Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Leu Gardens, Lavas and ...... lots of other weird shit

The day or so after I arrived in America, Clare and I had got up for breakfast, and were by the pool eating a 'breakfast casserole' (yes they eat casseroles for breakfast in America). The sun was beaming and both the pool, and the lake in the distance were shimmering and glinting with light.

"I thought we could visit Leu Gardens today," said Clare, thoughtfully chewing on a turkey sausage.

"What the bloody hell is Leu Gardens?" I asked her, flicking a slice of jalapeno pepper off my bacon [it bounced un-noticed off her dog's head and plopped into the pool].

"It is a tropical botanical garden," she replied, absent-mindedly adding another spoonful of jalapenos to my bacon.

"Does it involve cocktails?" I asked her, desperately trying to stop the jalapeno juice from leaking onto my cheesy egg, by building a bacon dam.

"No. Because they are tropical gardens," she replied, "so they involve flowers, and butterflies and leaves and shit."

"That's not very adrenalin," I pointed out, (surreptitiously feeding her dog my extraneous jalapenos under the table).

"You'll bloody love it," said Clare authoritatively, at the exact moment her dog barfed violently and enthusiastically in my general direction.

"Your dog is a filthy bastard," I said, recoiling with horror and shaking the green bits off my foot.

Clare eyes narrowed and she looked at me like she was Fu Manchu the yellow peril. "Have you been feeding my dog jalapenos again?" she asked suspiciously.

"Not whole ones," I gulped, edging slowly towards the door.

Oops. Maybe not all the things that Naughty George eats are transferrable.

Anyway, I digress. Back to our visit to Leu Gardens. The gardens are tropical and they were bequeathed to the state of Florida by Harry.P. Leu and his Mrs, both of whom had spent their lives collecting interesting specimens of flora.

So that is where we went, and because I am kind, I have got some photographs for you. Not just a few mind you ....... bloody loads of the bastards .......... enjoy!

Pic.No.1 The visitor entrance for Leu Gardens in Florida

Pic.No.1 My chum Clare! With her new DSLR camera ....... bloody marvellous it is ...... picks up every blemish on your face from 50 metres

Pic.No.2 This is the ticket desk for Leu Gardens. Entry was $7.00 per adult making it the best value feature I have ever visited in America

Pic.No.3 The first part of the gardens that we saw, were the tropical gardens. There were loads of dark green plants and some reddy coloured ones too
Pic.No.4 Leu Gardens bordered a lake that has alligators in it (but that isn't an alligator, it's me)

Pic.No.5 Clare spent so much time behind her new camera that I suspect that she didn't see Leu Gardens until she got home and downloaded the pics onto her computer

Pic.No.6 A funny palm tree that looks like an enormous squirrel paw

Pic.No.7 See that clock on the bank in the background? It was a real working clock and the flowers had been planted to make a clock face

Pic.No.8 This is the plaque saying that Harry and his wife bequeath the gardens to the general public - i.e. the great unwashed

Pic.No.9 Hurrah! It's me again. I am standing in the centre pavilion, next to the rose garden

Pic.No.10 A close-up shot of the central rose garden. That's a gold fountain, that is. I might try and pick some off and then go to a pawn shop

Pic.No.11 A gazebo in the rose garden .... you couldn't get a less debauched scene if you tried

Pic.No.12 A white rose in the rose garden

Pic.No.13 An orange rose in the rose garden

Pic.No.14 A pink rose in the rose garden. I have to say though, roses aren't as 'samey' as daffodils

Pic.No.15 The entrance to the 'Butterfly Gardens'

Pic.No.16 Because butterflies like flowers, there were lots of them in the Butterfly garden

Pic.No.17 I took this picture of an orange butterfly, but they were hard to capture because they fly so fast that you can't stun them with a stone

Pic.No.18 This is an orange butterfly scoffing some leaf

Pic.No.19 After the gardens we headed towards the Leu House Museum. The house was constructed circa 1858, and the Leu Family lived there from 1936 before donating it all to the people of Florida

Pic.No.20 This is the entrance hall of Leu House. It had been restored to it's former glory by a group of volunteers and then turned into a museum for all and sundry to enjoy

Pic.No.21 Another view of the hallway

Pic.No.22 This is the study. As you can imagine, given the wallpaper that the Leu's had chosen, they weren't going to take LSD anytime soon (or maybe they had taken LSD which is why they chose that design)

Pic.No.23. Look at the wireless radio to the left hand side of the room. That made me laugh that did. How retro is that?

