The day or so after I arrived in America, Clare and I had got up for breakfast, and were by the pool eating a 'breakfast casserole' (yes they eat casseroles for breakfast in America). The sun was beaming and both the pool, and the lake in the distance were shimmering and glinting with light.
"I thought we could visit Leu Gardens today," said Clare, thoughtfully chewing on a turkey sausage.
"What the bloody hell is Leu Gardens?" I asked her, flicking a slice of jalapeno pepper off my bacon [it bounced un-noticed off her dog's head and plopped into the pool].
"It is a tropical botanical garden," she replied, absent-mindedly adding another spoonful of jalapenos to my bacon.
"Does it involve cocktails?" I asked her, desperately trying to stop the jalapeno juice from leaking onto my cheesy egg, by building a bacon dam.
"No. Because they are tropical gardens," she replied, "so they involve flowers, and butterflies and leaves and shit."
"That's not very adrenalin," I pointed out, (surreptitiously feeding her dog my extraneous jalapenos under the table).
"You'll bloody love it," said Clare authoritatively, at the exact moment her dog barfed violently and enthusiastically in my general direction.
"Your dog is a filthy bastard," I said, recoiling with horror and shaking the green bits off my foot.
Clare eyes narrowed and she looked at me like she was Fu Manchu the yellow peril. "Have you been feeding my dog jalapenos again?" she asked suspiciously.
"Not whole ones," I gulped, edging slowly towards the door.
Oops. Maybe not all the things that Naughty George eats are transferrable.
Anyway, I digress. Back to our visit to Leu Gardens. The gardens are tropical and they were bequeathed to the state of Florida by Harry.P. Leu and his Mrs, both of whom had spent their lives collecting interesting specimens of flora.
So that is where we went, and because I am kind, I have got some photographs for you. Not just a few mind you ....... bloody loads of the bastards .......... enjoy!
Pic.No.1 The visitor entrance for Leu Gardens in Florida
Pic.No.1 My chum Clare! With her new DSLR camera ....... bloody marvellous it is ...... picks up every blemish on your face from 50 metres
Pic.No.2 This is the ticket desk for Leu Gardens. Entry was $7.00 per adult making it the best value feature I have ever visited in America
Pic.No.3 The first part of the gardens that we saw, were the tropical gardens. There were loads of dark green plants and some reddy coloured ones too
Pic.No.4 Leu Gardens bordered a lake that has alligators in it (but that isn't an alligator, it's me)
Pic.No.5 Clare spent so much time behind her new camera that I suspect that she didn't see Leu Gardens until she got home and downloaded the pics onto her computer
Pic.No.6 A funny palm tree that looks like an enormous squirrel paw
Pic.No.7 See that clock on the bank in the background? It was a real working clock and the flowers had been planted to make a clock face
Pic.No.8 This is the plaque saying that Harry and his wife bequeath the gardens to the general public - i.e. the great unwashed
Pic.No.9 Hurrah! It's me again. I am standing in the centre pavilion, next to the rose garden
Pic.No.10 A close-up shot of the central rose garden. That's a gold fountain, that is. I might try and pick some off and then go to a pawn shop
Pic.No.11 A gazebo in the rose garden .... you couldn't get a less debauched scene if you tried
Pic.No.12 A white rose in the rose garden
Pic.No.13 An orange rose in the rose garden
Pic.No.14 A pink rose in the rose garden. I have to say though, roses aren't as 'samey' as daffodils
Pic.No.15 The entrance to the 'Butterfly Gardens'
Pic.No.16 Because butterflies like flowers, there were lots of them in the Butterfly garden
Pic.No.17 I took this picture of an orange butterfly, but they were hard to capture because they fly so fast that you can't stun them with a stone
Pic.No.18 This is an orange butterfly scoffing some leaf
Pic.No.19 After the gardens we headed towards the Leu House Museum. The house was constructed circa 1858, and the Leu Family lived there from 1936 before donating it all to the people of Florida
Pic.No.20 This is the entrance hall of Leu House. It had been restored to it's former glory by a group of volunteers and then turned into a museum for all and sundry to enjoy
Pic.No.21 Another view of the hallway
Pic.No.22 This is the study. As you can imagine, given the wallpaper that the Leu's had chosen, they weren't going to take LSD anytime soon (or maybe they had taken LSD which is why they chose that design)
Pic.No.23. Look at the wireless radio to the left hand side of the room. That made me laugh that did. How retro is that?
