An Easter trip to Florida and while I took a film camera, in the end the bright light seemed to lend itself more to colour and digital. I was in snapping mode and pressed the shutter over 300 times but had very little to show for my efforts. In the end the ten images below represent the best I could muster.
We let the train take the strain to Gatwick as last time I drove and was alarmingly drowsy on the return trip. A night flight back on a budget airline and a three hour drive are not a smart cocktail. A rushed hotel breakfast while a poor German tried to explain he needed gluten free bread to a bemused waitress was followed by the tedium of air travel. Hats off to those who do it on a regular basis but I’d rather strip wallpaper or weed the garden than sit on an airplane for an extended period.
The first part of the holiday was a house on the Gulf Coast just north of Tampa. It was by a river close to the coast and had an outside netted area around the pool which should have had me on my guard. I ventured beyond this protection for some better pictures and unbeknown to me encountered the dreaded ‘no see ‘ums’. These tiny creatures took a real shine to me and I awoke to more than 50 bites on my arms which over the next few days proceeded to itch in a manner best described as torture. It hardly seemed fair that I remained the only victim as my companions remained unfed upon and couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. I ventured little from the compound after that; now viewing this foreign landscape with a degree of suspicion. I can’t say I was sorry to depart New Port Richey and head south to Fort Myers.
Here we had the best of times with an old school friend of my wife. She and her family live in splendid comfort and proved fine hosts. We had the best food since our arrival in America when they cooked some fantastic steaks. This was in contrast to our previous dining in America when most meals were not complete without some melting cheese.
We spent the next couple of days enjoying the landscape around Fort Myers and, thankfully, the insect population that far south felt I had suffered enough. A highlight was visiting the Ding Darling Nature reserve; Ding being a well-known cartoonist who was the one of the first to begin the conservation movement in America. It was around this point that I discovered a small ice cream in the States has three large scoops and I did heroic work to get through it.
The trip wasn’t without its moments of extremity and adventure, for instance we visited an outdoor Mall in 90 degrees of heat and survived. I‘d like to see Ray Mears take on this sort of challenge. Plus I was persuaded to have a pedicure in what I was informed was top quality style. So travel not only broadens the mind but can at times soothes the feet.
This relaxation could not last and for the final few days we returned to Orlando and experienced the joys (I think that’s the right word) of Universal Studios. Thankfully my son displayed no great desire to ride the more formidable attractions which would surely have killed me but was content to see his father soaked from head to foot on whatever water based ordeal was on offer. I have to say the people wearing ponchos weren’t showing the proper spirit in my view.
This left the return flight and the shock of cold upon our return to dear old blighty. Somewhat jet lagged and, with me still scratching my souvenir bites, we made it home. The shots below were produced by a Panasonic GF1 and mostly a 20mm pancake lens.