Pic.No.24 This is the dining room in Leu House. Crikey, they don't half like their wallpaper eh?

Pic.No.25 Another view of the dining room, but this time looking towards the window

Pic.No.26 The kitchen looked surprisingly modern for a 1930s house ...............

Pic.No.27 ...... until I homed in on the cooker. Jeez!

Pic.No.28 This was the kids room in the olden days

Pic.No.29 The kids had a cool doll's house in the corner of their bedroom

Pic.No.30 This is a picture of one of the bedrooms in the doll's house

Pic.No.31 An original gramophone was situated in an ante-room near to the children's bedroom. Look the speaker on it! Imagine plugging that into your iPhone and then walking down the street

Pic.No.32 This was a guest bedroom in Leu House museum. Again, it is wallpaper-tastic

Pic.No.33 The guest bedroom had a genuine, bona-fida, yellow and green Art Deco bathroom

Pic.No.34 This is the master suite of the house. It was bloody marvellous. And can you see that dress on the left hand side? That belonged to the mistress of the house that did. And it was not designed to cope with dog poop on sidewalks

Pic.No.35 This is the master bathroom. Look at that seat on the left hand side (with the hole in it). What the blazes is that used for then?

Pic.No.36 So, after doing the cool tour of the house, we decided to walk back to the car and grab some lunch nearby. But on the way we passed a tropical stream ...........................

Pic.No.37 .............. and then a bronze statue of a man climbing a tree ..................

Pic.No.38 .............. and another bronze chap who was sitting down in the shadows, trying to get cool ........

Pic.No.39 ...... and some striking purple berry flowers ......................

Pic.No.40 ............ and some striking pinky looking flowers ..............

Pic.No.41 Then, just before leaving the Leu Gardens, Clare spotted an eagle in a tree ..... and luckily I manged to photograph it before it flew away. It was like an enormous pigeon but with teeth and big killer claws ...... what a way to finish the Harry P. Leu garden tour

Clare and I had been inside the gardens for hours, and as such, were suitably hungry (Hank Marvin, ... starvin' ...... even). So we drove to the Winter Park area of Florida (where all the rich people live), to indulge in a spot of lunch.

Pic.No.42 Apparently Clare had heard that a Turkish restaurant called Bosphorous was particularly good, so that was where we headed ......

Pic.No.43 The nice thing about Winter Park is that it has a 'cafe culture' a bit like Paris ...... which is most unusual in Florida. And this is Clare enjoying the chill and the Merlot

Pic.No.44 Clare took loads of pictures of me hiding behind an enormous glass of wine. I looked totally fabulous when I was distorted by Merlot

Pic.No.45 This was me anticipating my lunch ...................... the glasses are Prada dahlink

Pic.No.46 And finally, the best comedy meal that I have ever eaten arrived ...... it was called 'Lavas' and it was basically a huge, freshly-baked, flatbread ....... in fact it was bigger than both our heads put together

"Jeez, what are we supposed to do with the bugger?" I asked Clare.

"We just kill it," she exclaimed, before pulling out a huge knife and stabbing the Lavas.

It shuddered and wobbled like an inflatable airbed, and then flopped into a flat mess on the plate.

"So we can just eat it now?" I asked Clare.

"Yeh, just pretend you are ripping chunks off your duvet," she said.

And so the evening got all weird ...................
But, I can honestly say that "duvet + lavas + sauce = sex on a plate'

So dahlink .... don't be shy .... what is your best comedy meal? We ALL have one ;-)


  1. That was not only the biggest bread but the most expensive lunch we ever had!!!

  2. Looks like a fun day out.
    Re pics 37 and 38: best trout pout I've seen in ages!

    No comedy meals, I'm afraid. I never joke about food.


  3. Holy crap that is a huge wad of bread! I want me some!

    That is a hell of a lot of pictures, clearly there is some camera love going on here. And uh nice one you tried with poor Gary, how are you blaming Naughty George for stuff even when you are across an ocean? Ha!

  4. I think the Leu's had a beautiful place.  There would be some serious wallpaper removal going on if I had to move in but WOW how pretty are those gardens.   Great pictures as always. 

