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Published: October 9th 2010
Well it’s has already been a couple of months since we retired and tomorrow we are to set off on the first leg of our exciting journey. We have spent a very busy time visiting family and friends and sorting out the house which we left in early September. We have attended a family wedding of our niece in Bradford on Avon, attended a christening of our great niece Phoebe, attended our daughter, Kerry’s 40th birthday party which was super as we were able to catch up with my brothers and sisters, Malcolm & Sue, Frances and Gillian as well as some of their families and attended the 60th birthday party of our very good friend Alison where we caught up with some more friends although it was sad that Judith and Evan could not join us due to illness but we are thinking of them and hope that they have some better news soon. To those of our family and friends we have not managed to see we hope we can catch up with you in between our travels. Both our firms gave us a brilliant retirement ‘send off’ and amongst other lovely gifts we received vouchers and have purchased
a Canon SLR camera which we intend to make full use of over the next few years. The day after retiring we travelled to the Scilly Islands for a couple of days R&R, staying at the Star Castle on St Mary’s, a beautiful hotel which was originally a fort and overlooking the harbour and outer islands. Whilst we were there we were amongst the first to spot on the horizon a british-led four-man rowing crew who were about to beat a 19th century trans-Atlantic record coming ashore at the Scilly Isles and smashing a 114-year-old record for a US to UK rowing voyage. We rushed down to the harbour to see them arrive and it was a truly memorable occasion. The crew left New York in June and had spent more than 43 days at sea and rowed more than 3,000 miles in their boat, Artemis. They broke the previous record, set by a pair of Norwegian fishermen in 1886, by 11 days. It was amazing talking to them as they climbed out of the boat; it was just as if they had rowed across the harbour not all the way from New York. We have tried to visit many of our friends around the UK including a lovely weekend with Joy and Leithan in Leicester (not sure about Henry and George though) and also managed to visit Bev and Phil in the South of France who had moved to the wine regions and domains of Languedoc Roussillon 5 years ago and we had not had time to visit before. We were delighted to be there at the start of the ‘vendanges’ (grape harvest) and spent a few days walking around their village, amongst the vines, with enough time left over to sample the local wines and meet some of their friends, particularly Les and Lyn who ran a small restaurant in a local village and told us about a lovely walk around the vineyards to a chapel with some roman ruins. On our return from France we sailed with friends, Bob and Elaine to the Isle of Wight staying overnight in the harbour at Yarmouth where I managed to drop my 'underwater' camera over the side of the boat into the Solent.... never to been seen again! We spent a lovely week in Porth, Cornwall with Maisie our granddaughter and whilst there had to use my first aid training when Paul and I rescued a small boy who was stranded up a cliff after his father had fallen off and cut his head on the rocks below. I had to climb up to reach the boy and this indeed tested my vertigo fears, but my newly learnt CBT skills helped as I do not think I could have climbed up to get him otherwise. We then had to get him and his family back up the cliffs for help and the hotel called an ambulance to take him to Truro hospital, he was very lucky indeed as he did not sustain any major injuries and after getting his head stitched and other wounds dressed he was released later that day from hospital. Thank you to his wife who sent me a lovely letter afterwards saying she did not know what she would have done as she was torn between helping her husband or her son (sophie’s choice). Later in September we went back to Cornwall with our friends Eddie and Alison for a weekend break and I was pleased that I was able get across the steep rock bridge and up the steps on the edge of the cliff to the top of Tintagel Castle which I had never been able to do on many previous visits, so hopefully that will enable me to tackle even greater heights on our travels......but I think no bungee jumping for me! These last few days have been difficult saying goodbye to Kerry & Cliff and Sharon, Geoff and Maisie and we are upset that we shall miss our granddaughter’s first ‘live’ stage performance in Aladdin at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton over the Christmas period but we know many of our family and friends will be attending instead of us. Hopefully we shall catch up with your all in Hong Kong our next stop……….
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