View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Friday, 7 November 2014

21st Oct – 5th Nov, America

A few observations

I’ve been here for two weeks and I’m now getting ready to travel home.

It’s been a busy visit, carrying out renovations and repairs to an apartment that my Dad and I own in Florida. It’s a trip that I need to do each year, it’s important to keep an eye on the family assets don’t yer know. Some property-related legal stuff that needs sorting calls for a return trip in the not too distant future.

This trip has seen me decorating, replacing a water heater, repairing a shower, sorting the garden and patio, fettling the air-con….plus all manner of other stuff that goes with owning a property.

The language

It’s a funny old country – to say that the UK and USA are two countries separated by a common language is no understatement. Did you know that a faucet (pr: fosset) is a water tap? There’s loads more.

Americans are often very direct, if they need to deal will a problem they’re not afraid to use unambiguous language:


One phrase / sentence that maddens me is, when in a restaurant ‘a waiter will be with you momentarily’. A momentary visit from a waiter is not what I want or expect, thank you very much. I want a waiter to spend a little time with me (more than a moment) to answer any questions I might have.

Of course the waiter DOES spend time with you, as much as is needed. It’s just a strange use of words.

Whilst on the subject of words, strange-sounding names abound in America:

image That’s the name of a road – in case you were wondering.

American prices vs UK prices

Generally, although not always, the price we pay in UK is the same (very often more) than the American price, just change the $ sign to a £ sign.

A few examples from my direct experience:

Hilleberg Akto tent:              USA: $498 (=£311)          UK: £490

MFJ259 antenna analyser:  USA: $259 (=£162)         UK: £280

Flir Infra-Red camera:        USA: $1800 (=£1125)    UK: £2400 

Petrol, per gallon:               USA: $2.80 (=£1.75)      UK: £4.91*

*adjusted to US Gallon = 0.83 Imperial Gallon


Food is plentiful and cheap in Florida, lots of it looks good, some of it is quite nice….too much of it can cause problems of course.

    P1030236 P1030237

Those puddings were wonderful – so good I went twice. Ask Mick & Gayle about them!


There seem to be eateries everywhere:

P1030257 A steak with chips and broccoli in this restaurant tasted wonderful and cost norralot, BUT…the steak was quite salty, the broccoli was served in a salty garlic butter sauce, and the chips were served ready salted.

The convenience of the car

The car is king here, petrol is cheap. These prices are PER GALLON:

P1030270 $2.79 = £1.75

You don’t even have to get out of your car to go to the bank:


Patriotism / National pride

Americans are seriously proud of their country and it’s flag. Americans do not need an excuse to fly their flag. Stars & Stripes appear everywhere: in shops, fluttering from houses, in gardens, on cars….virtually everywhere you can imagine. By comparison the British appear quite unpatriotic. 

image Last week’s polling day

A UK Polling Station sign, emblazoned with a Union Flag? I’ve not ever seen one - I can’t see it ever happening. It might cause offence to someone….and that would never do.

Property Repairs

It’s been pointed out to me in the past (very frequently and quite recently) that it would be cheaper for me to employ someone in Florida to carry out these tasks. Not so.

I was quoted $1000 to replace a shower that was described as unrepairable: I mended it in a couple of hours.

Replacing the water heater would have cost at least $650, I did it myself for $250.

As for sorting the Air Conditioning unit, it would have been a lot of money. Then move the decimal point to the right. For some reason Air Conditioning units are shrouded in mystery here. This I find surprising – virtually everyone has Air-Con, but hardly anyone understands how they work….so they pay lots of dosh to A Man. It’s always A Man. The only bit I can’t do is recharge the unit with refrigerant. You need a special bit of paper to be able to do that. 

I much prefer to come over here to do the jobs myself, apart from anything else I know that the work has been carried out to a reasonable standard.


Americans do many things differently. This is the electrical bit of the water heater I replaced:

imageWires are joined by twisting them together and covering the connection with a plastic ‘nut’. Not a junction box to be seen. I find this a bit frightening.

