And so after a few days to recuperate (in this case, meaning to wake up) we return to some of the signs I've photographed over the years.
I've been here in Florida for over 4 months now and am missing a few things about England. I'm lucky, I think, in that I live very close to beautiful countryside and some places made famous by poets and novelists over the centuries.
One such place is the small village of Haworth, home to The Brontes of Hollywood fame. The lesser known Bronte sisters, Elvira and Petunia, opened a little coffee house in the village in 1832 and did very well for themselves. Older sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne were seriously jealous and made up stories about their successful sisters in their sort of pre internet blogs which became huge hits and were published and still read to this very day.
It's all true. And here is their shop to prove it.
Well the bit about it being a coffee shop AND it being in Haworth is true anyway.
As you can see from the varied and very English menu, it provides much more than just coffee. It's right at the top of a very steep cobbled street which leads to the Bronte's home, the famous Parsonage.
By the time I'd traipsed to the top, I was ready for a drink of SOMETHING and this strategically located nosh house was a very welcome sight indeed.
I'm sure as the years go by, the prices on the outside boards will become a source of much financial amusement. A few years ago, when this photo was taken, they seemed very reasonable even then and certainly not as steep to me as the hill I'd just climbed to get there. The words "not a usual tourist ripoff" came to mind and it was nice to see considering the number of tourists who flock to Haworth every year. Well done Yorkshire.
Ohhhh I've come over all patriotic.
Here is a closer look at the menus and don't forget you can click on any of my blog photos to see a larger version - and you'll probably need to do this to this photo.
Down at the bottom of the right side menu are some items you might need to Google. You can find the recipes for Yorkshire Specialities like parkin and fat rascals yourselves but here are links to photos which might better show what they are.
You're on your own with the tarts !!
While on the subject of food, we next go to a country far removed from the shores of England.
Here is a bit of a different sign from a well known fast food chain. McDonalds. But where is it ?
Well as you can see from the Portuguese sausage, eggs and rice, we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. We're not in Portugal either. So what is a Portuguese sausage ??
Answers on a postcard please.
What about spam eggs and rice ? Bet you don't see spam on offer in many fast food outlets where you live ?
Ok have you guessed the location yet ? Rice a clue ? Japan ? China ? Korea ? N. Dakota ?
Nope, this McDonalds was inside a store in Hawaii - in Kahului on the island of Maui to be precise. I can't tell you what the food tasted like as we'd just come off a cruise ship so obviously didn't need to actually pay for food !! I'm sure it was all very tasty in that usual McDonalds way.
Staying in Hawaii, and who wouldn't want to, here is another sign I liked.
It's not the sort of thing you tend to get warned about in North Leeds but it was very apt there.
It was in a lovely ocean side park with lots of picnic tables but you sat at them at your peril as falling objects could seriously spoil your meal - and your health.
I'm not sure why they were also warning us about Henry Winkler falling out of a tree, but you never know. Funny lot those Hawaiians.
The next sign isn't funny or really interesting at all but it's one that means a lot to me as I'd always wanted to get a photo of it after seeing it on so many shows like the original CSI.
I'd been to Vegas several times but I'd never seen the sign before. To be fair I'd never even thought about it.
Then I decided the next time I went there, I'd actively look for it and so here it is. It's probably on the main route in from the west but I do remember I had to park illegally on the grass median of a 4 lane highway in order to get the shot face on.
Yep, that's it. Nothing more exciting than that.
And so it seems fitting to bring up next the welcome sign for that other casino city in Nevada, Reno. Now this photo came about as a direct result of a movie, Sister Act.
It is one of my favourite movies and towards the end of it, Whoopie and her nun chums scoot off to Reno and charge all over it's version of The Strip with comedic incidents aplenty. A bunch of nuns in a casino is always good for a laugh.
When I saw the unique Reno welcome sign, I just knew I wanted to see it for myself some day and so 11 years after seeing the movie, I was there in Reno in 2003 to see the sign for myself.
I took a photo of it in daylight but I think it comes alive and looks much more impressive and memorable at night time when it becomes part of the glitz that is Reno, the much smaller cousin of Vegas.
It's not the easiest place to get to and normally on a trip around America, I'd probably never have gone there - but as it happened, Debby had a brother who lived and worked just outside the city and so when we went there to see him, I finally got to see Reno and it's sign.
Funny how things work out like that.
Many cities are known by their landmark signs and structures, be those building or bridges.
The bay city of San Francisco has them all. The elegant pyramid like Transamerica Building, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower up on the hill overlooking the city; they all mean San Francisco.
But for many locals and visitors alike, a trip down to Fisherman's Wharf is what the city is all about. I know it's a tourist trap but what major city doesn't have at least one of them ?
On this occasion, on the last day of July 2003, the city was once again showing how it has it's own little micro climate going on.
It had been a lovely warm day but as happens there a lot, the temperature dropped within minutes, the mist rolled in to envelope the bridge and a chill descended over the whole city.
By early evening, when we got to the Wharf, it was pretty cold and I was wearing a t-shirt. Ever the practical one, Debby had brought spare clothing for herself but was kind enough, and warm enough herself, to lend me a fleece.
And so it was, that she took this photo of me near the famous illuminated Wharf sign when I was wearing her spare jacket.
It's good to share !!
It's also probably a good time to bring up the last in this series of sign photos.
Back in the Hawaiian Islands in November 2004, we went to every Hard Rock Cafe that we could find.
We were in Honolulu on our last day and after visiting Pearl Harbour we came to the Hard Rock for a meal.
I couldn't help but notice these 'world clocks' up on the wall as they had them in all the Hawaii Hard Rocks. Being a Brit I was fairly sure that Hawaii was 10 hours behind the UK and so, as it was 2:14pm in Honolulu, it would've been 00:14am the next morning in London.
So I wasn't sure what to make of those clocks. I mean the odd minute, fair enough, but not 61 minutes. My theory was that they'd put their 'own' clock back the hour for the end of Daylight Saving Time but left 'ours' alone. That would at least explain the 11 hour difference.
But hey, it was Hawaii and the attitude of the people there was almost Caribbean like.
Don't worry, be happy. What's an extra hour after all. Grab your shortboard, hit the waves and don't be a swish, dude.