In 2004 my Husband retired and I whisked him off to New Zealand for 21 days We met some wonderful people who were generous friendly and very welcoming. We toured North and south island seeing many beautiful sights.
It was early in the year so we escaped the low temperatures and lowering grey skies that characterise January and February here.
The following few years we escaped again to Madeira and Tenerife and finally we went to Florida for a month either February or March. This is where we met up with some wonderful ‘Snow Birds’ and also linked up with some we already knew through educational exchanges.
We stayed in an Arty ‘Village’ called Gulfport a few miles from St Petersburg (Yes in Florida across from Tampa)One day whilst taking a bus ride we met up with a couple who turned out to be friendly Canadians from New Brunswick who travel south every Winter to escape the snow.
They invited us to join them for coffee and it turned out that they were musicians! One a fiddler the other a guitarist with a great interest in Irish Music which went down well with my Husband who was also a musician who played piano accordion!!
Throughout our stay they invited us to join several Social gatherings with lots of their friends who were also ‘Snowbirds’ There was plenty of music and lots of wonderful food all home made as everyone was staying in rented property ‘home from home’….something which they do year on year and generally for three or four months!!.
We also met up for a meal and walks with the couple I knew from my teaching days when we had a Canadian Headteacher on exchange in my school.
Our last visit to Florida was in 2013 and on reflection I recall aspects of my Husband’s behaviour which were signs of things not being quite right with him. Reluctance to join in activities with large groups of people was one and it is only with hindsight that I recognise the signs of what was to come.
Our last escape from the winter days was to Dubai in 2014 but we stayed with family and there were no problems evident!!
Ferries crossing Dubai Creek
2015 sadly saw my Husband diagnosed with Alzheimers. No more long haul trips and only short breaks became the order of the day.