|A big thank you
to everyone we managed to catch up with during our stay in the UK - and
a huge sorry to those we missed for one reason or other. Three weeks was
just not long enough to fit everything and everyone in.
After a very long, arduous journey (a taxi from the marina to Providence, Rhode Island), a Greyhound bus ride (4-5 hours) to New York, the transfer from NY to JFK (another hour) and then a 7 hour flight, we finally arrived in the UK. A big thank you to Doug Savage for collecting us from Heathrow - especially at 7am!
We managed a lovely relaxing weekend in Southampton staying with Doug & Shirley Savage (huge thanks for letting us turn your home into a hotel!) and met their new black labrador puppy, Murphy. We also managed to catch up with the crowd at the Ashlet Creek Sailing Club - which was great fun. Thanks for the new burgee, guys! (We had taken our old, faded, and rather ragged burgee back to the UK to show them and were delighted to get a brand new replacement. We've brought the old one back to Poco and it can continue with us on our travels - albeit in the "flag" bag! - ready to be flown again when Poco returns to the UK.)
Then it was off to Center Parcs with Keith's three kids. We all enjoyed our time there after a long and exhausting year. The kids managed to try out Western Horse Riding with great enjoyment - and we all had fun in the Aquatic Centre.
It was a very proud Dad who saw his eldest daughter graduating in Physiotherapy at Southampton University. The professional photographer managed to get a stunning photo of Emily receiving her diploma - she (deservedly) looks proud and relaxed (see photo page!).
to the UK was also an opportunity to do all the mundane things like filling
in tax forms, sorting out credit cards, seeing doctors, dentists, podiatrists,
etc. Plus, as Christine is now officially a POM, we made a special trip
to Newport to get her British passport. While we were in Wales we also managed
to catch up with Keith's sisters, Sylvia and Beryl. Thanks in particular
also go to Christine's ex-boss Peter for letting us use his Toyota Hilux
for the duration of our stay. We also really enjoyed catching up with Kim
and Cal in Lancashire and seeing their lovely new home. Of course, Kim looks
after all our paperwork in the UK, so that was an added excuse to visit.
The other excitement was catching up with Christine's sister Carol (and
her husband, Trevor) who were over from New Zealand - it took a bit of coordinating
but we managed to get together for 2 lovely days in a friend's cottage in
Dorset (thanks, Barrie)! And thanks, also, to Pat & Paul for a relaxing
weekend squeezed in between all our errands and ferried us to Marlborough
to catch up with Pippa and Dan.
All-in-all, the trip to the UK was exhausting but successful - we managed to cross of about 98% of the things on our 3-page "to do" list. Mind you, the luggage for our return journey was extremely heavy - and full of fragile purchases (like jars of Vegemite) and rather dodgy-looking electronic bits of kit (which gave the airline security guys something to scratch their heads over). But, after a long (23-hour) journey, we finally arrived safely and successfully back onboard Poco Andante with all our purchases.
We returned from the UK with some dreadful virus and have both felt rather unwell, but haven't been able to let this delay our work schedule on the boat! After working every day for about 2 weeks the boat was finally ready to go back into the water - so we can resume our travels - which we are really looking forward to. Next major stop - New York!