IN WHICH I CROSS BOTH THE EQUATOR AND THE DATELINE.

So if this post is a bit muddled I have two damn’ good excuses, right?

Actually, I crossed both lines a few days ago. In the normally fraught what-to-pack frenzy, this trip was a breeze – pretty much what I’d be wearing at home.But not as scruffy!

I’m in Sarasota,FL, staying in a friend’s house and looking out for one old dog and one slightly younger cat. And, rain being its usual fickle self, playing with hoses.

Did I use an F word ? Yes. Back at home, when rain might have been expected to chuff off for 6 months or more, My Man emails that it’s been raining on and off, sometimes quite hard , since I left.Well, enough that he hasn’t had to rush about and water desperate plants!

I’m seeing birds and butterflies new to me and, with a new 70-300mm lens, hoping to have some worthwhile pictures.

The day after I arrived, my friend drove us out The Celery Fields  where I saw my first Grackle. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Boat-tailed_Grackle/id

 

This chap is familiar to me – the Cardinal.That’s Mrs Cardinal on the left. If I manage to get a closer, brighter shot I’ll come back and edit.Don’t hold your breath!

Cardinal him nd her .JPG

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Cardinal/id

 

But this a newbie https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-bellied_woodpecker

The Mourning Doves  will have to wait.Also the Blue Jays and as for flutterbyes-hah! I’m beginning to think the easiest way to catch the blighters is to video them and grab a screen shot! But here’s a Monarch that wont make it into the National Geographic                                monarch IMG_2069 (2)

I rarely manage more than a cat-nap on long-haul flights, so I take a book. I stuffed a Jack Higgins spy/terrorist/kidnapper paper back in my bag and started reading on my flight to Brisbane.Left the wretched thing on the ‘plane and wished the cleaners luck. With something like 13+ hours ahead I went looking for something more interesting and settled for this, partly because the period interests me, partly ‘cos it has a nice cover! http://www.tworoadsbooks.com/fiction/the-words-in-my-hand-guinevere-glasfurd/  I’ve not finished it yet (I may be on holiday, but still have things to do) but can recommend it for those who like historical fact-based novels. What really “gets” me though is Glasfurd’s way with words.No further spoilers,try it and see.

And before leaving I’d re-read all of the “Millenium” trilogy.Unfamiliar to you? That’s the Stig Larsson books about the girl with the dragon tattoo.Somehow, I’d missed #2 years ago, though  I did see all three movies (good stuff!). And that’s about it for my reading list, unless you count various technical periodicals and garden tomes.

The sun is dipping and I can see some Orange Fritillaries in the garden so that means hose time and one more crack at snapping a butterfly…

How about a squirrel? Squirrels are easy!IMG_2063.JPG

 

 

 

BEFORE THE RAIN WASHES US OUT TO SEA…

…a quick update, with the answer to the mystery image.

We don’t usually get such heavy rain at this time of the year, but last night and today it’s been, to say the least, very tropical. Let’s see if I can show you a met.office video  https://www.facebook.com/ABCtropic/videos/10153424710481681/   And that’s what I was driving in this morning.

It was really a day for curling up on a comfy chair and reading a book.But, no. Dinah heard about a good deal on a 300mm lens.So far, this is all I’ve done with it, but, weather permitting, I hope to do more.IMG_2043.JPG

And the mystery pic from the previous post? A seed from  the Commersonia, brown kurrajong in the local parlance. Mitzi came close.

Oh, I suppose you want to know what those dangly things are? Seed pods on  the Cassia fistula. And the trunk of a palm whose name I don’t know.

I have a feeling I’ll have to sweep the rain water out of the carport  again…

Have a few more from last week’s walk…

Can we say “Gulag.” Well, it looks pretty grim!IMG_4901.JPG

I counted about 20 of these homes, all with lovely views and NO GARDENS!Sheer madness if you ask me.

But wait! At the end of this row of “luxury jail cells”…a garden! IMG_4904.JPG

Maybe it’s easier to sit and look at the view than to create your own. Here’s their view…IMG_4906.JPG

As they say Oop North (England, that is) “There’s nowt so queer as folk!”

Busy, busy here so I’ll leave you with one more…water lilyIMG_4913.JPG

 

 

 

I WENT WALKING…

I’ve always liked walking, whether a gentle stroll in the park or a tough hike in rough country. And, now that the weather is not so blister-hot I can get in a good brisk walk before  I feel the need to retreat.Of course, it probably helps that I’m always up well ahead of the flatulent sparrow!

And the walking here, I have to say, is not too onerous. Some of the beaches require a bit of huff and puff, but we have a lot of level areas.

Yesterday, after dropping The Man at his office, I drove about halfway home and parked the car at The Gooseponds.

I often do a “half walk” here if I have a lot of other work to do.But twice lately I’ve had the time to do the full walk – about 8kms. All paved and level, which means I often meet people with walking canes and mothers pushing baby prams. And hardly anyone fails to return my “good morning.” Joggers, of course, can’t afford to stop and chat, but quite a few people will.

And, of course, there are always the camera buffs. IMG_4842

The odd-looking yellow thing is an exercise machine. Throughout this park are various pieces of machinery for completely bonkers   keen athletes to stretch various muscles. I think it’s just possible that our local Council employs sadists!

We lived in a flat near this park before we bought our present house. Some lucky people have this  over their back fences! If you think you could handle it I know a place for sale…IMG_4836

Buy this house and your view will be…IMG_4837

Council johnnies have been planting new trees, among them, Leichardt Pine

IMG_4859

 

Someone’s garden extends right down to the walkway! Paw-paws (male and female), bananas, lemons and  what look like like dwarf peaches.Even pumpkins and Monstera.I wonder what’s growing up near the house?IMG_4863

 

I was reasonably confident  of identifying a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commersonia, but I called  a Council boffin to check.He didn’t know the botanical name, but when I quoted the Aboringinal one, Kurrajong, he agreed!IMG_4876

 

My blog friend in Norfolk posts some intriguing pictures from his walks.Gloomy-looking ponds, in dark woods, where witches are said to have been drowned in ye olden days. So I thought I’d pop a spooky tree in , just for him…(His blog comes with a content warning so if you’re really curious, ask me in comments for a link.On the other hand, if you have a “thing” for Aidan Turner ain’t no warning gonna hold you back!)

IMG_4881

And just so that another friend doesn’t feel too left-out, I have some fruit to remind him of MauiIMG_4871

The sky had darkened by the time I reached the far end and I felt the need to turn on some light…IMG_4855

Now,  I’ve very likely bored you to tears with dreary images and haven’t written what could properly be called a post.You know, one with a lot of words and deep meaning and significant resonance in the current international political theatre… yes, that sort of thing.

Well, to make up for my lack of incisive journalism I’ll leave you with a “what the hell is that!”

Answers in comments. No prizes.IMG_4896