Family time in Florida

IMG_168531 October

Early start to go to the shops and temperature is unseasonably high at over 90F so not particularly indusive to walking outside – just so hot & humid. Lazy afternoon by the pool is called for.

We have a bit of a problem here this evening as it appears we have an infestation of what look like cockroaches but of course office is closed tomorrow – not sure if it is classified as an emergency.

1 November

Celebration Village, FL
Celebration Village, FL

A morning walk around Celebration after a visit to the Sunday morning farmer’s market there.

Think they must have had a Halloween parade last night as they are clearing up from some event; never thought of going there but we did see a good parade in New Orleans so we haven’t missed too much.

Sarah, Mel and Harry arrive but are two hours late due to very thick UK fog delaying their flight and then take over an hour to get through to land side – they are absolutely shattered by the time we get them back to the Villa.

2 November

Call management company about cockroaches and they promise to send someone round to sort the problem out.

Early morning swim before the girls & Harry head off to Magic Kingdom as they have some fast passes to use up today. Harry ends up walking around virtually all the time from about 11 am to 5pm. Another shattered set of people at the end of the day.

3 November – 4 November

Harry & Amtrak
Harry & Amtrak

Drive up to Winter Park for the morning to try and find shoes for Harry.

No chance at the shop Sarah had found but Harry did see two Amtrak trains, one very close up although not sure if he was that impressed, especially after the whistle episode last April in the Forest of Dean at the Dean Forest Railway.

Drive through a lovely suburb of Windermere. Pick up Ali at airport although finding him was a bit of a mare, at least he was on time.

5 November – 6 November

More visits by Sarah, Ali, Mel & Harry to parks whilst we act as chauffeur – you can drive up to the parks and say you are dropping off (which we were) and then drive to the front of the car park. There doesn’t appear to be anything stopping you from just parking and avoiding the $20 car park charge – bizarre.

Harry the swimmer
Harry the swimmer

Lots of fun had in the swimming pool by Harry.

Have had difficulty transferring photos from my DSLR to my i-pad using Apple’s transfer gadget so go and talk to Apple in Millenia Mall.

Apple are not sure why transfer is not working but new transfer gadget given to me even though transfers still don’t seem to work when in the Apple store, but, the following day it works!

7 November

Day off from parks with Florida Mall on the agenda in the morning. Lots of new shops at Florida Mall and a much larger food mall. Get new battery for watch – $20!

8 November

Day at the parks for Sarah, Ali, Mel & Harry as we act as chauffeur again, this time in Animal Kingdom. Yup, even here we don’t have to pay the parking fee of $20 just to drop off but no one checks up and we wouldn’t have to show a parking ticket when we parked.

Texas de Brazil
Texas de Brazil

Sarah & Ali take us two out to Texas de Brazil tonight whilst Mel babysits. This one is on International Drive near the shops at the northern end. Lovely meal, we are stuffed though.

Cockroaches back and have got all over some covered chicken so another e-mail sent to management company to find out what is going on.

9 November

We have Harry for the day as others go to some more grown up rides and on their return have the obligatory swim before visiting the Lego shop at Disney Springs.

Bug company rep arrives about 2:45 and moves fridge to establish that infestation is worse there than elsewhere. She uses spray that some asthmatics might find problematic but she can’t use it on the cooker display.

Hopefully that is the end of the matter but there might be a few residual ones for a few days.

10 November.

Move out of big room to twin Lego room as Phillip & Sylvia are joining us today – go to Epcot for the morning, so no drop off, we have to pay the outrageous $20 parking fee.

Harry is desperate to take us on Space adventure ride, the queue is too long so we have to wait and end up on a few smaller rides before I take Sarah’s fast pass on Test Track with Ali, Harry & Mel.

Oh I just loved that!
Oh I just loved that!

He does however love the bouncing water which was an attraction back in the mid 1990s when we had first visited Epcot.

Now it is time to go on the space venture whilst Sarah, Mel & Ali try something else which wasn’t to their liking though.

Back to villa for early dinner and yet more swims and return to Epcot for fireworks. Harry agrees to go in a push chair, he is absolutely whacked. This is the first time he has been in a push chair for probably 2 years, he just walks everywhere!

Great show of fireworks and Harry asleep virtually by the time we get back to the villa. Phillip & Sylvia have arrived, seen a few cockroaches but not many.

We stay up a bit later with them whilst others go to bed. One medium sized cockroach in the bed I am sleeping in 😟.

11 November

Breakfast at Denny's
Breakfast at Denny’s

Breakfast out with Phillip & Sylvia at Denny’s, not quite as good service as last time though. Drop off youngsters at Animal Kingdom again and have a lazy day by pool until I need to pick them up again.

Afternoon in pool with Harry excelling at his swimming and shooting with the water pistols whilst swimming; he is very proficient at that!

12 November

Last day at Magic Kingdom and an early start, with me dropping off and returning for breakfast. Try to get hair done but place Phillip suggests is a ladies so it will have to wait.

Cannot get to girls at where they were dropped off, so just park up and walk to them – just proves that anyone can just say they are dropping off and go and park.

Last swim and final packing for Sarah, Ali, harry & Mel before heading off to airport via McDonalds. Lots of traffic so take a long time to get to airport, eventually meet up with Phillip who was dropping his convertible off at the same time and out to Fishbones for dinner.

