Problems with a popular streaming service…Oils we use…Remembering Tuscany ten years ago…A video…

We’re like many others worldwide. Sure, we’re world travelers, soon to be on the move again, but when we aren’t busy at night, going out or with friends, we hunker down and stream series on our preferred streaming services, which include Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

After hearing so much about the popular series, Ted Lasso, we signed up for the AppleTV streaming service. My sister Julie recommended another series, The Morning Show, both fantastic shows on the streaming service, so we signed up for a free trial to see if we liked the two series. We did.

When the seven-day free trial ended, we signed up to pay $6.99 a month, figuring that within a month or so, we’ll have binge-watched both series in their entirety. While we had the streaming service, we stumbled upon another show, Severence, that Tom likes more than I do.

Once we got into the first series, we noticed the screen froze about every 15 to 20 minutes, requiring us to log out of the show to restart it. Somehow, we got through the Morning Show and a few seasons of Ted Lasso, but I was fed up with getting up three or four times per hour to fix it.

The HDMI cord doesn’t reach the sofas, so we keep my laptop on a dining room chair we pull up each night, close to the TV, to stream shows. We’ve had no problems with any other streaming services.

Of course, I looked online only to find that Apple TV is not geared to working on a Windows computer, which I have. It prefers Apple products and only supports Apple products that we do not use. We still hadn’t gotten through all the Ted Lasso and Severance episodes, but I finally told Tom I gave up. I canceled the app, not willing to pay another $6.99.

The app will continue to work until our contract ends on July 19, and since we paid, we’ll try it one more time, but I doubt it will be any different. If any of our readers have encountered a similar scenario with Apple TV using a Windows device and have a workaround, please let me know.

Today, we didn’t have any new photos to share. We haven’t been out in several days due to inclement weather, but tonight, the forecast looks good, and we’ll head out for the evening. We’ll most likely go to the City Fire bar for a drink and then head to Cody’s Original Roadhouse again for another fun atmosphere and a good meal.

The food at restaurants in The Villages isn’t exceptional for us. Many of the restaurants cater to some seniors’ tastes, including burgers, pizza, sushi, and a variety of ethnic restaurants that either I can’t eat, or Tom doesn’t like. We never order burgers, pizza, and sushi. I’ve only found that dinner-type salads work for me when most of the meals have sauces, carb-laden toppings, and sides, which would be good on a regular diet.

Often the only option was salmon and salad, and every other night while in lockdown for ten months in a hotel in Mumbai, India, I ate salmon and veg. Since then, I have had no desire to eat salmon in a restaurant, although I have made it for myself a few times and don’t enjoy it anymore.

Plus, I don’t eat toxic vegetable oils, which many restaurants use to make most dishes. Salads are a safer option without added dressing. Instead, I order sour cream for salad dressing. Sadly, most salad dressings are made with vegetable oils of one type or another. It’s not the fat I’m worried about; it’s the chemicals used in making oils.

Often, olive oil may not be pure and made with other oils, so I avoid that too. Generally, I use pure virgin, unrefined, organic coconut oil or pure avocado oil. These aren’t used in restaurants due to the cost. But they are affordable for home use, especially since we don’t fry anything.

That’s it for today, folks,

Photo from ten years ago today, June 30, 2013:

No photos were posted on this date other than the above video. For the text, please click here.

Funny photos from four years ago today…Starting to think about leaving in 29 days…

On this date, four years ago, while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, a side view after Tom cut his hair. We laughed about this for days. From this post, here.

The photos we’re posting today were taken during lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, for a long ten months. We still can’t believe how we got through that, managing to keep our spirits up, staying calm, and maintaining a cheerful demeanor with one another.

Part of what maintained our positive state of mind were two things: 1. The hope each day that we’d get out the next day. 2. Having a sense of humor. And that we did with aplomb. Many times each day, something made us laugh, whether it was a comment we made or a situation we encountered from being stuck in that hotel room.

For those of our readers who didn’t have an opportunity to read about our ten months in that hotel room, please search our archives from March 2020 to January 2021, when we finally could leave and head to South Africa to wait out the pandemic.

Full frontal view after his haircut. Hahaha!

That decision to return to South Africa proved to be the best decision we could make, although we couldn’t get the vaccine when it became available, and we had to return to the US to get it there. We did so when it was time to get another 90-day visa stamp which, in the end, worked out well.

We had a wonderful time during those 2½ years we stayed in Marloth Park, including the times we had to leave for a visa run, of which there were many. Unfortunately, when we went for a cruise in 2022, we both contracted Covid-19, the Omicron strain, and became very ill for several months, still impacted when we returned to South Africa a month later.

