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Without a Hitch

I told you birds were cool.

Before I begin there's something I've been meaning to tell you. I am a world class klutz. Constantly I'm hurting myself by doing stupid things. A moment ago I started to pull myself closer to the desk with my legs crossed. You guessed it--hurt like the dickens when my bony knee collided with the solid wood. Currently I've got a little cut on my big toe from dropping my car keys on my bare foot. I'd say it wasn't safe to take me out of the house for fear of injury, however, the house is where I make most of my stupid moves!

Finally Bruce was ready to leave on Tuesday afternoon. We had a most pleasant drive to Indian Rocks Beach, checking into the hotel around 4:30. I barely looked at it online, just chose it because Bruce could use hotel points. Turns out it was quite cute--a Key West styled Holiday Inn on the bay. Wasn't too much later that the limo driver arrived to take us to the Salt Rock Grill just down Gulf Boulevard a few miles. Colin did everything in his power to make Linda's 50th a celebration to remember.
She was ever so surprised to see us, along with Scott and Valerie. Sunday started her surprises--Colin flew her mother, sister, a childhood friend, her husband and little boy from England to join the party. I had the pleasure of sitting adjacent to Linda's mum who was a lively dinner companion indeed. She gave me her number in case we wanted to look her up while in the Costwolds. She apparently does most of her shopping in Stowe on the Wold and neighboring villages.

I've been writing often enough about disappointing dining experiences. You won't hear that in this post. My goodness the food was absolutely incredible with each bite a taste sensation. This photograph will not look good to our son Matthew, however, others might find it appealing.
The wine was flowing, the laughter ringing out from the guests, and the food was devoured. Seriously, I haven't eaten so well in quite a long time. Linda's mum kept saying you've got to enjoy great food when given the chance. All 17 of us did just that.

Awake at 5:15 the next morning, I dressed, grabbed my camera bag and headed out into the dark.
As the minutes passed until sunrise the sky turned a beautiful shade of inky blue. I walked just a block, crossing Gulf Blvd. to get to the ocean, or if you want to get technical, the Gulf of Mexico. So very quiet in the early morning, however, not long after I perched on the boardwalk, a man came along with his metal detector, presumably to beat the crowds.

"Beach Daisies" my second best selling photograph cannot be enlarged due to noise in the photo. I won't get into noise for those who aren't familiar with the term, all you need to know is that the one image I would love to make gigantic can't be done even by the miracle worker, Mr. Roger. As such, every single time I'm at the beach I'm looking for something comparable. In the dark I discovered a mound covered on the south side with beach daisies. It seemed like it took forever for there to be enough light.
To be honest with you, I've never fully understood what it is about that photograph that grabs people; I can think of others I prefer, but I suppose I must be the odd man out because rarely does a person go through the basket of beach photographs without remarking on it. I suppose if I knew what the magic was, I could replicate it. We shall see if anything from this batch works.

As most of you know I was on the West coast of Florida, thus I have to wait on the reflection of the sunrise which I absolutely love. It turns the sky and water beautiful shades of pink and blue. Finally, if you look closely, you will see there was a ray of light:
By this time Bruce was beginning to wonder when I'd return. Not to worry, I was getting HOT. After snuggling with him for a bit in the ice cold hotel room, we packed up, heading South on Gulf Blvd. to see the house Colin and Linda purchased a year ago in Madeira Beach.

During my visit to our niece Laura's home in St. Petersburg, as I drove on Gulf, I discovered a little coffee shop with killer muffins. Obviously they must have been good if I still remembered them, what with my faulty memory! Although I couldn't remember the name, I knew I would recognize the building. I did. Bruce agreed it was killer.
As well as cute:
Indian Shores Coffee is the name of it in case you're in the area. I highly recommend that you stop.

After a nice visit and look-see with Colin, Linda, and all the visiting Brits, we moseyed home. Short trip, but an awful nice one just the same.

Wildly switching gears now, it wasn't too long ago that Bruce related a strange story. For reasons I'm not entirely clear about, one of Bruce's project managers in the Boston area related a bit of his family history including Uncle Whitey. I guess he wasn't kidding when he told Bruce he was on the FBI's Most Wanted List! It's a strange world we live in my friends. Wonderful too.

Stopping by Lois's house after bridge and a haircut yesterday afternoon, the talk turned to our upcoming, as in a WEEK, holiday. At her suggestion I brought home her Travel Smith light raincoat; although it's a tad big, it sure beats anything I currently have for rain gear. She said she used it extensively while in England visiting various gardens including the Hampton Court Flower Show. In another coincidence, last week Matt discussed going to Hampton Court Palace during our visit. Knowing Matthew, he probably was well aware that the show was upcoming. Lois insisted I bring home her scrap books to peruse at my leisure. From what I saw while we chatted, it is pretty spectacular indeed.

Although I've always got more to say, I am aware that readers only have so much time to spend with me, thus I'll say goodbye for today. There's always next time.
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