    I have no comedy meals.  Past the age of 50, I have to watch everything I eat for fear that it will take up residence on my thighs and backside.  As I tend to like healthy foods its no hardhip but not particulary funny either.

  5. Great set of photos...thanks for the day out!    That house is fab, though I may not have chosen some of the wallpaper patterns.  Wouldn't Izzy just  love that dolls' house?

  6. Holy Frig...did I see you feeling up a stiff man on a ladder....You Brits are all alike when you come to America...just take over and enjoy yourselves!

  7. LOLOL! You did indeed witness me feeling a 'stiff' man! I threw caution to the wind!


  8. WTF? Again you jet-setter you .. i need a drink!

  9. One of your BEST posts, Annie!! Really! Now I will not have to visit Leu Gardens when I am 'in the hood'!
    Best comedy meal was way back....Ron, his Mom and I (the three amigos!) beginning our appetizers....Mrs.T had escargot and was holding one of them with that clamp thingy and trying to get out that slimy snail inside! Well, she lost control of the clamp thing and away went/flew the whole snail, shell and all! Never to be seen again! Of course it was ALL RON"S fault because he was laughing so much!!! lol Good memory, thanks for that.

  10. Why thank you Jim!!

    That was a brilliant story about Ron's mom. What a doughnut, and I can't believe that she couldn't retrieve the snail LOLOL!


  11. After seeing you molest the man in pic 37 I have decided to establish a fund to get you a gigolo while you're here so you can quit feeling up innocent statuary. Do you know if Clare knows any suitable men? Or should I start looking from here?

  12. If you don't mind Michele - can you start looking from there? Most of the men here are over 65 which is a tad old for me. And Clare doesn't know anyone to set me up with!


  13. Crikey, what have I done now? Why do you need a drink?!! Actually pour me one too whilst you are at it!


  14. Bloody post took ages because of all the bleedin' pics. It doesn't leave me time to do other ones. Glad you like 'em though - that makes it a bit more worthwhile.

    The wallpaper is minging isn't it, and oh yeh, you are so right - Izzy would bloody love the Dolls' house!!


  15. Man alive it was a pretty place. But I took so many bloody photos that I don't have time to do any other blogs!

    You sound very trim and I think you should pass on some recipes to me because I need to lose a few lbs and it isn't helping being in America and eating out all the time!!


  16. You could use that bread as a sleeping bag. It was mental .

    I am getting pissed with dealing with all the pics actually. There are tons of the bastards and it takes ages to sort 'em out, which in turn limits the blogs.

    I might throw a petrol bomb at my camera. How are you matey?

    P.S. N.G. is always guilty, no matter how far away he is!


  17. Masher, that isn't a trout pout - that is a Zoolander. Jeez!

    Sorry, didn't mean to joke about food ...... step away from the machete!


  18. Yep, it was $100. Big bread is good ..... but not that good!


  19. Comedy meal ? Nine months pregnant with Jess - driving up a bumpy track up a mountain to a rustic restaurant in Spain & eating snails with a toothpick.
    You girls honestly... I bet tables nearby clear when you get together !

  20. I hope you fought the urge to do your 'special' rearranging of dolls house figures. ould have given the blue rinse brigade a shudder.

    Looks like you had one of those dodgy implants we're reading so much about for lunch.

    Enjoy the sun. Git. It snowed here yesterday.

  21. What a fabulous place!    I think I loved the inside even more than the outside.  You always find the most fun things to do no matter where you go.   And really -- that "cooker"?    I totally would love to have that.   Where's Izzy?

  22. Was that a shower in the master bathroom?  Seems out of place next to the seat on the left side (with the hole in it).  hehehe

    Looks like a great day outside, inside, and beside your friend.  Keep having a great time!

  23. But did you notice the seat with the hole in it, had nothing underneath to capture whatever went through the hole? UGH! dirty bastards!


  24. Glad you like it! It was a pretty cool place to visit!

    Izzy is at home with her Dad at the moment - having a whale of a time camping!


  25. I was soooooo tempted to rearrange the dolls, you would not believe. However, I have realised that the Americans are more readily shocked than UK people, so I had to resist the urge!

    What is that about snow then? Izzy had been camping with her dad and he sent me a picture of the tent covered in snow!!


  26. Good grief - you haven't half done some travelling gal, have you? Snails with a toothpick? Gross!!



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