I was reminded yesterday that it was 40 years to the day since we travelled to Hongkong to live and work for 11 years. Forty years on, I’m still following Ian to strange places round the globe.
We got the usual friendly welcome at Orlando Airport.
‘You guys bringing any food into the United States?’
Well no, not after the time I brought some lovely, air-dried, vacuum-packed Waberthwaite bacon as a present for Ted and had it confiscated.
Anyway, Ian thought it wise to admit that he was in possession of a number of Rington’s tea bags.
‘Ah, tea.’ The US Customs official’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly. ‘We had some great tea, once. Then someone tipped it into the ocean. You guys have a great trip.’
Our first impressions of Florida, it has to be said, were not that favourable. It probably isn’t best viewed from the motorway, on a grey day at a temperature of 7C. Wednesday we drove 150 miles to look at two boats. The first one was being sold because the owner’s partner had decided after a trial run that cruising wasn’t her thing. It wouldn’t be mine either, in a boat where the storage space consisted of one six-inch wide wardrobe and a 9inch wide cupboard.
The next viewing was rather different. Mrs Current Owner had stipulated that if she was going to live in it for 2 or 3 months at a time, certain requirements had to be met, and not only did these coincide with mine, but Mr Current Owner had acceded to all demands, resulting in a very nice boat indeed.
So the next day we made an offer to buy Carina, subject to survey and sea trial, which has been accepted! Woo hoo!
Today the sun came out and we drove over to St Petersburg to pay a deposit and sign the contract. The ‘comfort station’ on the front street caught my eye, and a gentleman who saw me take the photo insisted on telling me the story.
In 1913, a builder was commissioned to build a new church, to be known as Great St Mary’s. When the project was complete, the Catholic Church (allegedly) refused to pay on the grounds that it didn’t have any money. A couple of years later, the city council advertised for someone to build some new public conveniences. The builder won the contract, and built the comfort station as a miniature replica of the church..now referred to by the locals as Little St Mary’s.
Little St Mary’s, St Petersburg, Fl
Finally, on the way to our current hotel at Sarasota we passed over the Sunshine Skyway bridge. As Ian says, it’s not every day you see a cable-stayed bridge, is it?