Sunday 17th December
Today the sun finally shone and my how it shone…you know those really hot summer days when you just long for some cooler air, well it was just like that. Bright, hot and strong, thankfully there was a breeze too. It brought the wild life around the lake at the back of the house out to sunbathe. The blue herons, the statuesque ibis, even a huge lazy turtle soaked up the sun, thankfully the ‘gators decided not to show! We lazed for a while, with our feet dangling in the pool, Ross took the plunge but we didn’t (we’ll wait for the pool heater to be fixed!). Then we took ourselves to the Edison Ford house and gardens. The visit was fascinating, I never knew, or probably ever thought about how prolific and talented Edison was. He, Henry Ford, and a chap called Firestone collaborated to try and find an alternative source of rubber, they had most success with Golden Rod would you believe. They managed to grow it to 12’ tall and then extracted some 12% latex from it. Of course he also perfected the light bulb, oh yes and there was the world’s second biggest Banyan tree in the grounds!
Monday 18th December
Enchanting…today was a day to be wowed by nature rather than man’s inventiveness. From the view beyond the house, the lawn to the lake beyond we were entertained by white Ibis piercing the soil with their long sharp, red beaks in search of bugs. White pelicans soared against the light blue sky, in a line like the tail of a kite tugging to be free. A huge softshell turtle basked in the sunshine on the sandy shore. At dusk we went to the J.N.“Ding” Darling National Wildlife refuge www.fws.gov/dingdarling on Sanibel Island, the lady at the gate said ”If you see the ‘gator that’s been sunning himself all day, please stay 20’ away” No worry about that then!
Tuesday 19th December
Today we took ourselves south to the very elegant town of Naples. Wide, gracious avenues, carefully, coiffured verges and expensive looking shops. I say looking as we didn’t venture in… no appointment you see! An ambience, reminiscent of its namesake perhaps, pervaded the afternoon.
Grand, graceful buildings lined the sidewalks, adorned with expensive but stylish Xmas decorations. The beach, white with shells was a little more peopled than the town. The pier provided the chance to see pelicans at work. Diving from a great height, these loveable birds surface with their pouches overflowing, sift, drain and swallow. One of the endearing things about them is that they seem totally unconcerned with anyone or anything around them. We could watch them for hours, I suppose if you live here they become commonplace, but I will remain fascinated. Later when we took a stroll along the dock where a fisherman had just landed his catch, several eager pelicans waited for the “offcuts”. Some so bold that they came right up on to the filleting table, oblivious to any humans around. There can be little as bizarre as the sight of a pelican with a fish head in his thin skinned pouch and being able to see the whole shape of the fish’s head, eyes, mouth and all! It wasn’t however enough to put us off lunch, we dined at “The Dock” which was literally on the dock. Choosing something we had not had before wasn’t difficult and our choices proved to be admirable. (see photo for menu) Malc went with the Sea bass and I with the key lime grouper.
Friday 22nd December
We have continued to “laze” really; it’s been quite hot and humid so lazing hasn’t been hard. I did spend a while sending out electronic Xmas greetings, if yours hasn’t arrived it’s perhaps because we don’t have your most recent email address. We have been having trouble with our laptop and have spent this morning backing up everything so that the machine can go back to the UK to be repaired. Xmas is fast approaching now, but we’re no more caught up in it than we were a week ago, perhaps it’s being away from family and friends at home, perhaps it’s the lack of damp, cold weather or the last minute frenzy of shopping but we feel rather removed from it all. I’m sure when “the day” arrives we’ll enter into the spirit of things.