Approaching the end of our 3 months in the UK, we have finished painting the entire house, over 23 intensive days and entertained more than 30 friends and relatives. We took a few days off this week as a reward, visited Snowdonia, a few local towns and are going to the Southampton Boat Show on Friday, catching up with lots of sailing friends there.
A mixture of emotions has resulted from being here and I know I am going to be very upset handing the keys over on the 28th, despite being fortunate in having so many people wanting to rent our home. I just love it here and yes, I love being on Beyzano too, so there is a big conflict. I’ve always been one for being happy wherever I am and this time it is making life difficult. I just hope I can forget about Brecon once we return to the boat and get engaged in the cruising life again.
Have to admit, I haven’t thought much about Beyzano since we have been here, although we do check the weather from time to time. It has been a busy few weeks for tropical storms, with one after another moving across the Atlantic. One hit Dominica, resulting in a lot of damage and many deaths. Beyz is being looked after by Robert at Seru Boca Marina and he provides us with regular updates and photos of himself filling our water tank, the battery monitor levels etc. so we know she is fine.
I will miss the wonderful atmosphere in the Cathedral, where I immerse myself in the history. The font, for example, was carved in 1093. Hard to imagine what people’s lives were like back then. I will miss the lush green farmland and forests all around us, the friendliness of the people in Brecon and our very special neighbours.
I also found leaving family much more difficult than before. Lots of tears! In addition, we have lost 3 of our great sailing friends this year with whom we enjoyed many happy hours. In fact, we were with 2 of them in June 2013 in Rodney Bay, St Lucia, having one of those lunches that turned into a lazy all afternoon gathering. ‘Arnamentia’ was berthed next to us in Las Palmas in 2011 and we got to know Jon and Carol well and have been following their adventures through Panama and on to New Zealand. We miss you Richard, Ron and Jon with fond memories and send Elaine, Karen and Carol all our love.
Living here for so long, in our own home, has made us realize that there is life after sailing and we can return. This was a revelation, as during the past 4 years I had become convinced that I only wanted to continue sailing and couldn’t imagine life ashore again. So I am very glad that there are things we want to do in the future, not related to sailing in any way and we are looking forward to living here again and settling into the community.
Our last few tasks on the house were getting our tree taken down, as it was literally growing in the stone wall at the bottom of our garden and likely to fall down, damaging both the wall and historic tunnel underneath. It was fascinating watching Ollie don all his safety gear and climb the tree. It took a few hours to get it all chopped down to the ground and the task was made more difficult as the base of the tree was about 20 feet above the river and the debris had to be taken via our neighbour’s garden. Another was adding more insulation to the loft, a dense woollen layer they use to keep the house warm through the winter. Something we won’t need to worry about soon!
This week we had the first morning mist, a clear sign that autumn is on the way. On our drive north to Snowdonia, it lingered in the valleys, looking very beautiful. The farmers have been busy getting the crops harvested and stored and people are piling up logs for the winter fires already. It may be getting colder at night but we have still enjoyed some very warm days, with the picturesque landscapes leaving us happy memories of Brecon.
We have to thank all those friends and family who took the time to travel to see us; we have enjoyed your company and look forward to seeing some of you again in the Caribbean. Adrian and Clare were with us last Christmas in Antigua, dancing on the deck on Christmas Eve and we met in the British Virgin Islands in the spring of 2012. They stayed with us last month and we should see them again at the Boat Show.
We are staying the night in an Amsterdam airport hotel before flying back to Curaçao and our friends from ‘Blue’ are on the same flight, so we look forward to seeing them again. Then we need to rapidly readjust to the heat and lack of rain, get the boat cleaned and stocked up and check everything is still in working order before leaving the marina.
The next couple of months will be devoted to diving in Bonaire, preparing the boat for the Rally and our potentially nasty trip from Aruba to Santa Marta in Colombia. Christmas and New Year will undoubtedly be a very sociable time with the 23 (at last count) other boats. We still plan to sail to the USA for next summer, perhaps spending another season moving further north to Maine, and then do another season through the Eastern Caribbean chain, visiting our favourite islands again. We are now contemplating an end date to our Atlantic and Caribbean dream, putting Beyzano up for sale, either in the Caribbean or UK, in the spring of 2019 and returning to land life. A long while off yet, so circumstances may change but for now that is the plan!