Well here is my latest edition of the blog!
I feel like I used to when I was at school and let all my homework pile up!
We’ve done so much since the last entry that I’m going to have to keep things short and rely on photos, or I’ll never hand it in………late or not!!

Returning from the Bahamas, we made our way back up the St John’s river and, with bated breath, safely negotiated our nemesis…..the Main Street bridge!

Having settled into our new slip in the Ortega River Marina, we got down to work, fixing the broken throttle cable and the worn steering cable that was threatening to give up the ghost.

Marcus worked out the intricacies of dismantling the throttle and gear console and while he was iat it, decided to replace the gear cable too.

Replacing the throttle cable.

Replacing the throttle cable. No mean feet!!

Small places call for small people, so I was entrusted with  fixing the eyes onto the steering cables…. a job that had to be done in situe, in the space under the aft cockpit sole. The same dark hole that houses the auto helm!  It took some persuasion to mouse the cables through the 30ft of conduit from the helm, behind our head board and under the sole of the aft cabin and cockpit and then a modicum of struggle to bend the wires to shape. Hot work!!

One of the 34ft steering cables reattached!

One of the 34ft steering cables reattached!


The two weeks before our flight back to Blighty went very quickly and sociably! Having thoroughly cleaned and tidied, we fumigated with strong bug sprays, to deter any would be infesters. So strong infact, that Marus emerged coughing and spluttering………not good for him, but reassuring as far as a cockroaches chances of survival!!

A 5 hour drive down to Fort Lauderdale and we were off, worrying slightly that Customs and Border Control may not let us back in to the US again!  After an uneventful outward journey, we landed and paid a short visit to my Mum’s, then headed down to Exeter for a reunion with two of Marcus’s brothers. It was great to see them and their wives. There’s nothing quite like family!

Whilst we were down in the SW, we set out to visit Jim and Paula of ‘White Gold’ in Dartmouth. They have just sold their boat and returned to live for a while as ‘dirt dwellers’. On the way down to Dartmouth, I got in touch with our friends Allan and Claire, who we first met in Brazil. They were staying  next door to Dartmouth in Torquay and they drove over to spend a rainy afternoon with us. It was lovely to catch up with their adventures. Our paths have crossed and nearly crossed for the last 3 years!

As we all know guests are like food……..they should both be thrown out after three days, but Jim and Paula kept us for 5 relaxing days and we saw the draw of living in such a beautiful part of the world……… in the summer!

Onward and upward ……. we headed up to Nigel and Bridget for more family time and a comfortable bed, before picking up our daughter, Jenni, from Heathrow. Another lovely reunion. We haven’t seen her since she moved to Australia in January 2016. From there we moved onto Edenbridge and stayed with our closest friend Keith. He was on good form and looking forward to life beyond work!

Sadly we had two devastating pieces of news on our arrival in The Bridge. The beautiful Becky Fox, who was Marcus’s waitress and like another daughter to him, died the weekend before we arrived in Edenbridge. Such a shock and so, so sad.

The second sadness was that our very good friend, Carlos, had been diagnosed with a voracious brain tumour and was in hospital. Thankfully we were able to visit him and talk with two of his wonderful children, Lucy and David. All the love and care he has given them and their brother, Chris, over the years was being paid back with interest. We felt privileged to have spent a short time visiting with them and being able to say our goodbyes to Carlos. He passed away a week later and will live on in our happy memories of him over the years. Such an intelligent and loving man with a great sense of humour.

Our dear friend Carlos. We miss you.

Our dear friend Carlos. We miss you.

After the sadness of the beginning of the week, we had a great evening meeting up with Dawn and Ian, our neighbours from Brighton Marina, who were in Eastbourne for the night, en route to Holland. It was good to catch them before they left and also catch up with all the news.

Our good friends, Dawn and Ian en route from Brighton to Holland.

Our good friends and neighbours , Dawn and Ian, en route from Brighton to Holland.

