And leaving our home all alone…
This year we decided to spend our Christmas with Tims family in England. We’ve spent the last 2 Christmases in the Caribbean and really enjoyed them. Our cruiser Christmases have started with a BBQ on the beach for Christmas eve with all the cruiser families.
We all get together and everyone brings a dish and we all share everything while all the kids run around and cause havoc.
So while we enjoyed those Christmases we were really looking forward to spending this Christmas with family again.
Heading off to England also meant that we were leaving our boat totally on her own. Something we had never done before.
The kids and I left her for a month when we went back to OZ but Tim stayed onboard and Tim has taken a few work trips away but the kids and I were still onboard. So this was very different for us and both Tim and I felt quite anxious about it. It probably seems strange to you that we were so worried about leaving our home because that’s not usually the case when you go away on holidays and leave your land house right?
But your land house can’t sink, or drag onto rocks, or go mouldy (I’m a mould freak…I cant’ stand the stuff!) or a myriad of other things that can go wrong. But more on all that in a future article.
We prepared the boat as much as we possibly could and headed off for Christmas in England.
You’ve heard me talk about how different everything we do is because we live on a boat so picture this. I have my “flight clothes’ which is the outfit I ALWAYS wear when Im flying. It involves layers of super comfy clothes with pockets in the right places and shoes that work! Our kids on the other hand, haven’t worn anything other than bikinis, board shorts and summer dresses for long enough that their ‘flight clothes’ didn’t really fit them anymore. Nor did they have any winter clothing other than sailing wet weather gear.
So, our kids landed in England with long pants that now stopped at mid calf cos they’d grown taller and long sleeved tops that also didn’t fit. To us it was pretty funny, to everyone else we probably looked like trailer trash?
Anyhow, the best part of that was that we hit the charity shops for some winter outfits to do us for the month that we were there. England has some great charity shops so it was fun and along with some items from normal shops we were good to go!
I’ve gotta say that we were in shock for a while due to the freezing temperatures! Bizarrely enough, it wasn’t actually that cold by UK standards, around 10C (50F) degrees most days, but having come from 30C (86F) degrees it felt so much colder and took us a few weeks to acclimatise and then of course, it was time to leave!
Tims family live down in Devon which is a beautiful part of the UK so we took advantage of any good weather (that just means when it’s not raining!!) to go for walks when we could.
We walked on Torcross Beach which was about the coldest I’ve been in a long long time and found some dead Spotted Dogfish dragged up on the beach though at first we thought they were little sharks!
We walked South Milton Beach and had hot ginger ale at the cafe there! That was a first and it was actually delish. Hope Cove has these really cool cafe pods! They’re so suited to UK weather. They can be totally enclosed if it’s wet and windy or opened up when it’s not.
We went to Ikea (said with my arms I’m the air like I’m celebrating!) which was a very exciting thing for us! When you live on a boat and don’t have much access to normal shops to buy normal things that are needed, then Ikea rocks!
We stocked up on outdoor cushions, storage boxes, a new laundry bag and some other things that I’m sure are boring to you but are so exciting to us!
We also bought a new wind generator! Again, so exciting for us as it means we can generate more of our own power in our quest to be more self sufficient.
We also bought some new Australian flags to fly. We aren’t able to get those either and haven’t flown one for some time so I’m super excited to be flying it again!
We had a memorable meet up with our good friends on Britican. When we left them in Grenada a few months ago we had no idea we would unexpectedly be getting together in England! but we did.
The funny thing was, we’d never seen each other with clothes on, at least nothing more than light summer stuff so we looked very weird to each other, all wrapped up in coats, hats and scarves!
We met up half way between where we were each visiting and booked a hotel for the night! We had a fabulous time together bowling, hanging out in our hotel room for hours, long dinner and even longer brekky before we said good bye again!
We visited Berry Pomeroy Castle which was pretty cool. It was a mansion built within the walls of an earlier castle in the 15th century by the Pomeroy family. It was hoped to become the largest house in Devon but was never finished. They were in financial difficulty and were forced to sell to Edward Seymour who interestingly, was later beheaded for treason! Its said to be haunted but we didn’t see any ghosts!
Christmas with family was just so lovely. Unfortunately, I had a problem with my iPhone and have lost most of the photos of Christmas. We spent Christmas eve and Christmas morning with Grandma and then joined the rest of the clan at Tims sisters house which was a mammoth eatathon and then hours of all the kids playing with their new pressies and adults playing board games. Its such a warm fuzzy thing to be around family! (a quick shout out to Kath n Kev for hosting us and for loaning us their Fiat 500 for our stay there, thanks you so much.)
Apart from Christmas, the main reason we went to England was to celebrate Grandmas 80th birthday.
We all managed to keep it a secret so she was actually very surprised. We’ll never forget that moment when she walked in to her surprise party…it was priceless. What a milestone! She certainly does not look her age and she still gets out her power tools and climbs up on ladders every time she feels the need to redecorate her house…and that’s fairly often! She’s pretty amazing!
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Join me in our stroll down the Champs Elysees in my next article.