I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure


Friday letters – the non-grumpy edition

Dear pickleball,  You are a completely new sport to me, but you look like something that might be fun.  I’ve had two beginner’s lessons so far but haven’t quite got the hang of hitting the ball with control.  It doesn’t respond in the way that I am used to it responding in tennis, or squash, nor does it fly like a shuttlecock off a badminton racket.  I am going to persevere though, because there seems to be quite popular here (amongst people of a certain age…).

Dear local supermarket,  I just want to say thank you for always being cheerful at the checkout, and how much I appreciate having someone there to pack my bags for me.

Dear local coffee shop,  I really enjoyed the live music last Friday evening.  The sign said it was going to be Jazz, and that can come in many forms.  Luckily it was the smooth variety, played on two guitars with a drum accompaniment, and was just loud enough to be able to hear it, but not to make it difficult to chat.  The accompanying iced coffee was rather nice too.

Dear dog beach,  On our most recent walk last weekend, we saw the interesting sight of dogs on paddle boards. I couldn’t decide if the owners were only on the paddle boards while the dogs learned how to do it themselves, or whether the dogs were always going to be passengers, enjoying the ride.  Is this bringing a new meaning to the phrase ‘doggy paddle’?

Dear self,  A whole set of Friday letters and not a grumpy one amongst them.  Goodness.

Poor quality I’m afraid, but it’s the dogs on paddle boards.


Have a good Friday everyone.



Friday letters – the just after the 4th of July edition

Dear stingrays, I hear you are in the area now, attracted by the warm shallow water near the beach for mating and giving birth.  Apparently, even if we are only a very short distance from the water’s edge, we should all adopt the ‘Stingray Shuffle’ if we are walking in the water – dragging our feet heavily rather than stepping – because the vibrations will send you on your way.  I am more than happy to do that if it means I avoid your sting.

Dear San Diego County Fair,  I really enjoyed my visit to you on Tuesday last week.  You say you are the largest county fair in the United States and I can believe it.  There was so much to see, and do, that we were quite spoiled for choice.  We did our best to try and see as much as we could, but it was impossible to see everything.  We managed to catch the piglet racing (although just the last race unfortunately), a Monster Truck competition, pigs in fancy dress, the butterfly house, garden displays. a model railroad and the livestock barns with many, many cows, pigs, goats and sheep being shown.  There were lots of displays of arts and crafts (knitting, sewing, quilting, paper craft, baking etc) from competitions that had been running and we could see who had won ribbons for their efforts.  There was wine and beer tasting and a whole barn full of information about sweets and their history (and a few free samples).  There were hundreds of food stalls to tempt all tastes and then there was, of course, the fair ground.  We tried the ferris wheel and got wonderful views over to the ocean on one side, and across the fair site on the other.  The other rides were a bit too wild and twirly for us, so we passed on them.  I want to mention how well organised your parking was, and how quickly you moved people around.  We opted for the offsite parking and that was very efficient – free parking in a local college car park where a fleet of buses were waiting to whisk us off to the fair grounds and drop us right by the entrance.  It was an excellent day out, thank you.

Dear new houses nearby,  I confess to suffering from a bit of mailbox envy.  Now that you are almost ready for your first residents, the final touches are being added.  One of those final touches is a nice white mailbox at the front of each house – the kind with the red flag on the side.  I’d like to have had one of them, which I could have decorated in my own way, but we have one of those commercial metal banks of boxes at the end of the road, and we have a key for our own little door.  I know it’s efficient for the post person to drop the mail, but I had always fancied the idea of having my own mail box outside my house.

Dear 4th of July, Well, we had a lovely day, thank you.  The weather was, of course, fine so everyone could spend as much of it outdoors as the wanted to.  We opted for brunch in a bakery we hadn’t tried before, and then headed for the beach for a walk, and to sit on the rocks and watch the world go by.  It was good to see so many people dressed in patriotic colours and some houses were displaying extra flags, patriotic bunting and pleated fans on their porches and balconies.  We saw a few cars and motorbikes that were decorated too, and one open topped car had a flag so large that the driver was in danger of being enveloped in it.  The day was rounded of with fireworks as far as the eye could see from about 8.30 pm.  We had a great vantage point just at the back of our house, which is on one of the many hills in the area.  Although one set of fireworks was quite a bit closer than all the rest, it was still interesting to be able to see, and hear, so many at the same time.  I think an excellent day was had by all.

