On Monday 7th November we flew back to Florida; after changing planes at Boston, we landed in Orlando and collected a rental car for the drive to Sarasota. By the time we reached our condo we were very tired and went straight to bed. It had been a long day – and the next day was a long one too.
Not surprisingly, we woke early. After a bath and breakfast, we unpacked our luggage, then took the cover off our car and connected the battery. We drove separately to Sarasota Airport, where Ian returned the rental car. Then we did a load of (food) shopping and returned home.
After a coffee we were ready to get going on the final day of sending texts: the ‘Get Out The Vote’ stage of the campaign. But the Central Park wifi was down, so there was nothing we could do. We made enquiries, but nobody accepted responsibility for the system. We spent the rest of the day feeling frustrated and hoping it would come back, but it didn’t. It was hard to settle to anything, so in the end we gave up and started watching the election coverage on TV. When the results started coming in, they were not encouraging!
About 9pm we went with our friends David and Donna to Marina Jack’s, where there was a big screen set up and a Democratic ‘party’ going on. But by that stage nobody was in a party mood. We had a drink and then returned home for another, as it was easier to hear the TV there. When we finally went to bed, the outcome had not been announced, but it was obvious who was going to win. A disaster for the USA, and for the world.
Back in the swing of things
As usual, there were plenty of things to do both in Central Park 2 and further afield. Sandie resumed her tap dance and international folk dance classes. She went to her second meeting of the Genealogy Group of Sarasota, and joined the small Reading Group that meets in the clubhouse here. Ian went to the Life Drawing class that meets on Saturday mornings. Unfortunately, the oil painting classes at the Friendship Center seem to have stopped, but at least he can get on with his painting in the condo. There is space here – in fact he has the upper balcony as his ‘studio’ – which he does not have in High Wycombe.
Together, we went to the pool for a swim, and last Friday there was a ‘Welcome Back Snowbirds’ barbecue at the poolside, giving us an opportunity to meet up with neighbours old and new. There is never any shortage of entertainment in Sarasota: we’ve already seen Don Pasquale at the Opera House and Florence Foster Jenkins at the Parkway Cinema.
November seems a particularly good month for special events in the Sarasota area. When we were here in 2013, we went to the St Armand’s Art & Craft Festival, the Sarasota Chalk Festival and the Siesta Key Sand Sculpting Festival. We enjoyed them all, and intended to visit the following year, but were delayed coming out then and again last year, so we missed them both times. This year we thought we’d be in time, but we discovered that all three were on the same weekend – and it was the weekend when Sandie had agreed to mark some business plans for the High Wycombe Young Enterprise! Fortunately the Chalk Festival was on until Monday, and the Sand Sculpting until Tuesday, so we were able to fit them in.
We thought we’d miss the Art & Craft Festival, but Sandie managed to finish her marking by lunchtime on Sunday, so we were able to go in the afternoon. We enjoy looking at the stunning exhibits, marvelling at the craftsmanship – and boggling at the prices!
Understandably, most stall holders ban photography, but at the other events it is encouraged, as the exhibits are (obviously) not portable, and therefore not for sale. The Chalk Festival is now held, not on a street in Sarasota – as it was three years ago – but on a vast outdoor arena in Venice. Street artists from all over the US, and some from overseas, create some amazing pictures, some designed to give a 3D effect.
The incredibly detailed sand sculptures on Siesta Beach are also amazing, and the creators come from all over the world.
Despite the dark shadows hanging over the USA, the UK, and the world, we continue to enjoy life here in the sun while we can.