• Des & Sandie Nichols


Updated: Oct 26, 2020

It is time. Christmas has arrived. The lights are lit, the presents bought and wrapped, the wine is chilled, and Bing Crosby is dreaming away on the bring it on. We have bedecked our Romany caravan with strings of colorful lights that chase each other up and down and even covered an embarrassed palm tree with gaudy illuminations. It is more a case of Bling Crosby than Bing Crosby.

Our Christmas home is on Miramar Beach, just 8 miles from Destin. We are yards from a wonderful white,white beach, deep and endlessly long. This is the Emerald Coast, the western end of the Panhandle, where the sea is green but not emerald as it pronounces but with a warm, blue-green aqua hue.

Our neighbors are brilliant. Eduardo and his lovely wife live in a shiny, Rolls-Royce of a bus but seem totally unbothered by having to be so close to our humble Hotel du Van. With them are his glamorous daughter and her equally glam bgf.... and all are from Brazil. This explains their welcoming smiles and their carnival sense of life. What's more, Eduardo is clearly a genius, of that there is no doubt - he has built a hugely successful software company over the years but this achievement is completely overshadowed by the way, single-handedly, unaided, he put together a round, metal barbecue, without bloodshed or any bad language (perhaps in Portuguese). It was a miracle to witness. We hope soon to smell the aroma of those famous Brazilian steaks over the hot wood fire. At that moment, Sandie and I plan to dress as street urchins and sing carols to them under our glittering tree and, maybe, just maybe, they will take pity and throw a slice of filet mignon in our direction (Eduardo, if you are reading this..... it's medium rare - Sandie is a vegetarian but I shall have hers). Next RV along is the home of Peggy and Steve, two extremely helpful, amiable and brave campers from Indiana; brave because Steve stood on the bottom rung of the ladder as I climbed the palm tree to put up the lights. I am known for falling from great heights, so that was very courageous indeed of dear Steve.

The drive here from Apalachicola started off with such promise as Highway 98, a highway in name only at that point, hugged the coast and meandered through small townships of seaside houses. Unfortunately, the road turned into a monster as we approached Panama City. The traffic goes onto steroids and you pass repetitiously all the usual horrendous fast food joints and gas stations, their ugly signs blighting the horizon. Not so much Legoland and Logoland.

But Destin itself, apart from the ghastly road which is the main artery through the area, is an interesting holiday town. There are many super-luxurious houses along the beach which demonstrate the wealth that exists here. It sits on a long promontory that clings at one end to the underbelly of the Panhandle and is surrounded by beautiful water. One thing that does confuse is that we appear to be on the time cusp, right where Eastern time and Central time meet. My I-phone is confused, as are we, as the time keeps jumping backwards and forwards depending on which way the wind is blowing. Fears of the onset of dementia grow quickly when you go to the loo and come out an hour and eight minutes later.

Yesterday, we went to very pleasant restaurant called Boshamps. We joined Shayne, a very good friend of Brian's (Sandie's Brother), together with her son and his pals. More plump oysters perished but had the comfort of being washed down the gullet with an excellent Bloody Mary.

With Shayne and her elves

But enough. It's Christmas. We and the cats, who are very happy and feeling the festive mood by the way, send you all our love and the very best holiday wishes. For us, we shall particularly miss our children. Georgie and Rosie are in Australia, Ben & Ciara and Elliot & Erika in the UK. And of course my special brother Toby and everyone at Thorndene. We shall Skype on Christmas Day Tobes!

We shall raise our glasses to all our family and friends, Aunt Steph, Wendy, Ben & Sam in Massachusetts, the fabulous Blantons in Nevada, David in St Augustine, Joe and Mindy out there in the middle somewhere, Arabella, Werner, Lily & Sofia in South Africa, Josie & Steve and everyone in Hampshire and so many people in the UK - Sofia & Harry, Bertie and Serena, David & Carol, Peter & Tania, Robby, Francoise, Hetti and Fidel, Phil & Sarah. Then there's all our great pals in Naples, Jimmy & Kimmy, Alan & Jessica, Jacquie & Erik, Dave & Eileen, Gareth & Jan, John & Jane; and we can't forget the Key West reprobates especially Dale, Stanley & King Paul etc etc. I know we have left some important ones out but forgive me .....there are so many more....

Special mention thought for Brian who will be back on stage in three or four weeks - you made it though mate, now go and rock the sh*t out of them! Love to you and Amy.

So, everyone, have yourselves a terrific little Christmas and too much fun. Your reward for getting to the end of another year successfully? You now have to do it all again in 2018. Good luck to us all. May Trump go with you....


Well, it passes the time...

Our campsite from the beach - we are on the right

RV Christmastime

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