A month in the UK

Date                Sunday 6 August 2011 – Monday 5 September 2011

 

We left the Caduceus safely ashore in Rose’s Yard in Gloucester and flew back to the UK from Boston.

 

 

 

It was great to be home and to find everything in good order.  The garden was looking very lush and we celebrated with a BBQ (Braai for our South African readership).

 

 

Week on was spent on appointments with dentists, doctors and opticians and then ‘the best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley’.  Elizabeth having been in increasing pain over the last six months and having blamed it on her back, and ignoring a simple engineer’s diagnosis, was found to have a badly arthritic right hip.  This requires surgery before she will be able to return to the boat and for us to resume our journey.  A rethink of plans was required and I arranged to return to the USA a day later than originally intended to allow us both to see the consultant who will carry out the hip replacement procedure.

 

The knock on effect is that if the Mate is operated upon in October she will not be fit to fly until January.  We resolved that I would move the boat south out of the pack ice region to Norfolk, Virginia and then return to the UK on 24 September.  Sid Shaw the Ocean Cruising Club Rear Commodore for USA South East very kindly offered to help me sail the boat the 450 miles from Gloucester to Norfolk.

 

Notwithstanding all of this we had a very good month in the UK.  Our first outing was to see sister Sally near Winchester and to be reunited with Oscar dog.  He certainly looked fit and with the family we dragged ourselves up a nearby ‘mountain’, hip notwithstanding.

 

 

The mate did actually put Oscar down occasionally.

 

A family party followed later that weekend to celebrate my Uncle Frank’s 90th birthday.

 

 

The front row is Sally, my mother and her brother Frank and I.  Following the party y mother and the dogs returned with us to Coggeshall, Sally going on holiday and us dog sitting for Oscar and Chas Labrador.

 

Following my mother’s return to Edinburgh it was off to see Elizabeth’s father where we had a very jolly few days including a meal in a local pub that is built on a very steep hillside providing an interesting obstacle to a 91 year old, a combination of walking sticks and crampons being required for the descent from car park into the bar.  The food and good English Ale were definitely worth the expedition.

 

 

We had lunch at Bideford on Avon where we were able to observe two bits of quintessentially English eccentricity:

 

 

one narrow boat negotiating a very narrow and shallow medieval bridge arch whilst avoiding man in coracle - just.

 

In amongst all of this I managed to re-commission Henry, our 1934 Daimler, and get him MOT’d and road legal.  Handy as he is the only car that I currently own.  His visit to our home yacht club, The Royal Harwich provided an excellent opportunity for a photo call.

 

 

 

All too soon it was time to fly back to the boat.  With a bag stuffed with bits for the boat it was then back to the USA on my own which seemed very strange being mate-less.