Pic.No.24 This is the dining room in Leu House. Crikey, they don't half like their wallpaper eh?
Pic.No.25 Another view of the dining room, but this time looking towards the window
Pic.No.26 The kitchen looked surprisingly modern for a 1930s house ...............
Pic.No.27 ...... until I homed in on the cooker. Jeez!
Pic.No.28 This was the kids room in the olden days
Pic.No.29 The kids had a cool doll's house in the corner of their bedroom
Pic.No.30 This is a picture of one of the bedrooms in the doll's house
Pic.No.31 An original gramophone was situated in an ante-room near to the children's bedroom. Look the speaker on it! Imagine plugging that into your iPhone and then walking down the street
Pic.No.32 This was a guest bedroom in Leu House museum. Again, it is wallpaper-tastic
Pic.No.33 The guest bedroom had a genuine, bona-fida, yellow and green Art Deco bathroom
Pic.No.34 This is the master suite of the house. It was bloody marvellous. And can you see that dress on the left hand side? That belonged to the mistress of the house that did. And it was not designed to cope with dog poop on sidewalks
Pic.No.35 This is the master bathroom. Look at that seat on the left hand side (with the hole in it). What the blazes is that used for then?
Pic.No.36 So, after doing the cool tour of the house, we decided to walk back to the car and grab some lunch nearby. But on the way we passed a tropical stream ...........................
Pic.No.37 .............. and then a bronze statue of a man climbing a tree ..................
Pic.No.38 .............. and another bronze chap who was sitting down in the shadows, trying to get cool ........
Pic.No.39 ...... and some striking purple berry flowers ......................
Pic.No.40 ............ and some striking pinky looking flowers ..............
Pic.No.41 Then, just before leaving the Leu Gardens, Clare spotted an eagle in a tree ..... and luckily I manged to photograph it before it flew away. It was like an enormous pigeon but with teeth and big killer claws ...... what a way to finish the Harry P. Leu garden tour
Clare and I had been inside the gardens for hours, and as such, were suitably hungry (Hank Marvin, ... starvin' ...... even). So we drove to the Winter Park area of Florida (where all the rich people live), to indulge in a spot of lunch.
Pic.No.42 Apparently Clare had heard that a Turkish restaurant called Bosphorous was particularly good, so that was where we headed ......
Pic.No.43 The nice thing about Winter Park is that it has a 'cafe culture' a bit like Paris ...... which is most unusual in Florida. And this is Clare enjoying the chill and the Merlot
Pic.No.44 Clare took loads of pictures of me hiding behind an enormous glass of wine. I looked totally fabulous when I was distorted by Merlot
Pic.No.45 This was me anticipating my lunch ...................... the glasses are Prada dahlink
Pic.No.46 And finally, the best comedy meal that I have ever eaten arrived ...... it was called 'Lavas' and it was basically a huge, freshly-baked, flatbread ....... in fact it was bigger than both our heads put together
"Jeez, what are we supposed to do with the bugger?" I asked Clare.
"We just kill it," she exclaimed, before pulling out a huge knife and stabbing the Lavas.
It shuddered and wobbled like an inflatable airbed, and then flopped into a flat mess on the plate.
"So we can just eat it now?" I asked Clare.
"Yeh, just pretend you are ripping chunks off your duvet," she said.
And so the evening got all weird ...................
But, I can honestly say that "duvet + lavas + sauce = sex on a plate'
So dahlink .... don't be shy .... what is your best comedy meal? We ALL have one ;-)
Annie (Lady M) x
Anne Dickens | The day after yesterday