We have had a fabulous Christmas. On the day we were at Frankie and Harry’s lovely new home in Hoddesden with Janice & Paul, Frankie’s other parents. On Christmas morning, one of the presents under the tree for Frankie was an engagement ring! There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We walked/slid/skated to The Rye House on the Lea & Stort Navigation for a celebratory drink with Harry’s family, (and a quick narrowboat fix for us, it’ll be a long time before we see another one!) then Dave and Paul did a cheffing double act in the kitchen and we all sat down to a perfect Beef Wellington with all the trimmings.
On Boxing Day we drove up to Stamford where Bourne Borderers were performing. If we thought we would only be spectating we were very much mistaken. Mikey turned up with all our kit and despite not having practiced for months we threw ourselves in with gusto. Ann-Marie slipped effortlessly into her role and remembered what to do, Dave demonstrated how senility and time don't improve something he wasn’t that good at to begin with. Thank you BB for your indulgence and your boundless hospitality. After that we went to Andrew & Karen's for the night and Ken had a go at knocking the tree down in their drive. Some more members of BB came over and joined us for a very entertaining evening in their company. Andrew & Karen have a beautiful house and two beautiful children, thank you Emily for lending us your bedroom. We’re looking forward to returning the compliment and having them stay on the boat. On Monday morning we were sad to leave.
We set off east towards Glen & Steve’s, making a quick detour to Gedney to catch up with our friend Keith, and John & Jenny, our neighbours when we lived there. We nearly went to see Pete & Michelle who bought our old house but something stopped us; maybe when we’ve got a boat and somewhere we can call home again we’ll be able to. We don’t regret leaving and we really do want to go back and see all their animals and what they’ve done to the place, but at the moment it’s a bit too soon.
Glen & Steve had the “Welcome” banner out again when we pulled in, we feel very honoured at the amount of people who seem genuinely excited to see us, especially when we’re just as excited to see them. After a very enjoyable evening and another comfy night, we were treated to one of Steve’s Full English Breakfasts before heading off towards Anne’s house in Chesterfield. We’re there for three days emptying the van and packing for New Zealand.
When we sold the house, all the stuff that we thought might be useful to have on a boat went into Anne’s cellar. Since then she’s moved house and all our stuff is now in a walk-in wardrobe. We want to leave the van as empty as possible so there’s now a load more in there as well. Although it was all the stuff we couldn't bear to be without, we've forgotten what 90% of it is. We know that it won't all fit on the boat, but if we've been without it and not missed it for this long, thinning it out shouldn't be much of a problem.
The van really needs a new engine battery, it's a bit of a lottery turning the key if it’s been left for more than a night, but as long as we can plug into a mains socket most nights it can wait until we get back.
One question that keeps coming up is "Have you found a boat yet?" The answer is still no. We're trying very hard not to look; we can't buy anything yet, so finding the boat of our dreams now would not be a good thing. However if this is still for sale when we get back it's going on the list