Other than that awful experience, those 2½ years left us with wonderful memories spent with friends and wildlife, neither of which we ever lost interest in. Our day-to-day lives were fulfilling with one exciting adventure after another. Now, in The Villages in Florida, we’re experiencing a different lifestyle that we’ve found appealing and enjoyable.

We hardly notice the hot weather here, except we venture out on the golf cart. Generally, we go out later in the day. While in South Africa, I often wrote about the heat, humidity, and dew point since we had no aircon other than in the bedroom. We spent our days in the summer months sweating in the heat.

Tom, before his haircut.

In The Villages, Central Florida, we stay indoors other than on our morning walks and going out in the golf cart. But the heat here in the summer is not unlike South Africa in the summer (it’s winter there now). For example, today at 3:00 pm, the temperature will be 95F, 35C, with a dew point of 83 which is more humid than we experienced in the bush. Thank goodness we don’t have to be outdoors all day here. It would be tough.

On another note, yesterday, it was one month until we’ll leave Florida to fly to Edinburgh, Scotland, for our first of two cruises in the month of August. We look forward to these cruises and pray we’ll be safe from any potential illnesses on the ships. It’s hard to avoid being near people, but we’ll do our best to stay healthy.

Today, we’re staying in. We have leftovers from last night’s Grubhub order from Sunrise Asian Restaurant, that we enjoy about once a week. We always purchase enough to last two nights and thoroughly enjoy it for dinner. It’s nice not to have to cook for the nights we takeaway and go out to eat, mainly on the weekends.

Tomorrow night, we’ll head out to Brownwood for the late afternoon and evening, and if the weather holds up, we’ll go out again on Saturday.

Be well.

Photos from ten years ago today, June 29, 2013:

Our hotspot. On the right is our MiFi that we’ve rented from XCom Global, providing us with high-speed Internet connection worldwide. Unfortunately, due to our current location in the mountains of Tuscany, we’re unable to get a good signal. For more, please click here.

Corrections to our posts…Redundancy…Today is our 32 year anniversary of meeting…More Tuscany photos…

In Tuscan, laundry is typically hung outdoors from windows and make-shift clotheslines. Photo from this post.

In the past week, we made a few errors which a few readers kindly corrected. One was the birds in yesterday’s post when I described two birds at a golf course as Red-headed Herons when they were Sandhill Cranes. The second was the date the Titanic sank. I posted May 31, 1012, when it was April 15, 1912.

In both cases, I researched online, and in both cases, I noted the wrong information. Not everything we find online is accurate, as we so well know. Besides, I’m not exempt from typing incorrectly or inadvertently assuming information that may be inaccurate. In any case, I appreciate the correction and take no offense.

This small clothesline worked except for sheets and towels. For those, we made a clothesline that did the trick.

Writing a daily post such as this is bound to have errors, typos, inaccuracies, grammar and spelling errors, assumptions, and the relaying of inaccurate information I may have found online. Although, on a day-to-day basis, I try to be as accurate as possible.

The most frustrating error I face daily is paragraph spacing. In most cases, I cannot correct them, although I continue to try. Also, copying and pasting an article or photo from another source often impacts the format of my entire post, making specific corrections impossible.

In those cases, I decide the content I am adding is more important, removing the formatting errors, and I let it fly. These incidents slow me down; preparing a post often takes an hour or longer than usual.

This entrance appeared well maintained.

Another issue we face with our posts is redundancy, described as follows:



In linguistics, a redundancy is information that is expressed more than once. Examples of redundancies include multiple agreement features in morphology, multiple features distinguishing phonemes in phonology, or the use of various words to describe a single idea in rhetoric.”

It would be tough to avoid redundancy after writing almost 4000 posts (we’re at 3956 today) over the past 11 years. In the first few years, we didn’t do a post daily, but as time passed, we decided daily was more meaningful. Besides, doing it daily made it easier for me to be consistent and motivated rather than writing sporadically.

I went for a walk by myself down this narrow passageway.. It was like a maze.

To avoid redundancy, I’m not making a big deal here of our 32nd anniversary of meeting on this date in 1991. In the past, I’ve written and posted photos about this special day (for us), but today, we’ll enjoy it among ourselves. It’s funny, but this date has more meaning for us than our wedding anniversary of March 7, 1995, neither date of which has as much meaning as the anniversary date of the beginning of our world travels, October 31, 2012.

The anniversary date of our world travels represents so much for us, our choice of freedom to decide how we live our lives, a powerful sense of adventure, the continuing challenges that test our resiliency and adaptability, and the opportunity to experience the cultures, wildlife, nature, people, and scenery. We are truly blessed and grateful.

