Blog 2nd September 2010 Location 38.41.629N 76.10.157W

Brian & Loretto Linehan
Fri 3 Sep 2010 00:01
Thursday 2nd September 2010

Well so much for updating the website every week!

We have back in Oxford since 20th August getting more work done and still
waiting patiently for the elusive bow thruster. The latest on that is
possibly next week - possibly.

Since leaving Chestertown we visited Baltimore for three nights in the
Inner Harbour East Marina – fantastic, clean toilets & showers but no wifi
except in the foyer of the marina office. But the location is really good
– surrounded by new office blocks with plenty of lovely looking clothes
stores, organic type supermarket, off-licence, cinema and a couple of
hotels, and a short walk to the touristy area where there is the aquarium,
filenes basement (for the shopaholics) and plenty of restaurants etc. We
took the dog for various walks, one of which was to Fells Point, about 10
mins from the marina. History – in the 19th century this was the second
busiest port of entry for immigrants after Ellis Island. It reminded me
of the revamped smithfield market but with a bit more shops, restaurants
and pubs, - somewhat like temple bar. Although we were there in the
morning you could see that it would be the place to be on a Fri/Sat night.

(History again – the name Baltimore is an anglicised version of Baile an
Ti Mhoir (town of the big house for those of you who have forgotton your
Irish) referring to the seat in County Cork of Lord Baltimore after whom
the city was named in 1729).

And Thursday 19th was THE day on the boat – woken at 3am by Grainne who
had just receieved confirmation that her place in Leeds university to
study biochemistry had been confirmed. It was a happy ending to a month
of tummy butterflies, sleepless nights etc. So we celebrated in good
style – went to the cinema to see Toy Story 3 instead of sightseeing!
The kids were thrilled and we all thoroughly enjoyed the movie (crying at
a cartoon – I ask you!)

On the Friday myself and Jack left the boat and watched it sail away out
of the harbour. A very weird experience but she looked lovely. We then
travelled to the airport via public bus and train to collect a rented car
and drove back to Oxford where we greeted Asteroid on her arrival that

Normally (in a normal life) I would greet the return to school with a
small bit of sadness and then at approximately 9am with a great deal of
joy – peace at last! But no more that peaceful feeling, no more the joy
of being on my own , no more the joy of meeting friends for coffee. Alas
I am now the teacher. Yes home schooling has started.
The programme we are following – World Education Service (WES) provides
everything (thank God) – lessons plans for every day, weekly timetables,
and a manual for every subject which details what is being taught, why,
the objectives for the lessons, for the term and the year. Plenty of
reading for the teacher even before school started. I must admit it was a
bit panic enducing at first but once I had calmed down I realised that
once I was organised prior to lessons it may not be a piece of cake but it
would be doable. And it is very satisfying when your attempts to “teach”
actually work!
The two girls have been fantastic – eager to learn and work on their own
where required. Jack just gets fed up really easy so we have decided to
do his lessons – mainly learning his letter and numbers and learning how
to write – to approx. 15 min slots spread over the day. He loves his
numbers but is not enthusiastic about the letters.
We are now on week 2 and everything is going well – Ciara is even
conducting an on-going science experiment and enlisted the help of Jack.
I am becoming very well read – Goodnight Mister Tom, Carries War, Oliver
Twist, My Family and Other Animals, Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl all
to study and analyse. And then of course plenty of poetry and drama to be
read, analysed and acted out. Brian is doing the science and I am doing
the english, maths and humanities.

We have done one “field trip” – a trip to see Washington DC. After about
a two hour drive we parked in Union Station – a wonderful place,
breathtaking architecture, a really must see if you ever visit the
capitol. It reminded me of an airport – with the bustle and noise of
hundreds of people eating, drinking, talking and waiting for their trains.
(If any of you can remember “The Untouchables” it reminded me of the train
station where Kevin Costner saved the baby in the pram as it rolled down
the stairs).

Taking a “hop-on-hop-off” tour bus we proceeded to see the main memorials
of the city. Passing many beautiful buildings, many of them part of the
Smithsonian Institute (they seem to run all the museums & galleries in
Washington), we visited the Washington Memorial . Built, obviously, to
commemorate George it was started before the Civil War – they only got
about a quarter way up and then afterwards a slightly different granite
was used which is clearly seen. We didn’t go into the museum as you
require tickets (free but you have to book days in advance and our trip
was a spur of the moment one). Then onto the Lincoln Memorial. The
scene of so many clandestine meetings of so many films set in DC it is
absolutely stunning. The statue is huge and if you take the time to read
some of the speeches which are engraved on the walls it is a very moving
place – one filled with the hopes of a people to do the right thing. The
Korean and Vietnam memorials are close by and both are very emotional
places. The Vietnam consists of a marble wall on which are written the
names of all those who died or lost in action during the 16 years of the
war – about 58,000. There were people there trying to find the names of
loved ones lost – it is easily forgotten that this is still fresh in the
minds of many Americans and a very important part of their history. The
Korean memorial consists of 19 stainless steel full-sized soldiers in full
combat gear, on patrol and they are reflected in a granite wall giving the
illusion of 38 soldiers which marks the 38th parallel on which Korea
stands. Sandblasted into the wall are photographic images of other
soldiers, American and Korean, who were involved in the war. The quote
“Our Nation honours her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend
a country they never knew and a people they never met” – which could apply
to most wars fought after WWII.

Then back on the the bus to Arlington Cemetry. This indeed was silence
enducing and thought provoking. The endless white gravestones stretching
out in a straight line no matter which may you looked, the history
(General Lee originally owned the Arlington Estate which was a tobacco
plantation. He was in the Union army but at the outset of the Civil war
he went to the Confederate side as he was from Virginia which supported
the confederates. After the war the General in charge of finding a place
to bury the Union soldiers chose Arlington - I suppose metaphorically
giving the two fingers to General Lee). We saw the changing of the guard
at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and, of course, JFK’s grave.

Then back to Union Station passing by the White House and home – exhausted
but having had a fantastic day. Washington is certainly a place to
revisit – you could spend days just doing the museums.

Well just to add a bit of spice to life we have a hurricane coming. Earl
is currently over the Carribbean and depending on its trajectory it may
pass over us here in Maryland possibly on Friday morning. So we are
watching the weather forecasts very carefully. If it looks like it is
coming our way we have to secure the boat even more and empty the decks of
all things including taking down the sails – lovely!

So the waiting game continues – bow thruster and hurricane!

Keep in touch

PS The dog can now climb the stairs up to the cockpit and is getting very
adventurous playing on deck with the constant threat of sliding into the
deep blue hanging over him. Unfortunately he cannot get down the stairs –
PSS – since writing this I have spent the day in Easton Emergency unit and
the result is two fractured ribs and a very sore Loretto. We had moved
the boat further out from the pontoon in preparation for hurricane Earl
making it a big stretch getting on and off. Unfortunately at 6m this
morning it was a stretch too far and myself and Bono ended up in the drink
and with a big dent in my pride. Have a good supply of strong painkillers
so hopefully the agony will pass soon.