Week one at sea

It’s now been a week since we left and it’s been such fun.

We had a couple of nights in Holyhead waiting for our friend Jon to catchup in Kikka. Then we did a reasonable crossing over to Ireland landing in Arklow. Clive had been before on one of the lads trips and said there weren’t any shops but thankfully a whole new shopping centre had been built since then. Bliss!

We got chatting to really friendly guy called Lorcan (Irish for Laurence) and he came back to give us 2 t-shirts.

Leaving there we went to Kilmore Quays. They have the best chandlers I’ve ever been to and I could spend a whole day in there. Guess who was there?? Lorcan. Small world. When Clive and I got back to the pontoon we couldn’t get the code to work to get onto the pontoon. Guess who was there and came to our rescue?? Lorcan.

The harbour master told us that we wouldn’t be leaving the next day as the weather was too bad so I was all set for a day of jobs. I was just getting my running shoes on to go exploring when the plans changed and we were leaving. Not a good idea to rush departure and we won’t be doing that again.

I can’t say I enjoyed the long, sicky trip we did yesterday but we weren’t really prepared for the horrendous journey.

It's been a tough time leaving our daughter and new grandson and I'm trying to keep in touch as much as possible but I can't help worry that I'm not there to fuss and be Mother Goose with her. I've always been close to both daughters and I specialise in fussing hence the nick name, Mother Goose.

I’m settling in nicely to this life at sea. I’m accepting that you can’t make plans as everything depends on the weather but I really don’t care. After being such a control freak with planning out every minutiae of my life there’s something strangely liberating to have no plans and not know what day it is. The sun goes up and the sun goes down.  What more do I need from life.

Last 12 days on land


What an absolute crazy time it's been. Getting my head around being a Granny is just a blast. Poor daughter has had a rough time and had to spend nearly a week in the hospital during an unbelievable heat wave. I've been going to the house and storage and on one visit I went to Morrison's to get a washing up bowl,a flannel, some Ben and Jerry's ice cream and a pack of ice cubes. She immediately put a cold flannel round her neck and her swollen feet on the ice, sighing with relief. Luke is gorgeous and extremely cuddly. I sold my KAA and we then went down to a one car family.  Living on the boat has been fine and the cats have been having a walk on their harnesses most mornings. They have adjusted well to life on the boat. I think they're happy just being with us and not having any neighbourhood cats threatening their space. I've got plenty of toys to keep them entertained.

Boatwise, there's been a lot of last minute work going on. The magnificently restored table finally arrived and it's just a piece of art. Delivered and put in place by Barry and Paul of TLC. Paul has done a fantastic job inlaying the Oyster logo onto both leaves and the top.Having decided that this was far too grand a table to have damaged in any way we asked Steve from The Boatyard to make us a cover. They were super quick measuring up and coming up with a cover in the same material as the rest of the upholstery. Hi spec that allows visibility on the top to see the logo. The final main job was to rewire the deck lights. Carl turned up and he and Clive worked until after 9pm one night. We've made some good friends during the refit and I'll miss their cheery faces and helpful attitude.

During the final week we had visits from friends to see what we've been doing on the boat and yo say their goodbyes.

On the day before we set sail I drove the Jeep to Prestatyn and handed over the keys to the local garage that had bought it. I had a final look around Prestatyn, the town that had been home for most of my life, a final hair cut and then got the train back to Deganwy. Having no car keys is a first.

On our final day we were due to leave at 12.45. Carl had returned to solve a problem with the deck lights and was working right until the last minute, bless him. Friends and family started to drift over and inspect the boat. Clive's brother was able to help Carl out, not what he expected I'm sure , but we were grateful for his help. When daughter arrived the tears started to flow. We hugged and tried to do the stiff upper lip but it wasn't going to happen. Even Clive went a bit misty (though he'll deny it).  It's hard to go just when we have a new grandson but there will always be something to delay our exit and maybe going now before I become too attached to Luke is the best thing.  I know that my daughter is in good hands as Dave is a modern, hands-on Dad and the three of them will be a good team together. Also, his Mum is baby crazy and will totally make up for this absent Granny. She's absolutely lovely but knowing how I would be as well, maybe having just one around is enough for them to cope with.  Anyway, back to the departure. One minute I was cuddling Luke and then suddenly I was shouted to get onboard as the ropes were being slipped and we were off. As quick as that.  I felt like some intrepid explorer as we sailed past the hotel wall, waved and cheered on by friends and onlookers.


Posh bedding

I know I've only just updated my news but there's some rather shocking news that needs to be shared!

