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October 30th 2011
Published: December 3rd 2011
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A long absence from the blog but here is the update on the intervening months. On returning to Virginia Beach from 'out west' I enjoyed kayaking in the bay, dog walking Polar Express - Kelly and Craig's golden retriever puppy from the neighbourhood, cycling in the state park and visiting friends and sushi restaurants - such a change from papaya salad!

We took a short trip to the UK as my children Natalie, Alastair and my parents Charmian and John were having the annual weeks holiday together and with it being the height of summer - it was the best time to be in England - barging on the canal, shooting clays, walking the hills and exploring historical local towns/castles. Towards the end of the vacation we were invited to join Norfolk friends Christie and Tom in upstate New York for a relaxing time in the Adirondacks. They were in the process of buying a sailboat and excited at the prospect of a future circumnavigation once their offspring have flown the nest. This time away coincided favourably with a trip to see Debbie and Walter Filkins at their homes on Block Island and Rhode Island. We stayed aboard their boat Champion which is a fine vessel and swam daily in the ponds as the sea took the breath away.

Since arriving back in Phuket, the boat 'splashed' after much reassembly of the boat in November only to find the engine wouldn't start. We were towed to our current slip on F dock and spent days on end awaiting the mechanic. It felt like we were back to square one with not knowing when we'd be able to leave Boat Lagoon Marina, after arriving 11 months earlier to do a paint job and interior refit this seemed like one big hurdle. I took advantage of not being able to contribute anything to engine maintenance/repair so ducked out for nearly two weeks in Dubai with Natalie for some mother/daughter time, which coincided neatly with her new beagle puppy Brian arriving so it was a huge amount of fun time together.

December has arrived and our boat visa has been renewed for another six months. We leave to renew our personal visa's in Laos tomorrow - Luang Prabang is the old capital on the Mekong River with many stunning historical buildings and the modern day capital of Vientiane houses the Thai Embassy so both places will be visited and much french fusion food consumed as along with the communists who occupy the country now, France occupied them and left their imprint on architecture and cuisine. I will be uploading photos on our return and then fingers crossed we untie those docklines for good at 1am on 17 December to tour Thai islands for two months.


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