Posted by: glenswatman | June 16, 2008

200806-1- USA Florida, England



SUNDAY 1 JUNE 2008 – Steve is still up for
petanque but my shoulder is aching so I kop out.  At lunchtime I cook up a roast beef dinner and invite Cindi and
Mike to join us.  In the afternoon I join
them for a ride to the shopping centre. 
Cindi lends us an aerial connector for the free on site cable TV so
Steve spends the evening watching the box. 
It’s a warm evening and we have the air conditioning on but both still
end up with headaches.



MONDAY 2 JUNE – Steve follows petanque with a
game of miniten.  You are almost spoilt
for choice here and we still haven’t taken a boat out on the lake.  I join Cindi for a ride out and she then
joins us for lunch.  Half way through
the meal I find my headache gets the better of me and spend the afternoon in
the air-cooled motorhome.  Steve & I
head off for a late swim but the pool is almost too warm for proper
swimming.  I return home just at the
start of a huge storm.  Thunder,
lightening and torrential rain hit with great speed and it was lucky I was home
to close everything up.  Steve finally
makes a run for it about 1-hour later.



TUESDAY 3 JUNE – I’m feeling much better and
whilst Steve is out playing I begin preparing the motorhome for our
visitors.  It’s really hot work but maybe
I can sweat a bit of fat off!  I finally
figure that the swimming pool feels cooler if you wallow in the hot tub first
so today manage 40 lengths swimming plus another 10 walking.  Usual Tuesday evening Euchre and we get home
just in time to shut up before another storm hits.  Looks like this could be a new pattern but at least it doesn’t
spoil the days.  Tonight we are in the
over cab bed in readiness for our visitors.



WEDNESDAY 4 JUNE – Neither of us slept well,
surprisingly it was reasonably cool but the futon mattress on the bed sure
feels different on the thin foam over cab bed. 
Both play petanque then spend the rest of the morning relaxing. On the
Internet I book us onto an afternoon timeshare presentation to get $120 off the
Seaworld + Aquatica tickets that we want for when Daniel and Natasha are
here.  I join Cindi for an afternoon
drive to Camping World where we finally get the replacement fly screen panel
for the bathroom roof. Last August I locked us out of the motorhome and we
broke the screen to get to the spare keys in the bathroom.  We continue along highway 192 and end up at
a place selling cheap Disney tickets. 
This time I agree for us to do a vacation club presentation tomorrow
morning to save over $200 (£100) on our Disney tickets.  The biggest downside of having two in one
day is that there is a limit to how much free food we can pack away!



THURSDAY 5 JUNE – At 8.30am we are on our way
to the Westin timeshare presentation. 
As a single lady and a Florida resident Cindi get $75 (£37.50) for
joining us.  There’s a buffet style
cooked breakfast after which David begins the presentation.  He asks where we are staying and not only do
we say Cypress Cove Resort but now mention that it is for naturists.  Of course there are no naturist time-share
resorts although one or two have nude beaches. 
He trolls on with the show and even has a top man in at the end but we
all stick to our guns although it does run in to over 2-hours.  The next one is at 1pm at Liki Tiki Village
and we arrive early.  Ron escorts us
into the room where there are just a few snacks but on the plus side he
realises within minutes that the vacation, points system, package is not for
us.  Having done this he whizzes us
through the obligatory programme in 35 minutes and sends us on our way as very
happy bunnies.  Conclude that we must
have been his last appointment for the day and he was free to go home whereas
the morning one is probably hanging around for a second victim and figures he
has nothing to lose by keeping on at us! 
We get a late afternoon storm but without lightening so I make the most
of it wander around The Cove in the nude enjoying splashing in the puddle and
having the warm rain give me a shower and of course no clothes to dry off!  Our friend Ricky, from Pembroke Pines,
arrives just after 6pm and after a quick meal we show him the resort.  It’s almost dusk as we walk the residential
area so this time we see it in another light – that of all the residents’ fairy
lights.  It’s a gorgeous evening and we
spend lots of time bouncing between the hot tub, the cooler swimming pool and
lying on the loungers star gazing.



