Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Back in the cold and damp

We've been back in England for a week now and, though the jet lag has passed, we're still feeling a little shell-shocked. Very green fields, lovely pubs, stupidly congested (and potholed) roads, lots of rain and temperatures that are struggling to get above 10 degrees centigrade. This is supposed to be the start of summer, right? It's certainly quite a shock after Australia! Actually, to be fair, we arrived into London last weekend at the end of a 3-day heatwave so, as we emerged from Green Park tube station on Saturday, the park was full of people having picnics and general fun on the grass but since then the weather seriously deteriorated.

This blog will, for obvious reasons, start to describe some less exotic adventures now we are back but we will continue to update it every now and then with sailing stories once we are reunited with Maunie (see later). In the meantime, here are the last few photos from the land of sunshine and the latest update on the boat's voyage towards us.

A coastal hike at the Noosa National Park

Just to remind us what sunshine looks like!
 We had a wonderful few days with Andy and Sue up in Noosa, caught up with Kerry in her new home town of Sunshine Beach and had a couple of days back in Brisbane (a city we really like) before flying to Adelaide for 3 nights. The reason for the stop-over was that Graham had a meeting with the team at Coopers Brewery (who distribute Thatchers Cider in Australia) but it also gave us a chance to see a new part of the country.

As luck would have it, our arrival in town coincided with the Special Olympics, a food expo and a big tourism conference so we couldn't find a hotel in the city for love nor money. Instead we were offered a room in a pub / hotel in Stirling, 30 minutes' drive out in the Adelaide Hills, which is a wine region. Wine region, you say? That'll be fine!

Stirling main street - the autumnal colours are arriving

Some relevant street sculptures

The hotel was once a stage-coach stop, with stables behind it, and is one of the oldest buildings in town

The hotel today - very comfy rooms 
After Graham's day of toil in the Brewery (and a very lovely meal out for us both with Nick the operations manager and Michael, the sales manager and his wife Jo) we had time to explore a little of the countryside (and, of course, sample its produce) before spending the day in the university city of Adelaide.

Old and new University buildings

By now, dear readers, you'll know that our sailing trip has given us wonderful friendships and connections all around the world so you won't be surprised to hear that we had friends to meet in Adelaide, even though we'd never been there before. Peter and Catherine are lovely people whom we met on the SSB radio a couple of years ago. They have just completed their circumnavigation on their catamaran The Southern Cross, finishing in style with an epic anti-clockwise trip around Australia from Bundaberg, so we had a great meal with them. Meanwhile Harry, who joined us on Maunie with his dad Karl in January, is doing a year at Adelaide University so we met him for a drink too. 

So, we're back home and, whilst we're sorry that this amazing adventure is over (for the moment at least), we are looking forward to the next chapter. Graham is spending a few days at Thatchers to get back up to speed with the amazing pace of change there before we head north to visit family (Graham's Mum's 80th birthday party and niece Amy's wedding being highlights of a busy and social week). We then dash south to meet Maunie as she's unloaded in Southampton and will have a couple of weeks aboard her to sail her back to Dartmouth. We won't regain access to our house until the 11th June so the ability to live back aboard the boat is good!

In the meantime we've just spent a busy couple of days searching for a 'workhorse' car for Di, a process which sadly reinforced the worst stereotypes of used-car salespeople until we found a genuinely refreshing owner-operator business in West Sussex and bought a very tidy 7 year old Subaru estate. Thanks to Zoe, an ex-colleague of Graham's and now marketing manager for a holiday business called Darwin Escapes, we are currently residing in a holiday park lodge near Cheddar and enjoying the freedom to cook our own meals, wash laundry and use the gym. Almost normal life.

The new car and our latest temporary residence
We'll update you when we're back on Maunie!

1 comment:

  1. Hello, just found this! Have been wondering how you’ve been getting on. Hope it’s not too much of a culture shock! Xx