Post Cards from Kerry by Chatty Kerry

My lovely Antipodean friend, Calm Kate, interviewed me for her new website, “Meet the Bloggers”. It really made me think hard about myself and what I reveal. Now you know almost everything about me… Please go and check out Kate’s site and her other WP blog, Aroused.

Meet the Bloggers

Met Chatty Kerry early on and really delighted by her fresh openness on her personal matters.  She shares her health issues, voluntary work at the airport, family, travels, thoughts and insecurities .. she is totally herself in a very personable way.  She shares great photos of gardens, buildings and scenes both locally and during her exploits into other areas so it’s not surprising that she has published in magazines … must ask her how much they pay?  So if you want personal, travel and variety it doesn’t get much better than Kerry!

[Apologies to everyone for my lack of tech skills, Kerry decorated her interview with a delightful collection of photos to illustrate her points but I have no idea how to down load them from PDF or word document … maybe I will work it out and add them later!]

Where were you raised?

SanFran_CUSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

I was…

View original post 2,114 more words

Here be dragons…

Green Iguana

Isn’t he handsome – a perfect choice for Khaleesi! He was a few feet long and gorging on the Tamarind fruits that you can see next to him (and falling out of his mouth). If we turned up the hill leaving Hacienda Escondida, we headed towards a more local area with the river dissecting the two areas. It was a haven for wildlife – and they were all new to us!!!

Rivera del Rio

Rivera del Rio

There is a bathing area and we saw local children having fun swimming in the river. The bridge across was the major route from the hillside down to the south side of the Old Town of Puerto Vallarta. If you stay at a resort, you will miss all of this, including a wonderful fresh market. I was told that despite the cobbled streets, the water from the taps was safe to drink. I drank it and it tasted good.

black-birdI think this is just a plain old Grackle, above, but I love his silhouette against the trees and hills.  I don’t know the name of this little yellow bird, also enjoying tamarind fruit, but he was as little as the iguana was big.

Tiny little yellow bird

Tiny little yellow bird

Simple Mural at Rivera del Rio

Simple Mural at Rivera del Rio

My first book! – Free on KindleUnlimited right now

kindle image

This is a reblog of the post about my book. For a limited time, it will be free to KindleUnlimited readers if you would like to download it. It is short and an easy read.

I finally did it and my first book, Letters from Cairo by Kerry Duncan is now available as an EBook from Kindle/Amazon from both the UK and US sites as well as other European countries. For a brief moment it was the best selling guide to Cairo when it had only sold 10 copies – I guess no-one wants to go to Cairo… It is a short book and the title says it all, ‘This is a memoir not a travelogue’. There is another book with the same title but it is much more expensive than mine and I bet it’s not as funny! The current price is $4.49 – about the price of a Venti Latte. It is published on Kindle Select so they may reduce the price at times to market the book. It is available on a variety of Amazon sites including Amazon UK.If you don’t have a Kindle you can download it to your PC or other small device with this app – https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page?ie=UTF8&ref_=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd

It is a poignant, hilarious and revelatory memoir about our expatriate posting to Cairo during the second Gulf War between 2002 and 2004. Some of you may empathize if you have been to third world destinations but the essence is about my battle to deal with illness in a foreign country during a very stressful time. The book is short, despite 10 years of writing, editing and agonizing about writing a memoir. Although I had worked as a research writer in the old country this time gave me an opportunity to hone my writing skills for pleasure. Writing this blog has opened my eyes to the joy of sharing with other writers and photographers. Thank you, all my followers, for giving me the confidence to finally publish. A very special thank you to Ed Mooney, my very first follower, who encouraged me and taught me WordPress etiquette.

This is the link to the book on Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Cairo-This-memoir-travelogue-ebook/dp/B015JFY1F0
If you read it (some may be able to borrow it) please give me a review.

MakeItUltra™Blogger Award

make-it-ultra-blog

I have been nominated for the MakeItUltra™Blogger Award. Woo hoo!!!

The MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers for quality content, originality and presentation. The intention of this award is to encourage connectivity and support in the blogging community and to increase exposure for individual bloggers.
Lisa Amaya of ‘Life of an El Paso Woman’ nominated me and I am very honored.

Lisa’s blog is a fascinating blend of music, guest interviews and posts about her life in El Paso from the perspective of a genuine journalist who is a versatile, gifted writer. Lisa interviewed me some time ago and it was a lovely and much appreciated experience. Click on the link to ‘my’ Saturday Evening Interview

Here are the rules:
If you have been nominated for the MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award and choose to accept it, write a blog post about the MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award in which you:
* Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog. Take a moment to positively promote the person who nominated you.
* Display the award on your blog by adding it to your post and/or displaying it using a widget on your page (Save the image to your computer and upload it to your blog post). Don’t forget to use the tag #MyUltraAward when you make your post!
* Answer the following MakeItUltra™ Blogger Award questions.

*What is your name?
That sounds like an easy question but it’s complicated. My birth name was Katherine Louise Dellinger de Ortega. My Dad registered my birth but my mum wanted to call me Kerry not Katherine… 😕 It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that my Dad’s original name was Dellinger (his mother was Ortega) and that he changed it for nefarious reasons.

*Where are you from? That’s also complicated! I was born in San Francisco but was mostly brought up in Scotland before we moved to England, Wales, back to Scotland, off to Egypt and finally to Texas.