I suggested we use the rain gutter to dry the sheets. Tom ran to get the hangers to avoid getting the sheets dirty. Then, he moved the table and chairs to ensure the sheets didn’t touch the tabletop. It worked. Most locals hung their sheets outside their windows.

It looks like we won’t be going out today. There is wild thunder, lightning, wind, and rain. It makes no sense to go out in the golf cart today.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 28, 2013:

As we walked to the garden in Tuscany, we noticed these live vines over a doorway to another “attached house. Tom grumbled, “You’d never catch me walking through those vines each time I went outside!”  I thought they were cute. For more photos, please click here.

Worrisome news from Marloth Park…Replay of our live broadcast/podcast in Minnesota in 2022…

Here’s the Nyala family from left: Noah, Norman, and mom, Nina. We adore them so much. Since this photo was taken, Noah is now on his own after Nina and Norman sent him away when Natalie was born. For the post this photo was first presented, please click here.

When Tom spotted the following story on Facebook yesterday, I couldn’t read it quickly enough. At first, I thought they were talking about Norman and was very worried. Immediately, I wrote to Louise, and she assured me it was Noah, Norman’s son. Norman was OK.

I  was immensely relieved it wasn’t Norman, but we were saddened to read that Noah had suffered such a painful injury. It’s funny how, while we’re here, we can’t help but stay in touch with what’s happening in Marloth Park.

*Good news!*
The Nyala bull has been located, and Dr. Piet has confirmed that he has a hip injury. This injury might be the cause of his weight loss as it limits his ability to walk far for foraging. It is important to note that the healing process for his hip injury will take some time. Please provide him with the recommended food options if you have the means. *However, avoid feeding him mielies or bread.”
Opt for nutritious options like lucerne, wildlife pellets, and sweet potatoes. Additionally, the Nyala bull (Noah) is currently in Geelslang and Mamba. Thank you to all who have reported his whereabouts, as your help has been crucial in finding him. Please continue to monitor his condition and provide any necessary care and support during his healing process.”
We’re always so impressed by how Dr. Piet and the rangers take such good care of the animals. Unfortunately, they can’t provide similar care for warthogs. There simply are too many warthogs in Marloth Park, and mostly, they are very sturdy and recover well from injuries, often even from infections as a result of injuries. When warthogs get infected, maggots will work on eating the dead tissue aiding in warthogs’ recovery.
Wildlife we spotted at a golf course in The Villages. These are Sandhill Cranes, popular in Florida.
Back to our life here in The Villages…Yesterday, we went to Walmart, and we were disappointed to find it was only a grocery store, not the usual big Walmart stores we’d been to in our old lives or the last time, in Hawaii in 2014. We purchased the grocery items we needed but did find their prices were better than other local grocery stores.
Tom filled the golf cart’s fuel tank, only spending another $2. It’s no wonder residents tool around in their golf carts instead of cars when golf carts use so little fuel. We’re getting by, going out several times a week on the $2 fuel top-off. That’s amazing!
We didn’t stop for breakfast since we’re both watching our weight, and eating breakfast out is often very fattening, especially when we don’t know how much of the toxic seed oils they use in the preparation. Dining out twice a week is challenging enough for me when I try hard to avoid seed and vegetable oils. Instead, I ask for my food to be prepared using butter, but there’s no guarantee the cooks are preparing the food accordingly.
Subsequently, I order a salad with dressing on the side, of which I eat very little. When possible, I’ll order sour cream as a salad dressing which is a much healthier and safer option if one can tolerate dairy, which is not a problem for me.

Today, when we listened to yesterday’s podcast of Garage Logic, as we do each day, they replayed the episode of the podcast we were on when we were in Minnesota on May 6, 2022. It was fun listening to it once again. If you missed that podcast, you can listen here.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 27, 2013:

Our view of Boveglio from the winding road as we began our descent to Pescia. For more photos, please click here.

Photos from Tuscany, ten years ago today…Off on the golf cart soon…

It appeared that this dilapidated house in Boveglio, Tuscany, may have been occupied; photos today from this post.

Today’s photos were posted ten years ago while we lived in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, in a 300-year-old stone house, where most private dwellings were attached. Early on in our travels, staying in the house and the area was a particularly enriching experience.

The language barrier wasn’t much of an issue for us, although no one in the area spoke English. But, we managed to meet a few neighbors and were invited to a party in the square, where we were the only English-speaking attendees. Nonetheless, we had a great time at the party and during the three months living in the quaint little village of Boveglio.

More blooming flowers. A few days later, the many lavender bushes in our yard began to blossom. I wish we could do “scratch and sniff” online for Tuscany’s sweet smells.