13 November

Interim clean at house so off to Winter Garden for a bit of retail therapy whilst the cleaner does her stuff, very thoroughly I might say!

Hamburger tree decorations
Hamburger tree decorations

A huge Marshall’s is first on the list followed by an assortment of other stores including one that sells somewhat gaudy tree decorations, lunch in Panera Bread and back to the villa via a food shop at Target.

Look at those heels
Look at those heels

Obviously some young girls like to dress up for shopping in Target or is it that with such high heels, she can reach items on the top shelf?

Having removed all our toiletries into the cupboard under the sink in our third bedroom of this stay we return to find the toilet bags soaked with water dripping through from the sink.

14 November

Morning out on our own to Florida Mall before the crowds get there, to get Sarah’s shorts, back in time for lunch after getting some supplies at Walmart.

Out in the evening to Seasons 52 courtesy of Phillip & Sylvia because of all the problems we had with the cockroaches and water.

The Kissimmee wheel is all lit up in Red White and Blue in solidarity with the French after last night’s atrocities in Paris.

15 November

Bohemian Hotel, Celebration
Bohemian Hotel, Celebration

A walk around Celebration in the morning, more stalls there than the last two weeks, a coffee in the Bohemian Hotel in their plush lounge overlooking the lake and return for lunch before Sal & I go out to see James Pratt and his family.

James, the son of my cousin, Bernard, is therefore my first cousin once removed (I think)!

James, his wife Jami and heir daughter, Heather who is 14, recently moved up from Hollywood to a suburb of Orlando.

Over lovely muffins and rum flavoured coffee, the time flew by and we were sad to go back to the villa and dinner.

James is planning on building, with Heather’s help, a house to sell on as his first development. He is in the building industry and therefore could cut down labour costs somewhat by doing it himself.

Watched Dancing with Wolves on DVD after dinner, a somewhat long but nonetheless interesting story especially bearing in mind where we had been earlier in the holiday.

16 November

Monday and the girls & Ali are back to work at home and Flic & Gary are on a plane on their way to San Fran and Hawaii on their honeymoon.

Nothing planned this morning as Sylvia & Phillip want to wait for the bug person to visit, no time given, as we are still encountering them – a few last night and one largish one today.

17 November

Head up to Mall at Millenia for Sally’s and Sylvia’s hair appointments followed by a lunch with Phillip & Sylvia’s property friend, Denise, at The Capital Grille. Somewhat expensive (glass of wine $15) but it was a proper meal.

IKEA trolleys awaiting their next customer
IKEA trolleys awaiting their next customer

After a further look around the Mall including the Apple Store, we head off to IKEA and then Disney Springs – formerly known as Downtown Disney – for a screening of Spectre. Not quite as good of the last one, Skyfall, but still good if a bit far fetched.

Strange going round a deserted IKEA – so deserted there were probably more trolleys than people.

Street entertainer at Disney Springs
Street entertainer at Disney Springs

A walk around Disney Springs in the evening, some musicians entertaining everyone with some toddlers dancing to some modern music.

18 November

A day in as Phillip has to go to the management company and he and Sylvia then go out to one of the malls for last minute shopping and have a meal booked with the management company owner for the evening.

We are blessed with reasonably good weather so make the most of it by the pool.

19 November

Another day in – there wasn’t any room in our cases for anything else to buy and Phillip & Sylvia are packing. Manage to venture out to buy some pizzas for dinner so a relatively cheap meal tonight just to eat up the food.

A typical Florida downpour as we get out of Publix so don’t venture out to any other shops – virtually another day at the villa without doing much.

Watch film in evening about the Slaves and blacks in Montgomery, AL and their struggles with the bus boycotts of the 1950’s. Fascinating but not spectacular.

20 November

Drive to airport, take advantage of tip service of driving us to airport for dedicated check-in. Three of the 6 bags are overweight but we do get away without any extra charge. Security leaves a bit to be desired as I am asked to divert to the “box” that provides a full scan only to be left there without attention. After standing in the box for about 30 seconds with no one around, I head off without challenge!

Orlando airport is packed with pre Thanksgiving travellers, every flight that is called is full and the same applies at Atlanta which is our stop off point on way back to Heathrow.

21 November

It is cold – about 2 degrees C – and we have to wait for Phillip’s car for a few minutes. Struggle to get all luggage in but manage eventually and get back to Phill & Sylvia’s house in time for me to drive to Clearwell to get the Christmas tree out of the loft, decorate it (probably badly) for our guests and get back to Phillip & Sylvia’s for a sleep.

22 November

Off to John & Dierdre’s on our way back home – it seems strange to drive on the left again.

23 November

Lunch with John & Dierdre in Ireland before we head off up the motorway to the Wirral.  Yes, there is a place called Ireland in Bedfordshire and what’s more, it has a good pub there that serves great food – The Black Horse.

Overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in the Wirral.

24 November

Caro Emerald concert in Liverpool – the third time we have seen her and this time in a more intimate environment – The Philharmonic Hall.  Excellent show again, could watch her once a week and not be bored.

25 November

Slow ferry back home and 6 weeks of post to sort through and Christmas to prepare for.

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