First Tango in Sarasota

The weather has continued variable through January: mild/warm/hot, sunny/cloudy/windy.  But very little rain, so we’ve been out on several walks: along beaches, through country parks, or around the city.  At home we’ve kept busy with our travel plans and our book.  We’ve made progress with both.  We’ve booked a walking tour of Menorca in May, and are currently working on our big European tour in June-July.  We’ve worked our way through four sets of proofs, and on Friday signed to say that the latest set was ready for printing.  We also approved the latest version of the cover, so hopefully the book will be ready for publication in March.

A queue of pelicans

Anhinga ready to dive

Anhinga swimming

Drying its wings

Testing out the new Daiquiri Deck on Siesta Key

Setting up for a posh lunch on Anna Maria Island

Sundowner at Manatee Beach

Watching the sunset

Misty morning in Sarasota

Cats on the window sill


Special events

On Saturday 20th Sandie – along with several friends from CP2 – took part in the Women’s March for Democracy.  We gathered on the Bayfront and walked over the Ringling Bridge.  Similar marches took place all over the country, people protesting about the actions and policies of the current administration.  Of course, the marchers were not all women – many men took part also, but Ian was at this life drawing group at the time!

At the march

Central Park protestors

Post-march refreshments

Last Tuesday we went down to the Botanical Gardens, to see an exhibition of rainforest masks from Costa Rica. The colours and designs were amazing.

A day in St Petersburg

Last Wednesday we decided to have a day out in St Petersburg.  There is a Dali Museum there, and we’d often said that we must visit sometime.  Then we found that the Museum of Fine Art was hosting an exhibition of Star Wars costumes, so we decided that we would spend a day in St Petersburg and visit both.

The Star Wars exhibition was well worth seeing (even for Sandie, who is not a great fan of the films).  It was fascinating to see how water is pumped through Chewbacca’s costume, to keep the actor cool, and the detailed instructions (several stages) for getting Darth Vader into his outfit.  A whole room was devoted to the gorgeous gowns created at enormous expense for Padme, even though some were on screen for only a few seconds.

As we’d never been in the MFA before, we had a quick look at some of the permanent exhibits as well. Then it was time for lunch. On an earlier visit to St Petersburg Sandie had spotted a small vegetarian café serving Middle Eastern food: the menu looked good, and best of all, it included halloumi, which Sandie loves but cannot find easily in Florida!  So we tried it out, and very much enjoyed our lunch.

So far, so good!  But the Dali museum was disappointing.  We started on the third floor (as directed) and expected to work our way down.  It took us about 20 minutes to look round, so we were amazed to discover that there was nothing on the other floors to see.  Not much for $20 each!

Evenings out

Fridays and Saturdays are usually our nights out.  On Friday 19th we went to the Historic Asolo Theatre to see the NT-Live screening of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.  It is a clever concept, and the production was of course excellent – but we did miss any semblance of a plot!  We much preferred the (very different) film we saw on Saturday: The Post.  With two brilliant actors (Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep) and a master storyteller (Steven Spielberg) it was also topical, and kept us gripped, even though we knew the outcome!  When the verdict of the Supreme Court was announced ‘The press exists to serve the governed, not the governors’, there was applause from the audience as well as those on the screen.  More applause at the end – and laughter from those near us when Ian observed ‘But of course, it was all fake news’.

Evenings out often involve dinner, and on Saturday 20th we went with Rich to Giorgio’s, which was new to all three of us.  But last Friday we did something completely different – we went to a tango lesson!  Way back in 2011, we had two or three lessons while we were in Buenos Aires (it seemed the obvious thing to do there) but had since forgotten what little we managed to learn. It was earlier this month, at the Palm Avenue Art walk, that we saw some professionals demonstrating and Ian suggested that we ought to have another try.  Fortunately the instructor was patient and encouraging – but just as well Craig Revel Horwood was not there!

Not quite us


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