The cultural differences were astounding, yet we found commonalities to make us feel right at home. People can be warm, friendly, and welcoming everywhere in the world, and we never felt like outsiders for a moment. Even our weekly housekeeper brought us delicious baked pies and goodies, none of which I could eat, but Tom savored.

We had two large rectangle garden boxes on the unusual veranda (photos to come later), where we could pick zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. It was worth it to do the treacherous climb to the veranda to care for and choose the vegetables that owners Lisa and Luca had started for our three-month stay in the summer months.

These hills were much steeper in person than they appear in the photos.

Wow! What an experience it was, one that we treasure over and over again as we recall many events that transpired while we were there, such as a sports car tour that drove through the winding roads, the parades on the steep hills with almost everyone in the area participating; Tom’s first experience in an earthquake; shopping from the weekly produce truck; walking the hills to the local Bar Ferrari; the frequent sound of the hundreds-years-old church bells ringing; visiting the village of Collodi (the “birthplace” of Pinocio) and on and on.

I could write a book on our experiences in that little village. (But, I won’t. I write enough here). What a joy it was! And when we talk about it, we can’t wipe the smile off our faces. But, then again, there were the windows without screens with horse flies and bees flying into the house; the summer heat with no fans or aircon; the lack of a reliable WiFi signal, and the long drive to the market on treacherous winding mountain roads.

This is my favorite hill (yea, right!)

But, as always, we adapted and were happy to be there every single day. We couldn’t stream shows with the poor WiFi signal, and the tiny TV was all in Italian. We played cards and read books we’d already downloaded on our phones. The kitchen was sparse of utensils and gadgets, but we made do and had beautiful dinners savoring the area’s bounty.

Would we return to Boveglio? No, but we cherish the memory of the experience as we do so many in this past almost 11 years of world travel.

An inviting doorway. Wonder what’s on the other side.

As for today, as soon as I upload today’s post, we’re heading out on the golf cart to the post office station, the petrol station, and Walmart. We haven’t been in a Walmart store since we were in Hawaii in 2014. Not a big fan of the store, but we need a few groceries and miscellaneous toiletries, and it will be fun to wander through the store. While we’re there, Tom will refuel the golf cart.

Otherwise, we won’t go out until we head to Brownwood on Wednesday afternoon to play bingo. Our daubers are waiting to be used. We’d planned to go last week, but a bad storm prevented us from doing so. There’s an 80% chance of rain again this Wednesday, but it will be mostly clear in the afternoon.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 26, 2013:

Lisa and Luca presented us with this basket of cherries from the tree growing in our yard after they’d seen us admiring the tree. Lisa, speaking no English and us, no Italian, it was impossible to explain my restrictive diet that forbids any fruit sugars. Tom, fortunately, may have a few each day, while I’ve merely enjoyed their beauty. We thanked them profusely, impressed by their thoughtfulness each day since we arrived. For more photos, please click here.

Memorable evening and dinner with new friends in Brownwood Paddock Square…Antique car show photos…

We had a fantastic time meeting this lovely couple, Terry and Rich, last night. We met at the bar and City Fire and then walked a few blocks to Cody’s Original Roadhouse for a great dinner and conversation in the lively establishment.

We recently mentioned that we couldn’t meet people in The Villages as easily as in Marloth Park. Last night was the exception, and I can eat my words today.

When we noticed weeks ago that few people approached us when we were sitting at any bar at one of the many restaurants in The Village’s various town squares, on several occasions, we initiated conversations, but usually, it was a person by themselves, not a couple. Generally, couples were with other couples, and we didn’t interrupt.

Here is a mid-1970s Cadillac Eldorado, my favorite. Tom identified all the cars shown today but wasn’t sure about a few of the dates.

But last night was different. Since the antique car show was going on, many people were busy walking around looking at the cars, and for a Saturday night, we wondered if we could get two seats at the bar. No sooner than we walked up to the outdoor bar, we found two barstools and plunked ourselves down, thrilled to be able to sit.

This is a mid-1970s Cadillac Eldorado Convertible.

I ordered a glass of Wiliam Hill North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tom ordered his favorite new beer, Yuengling, popular in the US. We talked and laughed, reveling in our time in The Villages and how much fun we’ve had seeing so many friends since we arrived.

This is a Pontiac Firebird Formula One the late 1970s.

Two barstools opened up next to us a short time later, and a couple sat down. After getting situated and ordering their drinks, Tom leaned over and said, “How are you two doing?”

They both responded enthusiastically and from there, a lively conversation ensued between the four of us ensued. They are Terry and Rich, a lovely couple who lives in Maryland but purchased a house in The Villages last January. They are going back and forth between their two homes until they decide to make it more permanent.

