Meandering, melting and meeting up

I haven’t done much sight-seeing since I got here, but packed a LOT into Saturday afternoon last. After lunch I took off for St Augustine to see what it was like after the storm and to wander the streets of this earliest of all settlements in America. I did not take into account the traffic nor the roadworks post-storm, and so it was a whirl of about half an hour through the cute cobbly main street before I needed to turn around and come back. I was meeting a couple of Florida Outlanders at Salt Life – which turned out to be a perky bright surf bar/bistro near Jax beach. 

St Augustine looked thus:


It was near perfect weather for a wander but I could not linger, so you’ll have to absorb the sense of tropical ambiance by studying the photos, as I do. Then it was off to turn up 15 mins late for these two cheerful lasses.


I then rushed to meet my friend I’m staying with to see another movie on the recliner chairs. What a life! 

Back to work today. 

One thing that highly amuses me is how often a Floridian says to me: Oh, isn’t it a lovely day! (Usually with an element of surprise). Considering almost every day has been blue and sunny, I think they must all suffer from a form of short term memory loss. A day in Auckland yields some vibrant changes of weather, and WE know how rare a run of cloudless blue days really are. 

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Jenny through Looking Glass: Florida

Why the title? I DO feel like Alice, who slipped through a mirror and found herself in a similar but opposite world. Never more so than now, when the weather is sticky and hot but getting cooler, I am now in a rental car and driving (on the WRONG side), and all my family at home are in bed in the middle of the day.

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Here’s my charming sister, on the day before she went home, having fun in Walmart, moments before we thought about how many others might have put that very mask on THEIR heads too.

Since then, I’ve come alone down to Jacksonville, Florida, less on a holiday and more to help out my old boss who is an author, when I can, see some friends I know well, and catch up with the odd Outlander friends I have met before. (And mayhap some new ones). I was excited but saddened to see the aftermath of the hurricane, and the devastation it caused the beach frontage. It may not show so much on these photos, but in that large blue space there used to be a lovely long wooden pier.

I did find my favourite shop on the beach front – Bali store- and bought some new garments at it. Had coffee at the local cafe, and negotiated the roads for the first time. I am driving what feels like a hearse. A huge black SUV – of the kind I scorn in Auckland as being unnecessarily large and cumbersome – but here, it seems to be indeed a ‘mid-size’ car. So far I have been safe enough on the roads, following the trail of cars ahead of me. Only a couple of times found myself turning into a parking lot instead of the main street.

I met up with my Outlander buddies: Jean and Phil Macomber, and their daughter Heather, who had me over for tea and cranberry loaf the second day I was here. So very welcoming and hospitable. I’m hoping to meet up with some other FL Outlander fans next Wednesday at a local pub.

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In the meantime, I’m ‘working’ – so you won’t find so many updates – at least you’ll know why. I did enjoy a trip to an old favourite yesterday: ‘Cracker Barrel’ and my friend and I went to two movies, almost in empty theatres, reclining back on luxurious chairs that weren’t there last time I was here. I’m caught up now with ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ and ‘The Magnificent Seven’.

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I’m about to head out into the hot noon sun, pleased to know that winter approaches, and by the time I leave in three weeks, it will possibly be exactly the same temperature as Auckland, when I arrive for our summer. I’m TRYING not to eat too much, but there are many temptations out there, and the PORTION SIZE is out of this world. Mental note: Make sure to get take home bags.

Until next time then. Thanks for all the lovely comments and likes. I always enjoy hearing from you.

Last days on the upper east side

The last day in New York was spent going up the Empire State building and cruising the harbour – up close and personal with the statue of Independence. Once again, good weather made for some exceptional shots. The evening before three of us went to Aladdin, and despite being up in the gods, enjoyed seeing a Broadway show. 


We returned to Kennett Square on Wed afternoon, on a train that sped to Wilmington, where my cousin collected us after work. That evening was an early Thanksgiving dinner laid on for us by our hosts – delicious.


My Aussie cousin left for home on Thursday (and has only just arrived!). I availed myself of the opportunity to drive for the first time in ages in the States, and successfully navigated local streets. 

Today we headed to Baltimore, and Helen and I went to the aquarium (excellent) and used water taxies to investigate the lovely old seaport suburb of Fell’s Point. We were spoiled, again, with the weather and with a remarkable airshow. The navy had a display of various naval vessels, and overhead tight formations of small jets amazed us with their antics. We sat sipping drinks and eating a late lunch at Uno’s in the inner harbour. 


Tomorrow will be spent packing for Florida and doing things around home with cousin and family. Helen (sis) leaves for NZ on Sunday when I head to Florida. It has been the absolute BEST time here enjoying family and the PA and NY area. 

