blue latex gloves holding number four aloft,  next to her serried rows of syringes of precious Moderna. She must have already done it hundreds of times but still ran through all the questions again with a smile and dispensed advice about moving your arm afterwards so it wouldn't ache. Then she wrote down the exact time the needle went in so we could sit in yet more neatly placed socially distanced chairs  for exactly fifteen minutes. 

  It couldn't have been done better but the weightiness of it struck me - that we were in the middle of a  - well, not quite horror film - but some dystopian dream. That is mass vaccination. Thank God for it but what times we live in.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Cup Final American Style

 Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, as I often say it's sort of the equivalent of the Cup Final. With the Buffalo Bills out, I suppose we will root for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - well they do have the same owners as Man United and they do have Tom Brady, currently one of the few American football players whose names I know. He is no spring chicken at 43 but handsome and said to be pretty good. (I admit that's a little like saying  Lionel Messi is said to be pretty good.)

  Tampa Bay is sort of  our local team, being an hour and a half or so up the coast. Hence this display in the supermarket.

And that wasn't all. There were chocolate butterfly cakes in the shape of footballs. 

And in different colours too. 

And if that isn't enough, you can eat a whole chocolate football. Yum. It's the 55th Super Bowl, hence the Roman numeral.

And here's a pie in the shape of a football pitch, I mean field.

I think they are expecting people to have a lot of Super Bowl parties at which I'm sure they'll be socially distancing.