Thursday, January 19, 2023

Back From Vacay


Fritz and The Flamingos
(Sarasota Jungle Gardens)

I am back home after two weeks of vacation in sunny Sarasota, Florida and as one might imagine, I have not done much in the way of hobby activities during that time span. I brought  a couple of history books with me, but I failed to crack them open, preferring to binge watch reruns of Chicago P.D. to while away the evening hours.

We were supposed to be in Sarasota for three weeks, but we had to cut the trip short by several days in order to get Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe back to Illinois in time for the start of school.

Lady Emma enjoys visiting The Sarasota Jungle Garden in Sarasota and I think that she visited the park at least five times, maybe more, over the course of several weeks. I went with her maybe three times and she took an Uber to the park to make some visits on her own. SJG has a vast menagerie of flamingos, alligators, other reptiles, monkeys/lemurs and a Florida Panther or two. The best part of the visit is seeing the flamingos and letting them eat feed pellets out of your hand.

It is a rather odd sensation when a flamingo is nibbling out of your hand. They tilt their heads sideways and kind of peck away at the feed in your hand. It's an odd tactile experience, but it is fun nevertheless. I took a pass at holding various reptiles in my hands, but Lady Emma was nonplussed by the whole experience with slithering things.

Monet's water lilies perhaps?

Some of the inhabitants of the Butterfly House

It wasn't all flamingos and Key Lime Pie though. We paid a visit to the John & Mabel Ringling art museum (yes that Ringling, of circus fame) and we saw lots of Old Masters paintings from Rubens, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Rembrandt, among others. I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon some 18th Century denizens such a The Marques of Granby and Lt. General Phillip Honeywood, both painted by Gainsborough.


Marquess of Granby

Frederick the Great's sister

Some handsome French aristocrat

A copy of Michelangelo's David

Mr. Ringling's manse

18th Century gallery with harpsichord

Ringling collected whole rooms and brought them over to the New World.

Edouard Detaille painting from the Franco-Prussian war.
I spotted this from across the room and immediately identified the artist.

We made a day trip to the Everglades

Lelia and Dad in the Everglades

A crocodile, waiting to be turned into a matching pair of shoes and a belt.

The Everglades wetlands.

The garage of the house where we stayed. I'm seeing a wargame room here.

I could live in this house. No problem. I like the colonial style architecture and the outside porch.

We made a college visit to the University of Tampa for Lelia. I liked the campus because it had some interesting architectural buildings and it was not too big of a campus.

On the trip back home, we made a short visit to the Chickamauga National Military Park. Here are some pictures of the park headquarters.

Ice skating rink on New Year's Day in 75F temperature.

Home again and ready to paint more 54mm Dervish figures.


  1. As a graduate of the University of Tampa, lady Emma will love her experiences there! Bill

  2. Hello Der Alte Fritz, An excellent size of garage. No need to sell any figures from the look of that. Do what you will with the business, and then play more wargames. I'm jealous. Cheers. Glenn

  3. A varied and interesting post. I especially enjoyed the paintings. I looked up Honeywood's career.
    If I may, I also wish Lady Emma all the best in her chseon path of further study.

  4. Thanks for the pics and dialogue! Great trip by the looks of it!

  5. Welcome home Jim.
    Bill P.

  6. Thank you for your very nice photos especially of these 18th century paintings.