Alligators and Awards

On Sunday the Miniature Art Society of Florida staged its annual brunch and award ceremony. I was pleased to win best in portraiture for this portrait of Anna shown here as it appeared at the Dunedin Fine Art Center.

It was good to meet old friends again especially Kay and Mike Petryszak who not only hosted us at the brunch but made chocolate and coconut cookies to eat during our stay in Florida. Here’s a picture of Kay, and the line-up of award winners.

While at the show I took advantage of selling my new book “My Life in Miniature” there. In fact overall I sold all the twenty five books I took to America – and could have sold a lot more. On Monday I demonstrated and talked about my miniature painting methods at the show.

During the day David Gillespie arrived from South Carolina – he’s a miniature painter too – and I gave him the miniature portrait I made of him. A couple of months ago after he and his wife Renee visited England.

The weather stayed warm and in the evening we wandered around the harbour where the sea was as calm as a millpond.

Later in the day Kay and Mike took us for a walk around a lake near their home in Largo where we saw a variety of birds including a roseate spoonbill.

On Tuesday we left Dunedin and drove down to Naples, stopping on the way to have lunch with Bobbie Nash in Punta Gorda. My young friend and I last saw Bobbie when she and her sisters hired the barge ‘Magna Carta’ when it came to Henley as part of a Thames river cruise.

When we arrived in Naples we were very pleased to find we had a magnificent room at the Cove Inn. This is one of the views from our balcony window.

Attached to our hotel is a beautiful marina full of amazing yachts and other boats. One day we went to Naples Zoo.

It’s only a twenty minute walk to Naples pier from out hotel so just before dinner we stopped there to take a few photographs of the sunset.

Oh yes, myf and I drove the short way yo Honeymoon Island where she took this picture of me

I wanted to see alligators so on Thursday we drove down Alligator Alley on our way to the Everglades where we took a 10,000 islands boat trip ( we only passed by about 20 or 30 of them). There were dolphins swimming in the wake of our boat, but I wasn’t quick enough to photograph them. But my young fried did. These are them,

I managed to photograph a whole line of white pelicans however. The sea all around us was very shallow – between three and ten feet so the pelicans were perched on a long sand bar.

Eventually we found the alligators

And so today we drove to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp where we walked along a mile or so of rustic walkways where myf took lots of photos of birds I didn’t see until we reached a spot where an alligator was basking on. A log. If you look closely you’ll see a baby alligator just below her

Well, we’ve just come back from the Outback steakhouse where we both had lovely steak dinners.

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