The following morning we were up at ‘crack of sparrow’s…….’ Marcus drove me up to Stansted for a red eye flight to Cork, so I could visit my sisters and family for a couple of days. Liney picked me up from the airport and took me to her place……

What a view.....Liney's back garden!

What a view…..Liney’s back garden!

Liney and Jackie's Farmhouse airbnb.

Liney and Jackie’s Farmhouse airbnb.

If you ever fancy a break away from it all, look them up on Airbnb – Shiplake Mountain, near Dunmany Co. Cork. I swear I leave a piece of my soul there every time I visit!

We managed to pack a lot of love and laughs and miles and memories into the fleeting couple of days…… a walk on the Sheepshead peninsula and a trip down to beautiful Schull, to spend the day with our sister, Libby.

Three sisters, sitting in the sun. 'When shall we three meet again?'........Cuba perhaps!?

Three sisters, sitting in the sun. ‘When shall we three meet again?’……..Cuba perhaps!?

……and so, back to England and my Mum and Marcus’ aunt. On one of the hottest weekends of the summer, we were invited to a barbecue at Marcus’ cousin, Andrew’s house in nearby Bishops’ Stortford. It was lovely to see everyone and my Mum had a great time on the eve of her 98th birthday!

Auntie Betty and my Mum at the Sunday afternoon barbecue at Marcus' cousin's house.

Auntie Betty and my Mum at the Sunday afternoon barbecue at Marcus’ cousin’s house.

Visiting Betty and family.

Visiting with Betty and family.

The following day, Jenni arrived and we took the Birthday Girl out for the trip of her choosing……. to Southend on Sea.  She has fond memories of her summer holidays being spent here when she was a girl some 80 odd years ago!!…….One week with her rather dour mother and the following one with her fun loving and full of treats father. Her parents owned a tobacconist and confectioners shop in the east end of London and had to stagger their time away from it. We did a trip down memory lane, or rather a trip down the one and a half mile pier, complete with a fish and chip lunch followed by ice creams all round and a stroll along the sea front. Precious moments and memories to treasure.

On the train to the end of the pier.Two of the three OAPs and their 'carer'!

On the train to the end of the pier.

Birthday outing on Southend pier.

Birthday outing on Southend pier. All three OAPs + their ‘Carer’!

Excentric? Maybe a little, but no sunburn for us!!

Excentric? Maybe a little, but no sunburn for us!!

All too soon it was time for us to leave my wonderful 98 year young Mum and pack up and head off again. This time a 6 hour road trip up to Scotland with Jenni, in our trusty Yaris, to spend time with Tash, Chris, Charlie and Freya before the wedding and to lend a hand wherever and whenever needed.

Waving us off to Scotland.

My lovely Mum, waving us off to Scotland from her patio garden.

As always we were made very welcome in Edinburgh and after the shock of seeing that Charlie is now taller than me, we settled into family life and took on any jobs offered…….one of which was to take Freya, complete with a fairie face painting, to a touch rugby tournament. In between the action there seemed to be quite a lot of socialising and a bit of gleefull throwing oneself to the ground for no apparent reason!!

Freya, complete with face paint, playing touch rugby.

Freya, complete with face paint, playing touch rugby.

As well as being the lead up to the wedding, these were the last days of the school year, and for Charlie, his last week at his Primary school. On the Friday evening before the wedding, Charlie was going to his leavers dance, so his ‘ring bearer’s’ kilt doubled for the leavers ‘prom’

Charlie sporting his kilt for the first time.....so handsome x

Charlie sporting his kilt for the first time…..so handsome x

That afternoon we moved out to a B&B near the wedding site and Tash and her bridesmaids spent the evening together.

Our B&B was a delightful cottage in a quaint village just 10 minutes drive from the Ravenshaugh log cabin, where the wedding was to be held. Dan, who had driven up from Birmingham and was camping at the wedding venue, came over for the evening. It was great to all be together again…….the first time since February 2014!  We all spent the evening helping Marcus hone his ‘father of the bride’ speech and reminiscing.

I’m going to post this instalment of our time away and leave you all time to breath, before ‘The Wedding and Beyond!’

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