Here I am, in the land of Vitamin D! I’m writing this on the balcony of the St. Andrews apartment where I’m staying with my gracious and charming host, Jenn Ward. There is a palm tree less then ten feet from me, and a busy pond frequented by exotic bird life just beyond. Gone are my Gortex and toque (what you American folks would call a beanie). The weather is just divine – a few clouds to cut the intensity of the heat, a nice breeze caressing my pasty, sun-starved face with the soft, tropical air…ok, that’s enough jealous-making for one day. I must confess that even though I’ll always love California and not love Florida, coming here for my annual visit does continue to grow on me.  I would be lying to say I can’t see why all the eastern Canadians truck on down for the winter.


Well, there WERE birds at the pond before the Mexican dog pack two floors down started making their daily (and hours long) racket.

Florida is always a long haul from the west coast. It almost invariably necessitates a red eye to get to the east, a few semi-conscious hours spent sucking on Starbucks and staring blankly at fellow air travelers in a terminal in some snowy city, before finally reaching the azure shores and aging populace of the Florida coast. The West Palm Beach airport doesn’t have special bathrooms for baby changing; instead they have companion-person bathrooms that fit a wheelchair and whoever is pushing it. This was my first time arriving via the dubious delights of Air Canada, who have recently spruced up their aircraft with some green strips on the pointy bits of the wings. I’m sure this isn’t what was intended when they did it, but the strips look an awful lot like green masking tape. Good old Air Crap. 

I had more than a fair share of A-holes to deal with on my overnight trip, starting with one of those (fortunately rare) full-of-hate, shall we say metrosexual, airline employees. He insisted that I had far too much carry on, and even followed me like a bad smell to the bag drop off to command the attendant there to make me put my wheeled case in that stupid cage that tells you whether your bag is too big. My bag did fit, which proved to me how many people bring illegally large carry on bags, since mine is by no means one of the biggest I’ve seen in the overhead bins. Too few hours later – at 7 am – I was brushing my teeth with my tongue and going head to head with a US immigration officer who insisted I must supply the complete address of my destination. In all my years of travel I have never, ever been hassled about the lack of an exact address. I had to go away and use Google maps to find the address of St. Andrews, fill it out and re-present myself to A-hole #2 of my trip. I could just as easily have just made the address up. I bet that guy has a really small one.

But now here I am, enjoying the micro-universe of Welly World already, with dinner last night at the International Polo Club with some friends. Michael Stone came by and was introduced to me.  I was both delighted that he knew who I was (from reading the blog), and pleasantly surprised that he invited me to call him any time while I’m here so I can ask him some meaningful questions – the answers to which I will of course share with you here at some point. Of course my main question will be to ask why the WEF has unceremoniously dumped dressage entirely this winter. Not that I don’t know the answer (cha-ching) but I want to hear it from the horseman’s mouth.

As per my usual habit when I’m in a colourful place filled with horses and their crazy humans, I’ll be blogging a bit more often over the next couple of weeks. But now I’m off to Kontiki to buy Jenn one of the many umbrella drinks I owe her.



 The balcony of our famous neighbour (hint: the person has competed six times at a major championship whose name starts with ‘O’), but so far no sighting to report.