Here is my blog – Martin and I are in different countries right now with different experiences looking through different lenses. Part of the male/female dialectic.
I guess it happens to everyone at some point – you make a decision like buying a boat and moving to Europe and the question comes to mind “ What on earth are we doing? Are we crazy or what? Will there ever be a reality to this dream.“ Buyers remorse is a strange phenomena – what seemed certain is no longer so and doubt creeps in like a thief in the night. When faced with delay or obstacles, buyer’s remorse arrives just to make things worse. Thoughts that are doubt based become strong and I wonder what the hell I am doing here, away from my beautiful home and garden, missing my lovely friends and wonderful life all to live in recreational vehicle on the water. Logically, the problem with buyers remorse is that is becomes a ‘stop and reverse’ consideration but that does not make sense as we are committed. Many people have told us how impressed and inspired they are by our decision (remember Goethe) but I don’t really believe we are being that daring just willing to do the work – and there is a mountain of work to an adventure such as this. After all we are in Europe not darkest Africa or Afghanistan. Well I guess I am experiencing the other side of ‘shaking it up’, and ‘shaking it up’ was our original premise. Maybe wringing our hands a little about our decision to do this will give us strength – cos my friends, there is no retreat on this one, we are going forward, setting sail on July 1 with the Maple Leaf flying, albeit with less naïveté and more reality.
It seems ages since we arrived in the Netherlands to begin our European Sojourn, although it is only a month ago. I have been in England for over 3 weeks – they have been somewhat action packed with the hope we will be wending our way down the canals of Europe very soon. Martin arrived back in the Netherlands last Sunday but was also a bit disheartened and overwhelmed by all the work we still have to do on the boat. On the bright side the boatyard called to say that the boat was back in the water and didn’t sink after the keel and prop shaft work has been done. Martin even reported the toilet works well (I guess the important things are OK).
After our trip with Brigitte and Peter we spent some time celebrating the Jubilee in Hull. My mum hosted a party in a local restaurant for us, a cousin and his wife and a bunch of her friends. We then went back to cut a birthday cake. The Jubilee was rather grand – hopefully you caught a bit on TV. Brigitte and Peter returned to Germany after it was all over – they were very impressed by the pomp and pageantry – it is something the Brits do really well.
We spent a few days in Hull helping my mum, who has embark on a medium level renovation, (my mother forgets she is 85) which involves the removal of the built-in closets in her bedroom, replacing them, replacing the fitted carpets, followed up by painting and wallpapering the room. In addition to this, we had a red wine spill on the white carpet in her living room. The insurance company promptly and without question agreed to replace my mother’s s rather large living /dining room carpet at the same time the bedroom was being renovated. As you can imagine moving all her personal stuff out in preparation for the renovations and carpet replacement put me in a state of déjà vu relating to the work we did in April and May clearing our own house. Talk about a busman’s holiday!
In the middle of the renovation process (between workmen visits : the uninstaller, the plasterer, the electrician, and the cabinet installers, the carpet installers, the painter and decorator and the coving guy) Martin Kerry and I took off for the south of England . My mum was going to go with us, but wanted to stay to meet and be in house for the work men and make them cups of tea. Martin and I visited my cousin in Skegness where she has a chalet by the beach and spent the evening in a very nice ocean side pub right on the beach in the rain. This was a very dog friendly area as there were more dogs in the pub than people. We also went to a market at ‘Fantasy Island ‘– a seaside resort the like of which we just don’t see in North America.
The next day, we went off to see my other cousin in Wisbech on the Cambridgeshire / Norfolk border. She drove us over to Kings Lynn – a small port on the Wash in East Anglia. Captain Vancouver (and my pal Tracy Yerrell) hails from this sleepy little port. Kings Lynn proudly erected a statute of this famous mariner in the river front area. The local museum highlighted some interesting facts about the voyages and naming of the Gulf Islands, Georgia Strait etc.
After that short visit with my cousins we headed to visit Martins sister and her partner in London. Yours truly had to drive through London’s rush hour traffic with Martin and his iphone navigating. Yes we did go the long way round and I was quite wiped out by the time we got to Carol’s house in the lovely borough of Twickenham. London drivers are quite aggressive and there are millions of them and they all seem to know where they are going – which makes a big difference when battling rush hour.
The next day we went Kew Gardens – what a wonderful experience. This is a place where the roses are perfect. The Palm House is an amazing glass house – with a balcony about 20 feet above ground where you can walk around the tree tops. We did another tree top walk amongst the outside trees, about 50 ft above ground. I must say that heights are not my favourite thing as I get vertigo so I would never do a zip line. Kew Gardens are really worth a visit even on a dull day as we had.
Generally the weather has been quite cool and damp. Brits are fed up with the rain which has been torrential at times. After our trip to Kew Gardens, I called my mum who was in a bit of a state so I headed to Hull the next day (a couple of days earlier than planned ) to rescue her from her renovation. My poor mother was quite exhausted by all the to-ing and fro-ing so I was glad to help. I did take Saturday afternoon off to go to a local market town called Beverley. Despite the miserable weather there was a folk festival on (outdoors in the pouring rain) with 10 different groups of English Country dancers. It was like Mayday at Clover Point times ten (although the weather was the same!)
I am planning to get to take the Hull Rotterdam ferry on Thursday June 21, which is the summer Solstice. The turn of the season at Solstice will bring a waning sun and after June 24 and the days will get shorter. The inevitable cycle of the sun gives us a sense of the reality of the natural world –I will celebrate the first day of summer on a sea voyage to another land and a new home on the water.