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, 22 February 2015

The 'Shivering Sailors' UK Tour

We're now two and a half weeks into our UK tour and, thanks to a raid of our store of winter clothes, are just about acclimatised to the wintry temperatures!

We began with a couple of days in London, enjoying the sight of old buildings, churches and monuments and meeting up with friends. Treated ourselves to coffee and pastries in Fortnum & Mason too!

The  wonderful Fortnum's coffee bar

Most expensive mid-morning snack for some time! Worth it, though.
From London we headed down to Somerset by train for a few days with Karl & Jo. Unfortunately for Graham and Karl, who were looking forward to catching up over a few pints in the village pub, Graham got food poisoning (from a final cooked breakfast in London we think) so it was an enforced 3-day crash diet! Apart from that we had a brilliant catch up and went into Yeo Valley to meet friends and colleagues there before joining some of then in Cardiff for the enthralling England Vs Wales rugby.

We drove on to our south-west leg of the tour - Poole, Dorset, to stay with Graham's aunt Sue &husband Laurie, then Dartmouth, Devon, to see Joe & Jayne then on to Truro, Cornwall, to catch up with our best man Simon and Kerry, daughter Charlie and goddaughter Belle. The warmth of all their welcomes was wonderful.

With Sue and Laurie at Poole Yacht Club

Joe & Jayne outside their Dartmouth Canvas Factory

The Canvas Factory - a great place!

With Simon and Kerry at the Pandora Inn

We returned to Somerset where our friends and neighbours Andy & Lucinda generously lent us their lovely house for a few days whilst we spent a couple of days re-organising and condensing our furniture storage in nearby Bridgwater. We also met the new tenants of our house and did a landlords' inspection with the letting agent; we were relieved and delighted to find the house in excellent condition.

We've now headed northwards, with a night with Steve & Barbara and goddaughter Amy (who joined us for a couple of weeks in Fiji) in mid-Wales and are now in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire with Di's sister Sue, Mark and niece Laura. We had a superb Lebanese meal in nearby Alderley Edge with them, plus eldest niece Amy and her partner Joe.

At Yara restaurant

It's now snowing quite heavily so a full English cooked breakfast has set us up well for a Sunday of limited activity and the Sunday papers; contemplating the roast beef dinner to come. Lovely.

Tomorrow we head further north to Lancashire to stay with Dianne's father and to see more family and friends before moving on up to Graham's family in south-west Scotland. Hoping (not very optimistically) for warmer weather soon!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Heading back for a taste of winter

Looking at the weather forecasts for the UK, we are seriously questioning our sanity but we leave Auckland (current temperature about 25 degrees) this evening and arrive, shivering, in London on Monday afternoon. The last few days have been spent finding whatever warm clothes we have and remembering what you do with socks (not worn for quite some time!). We've borrowed a couple of wheelie suitcases and packed quite a lot of stuff that's not wanted on voyage. 

Huge thanks go to Tony & Claire and Trish & Ian for making the last couple of days so easy for us - Horace the Honda is safely parked in Birkenhead (not a sentence I ever thought I'd write!) and we had a great Vietnamese meal in downtown Auckland last night. Having successfully completed our Alcohol-Free January, we celebrated Trish's birthday in style.

Maunie's safe and secure on her mooring in Opua with a local guy checking her whilst we are away.

So this'll probably be the last blog update until we return in March - emails to our usual address will find us whilst we are on our UK tour.