Friday, 16 January 2015

Florida - wilder than you can imagine

After last year’s pathetic effort,  just two posts - must do better. I have decided to try and get my Blogger mo-jo back on track with more pictures and less massacring of the English language. It has enough problems without my assistance.

To start the New Year Mrs B and I went to sunny Florida. The trip got off to a fantastic start when we got upgraded to Business Class on our out-bound flight. We thought it had got even better when Avis offered us an upgrade on our pre-booked hire car. I had booked a Mustang convertible which failed to materialise. Would you like a Corvette Stingray instead? The sales girl showed Mrs B a picture –

Corvette Stingray
Mrs B - "Oh that would be fantastic" - all thoughts forgotten about how we would get 3 large bags and a couple of oversized rucksacks into a small space without having to sacrifice one, or possibly even both of us…

Avis agent – “OK that will be another $200”

Me - Ouch, are you sure Mrs B?

Mrs B – “It looks really sporty”

Me – “But how are we going to get all the luggage in?”

Mrs B – “You are great at packing cars..”

Me - "$200 is a lot extra to pay when you can’t supply the car we booked"

Avis Agent - "That's $200 a day sir"

Me - "Noooooooo"

Avis Agent – “My manager says we can do a deal for just an extra "$1,000" for the week”

Mrs B - "You mean on top of what we have already paid…..Hmmm….. next"

We ended up with this gas guzzler, an impressive 18mpg

Chevrolet Camaro
The back seats came in useful for most of our luggage 
Karma caught up with us on the return flight – no upgrade this time but we did get the delights of two (yes two) babies directly in front of us…. Despite not being related and having no apparent time to practice together they treated us to the delights of solos and duets for the entire flight….


I would love to have felt sorry for the parents but I was too busy supressing murderess thoughts and trying not to offer my pillow as a solution. Fortunately for my freedom I had to keep the pillow clamped tightly over my ears.

C.A.C.T.U.S (Cheap As Chips TUeSday)
A new section cataloguing the films shown at Bishop’s Stortford cinema which has a half price policy on a Tuesday.

This week the delights of “The Theory of Everything” – I particularly enjoyed it as I met the real Professor Hawkins in person last year (you would have read about it if I had been blogging properly last year - try and keep up).

I even got to hear his iconic voice – He only managed “Y E S” but it was an incredible moment, which would have been a lot better if I had not been so busy biting my lip trying not to inappropriately laugh….

Stephens bid for my photographic services
2 and 1/2 oranges - ouch 
This week’s C.A.C.T.U.S attendees
Marb (saved from Blackwidow 2)

Almost attendees
I'm guessing my new friend Stephen didn't get the text

Photo Finish

Sanibel Island 
 (is it just me - it sounds like a pretentious manufacturer of bathroom suites)

Fly me to the moon

Click here if you want to see more pretentious bathroom suite pictures

 If you ever watch "Burn Notice"this has to be said in a fake Irish accent (just like Fi says it: Moi-Am-Me in the title sequence for the show)

The Pool at our hotel  

South Beach Moi-Am-Me

No messing with this lady
I think that was blood on her nails 

I'm guessing our hotel had a name change as
it is no longer called Tiffany's but the slightly
pretentious sounding

The Hotel South Beach

Thanks to Big Sis for the recommendation
Click here If you want to see some more Moi-Am-Mee pictures

Florida wildlife
(Sadly I heard only 2% of visitors who come to Florida bother with the wildlife. Most people come for the stupid mouse with the big ears and annoying voice….. )

Great places to visit for wild life

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
J.N.Ding Darling National Wildlife Sanctuary (on Sanibel island)
Shark Valley 

The Gators like to get close to the boat
Mrs B refused to get in this shot....

They are so cute when they are small but remember you will
need at least a  15ft Bath tub for when they grow older
 (available through Sanibel Island bathroom
 suppliers to the rich and deluded)


Mrs B and I got very excited at seeing Raccoons
while the Americans around us thought we ere mad
make a fuss over just vermin

she looks like she is doing an impression
of Tommy cooper
"Not like that, like this"

Male Brown Anole 

Osprey with the remains of a fish
big prize for anyone who can work out
what type of fish it was.....

