Saturday, 7 January 2012


Our three day stay with Jane in her lovely condo in Sarasota was a little interlude of unaccustomed comfort and luxury. With her background in art and design, and her extensive travels, Jane's home is a kind of shrine to the beautiful, the exotic and the quirky. Every time you look around there is another lovely piece of glass, a picture or just an interesting arrangement of things that you hadn't noticed before. Amongst Jane's many other talents is her gift for event management, so the itinerary for our short stay was packed with fun and adventure! Here are a few highlights:
  • Watching a training session of the Lippizaner stallions, descendants of the horses that General Patton rescued in Austria at the end of the Second World War. In addition to dressage, these beautiful grey horses still learn battlefield manoeuvres, rearing up (so commanders could view the field) and striking out with their rear hooves.

  • Myakka State Park, where we took a cruise on an air-boat to see a marsh teeming with wildlife, including alligators.

  • The extraordinary home and estate of John Ringling, of Ringling Brothers Circus, now the Ringling Museum. Here we strolled through Mabel Ringling's rose garden which was in full bloom, and checked out the art collection which is famous for its Rubens pictures in particular. I really enjoyed the special exhibition of old circus posters. With their luridly exaggerated depictions of wild animals, freaks and exotic foreigners ('savage Blackamoors and Chinamen') they provide a fascinating insight into the social perspectives of the time.
  • A great dinner with Jane's friends, including Stephanie and Julius who shared their stories of ocean cruising that were both inspiring and a little terrifying.
  • Our first experience of a polo match - fast, exciting, skilful, and a very enjoyable social event as well.
We hope that some day we have the chance to repay the kindness and hospitality of the great people we've met here.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful experience to be a part of Jane's life for a few days. Life is endlessly surprising and engaging isn't it! I've absolutely no doubt she enjoyed your company and much as you did hers! :)