Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Fun (but no games) in the air today

Andy, Izzy and I took a Helicopter Ride today. It was terrific.

We took off from the back end of Sarasota Airport  (near Tallevast Road), using the services of Florida Suncoast Helicopters ( ), a business which sells helicopters, services them, houses them for clients, and offers tours for the public.

From the airport we flew due west across the inter-coastal to Longboat Key just about where the old Colony Beach and Tennis Resort was.  (President George W. Bush stayed there the night before he read to students at Sarasota's Emma Booker Elementary School.  It was whilst he was at the school that he heard the report of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11).

Then we flew south looking at Longboat Key, St. Armand's Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key and then Casey Key, all to our east.

We then flew north up the inter-coastal with the Keys to our west and the mainland to our east.

We didn't fly in straight lines. Our good Pilot (named Mike) swooped here and there so that we could look at Manatees, a Shark, and Dolphins in the water below.

Izzy and Andy have been here for almost two weeks, so they were able to recognize the south and north drawbridges from the mainland to Siesta Key; Siesta Village; and Turtles on the Bay where we ate last night. Mike also swooped around so that they could see from the air the Condo Unit  they are  renting.

We saw Stephen King's home on Casey Key; and the homes of Jerry Springer and Brian Johnson (of the band AC/DC fame)  on Bird Key.

See from the air I was shocked to see how much the various Keys (except Casey) are overdeveloped. This is not apparent when driving on the Gulf of Mexico Drive (LBK), or Siesta Drive, Higel Road SK).

The following photo's are not great.  Note to self  "next time take a real camera, and don't depend on an I-Pad").

Our "Bird". The same one on which I flew about flew when I treated my nephew Sam and his buddy Toby to a flight about six years ago.

Brother Andy to the left of the Pilot in the front seats.

Longboat Key and the Golf Course (Golf by the Gulf)

The Passenger Terminals  at SRQ Airport.

The authentic 'copter from a Batman movie.  "Garaged" at Florida Suncoast Helicopters, and still  flyable.

A flight with Florida Suncoast Helicopters could be just the treat for your next SRQ visitors. 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Queen Adelaide I and II

Queen Adelaide I was the wife of King William IV of the United Kingdom.

Adelaide,Australia is named for her.  (The City also has a King William St.)

I have been to Adelaide, and I liked it very much.


Few people have heard of Queen Adelaide II of Sarasota.

She is very fond of cheese (but only if it's Cheddar).

But Her Imperiousness would not eat it whilst on Camera. 

What else would you expect from a cat?


Brother Andrew, sister-in-law Izzy and I went down to Turtles on the Bay  (Siesta Key) today for an almost valedictory dinner.

Turtles is ever reliable with "pretty good food". I took my sisters Maureen and Jean (and their husbands Bernard and John respectively) two years ago for their valedictory supper.  So I am developing a tradition to take my English Povey kin to Turtles just before they return to the U.K. It's "cool" that my family members like to visit me here.

Our waiter's name was Phillip. He was pleased that I knew that his name means "Lover of Horses".


With a nice view of Little Sarasota Bay.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Another good day with family members: St. Boniface Church, Siesta Key and UBER

So off I went to Siesta Key this afternoon to see my brother Andy and my sister in law Izzy.

My plan was to watch a sunset, but Old Sol was hidden behind the clouds.  Ne'er mind.  I paddled in the Gulf, and then had a good dinner at their Villa.

They are staying in a comfortable and spacious Villa at the Island House Beach Resort.  There is no beach view, but the sugar sands of Siesta Beach are but a three minute walk away.

The Villas at the Island House Beach Resort


Andy chose to attend St. Boniface Church this morning.  Although the liturgy baffled him .....
 (we Episcopalians take it for granted and like to believe that Christian from other traditions will automatically like and understand it NOT SO!)

Apart from this, Andy received a warm welcome from the always welcoming Betsie Danner, and enjoyed Jonathan Evans' sermon (which was short by Andy's Evangelical Church perspective).


 I chose to use UBER to get to the Key and back today. Even a glass or two of wine can lead to impaired driving judgment, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

I have mixed feelings about UBER.  On the one hand I wish that the drivers were treated as employees with Health Care and Pension plans (rather than as Independent Contractors).

On the other hand I like the UBER app.  which indicates exactly when the ride will arrive, and the fare (comparable with a traditional taxi at peak times, and much cheaper at off peak times).

In the event both drivers today were pleasant and efficient. They both like working with UBER in order  to gain a supplemental income.

My second driver told me how he had evacuated a 90 years old woman to Atlanta to escape Hurricane Irma  (a twelve hours drive to Atlanta and a thirteen hours drive back) and that her Georgia family provided him with bed and board for five days , and added  an utterly generous tip.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Our hero Jack Chrisman, and a day in the country

My good brother Andy, visiting from England was running short of his essential Warfarin medicine.  I remembered that my friend and colleague the Revd John Chrisman (Capt. U.S. Navy Ret.)

Jack was good enough to give Andy enough Warfarin to use for the next few days before he (Andy) returns to the U.K.

Many thanks Jack, we are sorry that Donna was not at home when we visited this morning.

Donna and Jack Chrisman


We left the Chrisman's home to travel out to Arcadia, FL. for a visit to the Oak Grove Town Cemetery.  That's where Twenty three R.A.F cadets are buried in a section maintained by the Commonwealth Graves Commission.  They had come to Florida to learn how to fly in WWII, but they crashed in training.  Some were but 19 years old.  I take all my U.K. visitors there.


Then I took Andy and his wife Izzy to downtown Arcadia, the County seat of DeSoto County.

I had told them that Arcadia is a town that time forgot.  There are so many vacant lots where homes destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004 were razed to the ground and never rebuilt.

The main street has some attractive old buildings (it looks like a T.V. "Western" town) but it is all but dead.

What business is there is devoted to Antique and chachki stores.

Inside an Arcadia shop.

I understand that every once in a while these stores attract many antique and chachki aficionados from many parts of Florida, and thus add a little wealth to a very (financially) poor part of Florida.

Mostly I take my U.K. visitors to Arcadia so that they can see a bit of Florida  which does not share in the relative prosperity of places like Sarasota.

Here are some facts and figures

Median Family Income

Sarasota County $62, 326
De Soto County $38,996
Arcadia $29.593

Per Capita Income

Sarasota County $33,045

DeSoto County $15, 989

Poverty Rate

Sarasota County 12.2 %

DeSoto County 29.6%


On our way home, hungry as we were,  we stopped for a late lunch at "Geckos",  a  Sports Bar and Restaurant at Frutville  and Cattlemen.

A "Sports Bar"?  Yes indeed , with an enormous  Flat Screen T.V. showing American Football, complete with "fans" who were wearing their favoured team shirts,

Izzy,Andy and I escaped the ra-ra-ra noise by eating outside on a deck which overlooked a pretty retention  pond.

We each were well pleased with the food we chose and ate.