FRIDAY 6 JUNE – Another early start as our
Aussie friends Ken & Kay are due to land in Orlando around 8.30am.  The airport is large but well organised with
a free cell phone waiting area where people can call you once they have
arrived.  We’ve arranged for me to meet
Ken & Kay in person but although their flight has landed there is no sign
of them.  I’m a bit surprised that the
baggage reclaim area is open to the public and the baggage for their flight has
all been collected without Ken & Kay showing.  I manage to find they did not make their connection in LA. Heading
back to The Cove we get a call from Ken to say the Qantas strike delayed them
but they arrive here at 4.30pm.  It’s
easier picking them up on our second trip, as we know the routine.  They are both very tired but extremely happy
to be here.  After a quick tour of the
Cove they can see they will really enjoy it. 
Cindi invites us all round for supper before we head to the bar to
listen to some of the karaoke.  It’s
Pirate theme weekend and many people are already dressing up in costumes. We
round of the day with a session in the hot tub and swimming pool.



SATURDAY 7 JUNE – Ricky takes us over to Wal
Mart so that Ken & Kay can do a basic shop.  The rest of the morning we sit by the pool before returning for a
steak dinner.  Early afternoon we leave
Ken & Kay having a snooze whilst we head to the lake to take out one of the
free pedal boats.  Steve & Ricky
take the front seats whilst I sit in the back on alligator look out.  They do a great job of taking us half way
around the lake but no wildlife to be seen. 
On the way back we spot the owner Ted with his speedboat.  He has a rubber ring towed behind and is
giving the kids a ride.  They often fall
off so we can only assume that the huge alligator we saw the other night is
friendly.  Afternoon entertainment is
the cardboard boat race at the lake. 
Boats made from cardboard and tape are expected to paddle around a
marked course but the strong wind keeps blowing them back to the beach and the
soaked cardboard soon has them sinking. 
The evening disco in the Terrace restaurant is great as they play mostly
the kind of music we enjoy but at a noise level that also allows you to chat!



SUNDAY 8 JUNE – Ricky heads off early to do
more photos around the lake.  Ken joins
us for boules then it’s time to relax before a curry lunch.  It’s a record breaking hot day so might as
well compound it with a hot curry! 



MONDAY 9 JUNE – Morning petanque joined by
Ken.  Steve finished the roof repair and
shows Ken a few things about Harry.  In
the afternoon Cindi suggests a Wal Mart trip and as it is just the girls we
meander around the store.  I spot some
upholstery fabric that would look good in the motorhome and take a sample.  It matches perfectly so Cindi takes me back
to buy the 10 years at $3 (£1.50) yard and Kay & I spend the rest of the
evening working out how we are going to do it. 
Kay is a great seamstress and Cindi is also a sewer and offers use of
her machine so it will be actions stations tomorrow cutting it out.  Using the Internet I manage to check in for
both our flights tomorrow and print out the boarding cards.



TUESDAY 10 JUNE – D-day for us (departure day)
so straight after petanque I get together with Kay to cut out the materiel
ready for her to sew.  We are travelling
extremely light as we have clothes in England so packing takes just a few
minutes.  I manage my last 40 laps of
the pool before enjoying spaghetti bolognaise that Kay has cooked.  At 2.30pm Cindi arrives to drive us to the
airport and then take Ken & Kay shopping. 
With only 2 small carry on bags we go straight to security that leads us
to the gate and actually end up there 1 hour too soon – and don’t I know about
it as Steve whinges that he is being deprived of an extra hour in the sun!  Our US Airways flight to Philadelphia is due
to leave at 5.05pm and we board early and then learn why.  There is a really bad storm heading for
Orlando and unless we can get everyone boarded, seated and ready for take off
quickly there is a chance that the airport will be closed until the storm passes.  We only ever had 1 hour 10 minutes to make
the connection from our domestic flight to the International one in
Philadelphia so the delay is not good news for us.  It’s frustrating to find that those on board are seated but other
passengers arrive late.  Captain
announces that the storm is all up the coast and planes are being re route to
avoid it so the sky is very busy.  He
intends to taxi to the runway and wait it out there.  Luckily we get away before the storm but are already late.  The stewardesses tell us they know that 12
people on board have tight connections and they will do everything to
help.  It’s an uneventful flight, no
food but soft drinks and just centre screen TV’s.  Arrive 20 minutes before our next flight is due to board.  We have been moved to a seat near the exit
so are the first off.  Good job too as
Philadelphia airport is huge.  With only
hand luggage we can make a run for terminal A but it’s a very long way and we
end up fast walking.  Arrive just as
they start to board.  The good news is
that we don’t have to do any further security or customs formalities.  Actually very slack considering we checked
in on line and have only had our bags scanned once at Orlando and no one has
really checked our passports.  This
plane is quite basic, 2 – 4 – 2 seating and we have the two at the side.  There is very little legroom and the seats
hardly recline.  Headphones are £3 and
we get a basic meal before bedtime. 