*How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started my blog in 2010 but wrote one post and stopped. I restarted it in 2014 in an effort to promote my book, ‘Letters from Cairo’ by Kerry Duncan (published on Kindle).

*What are you most proud of? I am proud of navigating my way through life with an inherited chronic mental illness (OCD, anxiety and depression). I made a good choice in my husband and although I have worked more in the past, I never made enough to support myself. I try to balance this by telling myself how lucky I am to manage my illness and still be married (to the same person 💓)

*What are your blogging goals? I had no intention of promoting awareness about mental health care (and lack of it) but once I started, I received a touching response. I want to become a better photographer and consistently blog.

*How do you spend your free time? I am a couch potato. My blog alludes to a fabulous life but most of the time I love to sit on the sofa with my laptop, watching TV at the same time. Cheesy reality shows about Amish people or Polygamists really flick my switch…

*Nominate 1-8 blogs that you feel deserve the award and provide links.

I am just going to nominate one person – Terry at Spearfruit. Terry is the most consistent blogger I know despite currently being treated for cancer. Not only is his blog (and life) amazingly interesting but he even posts from his chemo treatment. What the heck is wrong with him – I don’t think he is human! He has a lovely husband, as do I, but he is my #1 boyfriend 💋. I don’t really expect him to accept this challenge but I want him to know how much his followers love him and are rooting for him.

Ybor City, Tampa

Ybor City State Museum

Ybor City State Museum

Before we visited Tampa, I had no idea that it had a historical area of such significance. From the periphery, Tampa looks like many other modern cities in Florida, with the exception of Miami and its wonderful Art Deco buildings. Ybor city was named for Vincente Martinez Ybor, an entrepreneur who had moved his cigar business from Cuba to Key West.

Mural with Vincente Martinez Ybor

Mural with Vincente Martinez Ybor

That hadn’t been entirely successful so he decided to settle in Tampa in the 1880s. The cigar workers were skilled so many of them came from Cuba and Spain, followed by an influx firstly of Italians, then Eastern European Jews, Germans and Chinese, many of the next stage immigrants serviced the city with restaurants and other industries.

Columbia Restaurant

Columbia Restaurant

cigarshop

Cigar Shop

It was an eclectic mix that was stable because each ethnicity had their own social club with welfare and benefits. Additionally, the work was plentiful and well paid. Each worker had their own little Casita, some of which are preserved, others have been renovated. The docent at the Ybor Museum told us that they used Ybor City’s welfare system as a template when they set up Medicare and Social Security in the 40s. That fascinated me more than anything else.

Streetcar in Ybor City

Streetcar in Ybor City

Ybor City reached its zenith at the beginning of the 1900s but cigar making started to decline after the Great Depression and World War II. Surprisingly, many of the original buildings remain with their exotic tile work. Artists started to flock to Ybor in recent times and it is being renovated block by block. It is a peaceful little oasis in a busy modern city with lovely tram cars. There are free range chickens on every porch because they outlawed harming chickens to stop cock fighting. You can read more of this in the The Chicken Murder. I noticed with a chuckle that you can have an event or a wedding in the garden of the Museum , but just look out for hungry hawks…
spanish street posters2

Water and light

Old Tampa Bay

Old Tampa Bay

Morning view from the Grand Hyatt in Tampa of the old bay. There is something about sunshine, water and palm trees that makes us all feel good. There is a manatee viewing point beside a power plant just down the coast from Tampa. Off we went, excitedly, only to find it is closed in low season. It is weird to think that summer is low season anywhere! So no manatees but we drove down to a lovely marina near Apollo Beach and spotted an osprey in her nest in a palm tree. It seems such a short time ago that ospreys were endangered and now you can see them almost everywhere. That makes my heart sing.

Osprey in her palm tree nest

Osprey in her palm tree nest

The marina was small and less grand than many. We had a lovely lunch in the Circles Waterfront Restaurant looking out at this lovely vista, below.

marina

I was fascinated by this boat ‘car park’ at Land’s End Marina. There are also boats at the forefront in dry dock. How many thousands of dollars are parked there, I wonder? 🙂

boat car park

Small Town America

antique modern

Happy 4th July!!!

On Saturday we went to Montgomery, our favorite small town, close to our own home. This is a newly renovated antique shop, Modern Farmhouse Antiques, above, but they have kept the post office boxes, below, intact – isn’t it wonderful?

post office

On one side of Modern Farmhouse Antiques there had been a soda shop and the other side was the post office. One of the banks, below, has been a pet store for some years.

first state bank

This another of our favorite antique shops below – Garrett House Antiques.
garrett antiques
Montgomery is a thriving small town and when you eavesdrop on the locals you hear the warmth and care of a real community. Sam Houston visited Montgomery and is one of the founding fathers of the state of Texas. I enjoy the link to Montgomery because I come from a long line of people named for him and looking at the antebellum houses summons up a visual image of the times. My great grandfather was named Sam Houston Dellinger.

We always eat at the Cozy Grape where I greet my favorite server, Caroline, in her native language, “Bonjour, Caroline! Ça va?” This is followed by European hugs and kisses. On one memorable occasion, a table of older ladies commented, “Oh my, it’s just like being in Paris!” It’s not really but it was delightful to see the wonder on their faces – so exotique!

Finally a marker to the history of Montgomery. Happy Independence Day!
montgomery sign