Some people are lucky by winning a fortune at the gigi's, others by having sunshine when rain is forecast. For the past couple of weeks, whilst Ruffian has been at the boat hospital, we feel like we have the best luck in the world with all the support that we have been given by friends and family in all corners of the country.
With the guys at Crinan having made a proper assessment of Ruffian it became obvious that we would not be able to live aboard with them working around us. They had to replace the old p bracket, lower the engine, fit new engine mounts and then realign the engine, stern tube and p bracket and fit a new top of the range rope cutter. All in all, a whole heap of very very messy work.
With the news of our impending homelessness, to the rescue, came Fiona's father who whisked us off to Northumberland to what was going to be the start of a whistle stop tour of the country. In Northumberland we have to give our thanks to John & Pam for the use of their car and Nico & Glen for their unending hospitality at the farm. Here we were able to catch up with Fiona's family and the news that Will is off to the southern hemisphere to go farming and that Tom has graduated from university. Well done both.
To get south we had elected to take the bus. Margret Thatcher once said 'If a man reaches 30 and is still having to take the bus, he must question how successful in life he is.' After we left Ponteland at 7pm and arrived in Portsmouth at 12 the following day we can very much understand where she was coming from. Spending 17 hours on busses does not make you feel like a success and all the more galling as we could have got to exotic locations like Sydney or Singapore in less time.
On the south coast we caught up with the Lewis's and here thanks have to go to Sue and Chris for the use of their house and their remarkable bottomless larder. Our time here was to be very limited and a splendid slap up dinner with family was organised. Henry is growing up and off to school in September and Scarlett is now properly talking. Again well done both.
The next chapter saw us off to Salcombe to take in Anne and Toby's wedding. As you would expect the happy couple looked radiant, the wedding bought smiles for miles and we fell at the feet of our friends. Thanks to Sarah & Brian, Kev & Lisa, and Emma for the loan of the floor. A special thanks to Martin for his 'performance' on Friday night and a story we'll be dining out on for years to come.
Back on the south coast and as we were about to start a 20 hour coach marathon we had an update from the boat yard. There was to be a change of plan and we'd be homeless for another week. Sue & Chris were happy with the change of plan, Fiona & Iain less so. The resumption of the adventure would have to wait, but this delay would have some benefits.
One of the benefits was some boat based fettling time with Ali, Jason, Amelia & Jessica on Westwind. Westwind was primed for it's defence of the RTI title which we won last year and Amelia & Jessica were duly worn out having had Iain & Fiona to play with for the whole weekend. Many thanks again have to Ali and Jason and best of luck to Jason for his potential BIG news this week and defence next.
After leaving Ali & Jason in London we embarked on our mammoth bus journey extravaganza, London to Glasgow, Glasgow to Loch Gilphead and finally Loch Gilphead to Crinan. All going well we'd complete this in a mere 16 hours. Not only did this all go to plan, but as we arrived in Scotland, the yard, in Crinan, launched a fixed land locked Ruffian. Upon our arrival we were greeted with our home gently bobbing on crystal clear water with a backdrop of mountains all freshly cleaned and fixed. Life was good and the adventure would continue imminently. We felt blessed having such supportive friends and family over the past weeks and being able to continue realising our dream.
Having had the painful experience of paying for the excellent work of the guys at Crinan boatyard the dream did continue with blue skies and fair seas. Slowly our memories were rekindled of all the systems and habits we have in place for happy cruising and we made our way to yet another new peaceful anchorage. The difference of this anchorage to all the others however is that there are fish and finally after 1500 miles and 3 ½ months we have caught our own dinner. Mackerel ahoy.
The west coast experience is coming to a finale over the next week, but what a way to start that final week. Tonight we'll be eating fish we have caught thinking of all our friends and family we are so lucky to have, surrounded by a landscape we have grown to love.
Hmmm. That'll be something really quite bent which needs fixing.
I'm sure that there was a p bracket there. It had to be removed to get things moving.
Going to Northumberland enabled us to go walking on Simonside with Nico, Glen, Will and Tom.
Salcombe gave many dressing up opportunities.
Toby and Anne on their happy day. Many many congratulations.
Personal touches were to be seen everywhere.
We took in the Twyford village duck race. Our ducks didn't figure in the rankings but Baxter did turn one into a prize by giving it a quick chew.
Works at Crinan continued in our absence.
The glassing in all finished and the new p bracked in place from inside.
Situation normal and the dream continues. Blue skies, fair winds and safe seas. Here the roaring Gulf of Corryvreckan.
We caught some fish!!!!!!!!
The tour of the country enabled the marmalade stocks to be replenished. Thank you to Rosemary & Gordon and Pamela.