The lovely thing about Florida in the Winter months is seeing old friends
Time is a thief of good intentions and is the most intangible of things to deal with! It is difficult to believe that we are a quarter of the way through 2017 already. After Christmas we returned to Florida to resume our life in the USA. The lovely thing about Florida in the winter months is seeing old friends and new, some who live in Florida and many who are escaping the cold winter of their home base.
We returned to the U.K. for a spring visit to see family and friends and to enjoy my favorite season in Britain. I love the spring flowers and blossom which bring color and joy after the winter months. I particularly enjoy the display of daffodils which are in the verges, along the sidewalks and of course in every garden. The most spectacular spring display for me are the banks of snowdrops which emulate a sprinkle of snow wherever they are.
Next is the spring season of trade shows and meetings, so come and visit our booth at SAWC in San Diego starting on the 6th of April.
Christmas with the family in the Cotswolds
We spent Christmas in England with the family in the lovely Cotswolds area. Our family now spans ages from 4 months to 95 years and it is lovely to see everyone over the holiday period. The weather was very kind to us with some frosty mornings but very little rain and lots of sunshine.
At the end of the garden of the house we stayed in over Christmas was a pond with swans, a lovely sight in the mornings when they came to feed. In the Elizabethan days, (Elizabeth the first), swans were eaten at banquets but is now illegal to kill swans in the UK as they are protected under law.
The frosty mornings gave us some lovely pictures with frost on the trees, hedges and lawns made more special by mist on some of the days.
A very special time for us with the family and our friends in the UK, now it's time to start 2017 in our lovely home in Florida, to get fit and to start planning next Christmas, which seems to be earlier and earlier every year!
Travelling for business is not as glamorous as it looks!
Work Life balance
Traveling for business is not as glamorous as it sometimes seems, we do get to eat in some lovely restaurants and we do stay in some nice hotels, (not always!), but we never really see the places we travel to. Quite often it's fly into the airport, travel by car or cab to our meeting place, eat then sleep and travel back to the airport.
So, we decided on our trip to to Germany last week that we would fly into Frankfurt and take the afternoon and evening off to visit the Christmas market in Frankfurt and explore the city on foot. There was a lovely atmosphere in the city which was magical in the evening when all the festive lights were on and people came out onto the streets to visit the market and drink Glühwein, mulled wine.
The next day we set off on our two hour drive to Rommelag in the Kocher valley refreshed and feeling though we had at last seen something of Germany other than where we usually conduct our business.
A visit to Medline in Mundelein
Whilst driving to visit Medline, an early distributor of Saljet, in Mundelein we were at a stop light behind a motor tricycle with a dog riding pillion! Not a sight we see in Britain much! The dog was wearing sunglasses to protect him from one of the warmest Falls Illinois has seen.
Illinois is always lovely in the Fall with some fabulous leaf colors and it is always a delight to visit our old stomping ground during this season.
I love living in Florida as it appeals to the English gardener side of me when I see all the beautiful flowers year round. The English rose side of me struggles with the heat of the summer though, but that's where our traveling lifestyle comes into it's own!
Howard and Annette at Home
In true Thanksgiving tradition we cooked a turkey to share with friends. I would have photographed it to show you but it was so tender it fell apart when we took it out of the pan!
I like to make up my own stuffing recipe and this year's was apple and date. Slice 3 onions, peel and cut 4 eating apples into 8 slices per apple and chop a good cupful of dates, (dried or fresh). Fry the onions in olive oil until soft, add the apples and stir well to coat in oil, add more if a little dry. Fry the apple onion mixture for a couple of minutes, add the dates and a good pinch of ground nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Add a little water if too dry, turn the heat down to simmer and put the lid onto the pan to soften the dates. Cook until the mixture looks moist. Fill the turkey cavity with the stuffing and cook as usual.
I also make a simple sauce of fresh cranberries in fresh orange juice, bought of course! Just boil the cranberries in the juice until they have popped and softened but beware the mixture boils over very quickly!
For a quick and easy pie the next day, add the left over stuffing from the bird to the remaining orange/cranberry mixture, stir well and add water as needed. Add chopped walnuts to taste and heat to simmer point. Add chopped cooked turkey, bring the mixture to the boil and then transfer to a pie dish. Cover with puff pastry, brush with milk and cook in the oven at temperature of 400F for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Serve with green vegetables and there we are, a simple and tasty family dish.
On the weekend we decorated our Christmas tree and are now cheered by the twinkling lights every night. Much as I love the holiday season I cannot believe that we are here again, where did 2016 disappear too?!
The hottest day coincided with Royal Ascot, a horse racing event attended by the Queen who is a keen horse woman.