New York, New York

Wow…having SUCH a good (and exhausting) time here in the big apple. There are so many people! So many cars! Especially in Times Square where we are situated in our hotel. 


Arrived here by train yesterday, lunchtime, and apart from brief bouts of collapse on bed, have been out there taking it all in. Helen and I bought a two-day hop on, hop off, bus pass, which would work better if the roads weren’t so congested, but we’ve managed to get down through Soho to view the 9/11 memorial area, see the Statue of Liberty in distance, and book a show for tonight. 

Then we met my nephew who lives in Brooklyn at his place of work – Frankies 570 – down on the Westside. We laughed all evening.


I’ve had photos with two NYPD officers and made up for the fine NY food I’ve been eating by walking and cycling – this morning in Central Park. 


Then I popped by the Guggenheim museum.

And after that found the very Barbour Shop that a few weeks ago Sam Heughan was featuring at and meeting fans – on Madison Ave.


We’re resting up now, before heading off to see Aladdin tonight. 

Philadelphia, the independent city

Today we headed straight to check out the place where the great bell of liberty rang out. But first, it was a trip to the glorious museum of The Barnes Foundation. This was more an art gallery, arranged as if we were walking through a stately home. I have never seen so many Renoirs in one place! After gorging on Picasso, Matisse, Degas to name a few, we had a coffee to recover before going into the old city to view the cracked Bell. 

Then it was a pleasant wander along a few blocks in the brilliant sunshine to check out Betsy Ross’s house and haberdashery. This sturdy and brave woman put her embroidery skills to the test and constructed the first American flag. She survived three husbands, and lived into her 80’s.

By the time we’d wound up and down her stairs and taken in the details of this part of US history, it was time to walk past Benjamin Franklin’s grave to the oldest pub in America for a refreshing drink. 


At The City Tavern, whilst slurping up a cider laced with spicey rum, a woman approached from a table nearby. To my utter astonishment – and that of my cousins and sister – she asked me “Are you Jenny Jeffries?” Turns out she and a friend happened to be there and she recognised my sister and I from facebook posts. A happy moment of meeting and photo taking between Stephanie Jan from LA and I. It made my day!!! 

Finally, we went around the corner in a giggly slightly tipsy state, and consumed with great relish the famed Philly Steaks! 

Pottering around PA and Maryland

Yesterday was spent driving south to St Michaels, Maryland, and after a fine Italian lunch and shopping, cycling around the township and seaside. Perfect day!

Today it was a neighbourhood reconnoitre day – wandering around Kennett Square after a leisurely breakfast and walking of the dogs. I managed to successfully use the selfie stick given for my birthday.

And upon return we set into making cornish pasties the way Grandma made them. I’m happy to say, I think we did her proud. They were eaten with alacrity after sipping drinks out on the porch.

My birthday 

Well, another year has whizzed by, and I sure picked a good way to celebrate its passing. Since Mum died last January, all our usual celebrations have not felt the same without her, so to celebrate with family I’ve hardly met and cement some real relationships with these ones – here on the other side of the world – was a Godsend. The day started with a line up of notices and cards awaiting opening.

After a leisurely start we headed off for Lancaster County and the Amish – stopping at a little centre to educate tourists on the amish culture. Great weather, perfect Autumnal day with plenty of pumpkins on show. I ate too much, especially a beguiling little pumpkin woopie pie that was SO SWEET. 

I managed a brief collapse on bed before we set off for birthday dinner out, at the four dogs tavern. Here we dined outside in the balmy air, on prawns, calamari, and slow-cooked pork on coleslaw. 


We came home to birthday cake (red velvet) and some raucous laughter over Monty Python and some Youtube short funnies. (Jim Carrey and Rhino). Nuff said. 

First day in Pennsylvania

It started off with my sis and I rushing up from the guestrooms in basement up to the top of the house to check on our Aussie cousin, Kath, who had arrived in at 2amish. There was a lot of squealing and chortling and it was the best way to start the day. 


Breakfast was long and leisurely, with hilarious dressing up of the two dachshunds in halloween costumes, a homebaked breakfast dish, and LOTS of talking, which did not stop until I headed downstairs to bed tonight. We’ve walked around the area and enjoyed the spacious views, rolling meadowland, lack of fences, and community tennis court. Tonight we all had drinks with the neighbours at 5, and then Chicken Cordon bleu. 


Soooo nice – amazing – to be able to be together. To share notes about our respective fathers, to swap family stories, to laugh long and often, and to learn that much more about each other. 

There is much more to come: a promise of dinner out tomorrow for my birthday among other things. It has already been so worth it to have come this far to all be together!