WEDNESDAY 11 JUNE – Land in Manchester ENGLAND
on time and the first thing we notice is that the airport toilets don’t flush
themselves and the sinks haven’t got magic taps!  Although rain was forecast today it is cool but dry so I don’t
look too bad in my summer dress and flip-flops.  We have 1-½ hours to wait for the National Express bus to Hanley,
£5.40. Steve manages a nap en route and then we have a chilly 50 minutes wait
at Hanley for the connection to Market Drayton, £2.50.  It’s market day today so the bus is packed;
no chance of taking up 2 seats to stretch out. 
Walk through the market then down to Mum’s and arrive at 1.30pm.  She looks well after her recent hip
replacement operation and now manages to get around indoors without any
crutches.  Pick up a few warm clothes;
grab a shower and a quick lunch before loading us all up into Mum’s car.  During the journey to Wakefield we notice
many more foreign vehicles on the road, British vehicles being driven American
style and overtaking on the inside and generally much more traffic around.  Petrol prices have now reached around £1.15
litre so not as bad as the 50% increase in America during the last year.  Auntie Pamela is ready for us with lots of
food to “put us on” until tonight’s meal. 
She has had a knee replacement operation since we saw her last year and
already walks much better than before. 
A short drive across Wakefield takes us to my cousin Karens, thankfully
our last stop of the day having been in constant travel mode since 2.30pm
yesterday.  Karen & Chris are both
home from work, daughter Sarah is there with her boyfriend Mike and James
(Karen’s son) calls in shortly afterwards. 
A quick catch up chat then Chris and Karen suggest we join them for a
ride down to check on 2 of their rental properties.  Just after we left England last June there were lots of floods
and these two adjoining houses had water up to the letterboxes.  It has taken until now to get the renovation
work done but on the plus side they are now completely redecorated on the
ground floor and have new kitchens. 
Return for a Chinese take-away and just before midnights a very welcome
lie down in bed to sleep.



