Are not some of David’s favourite things, but I
have to say, of the things that I have missed from the UK over
the past 10 months, frosty mornings are one. On our trip back to the
UK, I was not disappointed. We
arrived at Speke in Liverpool (sorry, John Lennon Airport) on 1 February and
walked out of the terminal into a blast of cold wind that took your breath away
and almost blew you over – I had forgotten until then that I had sensitive
teeth! David (remember, he who does not do cold) after not having driven since
April ‘07 now not only had to remember how to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the
road, but also how to drive in snow to get us safely to north Wales.
Snow on the A483, Chester to Wrexham road.
The next morning the children were delighted to
scrape together enough snow (with added sand to bulk it out) to make snowballs
to throw at each other and at their cousins, Robyn and
Based at my sister’s in Llangollen, the first week
sped by, swallowed up by:
catching up with my family
appointments with the bank, accountant and opticians
PowerPoint presentations at school
with old school friends
dropping in unannounced on unsuspecting victims (sorry,
There isn’t much that we haven’t been able to get
hold of during our travels in Spain and Portugal, but
English books have been a problem (and Shredded Wheat remains a challenge). I
had ordered a couple of books (well, OK, a couple of boxes of books) to be
delivered to Catherine’s ready to bring back to Portugal. I
don’t remember ordering that many books… David got his own back by having a
spare propeller delivered. We went out shopping for bags suitable to survive
Liverpool and Faro baggage
The chilly River Dee at Llangollen, from my sister
Catherine’s living room window.
Wet Welsh hills
For our 19 days in the UK, the weather
was really quite kind – for February. We had frosty mornings most days, with the
odd smattering of rain interspersed with sunshine and rainbows. We couldn’t stay
far away from the sea and managed to find ourselves at Partington Marine in
Pwllheli, catching up with Will (who oversaw much of the work we had done on
CAPE when we first bought her) and buying
anodes to top up our hold baggage limit in case we didn’t have enough books. We
saw ‘Ariadne’ our old Carter ¾ tonner still looking very smart on the hard and
up for sale again.
Welsh hills in between the rain and
Orienteering, den building and
We joined the Liddy gang for a weekend of gossip,
good grub, booze (for the adults), orienteering, den building and
lavender-scented baths (and David snook off to watch the rugby). The dens were
superb, with standing room, seats and mossy carpets – Ray Mears eat your heart
out! [For the record, we do shower (occasionally), but baths have been hard to
come by and are, therefore, noteworthy]. We learned that squirrels are
right-handed or left-handed and that you can tell which they are from the
discarded, half-eaten pine cones. Beth learned to knit.
Orienteering at Coed Y Brenin.
B & B putting the finishing touches to the
Aberystwyth still felt like
We hit the road for the next few days, dropping in
on Jackie and Stu (MYMAX, winners of the 2007 Aberystwyth Yacht Race) in
Shrewsbury for a
superb roast dinner followed by a phenomenal breakfast before heading further
downhill to catch Carole and Gwyn in Aberystwyth. Aber hadn’t changed a bit and
still felt like home!
CAPE’s old berth next to the fuel
pontoon – all forlorn and empty.
We went looking for more old friends – Wynn and
Delyth, Dean and Sturdy – we’ll have to catch you when we come back again.
Constitution Hill, Aberystwyth.
We caught up with Mick and Jenny over another
excellent supper (and Ben and Rachel briefly), hearing all about preparations
for the 2008 Celtic Challenge – we’ll be thinking of all of you mad rowers (and
particularly about the sore bottoms girls!). Here’s to Vaseline/KY Jelly, bacon
butties, smooth seas and moonlight – good luck with the Guinness and hope you
find a skipper that doesn’t run you down and a RIB man who handles you firmly
Knitting our way south to Swansea, then north-east to Wokingham and Oxford
From Aberystwyth we headed downhill to Swansea to catch up with
David’s Mum, Ruby, and Luke. Inspired by Bethany’s grasp of knitting needles and a
slowly growing teddy bear scarf, Bryn also learned to knit. I hope these teddies
appreciate the hours that I have spent in the car picking up dropped stitches
and relaxing bar-tight stocking stitch!
We descended on Geoff and Lynn (DRY WHITE) in
Wokingham. From here we toddled off to Southampton to research chart plotters/RADAR, and ended up
going back again the next day to collect a bargain. It was a short hop then to
Mike and Mandie’s (TENGY), where a scary amount of port was consumed and cross
stitch was added to the children’s list of new skills. We managed to walk off
the effects of at least some of the excellent food and drink with a brisk walk
along the Thames to Henley.
Temple Island, on the Thames near Henley.
On Sunday 17 February we headed back to north
Wales – stopping for a cup of tea with Louise in Oxford – before doing battle
with the rest of the world on the A40/M5/M6/M54, just like the good ole’
For those of you we missed on our flying visit, we
are sorry that we didn’t see you this time, but will endeavour to catch up with
you when we get back to the UK next time.
The food was phenomenal – just have to get back on
the diet now…