Monday, December 10, 2007

Thoughts of Home

And just where is our home? A good question! It has been getting a little confusing recently. Let us explain . . .

With all the coming and going to visit Shireen and 'the wee man', we have spent a few nights at Shireen and Frankie's maisonette in Stoke Newington. Val stayed there for rather longer, and was especially helpful to Shireen as she was getting used to being home with him and needing extra pairs of hands all the time. They are both really flourishing now, and he is feeding very well and putting on the weight!

Dave used the time on board to get the replacement diesel hob fitted and to do the re-piping of the fuel lines to it and the oven. All done, and at last we seem to have 'all systems go'. It seems a long time since all the appliances were working!

With Frankie home for a few days, Val came back to 'Zindagi' and we travelled up the River Lee again, getting as far as Stanstead Abbots.

Then back down to Dobb's Weir, where we arranged to meet our friends David and Gwenda. They had been afloat with us in 2005 (here's a picture of them in the icy March weather), but had not yet seen our new floating home. We didn't travel anywhere this time, but had a good chat on board and a hearty meal together at the 'Fish and Eels'.

Time to make preparations for a visit down to Devon again. Our tenant was due to move out at the end of November, and we needed to check through the bungalow before the next tenants moved in. With a family wedding in Sussex on 1st December, we needed to combine the two journeys.

Adam very kindly brought our car up to Shireen's on the Thursday (another chance to enjoy being an uncle!) and then we arrived on Friday morning, giving Dave time to finish off the installation of the shelves in their living room before we drove back to the boat in heavy rain. Loading the car on Saturday (fortunately NOT in the pouring rain) with all the stuff we needed for the wedding plus probably 2 weeks at Lapford, then down to Sussex. When we stopped at a service station to change into our tidy clothes, we found that Dave's trousers were missing – tidy jeans had to make do and no-one seemed to mind too much!

Sunday morning, and time to drive on down to Devon. A very strange feeling, to be leaving home to go home! What would it be like? How much work would we need to do, and would we have time to do it?

In the event, it has not been too traumatic. We are in Lapford still, 'camping' in Wilanson with minimum furniture. The heating had not been on at all, so it smelt musty as we came in, like a holiday bungalow that hasn't been properly aired, the fridge had 'died' and the drains were blocked! Quite a few crops growing in the field, some ready now and some preparing for Spring, and too many weeds to even start doing anything about!

With the lack of heating, some of the doors didn't fit, but most of them are now OK. We needed to sort out the drains immediately, but fortunately that was fairly quick and easy. We have also had to do a little maintenance on the central heating and some pointing on the chimney and boiler flue, and have been able to replace the front bumper on our old Peugeot 205, which was damaged during our visit to Devon in September.

As we have been around the village for a week now, various folk have asked, "Are you back now?", and we have said "Not really, just for a couple of weeks and then back to the boat."

It has been good to come back and remember that this WILL be home again sometime, but not yet! Our new tenants, Steve and Linda, have been over a couple of times and seem keen to get started. We would like more time with them to pass on lots more information but, as they have said, there is always the phone and e-mail!

Val visited the doctors' surgery to get some more postdated prescriptions and they wanted her to try a new blood pressure medication, so she will be back there on Wednesday to see how it has worked. All being well, we should be back up to the river Lee soon after that, maybe before the end of the week. No doubt we shall be meeting up with various members of the family over the next few weeks, probably in various places, before heading north again.

And 'the wee man'? No official name yet, but ideas are firming up! He is sure to have changed a lot since we last saw him. No apologies for all the baby pictures – there are sure to be more!