THURSDAY 12 JUNE – Everyone is up and about
early and I’m awake but Steve is determined to catch up on his sleep.  Everyone leaves for work and I get Steve up
around 8.30am.  Today we are off to
Keighley and call in at Claire’s works to pick up house keys.  She has been doing the wi-ii fit programme,
has lost lots of weight and looks really fit and well.  Although we were planning to pick Daniel and
Natasha up from after school club at 3.30pm they are so excited they have asked
us to get them straight from school at 3.15am. 
Apparently Natasha woke everyone up this morning by singing a song with
the words Grandma, Grandad to the tune of ding-dong ding-dong – what a
sweetie.  Sandra is not home so we make
our way to Steves Mum and Dads new home. 
They have moved to a flat on Harewood Rise and are away until tomorrow but
have given Claire a key so we can let ourselves in and sleep there overnight.  It’s in a nice spot at the back of the group
of flats and looking straight out to fields. 
Sandra rings to say she is home so we hop back in the car to drive
round.  Keith is with her and we catch
up on all their news before a nice chilli con carne lunch.  Sandra has been unwell and not worked for 10
months and now realises how nice it is and hopes for medical retirement.  Keith has been retired for many years so
this would also suit him very well.  She
has 2 new grandchildren since our last visit so lots to catch up on.  Arrive well early for picking the kids up
but we are both very excited.  Parking
in Howarth is a nightmare and we end up in a residents permit section so Steve
stays with the car.  Natasha comes out
of school first, hurtling up to me screaming out Grandma.  Daniel is also excited but as a 10-year old
a little more restrained.  They have
both grown much taller but having seen them on web cam recently they look much
the same.  With our Florida trip just 5
weeks away there is lots to chat about. 
At home Claire has left me a pile of her “cast off” clothing so I have a
ball selecting items to borrow whilst we are in England.  Claire & Daz return from work and we
look through some of their photos of outings during the last year. A quick bite
of tea then back up to Mom & Dad’s for our next visitor.  Neil Wilson used to be our GP but has now
become a personal friend.  He has
recently spent 6 months doing locum work in New Zealand and brings over the
photos to show us.  A downside of
arriving in England at this time of year is that everyone is taking holidays so
we have to make a tight schedule to fit in seeing people before they go
away.  This means we only have just over
1-hour spare to chat with Neil but we certainly make the most of it.  Amazing how tempting a return trip to New
Zealand is when we see the picture but can’t feel the cold and rain!  Leave to drive down to ten-pin bowling.  Steve gets a game in the league and I get a
fun game with a team whose opposition are away on holiday.  As always it’s great to be back with our
bowling buddies and I have some great games, 140, 140 and 145 whilst Steve
bowls a bit under average but still enjoys himself.  Again it is almost midnight once we get back to Mom’s to crash
out on the sofa bed.  Hope the merry go
round is going to stop before we both fall off, as I could not keep going at
this pace!



FRIDAY 13 JUNE – After sorting out my
prescription at the Doctors we return to Mom & Dad’s.  They are due back from their coach trip to
Bournemouth this afternoon but we get a call to say they are delayed due to
very heavy traffic.  Drive round to
Sandra’s where we have an excellent evening meal and enjoy a good chat with her
and Keith.  She has a spare bedroom
where we can stay overnight enabling Steve to have a few drinks to relax.



SATURDAY 14 JUNE – Back to Mom & Dad’s to
catch up with their news.  They are both
struggling as bit with mobility but otherwise much the same as when we left
last year.  They’ve really settled into
their new flat and feel very happy there. 
Claire picks us up to go to Haworth school fete.  Daniel has volunteered to be in the stocks
and have people throw wet sponges at him so of course we all have to have our
50 penneth having a go.   It goes on
from 12 until 3 but even though we have coats on we are chilly so Claire takes
us back to Mom & Dads.  Lisa, Mick
and Sian call round in the evening. Lisa has stopped smoking and lost weight
and looks really well.  Sian is turning
into a very attractive young lady and Mick looks much the same.  Pick up a Chinese take-away for supper.



SUNDAY 15 JUNE – Natasha is now a member of
City of Bradford swimming club, which Claire used to be in.  Sunday morning training is up at Rhodesway
baths and the coach used to be a swimming parent when Claire swam so we know
him.  Steve volunteers to take Natasha,
the 9am start being preferable to the early morning sessions Claire used to do.  I encourage Mom & Dad to do a walk
around the block for a bit of exercise before we drive round to Claire’s.  It’s Fathers Day so we are all going to “The
Beeches” for their carvery lunch.  Their
Yorkshire puddings are excellent and I can’t resist a second helping.  Back to Claire’s for dessert and a quick wi
ii fit exhibition.  Mid afternoon we
pick Mum up in Wakefield.  She’s had a
lovely time in Wakefield and given her hip a good test with all the walking
around the shops.  David has invited us
for tea so we stop off in Prestwich. 
Never know what we are going to find with David on the hair front – this
time he has short hair and the makings of a beard.  Donna prepares us a lovely salad and again we catch up on
news.  Back at Mum’s we finally unpack
properly and go through our mail.  Try
for an early night but Mum’s alarm is faulty and I have to get up to try and re
set it for her.  In the end after 11pm
we have an engineer call us to key in the cancellation calls so it’s late to



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