We had an eventful week in High Wycombe, after writing the last blog. Our new washer/dryer was finally installed, and our new sofas were delivered. We saw the film The Imitation Game (about Alan Turing), and we paid one of our (fairly rare) visits to our folk dance club in Marlow. We went to Slough, to investigate the possibility of installing a new damp-prevention system in the flat where Sandie’s parents used to live. And we had a day out in London, combining business and pleasure.
A busy day in London town
On Wednesday 12 November we caught an early train to London, met our ERA colleagues Lesley and Dougal, and went with them to a meeting at the Sutton Trust, to discuss future research topics which we might possibly be able to help with. After a ‘working lunch’ in a nearby pub, we went with Dougal to the Tower of London to see the poppies – nearly a million ceramic poppies filling the moat, each one representing a British soldier killed in the First World War. Although the lighting was not ideal when we were there, it was a truly impressive sight.
We decided to walk back along the river to the West End, stopping en route to see this year’s installation at the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern. In Trafalgar Square there was another WWI memorial: a soldier inside a glass dome, with poppies blown around at regular intervals. We bought theatre tickets in Leicester Square and browsed round Stanfords, our favourite (travel) bookshop. By then it was time for dinner and theatre. We saw The Scottsboro Boys, a musical by Kander and Ebb. It’s a horrifying true story (about racial injustice in 1930s Alabama), set in the context of a minstrel show. Sounds odd, but it really worked, and was a brilliant production.
On Tuesday 18th Sandie had her follow-up appointment at Wycombe Hospital. We were delighted to be told that the operation had successfully removed the affected area, so there was no need for further treatment. We met up with Claire and Oscar for a celebration, and then went home to get on with our packing!
Early next day, we set off for Florida. There were no problems with the journey: even immigration (in New York, where we changed planes) was remarkably quick. In Tampa we picked up a hire car and drove to Sarasota. We arrived at Jane’s house to find the key under the mat, the lights on and dinner ready to put in the oven! A great welcome.
Soon after arrival in Florida, we resumed our search for a condo to serve as our winter home. We were excited because there was one available in Central Park II (our favourite development) but when we viewed it, we were horrified to see that it was in the worst state imaginable. We are trying to get a contractor to come and quote for complete remodelling, so we can make an appropriate offer, but this is proving difficult. Meanwhile, we are looking at other places, but there are few on the market at present, and none are ideal. The search continues!
We took a break from househunting on Saturday and went down to Venice (about 20 miles south of Sarasota). After a stroll around the town, we went to Sharkey’s on the Pier (one of our favourite restaurants) for dinner, then to the theatre to see a musical production of The Full Monty, transposed to a US context. It was entertaining and a good laugh.
The weather here when we arrived was about 16 degrees – cool by Florida standards. But it has since warmed up to about 25, so it’s back to wearing shorts and t-shirts, and eating outside – not bad for November!