Ready for take off
It feels like we are hurtling down a roller coaster slope , ready to go up the other side and then continue up up up into the sky heading to Amsterdam and our new life. The last three weeks have flown by between getting ourselves, our lives, our boats and our house ready for a long absence, and the partying, the parting and saying adieu.
In the meantime we were engaged in some high finance, moving money around the globe. Yes we bought the Dolfijn (12,5 m Altena Dutch cruiser) even though the survey report showed there were a number of areas that needed serious work. Luckily we bought our boat in Holland, which has some fairly strict rules around the buying and selling of boats and the responsibilities of the parties involved. Needless to say the ever efficient and very fair Dutch system ensured that if we were to buy a boat that did not meet EU regulations then we could make a deal to have the owner pay a large contribution towards the cost of bringing the said boat up to EU scratch (standards). Currently the boat is in the dry dock having the necessary repairs done and will be ready soon after we arrive (another logistical problem arose as now we need to find a place to stay when we get there). Then we had to move the money. Moving large amounts of money requires care because a point or so on the exchange rate could be worth a $1000 plus. Rather than use the bank we went through an exchange company which provided us with a better rate on the spread between buying and selling a currency than we could get in a national or even an international bank. Unfortunately we changed our money just before the euro took a nose dive so lost a little bit in the timing. Ah well it is only money!!!!!!!!
Lets change the subject
We had a great pub night on April 27 – it seems like eons ago but it will stay in my memory as one of the best pub nights we have ever had (and that is really saying something, cos we have had some great ones). We had quite a few visitors from Vancouver, Courtenay and Nanaimo. I was able to billet everyone and want to thank my dear friends in Victoria who opened their homes to our pals and gave them an evening to remember. The party entertained about 65 people – and my generous friends kept the dining table full of food and the bar well stocked with all kinds of wine and beer (and the odd drop of something stronger). Thanks to everyone for making it a fun night and thanks too for the kind souls ( Martin, Steve Ondre and Lawrence) for the clean up job which made getting up in the morning much easier.
We continued to party on April 30 and May 1 celebrating the quickening of spring at Beltane and my birthday. Yes we got up at 5:30 am ( after going to bed fairly late the night before) and made it to the wild windy Clover point to join the Morris Dancers dancing around the Maypole. Bob and Blanche were the only other brave souls to join us – but I would encourage anyone else to dance in MayDay next year. The afternoon was our last party – Cake and Champagne and lots of visitors (about 35) to share my 60th birthday . I am officially an elder – nice work if you can get it!!!!
Many thanks to everyone for their kind wishes, card and gifts. It was a lovely afternoon – Charlotte, Ollie and I did a great job of putting blowing out the candles (all 6 of them ) . Cake was lovely – I would recommend Passterie Daniel any day.
Another post birthday surprise were some diamond earrings from Martin – who justified them as my ‘diamond jubilee’ present. I guess Queen Elizabeth and I have something in common – we are both celebrating our diamond jubilee – but I also guess that her diamonds are much bigger than mine!
Since the parties, I have spent a lot of time on my hands and knees – no I was not praying ( although it would have been a good idea to multi-task) I was clearing out every cupboard in our house. Sorting out the many old cans of olives, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and coconut milk was interesting. I had no idea about the strange cans of food lurking in the back of the cupboards, and cleaning out the downstairs freezer was a revelation of sorts. We have given a lot of food away to various people and the Mustard Seed food bank gets the rest. Sorting out the basement was not as successful, although we cleared enough space to fill it up again with all of stuff as we stripped the house down ready for our new tenants. The basement is chocobloc with at least 50 boxes , bags tubs and hanging closets not mention a bit of furniture.
Talking of new tenants our house will be cared for by Jim and Barbara, and their 11 year old son Ben . We thought of sending out a notice at some point while we were away to say there was a pub night at the house – so Barbara and Jim could experience the joys of guerilla recreation as our friends turned up for the party (JUST KIDDING). They seem fun people but not quite that understanding.
It is amazing to me the number of invisible strings that tie to us to our home here. The amount of administration for such a move is quite mind blowing, the usual utilities as well as all the newspapers, organizations and associations, we are connected with has made me realize how rooted we are in Victoria and that is what makes it always our beautiful home. I am going to miss it and all my pals here, but I don’t want to think about it too much otherwise we will never escape the “velvet rut”
Talking of beauty, I did sell my beautiful car, which was a great weight off my mind as cars do not well when they are sitting idle for over a year. My car has gone to a good home, a person I like who agreed to a reasonable price, and someone I know will have lots of fun with it. So Pearl has gone off up the hill to live with a new owner – All we have to do is get Niska out of here – today. Niska, bless her cotton socks is Martins granddaughters 17 year old cat. Unfortunately after a year away from the cat, Ayja (granddaughter) has become allergic. Niska will not be in this world for long so I hope there is a good home waiting.
We went to visit our pals Marc Pakenham and Mary Koyl last night. They own a large dutch barge call “Nooit Vomaakt” – aka diva barge. They take passengers etc. Marc has just got back from France was able to give us some very helpful hints of what is happening on the canals of Burgundy. We hope to see them in August on the water.
So we are on the Ferry tomorrow morning – my pal Colin visits Vancouver often to see his girlfriend – so we are piggy backing a ride on one of his trips. By the afternoon all three of us: Martin Kerry and I –(Colin will be in Steveston)will be in the air. I hope to see Tim just before we leave and give a last kiss goodbye ( he is coming back down from a weeks holiday in Kamloops). Just one last tale – my dad always retorted whenever I whined or complained that I should not be so selfish. His maxim was “I thought I was badly off because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet!” I felt the truth of that story when hearing from a friend of mine who is moving back to Australia. He and his wife had to pack a container in a very short time , then move across the globe. I did feel a bit silly panicking about moving stuff to the basement.
That’s all for now – more when we are on the other side of the pond – you know the really big one – Atlantic Ocean. I am looking forward to getting there – seeing my mum and some friends. In the meantime remember that reading blogs for regular people is a bit like learning Sanskrit the beginning of the story is not at the top of the page – it is at the bottom – so you read up not down. Enjoy – talk to you soon.