Sharing With Sheffield

Ruth’s Note: Sylvia Shaw (a friend and recent transplant from Ashford to Sheffield) has generously agreed to alternate the “Sharing With Sheffield” column with me. She writes beautifully, and will be delighted to hear your news, views and happenings. I will be delighted to fill in every other month with my musings and chatter. How lucky you are, good friends and neighbors. Some villages can’t get even one writer; Sheffield has two!

Hello new neighbors! Chris and I have been happily living in your lovely community since mid February when we were more or less catapulted out of our Ashford home by a very quick sale with closing only 2 weeks later. As many of you know, 7884 Bridlington Drive had been standing empty for a few years with the roof leaking in many places; it took a lot of vision and optimism, mostly on Chris’s part, to imagine what it could look like with lots of creativity and hard work. The new roof was put on whilst we were over in South Africa, and when we returned in Sept. 2014, Chris started work single-handedly on gutting the whole of the interior, including walls, floors and ceilings. We got a very good company in to replace all the windows and sliding glass doors with hurricane proof double glazing, and then after filling three dumpsters with rubble including all bathroom and kitchen fixtures, we were able to get to work remodeling the whole house. At the moment, we are living very comfortably in the huge main bedroom which holds everything we need for now. All the bedrooms and bathrooms are finished and work is in progress in the main living area. There’s so much wood in there with all the framing for walls and ceiling, that it looks like a small forest without leaves. Whilst Chris is busy with his handiwork and when I’m not shoveling sawdust, I prowl around the backyard with my camera looking for the wildlife living here. Sheffield has many different creatures to those which I saw in Ashford, although I’m told by my good friend Jane Casden that a couple of members of the Iggy family have migrated across there recently. Some of the iguanas here are almost 6-foot long and I never know what I’ll see from my bathroom window when I pull up the blind of a morning. Sometimes it’s just Sammy squirrel busily scurrying around do-ing whatever it is that squirrels do, but one morning I saw a red fox being chased by an otter. On other occasions, I’ve been greeted by a green scaly critter with long claws, closely resembling a mini dinosaur climbing up the palm tree almost within arm’s length. I’m so glad that the bathroom window doesn’t open and is well sealed. I remember at Ashford once sharing the shower with a smallish lizard. I didn’t see it looking at me until my hair was full of shampoo suds, but I can assure you that I didn’t take my eyes off it for one second, willing it not to move, and I finished my shower in double-quick time not even stopping to dry it out.

We will be taking some time off during the sum-mer, visiting family and friends in South Africa and England and I’m sure many of you will be traveling up north to escape the heat and humidity of Florida. The climate here is very similar to the one we got used to when we lived at the coast in South Africa, but the seasons are of course reversed, so we’ll be going back in the winter, which is cooler and much more pleasant.

A very warm welcome to our lovely new next door neighbors Al and Sheila Tannenbaum. I’m sure you are going to love it here at Aberdeen. I wish all of you a very pleasant summer and safe travels. See you again in the autumn.