Winter in UK

February 6, 2014

Well, I’ve finally looked back over the blog and discovered that it has been a very long time since we last updated our readers on what we’ve been up to and where we are. Some of you will know, as we’ve been in touch about changing plans but others will have been left in limbo. I can only say that we’ve been busy, that plans have changed on an almost daily basis and that, frankly, the blog has not been very high on the priority list. Oh, and once again, if you read this blog for the nautical content, then this one isn’t for you!

The last thing I posted was on Christmas Day and was all too brief. We eventually spent 7½ weeks in North Yorkshire, running the house for Susie, walking Sandy the Border Terrier and doing lots of geocaching, including putting out our own series of caches either side of the river between High and Low Bentham. We had a great Christmas with Susie and a lovely meal out on New Years’ Eve in the local pub. As she improved, we took time out to make various visits: Naomi and the children in Ireland, Andy busy building a home with his daughter and family near Carlisle and Kathryn (aka one of the four Stunning Ruins) who lives with her husband Chris in Ponteland.

Two out four Stunning Ruins, looking good as usual.

Two out four Stunning Ruins, looking good as usual.

Susie saw her consultant on 31 December and was given the all clear in terms of lifting and car driving. Following that, she continued to make good progress and all was looking good for our return to Crete on 22 January. We had hired a car to take us down to Gatwick for our flight and we planned another visit to Polly in Cornwall and a couple of nights with Jonno and Lucy in London before the flight. We’ve bought all sorts of little bits and pieces for “Rampage” while we have been in UK, so we had an extra suitcase booked to fit everything in. We were all set to have one last evening with Susie and go to a local pub specialising in fish to celebrate her recovery. In the event, we never managed to get there, despite passing the place every time we went into Lancaster. Such is life.

Anyhow, our plans were scuppered by a text message from Polly, telling us of a family crisis which demanded our immediate presence in Cornwall. So, cancelling plans for a night out with Susie and the following night with friends in Overton, off we set for Falmouth. It took us just on 7 hours to get to Mylor Bridge from Low Bentham, thankfully encountering no traffic holdups or nasty weather on route. As an economy measure, we’d only insured me as a driver for the hire car and I was therefore just a little tired by the time we arrived.

Polly was very happy to see us and we immediately understood that we’d need to stay longer than planned. We’d hoped to sort various admin issues while we were with her, so a somewhat longer stay wouldn’t cause too many problems. In addition, we were comfortable that “Rampage” is safe and sound and the winter jobs list of work to be done on her is not as long this winter as it generally it.

Since getting here, we have been found lots of jobs about the house to keep us out of mischief whilst Polly is at work and the time has provided us with the opportunity to do things like getting new hearing aids fitted, etc. We’ve also done a fair bit of walking and caching, although this has been somewhat limited by not having a car every day and by the foul weather.

Polly and J in Porthleven (before the storms arrived!)

Polly and J in Porthleven (before the storms arrived!)

We are now due to return to Crete on 20 February, going via the New Forest (Maggie) and London (Jonno and Lucy). This will give us about a month or so on board “Rampage” before we need to return to UK to welcome the arrival of Jonno and Lucy’s baby (aka the Bean) which is due in early April. J also has a weekend booked with the Stunning Ruins, so I will have to find myself something to do while she is off galivanting. We intend to return to Crete towards the end of April for the start of the cruising season.

We are, at present, unsure where we will be going this year. The original intent had been to head north in Aegean until the Meltimi winds arrived and then head over to the Turkish coast and make our way south, returning to Crete again next winter. However, all the various family crises have given us pause for thought. The Aegean is not well provided with cheap parking places and airports, whilst the Ionian is. Perhaps we’ll head for the Ionian via the Corinth Canal this year, rather than heading north and wind up having to pay a large fortune to put the boat into a marina in the Athens area to fly back to UK. Hmmm, watch this space.

On the same theme, it is becoming clear to us that we can no longer abrogate our responsibilities as parents/grandparents in the fairly cavalier manner that we have been doing over the past few years. Never let it be said that your kids cease to need you as they grow older. To us it seems quite clear that, whilst they may apparently be in control of their own lives, they in fact seem to require almost as much input in their thirties as they did as teenagers. For this reason, whilst we have no intention of giving up completely on the nautical gypsy lifestyle, we are clearly going to need to spend more time in UK than we currently do.

Plans are still a little on the vague side at present but we think that we will probably base ourselves in Preveza, storing Rampage ashore each winter and returning to UK to live, probably somewhere in the Bristol area. Bristol is pretty much equidistant from London and Cornwall with good road and rail links and has an airport for access to Dublin. Initially, we plan to rent a small place although if we find we like the area and the kids approve of our plans, then we may well look to buying in the area.

The other factor in all of this is the state of my father’s health. He has been suffering from Alzhiemer’s disease for some years now and is no longer the man I remember as my father. Most of his language skills have gone and he is increasingly frail so we do not want to be too far away from an easy return to UK should his health further deteriorate – yet another factor in our plans for the coming summer. (My mother, thankfully, although unable to cope with independent living and suffering from significant memory problems, is well and seems to be reasonably content in the care home she has been in since last year.)

Duncan and Joy

Duncan and Joy

This has turned into something of a family nightmare blog. It’s not meant to be that, just an explanation that although we thought everything was OK, life can still come and bite you on the bum!


One comment

  1. Are you still in Falmouth !if so are you able to squeeze in a lunch with us

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