By 6:00 pm, we were getting hungry and asked if they’d like to join us for dinner at Cody’s Original Roadhouse, a three-block walk from City Fire. Again, Terry and Rich enthusiastically stated they’d be happy to join us. We’d chosen that restaurant after reading their menu online, and each of us liked several options.

From left to right, a 1930s Ford Convertible, then a mid-1950s Ford Thunderbird, and the orange is a 1958 Chevy Impala.

We walked a few blocks until we reached the restaurant. Without a reservation on a Saturday night, it could be busy. We only had to wait about ten minutes and were seated at a table. The conversation continued while we munched on peanuts at the table and enjoyed our drinks. I also switched to iced tea, as Terry had, while the boys continued enjoying their beer.

This is a mid-1950s Buick Century.

The restaurant’s ambiance was playful and lively, and we’ll be returning there soon. The service was excellent, and the food was good, better than we’d had at some other nearby restaurants. When the bill came, we realized Rich planned to pay for us. We often insisted we pay our share, but he stayed firm on his decision.

We’ve been to so many antique car shows over the years we spent little time perusing the vehicles. This is a Chevy Caprice, maybe 1969 or 1970, according to Tom.

As we left the restaurant to walk to our respective vehicles, their car, and our golf cart, we stopped to do a group selfie, as shown in today’s main photos. We hope to see them again before we leave, but they only come to The Village every so often on weekends and may not return while we’re still here. In any case, we hope to see them again and be able to reciprocate for the dinner.

We said our goodbyes with warm hugs and were on our way. We didn’t return to the house until almost 9:00 pm. Shortly later, Terry sent me the photo she took of the four of us on Facebook Messenger. We’d already friended each other earlier in the evening.

What a great night!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 25, 2013:

This old, well-preserved bridge, Ponte delle Catene, was the highlight of our visit to Bagni di Lucca, Tuscany, Italy. For more photos, please click here.

Fantastic day with a dear friend from the 1980s…Louise sent a precious photo from Marloth Park…

Our dear friend Lisa on the left, and her friend Vicki on the right. We had a fantastic day and evening!

Yesterday was delightful, seeing our old friend Lisa, whom I met in the 1980s in Minnesota. Now a Florida resident, it was such a pleasant surprise to have an opportunity to see her again. The last time we saw Lisa was in 2017 when we got together with her and her now ex.

Over the years, Tom became a good friend of Lisa’s too, which has been the case with many of each other’s friends since we met almost 32 years ago. How fortunate we are to have such good friends all over the world. And now, being in Florida, having the opportunity to see many of those friends.

Lisa’s friend Vicki, whom we met for the first time, also from Minnesota, drove here with Lisa, almost a 90-minute drive, and we had a fantastic day with the two of them. They arrived at 1:30 pm, and we all sat in the comfy living room and chatted, reminiscing over many experiences we had together.

We felt terrible for Vicki having to listen to our seemingly endless trip “down memory lane,” but she was a good sport and laughed along with us over our many memories. The time flew by quickly, and by 4:00 pm, we headed out in Lisa’s car and headed to City Fire in Brownwood Paddock Square.

With no available seating outdoors, we headed inside the restaurant and were seated at a booth where we ordered drinks and later dinner. Again, the conversation flowed with ease, interspersed with much laughter. It was a lovely evening. By 8:00 pm, we returned to our house and said our goodbyes.

As it turns out, Lisa will be in Minnesota while we’re there in September, and we’ll definitely get together again. This time we’ll be in Minnesota a little longer than usual while we await our upcoming cruise to Galapagos, and we’ll have more time to get together with old friends. There are so many people we’d love to see once again.

Also, while in Minnesota, we’ll be appearing on TV on a morning news broadcast scheduled for September 22. We’ll update you and post the details and a video when the time comes.

On another note, this morning, after our walk, we called dear friend Louise in Marloth Park, South Africa, to wish her a happy birthday. It was wonderful talking to her. After we spoke, she sent me a photo that made me squeal with delight, as shown below:

This photo was taken at Louise and Danie’s home in the bush; Norman, Nina, Natalie, and the Babysitter (a female bushbuck who follows them as they roam their territory).

Louise told me that Nina was pregnant again. Before we know it, the Nyala family will consist of five members: Norman, Nina, Noah (who was scooted off to his own territory when Natalie was born), Natalie, and the new baby, who should be born shortly before we arrive next June. An unrelated female is being released in the bush as a mate for Noah, which miraculously, he will surely find. Then, there will be more babies.