Domestic wiring installations are potentially (see what I did there?) bloody dangerous. A house frequently has both 120v AND 240v available. 120v for normal household appliances like kettles, TV etc, but 240v is used for higher current stuff like cookers, water heaters and so on. Get your wiring wrong and……


I go to Florida where it’s currently 80degF. And the sky is blue. At the end of October / beginning of November. A few years ago they had an overnight frost – they still talk about it now.

It’s hi$$ing it down in Timperley, And it’s cold.

Nuff said.

Anyroadup, it’s an interesting place once you understand the language. I’ll be going back fairly soon – more stuff to do.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Florida summer...

....and how to deal with it.

Dehydration is to be avoided. Enhancing water seems to be the way Floridians do it.

To be fair, the Florida water is safe to drink but it tastes pretty awful.

I brought a packet of Yorkshire Tea (for hard water) over with me. When made with bottled drinking water the resultant brew is acceptable. Not brilliant, but it does the job.

I've been so busy that I've not had time to visit the local brewery tap in Dunedin, 5 - 6 miles from here. Cans of lager have had to suffice.

I was hoping to get out with the local Hash House Harriers, but apart from time constraints, the weather has been either far too hot to run or it's been too wet. This is the storm season, we've recently been battered by Tropical Storm Andrea - even wetter than a wet Sunday afternoon in Timperley. Now THAT'S wet.

It's now 4.30pm (the one in the afternoon) and the clouds are gathering. By 5pm it will be hammering down once again. Good tropical stuff - happens most afternoons at this time.

The good news is that I've achieved more than I'd intended on this trip.
For those who don't know, I've been renovating an apartment that my father and I own. The plan is to let the place out to make it self-financing. There's no point in trying to flog it, the property market over here is in a worse state than in the UK.

Anyroadup, as it's going to hiss it down I might as well get on with some decorating.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

A post from The Colonies

From time-to-time I need to cross the pond to ensure that things are going satisfactorily.
90degF and all that goes with it doesn’t really do it for me, I’d much rather be somewhere wild and remote. But there you go, it’s a family duty thing and it has to be done.
Whenever I do pay a visit to our colonial brothers and sisters I’m always tempted to correct their spelling, grammar and vocalburary vocabliary vocabulary. This is one reason why I don’t buy books from here, I can’t abide poor spelling…..not that mine is brilliant. The Americans, to their great credit, don’t seem to misuse the apostrophe half as much as we British do.
I was delighted to see that the Publix supermarket chain (think Tesco, but with service) are in the good company of our very own Booth’s supermarkets: they offer an express till service for customers with ‘10 items or fewer’.
P1020200Whilst on the subject of niceties and stuff, have you noticed that our very own National Trust don’t have toilets? Oh dear me no, they have Lavatories. Much more English, don’t you think?
As well as being separated by a common language, our dress sense is rather different:
P1020197This delightful lady’s hat is probably not at all unusual on the left-hand side of the pond, in Timperley it may stand out slightly. 
The high temperatures of this part of the USA cause all manner of insect problems. Floridians take these things in their stride:
P1020199An former squatter 
I’ve now pretty well sorted the insect invasion problem. Whenever I leave for UK I put down a good number of ‘Roach Baits’….they’re like rat poison but for cockroaches. Probably wouldn’t do rats much good either. Come to think of it, I’ve not seen any rats here… it MUST work on rats too. Anyway, when I open up the building I just go around with a dustpan and brush and sweep up all the dead bodies. Then I bleach everywhere.
This visit is much busier than previous visits, I’m preparing the place for letting – there’s TONS to do. Whilst clearing out a load of old tat I came across a completely useless lightbulb – well it was completely useless as a lightbulb:
P1020391You don’t get these in Timperley
With the very high temperatures comes a rainy season. This last couple of weeks has already seen loss of life due to hurricanes & tornadoes. Fortunately this area is just out the tornado alley. That doesn’t mean we don’t get rain though:
P1020412 P1020421 A couple of photos taken from the back door this evening.
The evening’s donner & blitzen stuff is bad for a chap’s nerves. Now I know why the flight tickets were so cheap….no bugger wants to come here at this time of the year.
Anyroadup, tomorrow’s an easy day. The morning will be spent working on the apartment, whilst the afternoon will be at a local folk club sing-thing. The evening will be spent at the Dunedin Brewery. A chap has to have SOME fun…doesn’t he?

Anchor Inn session