Hurricane Season June - Oct 2016
Having successfully laid up Ocean Rainbow in Nana Juana Marina for the hurricane season we flew back to UK to catch up with family and friends. When we first arrived back we felt we had masses of time to visit family and friends and to do all the admin - famous last words..... time just flies is all we can say.
With our medical and dental records still in Portishead we spent a fair amount of time overnighting with Team ACE in Bristol to save driving up and down the M5 to Somerton where we were based. We were even allowed to babysit Emily overnight while Claire and Andrew went for a treat in a spa hotel ... bit of a worry that the night before we were left in charge Emily decided to master the art of climbing out of her cot!
We also spent time in Teddington and Spain with EV&R. Rather a treat to be able to wander off to the swimming pool in charge of Rory leaving E&V to enjoy a bit of time together ... some of which they spent having tennis lessons! Actually we watched one session and thoroughly enjoyed observing the coach put them through their paces. Rory is an absolute delight and such a sunny little person most of the time. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with him.
A family get-together was definitely the highlight of our time in UK. The boys organised a weekend for us all based in Teddington to celebrate Claire's (belated) 60th birthday. They presented us with an hysterical book to commemorate our 40 years together - the photos have to be seen to be believed. We went to RHS Wisley for a picnic and walk around the grounds followed by birthday tea at the cafe. A gastronomic dinner was laid on at Chateau Short Major and we all toddled off to bed very happy after a full activities. On Sunday, after a scrummy brunch we all set off for Bushey Park with Ed Lloyd Owen - for a photo shoot! What an enormous treat - we now have some wonderful photos of all the family to treasure. Ed did a great job and we can highly recommend him if you should ever want some special photos taken.
When we weren't with family we stayed at The Bothy, thanks to Claire's school friend Lucy and her husband Tim. We loved staying there as the grounds are so beautiful and the whole atmosphere is just so peaceful. We did help whenever possible and James was in his element cutting the lawns on a very superior mower! We had one very special weekend there when dear friends, the Bleakley's, flew over from Belfast to visit. Claire, Lucy and Anne were all at school together so the chat was non-stop.
Claire went to a school reunion in North Wales and visited the ruins of what was her old school;
we also had a great time at a party in Portishead hosted by Baz and Suzie Roberts, catching up with all our neighbours and their children; we flew to Menton and spent 10 days with James' sister Jeanetta; we spent time in Devon and Monmouth with respective parents and visited several friends in between. We tried to keep our driving hours down by organising fewer visits this time back but we still managed to travel a fair distance in Lil' Claire's fabulous Ford Fiesta. How spoilt we are to be allowed to use her car whenever we are back.
Before we knew it September had arrived and we were busy assembling all the kit to take back to the boat. The major item was the exhaust elbow but added to that we had new ends for the stay sail boom, a tiller pilot, LED lights, head torches, cupboard catches, protective material, UV protected thread... and so the list goes on. We did manage to get the whole lot back but not without our very best charm school smiles at the appropriate officials as our bags were all overweight.
So now begins another season on Ocean Rainbow. Not such an ambitious sailing programme this time as we only have Cuba in our sights but trying to get there and then back down to Trinidad will doubtless prove to be a challenge in itself. We shall see, we are just looking forward to getting back on the water after a very full and fun time back in England.