Yes, I know, I sound like I really miss the bush, and I do. But, we are enjoying each day in The Villages as they come and look forward to our upcoming adventures in the meantime. In no time at all, we’ll be back on our way to South Africa.

Today, we’re hanging around the house, and we’ll head to Brownwood late this afternoon for another evening of fun and dinner. Most likely, tonight, for a change, we dine at one of the other restaurants in Brownwood.

Have a fantastic weekend, and be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 24, 2013:

Tom, dressed for warmth on a chilly day, enjoying time on the veranda in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. The WiFi signal was so poor there that we had to be outdoors for a decent connection. Nonetheless, we had a great time. For more photos, please click here.

Sad loss of life for an adventure…OceanGate’s Titan submersible disaster…An interesting perspective…

The few photos we’re sharing today as those we copied from various news sources posted yesterday and today that are readily available online regarding the loss of five lives, venturing in a small submersible, the Titan, to the bottom of the sea to the location of The Titanic, which sunk on April 15, 1912. (Many photos I tried to copy were security locked. For more photos, please search online).

Today’s story is for those who live in countries where the news of this event may be limited or for those who don’t necessarily watch or listen to world news. Surely, those in the US who do watch the news have been bombarded with a constant stream of news on TV regarding this sad story.

First, as sad as the lives of these five adventurers are, so is the loss of any of our beloved family members and friends in many types of disasters worldwide that never hit the news or draw attention to the media. All lives are precious, regardless of one’s notoriety or wealth or the cause of death. But, stories such as this become highly newsworthy based on the uniqueness of the circumstances.

I am not here to espouse any opinions on the reasons for this event. Each of us is free to formulate our own opinions. Also, with no expertise in this area, there’s no need or benefit for me to express personal views on how or why this event occurred. I am only sharing the news gleaned from a variety of news sources.

The Titan Submersible.
The Titan submersible. OceanGate Expeditions is one of the only companies that offer the tours, with tickets costing up to $250,000O. OceanGates photo.

As for opinions, here is an article from James Cameron, director of the movie, The Titanic, that I find interesting, which may present a perspective based on his vast experience that is worth reading for those of you who may be interested. For those of our readers uninterested in this story, we apologize for spending an entire post on this story and will be back to our usual content tomorrow.

Here’s the article about James Cameron from the BBC article found here. (I made no corrections in this text).

“Titanic director James Cameron accuses OceanGate of cutting corners

  • Published
By Rebecca Morelle

Hollywood film director James Cameron, who directed the 1997 movie Titanic, has told the BBC the team who built the submersible, which imploded with the loss of five lives, had “cut corners”.

OceanGate, the parent company of the Titan sub, “didn’t get certified because they knew they wouldn’t pass”.

“I was very suspect of the technology that they were using. I wouldn’t have gotten in that sub,” he said.

Cameron has completed 33 submersible dives to the Titanic wreck.

Titan was built from carbon fibre and titanium.

In 2012 Cameron used a different technology for the Deepsea Challenger submersible expedition in the Pacific, which took him down to 10,912m (35,800ft), the deepest known oceanic trench.

The Titanic wreck is 3,810m (12,500ft) down.

Cameron said that when he learned the sub had lost both its navigation and communication, he immediately suspected a disaster.

“I felt in my bones what had happened. For the sub’s electronics to fail and its communication system to fail, and its tracking transponder to fail simultaneously – sub’s gone.”

He said that on Monday, when he heard the sub had gone missing, “I immediately got on the phone to some of my contacts in the deep submersible community.

“Within about an hour, I had the following facts. They were on descent. They were at 3,500 metres (11,483ft), heading for the bottom at 3,800 metres.

“Their comms were lost, and navigation was lost – and I said instantly, you can’t lose comms and navigation together without an extreme catastrophic event or high, highly energetic catastrophic event. And the first thing that popped to mind was an implosion.”

On Thursday, an official from the US Navy told the BBC’s partner CBS News that the navy had detected “an acoustic anomaly consistent with an implosion” shortly after the Titan lost contact with the surface.

The official said the information had been relayed to the US Coast Guard team, which used it to narrow the radius of the search area.

Cameron suggested that there was a “terrible irony” in the loss of Titan and its crew, likening it to the loss of the Titanic itself back in 1912.

“We now have another wreck that is based on, unfortunately, the same principles of not heeding warnings,” he said. “OceanGate were warned.”

Cameron said that some within the deep submergence community, not including himself directly, had written a letter to OceanGate saying they believed, in his words, “you are going on a path to catastrophe”.

