Our Diary News from UK - 2015

Early the next morning we took the Metro to the Gare du Nord, collected our luggage, picked up a coffee and croissant - and settled down for a quick trip under the channel. By 9am we were in London and took the National Express to Southampton. We had planned to take the train but at £80 each it was exorbitant - the coach only cost £15 each. A local bus dropped us off close to our friends' house in Lyndhurst. Mike and Jill are ex-cruisers - we had cruised with them in the Caribbean around 11 years earlier! How good was that! We love the cruising community - and their generosity of spirit.

Feeling rather "shell shocked" after our arrival in the UK, we collapsed for a couple of days before heading to Sark in the Channel Islands to celebrate Keith's daughter's wedding to Jon.

After nine months of planning we arrived bright and early at the ferry terminal in Poole. Our planned trip, hatched in February, following the news that Emily and Jon were getting married in Sark in September. The original plan hatched was to travel overland to the wedding from Malaysia during the wet season, fly back to Poco Andante in Malaysia then cross the Indian Ocean. How plans change! After the sale of Poco Andante, the overland trip remained but the ocean bit fell by the wayside.

Now, there we were on a Condor Ferry - about to cross our outgoing path aboard a 312ft high speed behemoth. Dawn was breaking as we left Poole Harbour. Twenty minutes out, at 50°34.38'N and 01°52.45W we crossed our outgoing track created 12 years and 6 weeks earlier. No big fanfare - a hug and a kiss was all that was needed and a quiet feeling of satisfaction and reflection.

Cruising at 35 knots the trip to Guernsey was smooth; after time for a leisurely coffee and croissant, we embarked on the small boat to Sark. Sark is one of the smallest Channel Islands and has no cars. The main means of transport is tractor, horse and cart or walking. The island is only 2 miles by 2 miles so nowhere is far away. We took the tractor to the main town and then walked to our B&B. Emily and Charlotte (Keith’s daughters), Jon (the Groom) and Laina (the bridesmaid) caught up with us in the afternoon. Emily and Jon had decided on a small intimate wedding - Emily and Jon (who live in Perth Western Australia) described it as "eloping but with the parents". Sark was chosen as it only required 3 days of residence before the wedding license was issued. It is also a very pretty location. The wedding was held at La Seigneurie Gardens and Chapel - very picturesque - followed by dinner at a local restaurant. All-in-all, a happy and joyous occasion. It was lovely to see all the family together to celebrate Emily and Jon's wedding. All our hard work in keeping the lines of communication open with Keith's children had paid off.

After the wedding, we arrived back at Mike and Jill's house in Lyndhurst and the task of starting a new life commenced. We met up with the letting agent who handed over the keys to our little house which had been rented out for the last 14 years. We opened the door with trepidation, but it wasn’t as bad as we feared - nothing that a good clean, a lick of paint and new flooring couldn’t cure. We set to with bucket and mop - and organized the transport of our belongings, which had been in storage for 12 years, together with our crates from Malaysia. A treasure trove of “stuff” arrived, enough to furnish the house - but why did we have three kettles, two irons and two ironing boards, plus enough mugs to start a china shop? We realised that it would be easy to "clutter" our lives with unnecessary "stuff" and, having lived in a confined space for so long, we appreciate the space more than things.

Some ex-cruisers once told us that swallowing the anchor was like stepping back into old shoes - our problem was that we had no "old shoes" to step back into. We were embarking on a completely new adventure with a new outlook on life. Although we can't decide where to call "home", our family and friends are dear to us.

The travel and adventure on Poco Andante has changed us. We were humbled by the generosity of people who have nothing, marvelled at nature's sculptures, frightened by the power of wind and seas - and angered by political turmoil.

But overall we found that our love for each other has grown out of adversities and we make a strong team.