Flipper in full play mode 

Bald Eagle
surveying his kingdom

Brown Pelican 

Roseate Spoon Bill

Little Blue Heron
Not sure if it is fishing or just playing with
his bath water
"Now where did I put my rubber duckie"
Click here if you want to see more wildlife pictures

I had always thought that the Everglades were a swamp but it is in fact a very slow moving river.

Catch you next time


  1. Most of my family has been to Sanibel Island and they loved it. Especially at this time of year, I'd like to visit.
    Welcome back!
    Yeah, pictures always work. Why do you think I do "Captain Caption"?

  2. Thank You Al, glad to see you are still going. A lot of my favourite blogs have gone AWOL in my absence. I don't suspect it is because they were missing me.

    I would highly recommend Sanibel - very nice much better than American standard or even British standard for that matter....

  3. Excellent photos, BlackLOG. I'm glad to see you back. Please don't take my having signed off and on as a follower, as an insult. I just thought you were gone from blogland and periodically cull my list of hundreds of blogs in my reader.

    Why is it that 100 percent of the time when RESERVING a rental car, they "offer an upgrade"? I've never been "offered" an upgrade, though, that entails an additional $200 per day. That is much worse than outrageous.

    Hope you're back to stay for a while. Cheers!

    1. Thank you Robyn it's good to be back...

      Rental Upgrade "I'm guessing the rental Clarke saw us and thought

      "The British are coming, the British are coming" and decide to commemorate Paul Ravere by attempting to rip us off...

      P.S. "Life by chocolate" and you have never eaten British chocolate....hmmm ..... I think you tag line should be updated to
      "Life before decent chocolate"

  4. Welcome Back! What a full and exciting post. I'm a fan of corvettes - that photo was drool worth!
    In fact, all your photos are amazing. How's the Beast holding up!

    Your meeting with Hawkins must have been quite something - I'd have loved to read your post on it… I'll pretend I did and that I was utterly amazed with it! :) :)

    As Robyn says - Hope your back to stay for a while.

    1. Jenny very kind of you and yes I hope to stick around for a while. Blogging is a bit like going to the Gym, you get into the habit and build up a rhythm but if you have a break it can be very hard to get back into the swing of things.

      The Beast is doing well but like our aging cat McG (20 in March, just 18 short years to go, to beat the world record for a cat) likes to take it easy and so The Behemoth (Nikon D4) has taken up the slack and does the majority of the work these days. Mrs B is not entirely impressed that I now travel with 2 camera's and a myriad of lenses, especially as some of them end up in her hand luggage (she is a very understanding lady).

      Yes meeting the Proff was an incredible experience, despite the fact he can hardly move, limiting his communication I did feel I was in the presence of greatness...I'm planning to run a catch up (BlackLOG the missing year) series with highlights of last year (there were a lot). Sadly I'm not sure you will be as amazed with the reality of events as your imagination creates. Hopefully you can read between the lines and imagine a much better experience then I can put down on screen).

    2. I look forward to the highlights "The Year of BlackLOG" - you do a great job of setting my imagination up - your photos certainly do that beautifully.

      I'm pleased Mrs B is tolerant of your relationship with The Behemoth and it's many attachments. :) :)

      Am I reading that right - your cat McG is going to be 20 in March and still needs to live 18 more (short - hahahaha) years to beat the world record - yikes!

    3. Yep 38 is supposedly the world record for a domestic cat, which is 169 in human years. McG is currently around 93 (hope I'm in such good shape when I reach 93, only with much better breath.....)

    4. So the question begs… does McG have it takes to go the distance?

    5. Do I... 50% of the time I end up carry him up or down the stairs and 100% of the time I lift him onto anything higher than a step....

    6. Ah… so yes, do YOU have what it takes is the right question?

      I feel the same with my little dog, Lucky. She'll be 15 this March - a Jack Russell/Shih tzu mix. The vet thinks she's 4 so hopefully there's a few more years on her. She's deaf, and her eyes are going but she's got such spunk. I'm forever lifting her on the bed, the sofa - carrying her down the stairs… up, she's wearing me out! :)


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