You may remember in my last entry that I mentioned that I'd bought bedding from John Lewis's only to take it back the next day for a refund and purchase some more. Anyway, after a few days I started to wonder why it had cost so much and as I'd thrown out the receipt I decided to go back armed with a bank statement (and still heavily pregnant daughter) to find out what had happened to my refund.

The lady on Customer Services was extremely helpful and went off to track down a breakdown of the £190 transaction while we did a bit of controlled browsing. On her return she confirmed that this amount did indeed include the full refund of £86. I was still perplexed as by my reckoning I was about £80 out, taking into account the additional purchase of 2 very fine bedspreads. We looked at the itemised statement and I queried a couple of £35 entries. Intriguing!! I was suitably confused so we went with the nice lady to a till to look up the items.  Well...........(and full blame goes to Clive for this one), silk pillowcases!!!!!!!!    £35 EACH, not even for a pair. He hates dawdling when shopping so just grabbed them and put them in my basket. Nice one Clive!  On getting this ludicrous explanation I think I may have sworn and laughed at the same time.  The Customer Services lady was quick to point out that they'd be very comfortable and soft on our faces and we wouldn't have as many wrinkles when we woke up! Marvellous! After months of sailing in the tropics I look forward to checking that one out.

Am I dreaming?

This last week has made me think that I'm living in some sort of dream world.

Sunday 14th July was our eldest's birthday and we were due to pop over to see her in Chester and then the following day we planned to move onto the boat. Half the furniture from the house had been removed and so Clive and I had brought some garden furniture into the kitchen so we could actually sit down. Anyway, poor daughter started to go into labour when she woke up on her birthday and it turned out to be an epic 23 hours ending in a C section.

We were woken on Monday morning by the phone call announcing the arrival of Luke, weighing a whopping 10lbs 7ozs. We are grandparents!!!!

After watching the remainder of our furniture disappear we did a final trip to storage and then headed over to the hospital to meet our grandson.  He is absolutely gorgeous and it was love at first sight. Following this momentous occasion we headed back to the empty house, picked up the cats and then drove to Deganwy to begin our new life.

I hadn't had time to do any food shopping so we went to the hotel to eat. The waiter asked us if we'd had a good day. Ha! It sounded like I was making the whole thing up but I think he believed me.

Liking retirement

Time seems to have speeded up since I retired.

I had a crazy pirate themed leaving party and a mottley crew took over one of the local pubs dressed as pirates. Fortunately it was on a friday so we all had the weekend to recover!

My last day was the following Tuesday when I finished at lunch time, drove my beloved Honda S2000 to our garage and handed over the keys.(Tears at this point.) I then went to my hairdresser, had a really short haircut and from there we went straight to Manchester airport for a much needed week in Rhodes to contemplate what we'd done.

Fabulous holiday and Clive and I had permanent smiles on our faces as we thought about the future.

The difference with retirement is that all the days seem the same, ie the weekends aren't special anymore. We haven't got into any routine other than getting up and going to work on the boat. We find it better to travel separately and then I can do some house packing before i go. Most of the house is now packed up and in storage so if anyone pops around for a coffee we have a problem as there are only 2 cups!

The boat is suddenly beginning to feel like a home again. There's been a lot of activity in the last few weeks. We've had the riggers on for a couple of days and Karl spent a couple of weeks doing the electrics, so the roof panels have been off and wires trailing everywhere. Paul built a cupboard in the laundry room and some shelves in the saloon so I've been painting and varnishing those. We made a late decision to have all the flooring replaced and so we're half way through that.

Our bedroom is finished so I had the fun of going round Chester with my eldest (heavily pregnant) daughter looking for suitable bedding. I caused chaos in John Lewis's and bought a pile of bedding only to go back and change it all the next day. Embarrassingly the woman on the till remembered me.  My daughter is only a week off giving birth and taking her shopping has great advantages such as crossing roads, finding a seat somewhere etc etc. The only disadvantage is that she now waddles so slows me down but that's kind of cute. I'm looking forward to the birth as I know my daughter has had enough now and it can't happen soon enough for her.

The cats are all ready for their adventure and I collect their passports from the vet next week when they go in for a dental clean and check up. Their final vaccination will be done in Deganwy on 16th July as we'll be living on the boat then.

As I'm no longer working I don't have a paper diary and so days and weeks are just flying by unnoticed. Also I'm not used to physical work so I'm developing muscles I didn't know that I had. All in all I can't recommend retirement highly enough though.