A letter sent to OceanGate by the Marine Technology Society (MTS) in March 2018 and obtained by the New York Times stated, “the current ‘experimental’ approach adopted by OceanGate… could result in negative outcomes (from minor to catastrophic)”.

Separately, US court documents show a former employee of OceanGate warned of potential safety problems with the vessel as far back as 2018.

The documents show that David Lochridge, the company’s director of marine operations, raised concerns in an inspection report.

But the co-founder of OceanGate insisted however that Titan had undergone rigorous testing.

Guillermo Sohnlein left the company 10 years ago and told the BBC that the 14-year development programme had been “very robust”.

“Any expert who weighs in on this, including Mr Cameron, will also admit that they were not there for the sub’s design, for the sub’s engineering, the sub, the building of the sub and certainly not for the rigorous test programme that the sub went through.”

The Titan sub was not certified, but then this is not mandatory.

In a blog post about it in 2019, the company said the way that Titan had been designed fell outside the accepted system – but it “does not mean that OceanGate does not meet standards where they apply”.

It added that the classification agencies “slowed down innovation… bringing an outside entity up to speed on every innovation before it is put into real-world testing is anathema to rapid innovation”.

Cameron told BBC News the past week had “felt like a prolonged and nightmarish charade where people are running around talking about banging noises and talking about oxygen and all this other stuff”.

“I knew that sub was sitting exactly underneath its last known depth and position. That’s exactly where they found it,” he continued.

He said anyone venturing to the Titanic wreck should be fully aware of the risks, as “it’s a very dangerous site”.

“Agree to those risks, but don’t be in a situation where you haven’t been told about the risks of the actual platform that you’re diving in there.

“In the 21st Century, there shouldn’t be any risks. We’ve managed to make it through 60 years, from 1960 until today, 63 years without a fatality… So, you know, one of the saddest aspects of this is how preventable it really was.”

No doubt, this event is very sad and terrifying when thinking of the fear the occupants of the Titan must have experienced if they were alive after the malfunction of the vessel.

For many, taking risks for the sake of highly charged adventures poses the potential for injury and loss of life. To a degree, we appreciate and understand the desire for some individuals to put their lives at risk for such an adventure. Although we’ve never taken such a massive risk as this, we have embarked on certain adventures that elicit an element of fear coupled with excitement that truly can be a life-changing event, adding to one’s personal growth.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow, with friends visiting today.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 23, 2013:

The café and entrance to the only restaurant within a 1/2 hour drive from Boveglio, Il Cavallino Bianco, is quaint and charming. For more photos, please click here.

More stormy weather…Ten years ago…Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy…

This Bed and Breakfast is a few hundred feet from our door. See the post here.

With storms moving through each day and the golf cart being our only means of transportation, we haven’t been out yet this week. The last time we were out was dinner on Sunday night with Lea Ann and Chuck when we returned to the Blue Fin in Brownwood Paddock Square.

I am getting a touch of cabin fever, although we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the past days staying in. We always do. A few days ago, Tom asked me if I was bored. I assured him I am not bored at all. He isn’t bored, either. We always seem to be busy when we stay in, totally entertained.

Here it’s 10:00 am now. Tom has been talking to daughter, Tammy, in Minnesota for the past hour, and I’ve got laundry going. As soon as he’s off the phone, we’ll walk since it’s not raining right now. Yesterday, we missed the walk due to the weather. It was windy and rained all morning.

Initially researching Boveglio, we were excited that this bar and restaurant was within walking distance. Unfortunately, we never asked the owners of our house, Lisa and Luca, if it still was in operation. It has closed down as a public facility, now occupied by its owners. The economy has spared no small businesses in Italy, as we discover as we travel the world.

If the rain stays away for a few hours, we may head out to go to the post office. I have been ordering a few things from Amazon to take on the upcoming cruises. Usually, Amazon delivers directly to us at the house. But, the items I ordered were from an outside vendor, and they only shipped for free using the United States Postal Service, which doesn’t deliver to the houses in The Villages, which is weird.

Instead, there are mailing stations at each of the various villages, and snail mail for us comes to the Fernandina postal station, which is about a ten-minute golf cart ride. We’ll head out once our Kroger grocery order arrives today between 11:00 and 12:00 am.

We love getting our groceries delivered. When I go to the big supermarkets in the US, I buy too much since I am in awe of all the products I haven’t been able to buy for the past several years. By shopping online, I am less tempted to buy products I may not be able to use in time before we depart.

The houses across the street from us.

It’s been fun shopping online at Kroger. When I notice I am low on a particular item, I add it to my Kroger shopping cart on my phone or laptop. We can use coupons online by simply clicking on the coupon. The credit card we use to purchase groceries has a program whereby they offer discounts on grocery items as they are purchased. We’ve saved hundreds of dollars since we’ve been shopping online while here.