Our 4th of July beach visit.

Have a good Friday everyone.


Friday letters – the Roof Squares #29 edition

Dear local bank, It is so nice to be greeted with a cheery “good morning/afternoon” as I enter your banking hall.  I also appreciate that I can speak to someone without a glass partition between us, and that your staff will happily fill in the forms/slips I require without any suggestion that I should have known which one I needed and have completed it already before approaching the desk. I just thought you’d like to know.

Dear San Diego Highland Games,  Thank you for a very pleasant afternoon’s entertainment last Sunday.  The warm sunshine was just perfect for enjoying some sheepdog trials, pipe band competitions, music and ‘heavy athletics’.  I wasn’t quite sure what heavy athletics were going to be, but they turned out to be the traditional tossing the caber and hammer throw.  There was also an event which the announcer told us was the ‘sheep throw’ for which the contestants had to use a large pitch fork to throw a heavy-ish filled sack over a high bar.  I couldn’t imagine why, historically, men would have been throwing sheep around, and certainly not over increasingly high bars, until I saw the sign announcing that this was the SHEAF throw – presumably a competition that developed amongst farm workers during harvesting times.  I also enjoyed the live bands that were playing traditional and experimental Celtic music and wished I could have heard a bit more.  It was a a great opportunity for me to relish my heritage – although in the whole afternoon I heard only two other Scottish voices, which surprised me.  It was also good to enjoy the games in dry weather as most of the other Highland Games I have been to have been in damp and misty conditions.  I’m looking forward to next year’s games already.

Dear ‘fs’ versus ‘ves’,  When I was a young girl at school we were taught that the plural of roof was rooves, horses had hooves and Snow White met seven dwarves.  These days I will always write hooves and dwarves, but for some reason rooves looks wrong. I’m not sure why that should be – any ideas?

Dear Becky,  After today there is just one more day of your fun roof square challenge to go.  I’m already wondering what your next one is going to be.

Dear Monterey,  On our recent roadtrip we stopped off for lunch in your Cannery Row area and really enjoyed it.  The area is delightful and the ambience very welcoming.  It’s a great place just to stand and watch the ocean (and see two sea otters, which was very exciting!) or to sit on a bench and watch the world go by.  I wish we had been staying for longer.

A Monterey seagull watching the world going by.

Have a good Friday everyone.

Posted for Becky’s #RoofSquares challenge.


Friday letters – the Roof Squares #22 edition

Dear local swimming pool,  I have written to you before, but I feel I must write again to congratulate you on providing me with a very interesting morning yesterday.  I went to swim a few lengths/laps in the warm, smaller pool, to try and increase my fitness, and was surrounded by such a wide range of people using the pools that I barely noticed the time passing, and lost count of how many lengths I did.  There were a few like me who were in their lane swimming up and down in the normal fashion.  Then there were the people who had paddles strapped to their hands and snorkels, so that they could move at speed through the water without lifting their heads for breath.  There were two ladies of quite advanced years who were putting me to shame with their style and ablility to slice through the water.  There was a man who was walking – yes, walking: he had his earphones in with his ipod/phone strapped to his arm as he strode powerfully through the chest high water.  I noticed when he climbed out that he was wearing shoes.  There were children larking around with their friends, others diving in and jumping off the high board. – all happy that the long summer break has started.  There were mums and dads sitting in the sun watching their children from the comfort of the pool chairs and chatting with their friends.  But my favourite user of the pool was the swimming teacher who had her two small pupils in the lane next to me and was encouraging them to swim breastroke with shouts of “Chicken, rocket, aeroplane!  Chicken, rocket, aeroplane! Chicken, rocket…”.  The time flew by as I was entertained by those around me.

Dear new book club,  You are a completely different kettle of fish from the last one, and I enjoyed the friendly get-together very much.  You are definitely much more my style and the fact that lunch is involved too is a bonus.

Dear Becky,  Today’s offering for your challenge is a bit of a hastily taken photo I’m afraid – no finesse, but I took it quickly through a wound down car window as we slowed down at an intersection.

