Nuptials in Norfolk

Fri 10 Jun 2016 10:50

To Oakham for a May wedding.

Onwards and north to Oakham where we stayed with Rob’s mum, Rosemary who looked after us so well. The early morning cups of tea, and bubbly bath were a real luxury. People would ask us “What do you miss about the UK?”

Well apart from our family and friends the list is; A dog in our life, in particular Toby, a bath, accessible and fast Internet, light evenings and twiddling rings, (we leave them with Emily for security and wouldn’t wear them when sailing for safety reasons.)

We were also asked about calamitous moments. There have been two, and although they happened at different times they are linked. The first was when we bent the anchor on a fuel barge in Shelter Bay Marina. We will have to see what can be done, short of driving a tractor over it to straighten it out, once we get to New Zealand. The second was when the windlass was ripped off its shelf when we were trying to anchor in San Jose in the Las Perlas islands.

Rob repaired the shelf with plywood and refitted the windlass with large washers on the bolts this time. They had been absent on two of the four bolts securing the windlass previously and one bolt did not even have a nut on it! Unfortunately the windlass would not then work. We bought a new solenoid for it in the UK but this only made it run constantly when the power was switched on.

Our windlass only powers the chain as it comes up, so the deck switch is on or off. The new solenoid is designed for power up and down so the deck switch would need to be three point, on, up or down. So it runs on while there is power to it because it has no ‘off’ setting. Rob happened to find a break in the wire, caused no doubt by the wrenching from its shelf. He fixed this, put the old solenoid back and low and behold it works.

Before we left Plymouth back in June 2015 we knew that Rob’s daughter Charly and Tom were planning a wedding for 29th May 2016, so from the Canary Islands we started making our plans to return to the UK via a trip on the Amazon and trekking to Machu Picchu, all organised for us by Llama Travel. So fate would have it that Zoonie would be in Bahia during one of the most complex seismic events of the century, (not my words).

The venue for the wedding was a beautiful copse of deciduous trees including a ring of tall, whispering poplars, near a little village called Postwick, in rural Norfolk. The marquee resembled an Arabic Bedouin pavilion, with the posts secured in peaks, or vaults at the corners. Our team  of family and friends descended upon it to spend a day preparing and decorating with bunting, and setting the round tables with unique ideas like mini bottles of home - made  sloe gin as favours and tiny files of bubbles to satisfy the child in us.

A number of us stayed in a converted farm building which I could quite happily have lived in, in another life. Cooking up breakfasts for 12 or so was like being back at Rosemead, my former home on the Isle of Wight, where I loved preparing breakfasts for my B&B guests for 8 years, (therein lies a book). In our little cottage kitchen an Aga made cooking a joyous activity and I had to be surgically removed from it in the end.

The Sunday of the wedding dawned misty with the promise of sun in a cool northerly wind. Guests, seated on scrubbed wooden benches, eagerly awaited the arrival of the bride with her proud father, whose eyes were moist, (he’s a softy).

A guitarist played charming music in the background while Charly, in her soft white dress with pearled and sequinned bodice, and Rob, negotiated the soft, natural carpet of leaves and twigs.


Charly and Tom’s dog, Darcy, was ring bearer and led Rob’s youngest son, Jonty, up the woodland aisle which was decorated with posies of flowers in glass pots hung from silver painted fence posts. Sunlight dappling through vibrant young green leaves making me wonder when the fairies would appear to watch the beautiful event unroll.

All too soon we were returning the next day to clear up only to find the very same ‘fairies’ in the form of the camping friends had been busy before us and our task took only one and a half hours.

Our return to Zoonie started from Colts Lodge, briefly back to Oakham in the van and then south again for final days with Emily, Gary, Henry and Ruby and then two flights to Guayaquil, via Bogota. Effortless travel over thousands of miles, a little different from Zoonie’s journey.