On July 14, dear friend Karen is picking us up to return to their new home we haven’t seen. We’ll spend the weekend with her and Rich, and she’ll bring us back on Monday. We appreciate her willingness to transport us both ways when it’s a two-hour drive each way. We’re excited to see their new home on a river and enjoy what surely will be a fun weekend with them.

Tomorrow, our dear friend Lisa (we’ve been friends since the 1980s) and her friend Vicki will arrive at 1:30. We’ll hang around here for a while and then head out to dinner. We’re also looking forward to seeing Lisa again. We hadn’t seen her since 2017 when we all went to dinner in Minnesota.

Flowers were blooming near our exterior door.

We loved seeing our friends here more than we ever expected when we booked the house in The Villages. We’ve had a great time with our old and new friends.

Tonight, we’ll finish our Chinese food left from yesterday’s takeaway and have another pleasant evening. Life is good.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 22, 2013:

In this area, a diagonal line crosses the village’s name as one leaves a village. Notice the hairpin sign, one of many on our ride down the mountains to Collodi, the town large enough to find groceries, a pharmacy, supplies, and sundries, roughly a 30-minute drive from Boveglio. For more photos, please click here.

We have our passport renewals in hand!…Summer solstice today…

Photo from one year ago today from this post. When Bad Ear walked along the dirt road, as soon as I call him, he makes a sharp turn and came to visit. It only took him a few days to learn the sound of my voice and his name.

Our passports arrived last week, but preoccupied with topics on past posts; we hadn’t mentioned we had received both passports by FedEx. What a relief! It’s good that we came to the US to accomplish this task, and now we’re good for another ten years. We’d considered ordering second passports while here; however, the amount of paperwork left us anxious for a break.

Sometime in the future, when we return to the US for an extended period, we’ll tackle that job. Next, we will renew our driver’s licenses in Nevada in September, as mentioned in past posts, and we’ll have these two big tasks out of the way.

Today, again, we’ll review all the countries we’ll be visiting beginning in August to ensure we don’t need to apply for any visas while we’re still in the US. Once that’s out of the way, we can sigh with relief and know that almost everything is in order. The only additional task is to sign up for travel insurance a week before we depart since the cruise line requires it, and we feel more at ease having emergency insurance while sailing and visiting other countries.

We’ll only sign up for the insurance a week before departure. I have our Cozi Calendar marked to remind me. Also, since we’ll only be outside the US from July 29 to September 1, we’ll only order the insurance for that period since the insurance doesn’t cover our time in the US, and we’ll be visiting family for about a month.

Then, when we head to South America around October 1, we’ll order the insurance again in three-month increments while we’re there. At this point, our goal is to return to South Africa on June 15, 2024, but we may decide to return sooner, depending on how much we’re enjoying the time in South America.

Big Daddy kudus and impalas in the garden, one year ago today.

As always, when possible, our plans are fluid. We love having the option to make changes if we desire when a location isn’t fulfilling our goals and objectives. We can do so now that airlines are more flexible about allowing flight changes. When it comes to booked holiday homes, there are penalties for cancellations in most cases.

As a result, we plan only to book a few months at a time while we’re in South America and remain able to book the unique locations that appeal to us the most in between holiday home rentals. This way, we don’t have to pay for a holiday home while on other adventures.

Again today, we planned to drive the golf cart to Brownwood to play bingo at City Fire American Oven and Bar at 3:00 pm. With stormy weather predicted all day, we don’t feel it makes sense to drive with the prospect of rain and winds, especially when the golf cart doesn’t have windshield wipers. It’s been raining in the past 24 hours, pretty hard at times.

Instead, we’ll stay in and order Chinese food for tonight and tomorrow. I love the steamed dishes and egg foo young, while Tom is a big fan of sweet and sour dishes and fried rice. Today, we ordered off the lunch menu and reheat the food at dinner time. Doing so saved almost $30 when ordering enough for two nights.

Chinese food is such a treat for us when it hasn’t been available to us for the past several years, except for the few times we’ve been in the US. We also like Mexican food, but it doesn’t seem easy to order it appropriately for my way of eating unless we dine in a Mexican restaurant. I can easily explain how it should be prepared for me, which we’ve only done once since we arrived here.

We’re fine staying in again today during the inclement weather. We’re as content as we could be. Today is the summer solstice as described here: “The summer solstice, also called the estival solstice or midsummer, occurs when one of Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere.”

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 21, 2013:

There were no photos posted ten years ago, but there is a post about an earthquake we experienced in Italy ten years ago on this date. Please click here.