Well, the deed was done and surprisingly without tears or even a look back. Rob and I had one moment of emotion on the last day and I almost cried when I told Beyzano she was ‘the best boat in the world’ and thanked her for every precious memory and her care. Then we took some last photos and Lydia picked us up for a last night in Richmond.
We had completed all the tasks and the boat looked amazing, even if I say so myself! The newly painted deck screen and fore hatch cover finished the outside off and the inside was clear, clean and almost empty.
It was good to spend another night in Richmond with Bill and Lydia and frequenting a southern style restaurant. The next morning Lydia dropped us off at the Museum Of Fine Arts, where we passed several hours admiring the Faberge collection, some incredible English silverware and artefacts from several countries and ages. The restaurant looks out over the lawns and sculptures and I’d recommend a visit. No entrance fee to pay either.
We used Uber to get to the airport, collecting our 3 hold bags on the way but you can’t specify the size of car and the poor guy had to really squeeze everything in. I love smaller airports. No queues at check-in and nobody behind us. This was good, as our bags felt very heavy and we thought we might have to unpack and re-arrange right there. As it happened, we didn’t go over the 50 pound limit and were also glad to hear we wouldn’t see our bags again until Heathrow. Hopefully. We hadn’t used Icelandair before but they were a quarter of the price of a British Airways ticket and nicely chopped the journey into a less than 2 hour flight to Boston, then 4.5 hours to Reykjavik followed by less than 3 hours to London. The planes were all brand new and on time, we had plenty of time in Boston for dinner and really enjoyed the flights. I’d go with them anytime and our bags all arrived with my mother’s crystal glasses intact.
The first hiccup we encountered was in London at Europcar’s hire car office. Due to the recent hire van terrorist attacks, security is tighter and we didn’t have a recent utility bill. Their internet was so poor I had to get the shuttle bus back to Terminal 5 to download a bank statement with our address on but this did the trick, albeit with a 2 hour delay. So, finally on to Steve’s to spend a couple of days shopping for things we’ll need in the UK and to sort out a few boxes of souvenirs from his loft to take to our garage in Swindon. Thanks Steve, for putting us up yet again and for the long term storage.
Then a few days with newly weds Kym and John in the Cotswolds and more sorting and shopping. Finally we headed north via a canal boat builder near Droitwich to view several potential boats. We got to our new home in Cumbria by 1530 to meet Cate and her border collie, Puffin. We will be here until February 4th, looking after Cate’s beautiful house, Puffin, 2 cats, 17 chickens who lay more eggs than we can give away, plus 5 doves. It’s a wonderful place, surrounded by the Lake District and the golden autumn colours. I’ve missed the changing seasons.
Cate threw a welcome party/farewell party so we could meet friends, family and neighbours and showed us the local shops, vets and Puffin’s favourite walks. She loves swimming and fetching a ball, is very energetic and affectionate and we’ve all settled in happily together. The hens are fun too, inquisitive and chatty, in a hen sort of way and it’s nice to pick up warm eggs.
We dropped Cate off to the station to start her journey to South America and to meet her 2CV there, so she can tour around for 3 months. An inspiration. Her son, Ben, runs El Rio, near Santa Marta in Colombia, a cool place to stay on the river. He will be travelling with Cate for a few weeks and we hope they have a great time.
In March we fly off to Iceland for a few nights, with Icelandair again as you can have up to a week’s stopover there without extra charge, so we may as well visit the main tourist spots. From there we fly to Toronto for another few nights and finally on to Edmonton where we have been accepted for a housesit in 160 acres of pretty much wilderness to care for 4 horses, 4 dogs and a cat. Trusted Housesitters is the organisation which facilitates all this and there are opportunities all over the world.
For now we are enjoying log fires, being spoilt with having 3 open fires in Broughton House, getting shopping delivered and not having to do any boat maintenance at all. I started the Christmas cake off today, steeping the fruit, nuts and cherries in rum, brandy, contreau and port. Smelt delicious. We have time to go through a couple of boxes of old photos and I found this one of me with the fishermen and lifeboatmen of Aldeburgh in Suffolk. We lived there until I was 2 and a half. I spend a lot of time on the shingle beach, chasing the waves and learning to love the sea, so this is a special photo for me, especially now.
It is really good to be home again though and I know that we are totally ready to move away from the sailing life, as we were so glad to get back and once Beyzano is sold, to start focusing on the canal boat and finding a rescue dog. When we sold our first boat I cried buckets but this time it’s just time.