So it turns out that I do have a couple of happy snaps from Venice Beach, California.
There were three areas around LA that I did really like. They were the wide, quiet streets of Pasadena (where I also found an excellent pair of Dan Post cowgirl boots. Alas, I didn't bring them home), the tightly packed but full of life canals of Naples, Long Beach; and the quirky-off the beaten track feel of Topanga.
We could imagine ourselves living in any of these three places for a stint. In Topanga I saw hints of free-living, which we enjoy so much where we are. Naples appealed to me because it is 3 islands in the city... my boys could still sail and kayak and be near water and we'd have more chance of getting around on bike or foot. Pasadena just felt calm and lovely, and lay at the foot of some pretty amazing mountains.
But, for now, it's not to be. And I can't say I'm disappointed. Upon my return, the winds through the spotted gums whispered my name.