Dear Fowey bus stop,  I think you win the prize for the most comfortable bus stop I have seen.  Whoever thought of putting in a couple of comfy chairs, some cushions, decorative plants and reading material certainly had the right idea. Waiting for a bus can sometimes be a long and boring process.

Have a good Friday everyone.

Posted as part of Becky’s #RoofSquares


Friday letters – the Roof Squares #15 edition

Dear snails, I think my garden must have the largest collection of you in all of California.  I thought you were quite numerous in my garden back in the UK, and imagined that I would have a snail free time here, but sadly I was wrong.  It seems that the plants I have are perfect for you to hide, and breed, in.  What is it that you like so much about bird of paradise plants, agapanthus and African irises?  Oh, and white walls – you are often crowded on that too.  Wouldn’t you like to take a trip over to the canyon at the back?  There’s plenty of green stuff there for you to eat/sleep/breed on.

Dear people on social media,  Why, oh why, do some of you announce who has been knocked out of competitions, or comment on the result of a sports match, immediately after it has been shown on TV?  I can’t tell you how many times I have innocently looked at my social media accounts and found out that the result of the show I haven’t had the chance to watch yet (because it was on less than 24 hours ago and not everyone watches things ‘live’ any more) has been announced in someone’s tweet or Facebook status.  It happened again yesterday.  I suppose in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter that I know who has been knocked out of a cookery competition before I watch the show, but it does take the edge off it slightly.

Dear California sky,  You are so wide – you seem much more expansive than I remember the sky being in other places.  Why is that?  Or do you just give that impression because there aren’t as many high buildings around as I am used to back in the UK?  If you could drop me a line and let me know, I’ve be very grateful.

Dear Jasper Fforde,  I am currently reading The Fourth Bear, one of your Nursery Crimes series, and I really enjoy how clever you are with the names of places and people, and how you weave the events of nursery rhymes and well known ‘fairy’ tales into the story.  The main characters from the Nursery Crimes Division of the police force, Detective Jack Spratt and Sergeant Mary Mary have quite a lot to deal with in this book including a hunt for the Gingerbread Man (who is hard to catch because he is going to run and run as fast as he can) and a missing journalist ‘Goldy’ who likes things to be in order and generally not too hot, or too cold.  Part of the action takes place in the Déjà Vu hotel, where things seem slightly familiar… I think your imagination is fantastic.

Dear local people,  Watch out, school is over now until the beginning of September.  There will be children everywhere.

Dear Becky,  It’s hard to believe we are already half way through your challenge of posting a square roof photo every day for a month!  Today I am sharing a roof-top sign that’s hard to miss.

Dear Ghirardelli Sq,  You are quite a big feature in San Francisco, and have been since the days of the gold rush.  It was my intention that we would pay you at least one visit during our recent time in the city and sample the delights of your famous Italian ice cream.  Sadly we didn’t make it – maybe next time. 

Have a good Friday everyone.

Posted as part of Becky’s #RoofSquares


Friday letters – the Roof Squares #8 edition

Dear pelicans, I’m used to seeing you gliding slowly and majestically along the coast, or close to the water surface, barely flapping your wings as you progress, but earlier this week I witnessed what was obviously an excellent fishing session for you.  I’ve never seen you look so active, as you circled round then dive-bombed into the water with such energy.

Dear dogs on Dog Beach,  You looked as though you were having so much fun cavorting in the water with other dogs, or chasing balls into the ocean.  It’s amazing how you can keep track of where a ball has gone as it disappears under the crashing waves. 

Dear jacaranda trees,  I am really enjoying your beautiful bluey-purple blossoms and am impressed that you are lasting for so long.

Dear road trip,  San Diego to San Francisco and back again via the Pacific Coast Highway was magnificent.  There was so much to see and do that we barely scratched the surface.  It’s such a shame that a section of the PCH was closed, which meant that we couldn’t see all of your dramatic beauty, but what we did see was marvellous, fantastic, wonderful, awe inspiring …

Dear taxi driver in San Francisco,  Thank you for showing us some places that we wouldn’t otherwise have seen on our short visit.

Dear Becky,  Your June challenge is making me look at buildings with a different eye, which is good.  Today I am posting a photo of one of the buildings at the Leo Carillo Ranch Historic Park, Carlsbad, California.

Have a good Friday everyone.

Posted as part of Becky’s #RoofSquares