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July  2008

Week One:

We left Redcar on Saturday morning and headed down to our friends Tony and Karen in Leicester. We had a lovely time with them on Saturday afternoon and evening just drinking, eating and chatting. Tony's daughter Laura is opening up a ski lodge in Bulgaria and it looks mighty fine and so inexpensive for full board. The website is   www.skichaletbansko.co.uk and is well worth a visit.  Please pass the info on to anybody that might be interested.

We left Leicester and headed towards Tony and Karen's flat in Bristol - neither of us have been to Bristol. On the way we stopped at several villages in the Cotswold's and enjoyed the beautifully kept cottages and pretty countryside.

We went to see the SS Great Britain - the first steel passenger boat ever built. It was rescued from the Falkland Islands in 1970 and the Bristol government have done a wonderful job preserving it. From above the waterline it looks as if it is in the water .........  but then you can go "Underwater" to see the hull and details of the dry dock. It was a great day looking around Bristol and at the ship.

The following day we headed to the coast and saw one of the greatest tide changes in the world. Check the pictures - it was good to see it at low tide. Wouldn't keep our boat there though.....scary!

Broadway Villlage in the Cotswolds.

More of the same.

A very pretty place.

Brunels suspension bridge in Bristol.

SS Great Britain - In the water or maybe not.!

Under the waterline of the SS Great Britain

The novel prop of the ship.

First class accommodations aboard. Hmm...a little tight!

Less than First Class!

Second Class dining.

Andrew in a previous life?

The bow.

The sailing club slips at Burnham on Sea.

Hmmm....where is the sea?

Not here yet.

A walk in the Mendip hills.


Week Two:

Here we are back in the USA and it's been go, go, go all week! We had a little time catching up with the children. Mat has been working all hours and Hannah is really blossoming. Not long to go now! We spent July 4th at the Curtis house, celebrating with our friends and neighbors. We felled a tree in the backyard with the help of our neighbor, Kevin (chainsaw man!). Andrew spent a lot of time doing yard work, not that he enjoyed it but it really needed some TLC. I did my fair share of pruning and weeding until I hit a huge yellow jacket nest and was bitten several times. That put paid to my garden adventures!

On Wednesday we launched the boat, made ready to leave, and first thing Thursday morning we sailed over to Leeds Creek near St. Michael's. Most of the systems appear to be functioning although we do have a leak in the new hot water tank we recently installed. On Friday we went to Queenstown and the outlet mall. A great excuse for getting exercise! Now we are on our way to Baltimore - our home for the next few weeks.

Saturday we arrived in Baltimore and Andrew repaired the leak in the hot water tank. (I think a case of bad installation in the first place).


Early Morning in Leeds Creek - opposite St. Michael's

Kent Narrows Bridge opening up for us.

Andrew after swim at Anchorage Marina in Baltimore.


Week Three:

We met some of our neighbors at the dock and went for an evening cruise on their boat to the Inner Harbor. I think we may enjoy our few weeks here as long as we don't have too many dead bodies floating by! (In two days, two bodies were found within a 3 mile radius of us). Hmmm!!!

On Tuesday we went home for a week to prepare for Hannah's baby shower at the weekend. We arrived to find that the TV was dead and the furnace had a cracked heat exchanger  - This is as bad as the boat!! We bought a new flat screen HDTV and Mathew is thrilled. It was tough trying to pry Andrew away from it too. We are still working on the replacement of furnace.

The party was a great success and Mathew took complete control of the catering. What a boy!!! It was very hot but at least it didn't rain and Hannah and Bobby received some wonderful gifts to help with their new family (identical twin girls). We really enjoyed visiting with our neighbors and seeing friends we hadn't seen in ages.


Preparing for the party

Hearing the news - GIRLS!

Is that a soccer ball in there?

Hannah in motion courtesy of Conrad!



Week Four:

A quick tidy up around the house and then back to the boat in Baltimore. We are all over the place these days! We seem to be constantly packing and unpacking. A quick trip to the grocery store and we were back to normal (well, whatever normal is lately). After much research and umming and aahing we took a trip to boater's paradise (West Marine) HA, HA!!! and purchased a folding "port runner" bike for Vanessa. Now we can both get some much needed exercise. It's a super way to get around the city. Andrew did a few repair jobs on the Bubble and fitted the new stern sign for the next ICW trip. (FYI - the name of the boat posted on your rear/stern helps the boats behind hail you when they want to pass etc.)

At the end of the week we had overnight visitors. Our good friends, Barbara and Steve (now living in Washougal, WA) flew out for their sons graduation from the Coast Guard Academy and they stopped in to see us too. We had a lovely evening together onboard making up for the past 2 years since they left the East Coast. The following day we had a leisurely breakfast and walk downtown before they had to depart.  It felt just like old times.



Vanessa's new runabout!

Big ship coming into harbor.

Andrew's new sign for the ICW.

Barbara and Steve

Enjoying a coffee break at Fell's Point.



Week Five:

This has been another busy week. We had a lovely evening visit from our friend Mary, who lives very near our marina. It was good to catch up and the weather cooperated so we could eat on deck and watch the sun go down. On Wednesday we rode our bikes downtown to see the "Body Worlds" exhibit. Now that was most interesting! It probably wouldn't appeal to the squeamish, but it's fascinating. 

Later in the week we met a sailing friend, Greg, who also lives really nearby. He entertained us royally (great masseuse - see picture), went to dinner in Canton,  and ended our evening beautifully with a glass of wine on the dock at his marina. 

Of course we couldn't have a week without some technical difficulties. The autohelm control head arrived back from Raymarine and they still can't find a problem. We have had nothing but trouble with this and we are not amused!!!!! The next few days are going to be spent trying to fix it.....I could think of one way!!!!! But we won't go there.

Andrew has been busy cutting more material to make bike bags and a cover for the dinghy. Vanessa is learning to knit - ha, ha, and she's going home next week to work (filthy word). Yes, one of us has to work occasionally.

On Friday evening we went out with our neighbors on the dock, Linda and Rick, (s/v Makeitso). It appears we were all down in Marathon this winter, but have only now met. What a small world! We had a great evening listening to the Kelly Band and having dinner outside on the street.

Saturday we went downtown again (only 15 minutes on the bikes) to see the "John Brown" liberty ship - only two left now in operation.

Greg Mr. Massage

One of the last two Liberty Ships.