Back in the UK

3 December 2015 – 6 June 2016

Six months at home, the longest stretch of time in the UK since we began travelling. How would we keep ourselves busy?

We didn't need to worry on that score. The action began our first day back when our trusty old car Ronnie Rocket, inherited from Christine's Dad, seriously flunked his MOT test and was destined for car heaven.

A frantic spot of car shopping brought us our new wheels. This time we opted for Toyota in that fetching shade of grey that pretty much defines the company and brought Wolfie home.

Flying home for Christmas

The big build up to Christmas began with the traditional school plays and family with us for the big day. To make Phil's Christmas even more perfect, after a night of Carol singing with friends, Christine completely lost her voice for three whole days.

Next came the annual Christmas Sweater Party in Sussex organised by cousin Janet. It was a wonderful day of party games, exploring the grounds of the beautiful Christ's Hospital School and catching up with family.

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Sweater Party

Celebrating New Year in Crickhowell with Angie and Pam

Hiking off those party calories

Winter hiking

Embarrassing the grandkids - priceless!

Signs of Spring, finally

We had a blast at our friend Silke's 80s themed fancy dress birthday party in February.

Spring comes to Table Mountain.

Around New Year we came for a difficult decision. We were both done with the sailing life. It was time to let our beloved 'Anju' move on to her next adventure.

We placed her with a local broker but weren't quite prepared to be awoken the next morning with the news that he'd received an offer on the boat. We were baffled that nobody had actually viewed the boat. It turned out that with that company you had to make your offer of what you were prepared to pay before actually viewing.

That interest in her amounted to nothing but by late spring she had found her new adventure crew. A Norwegian purchased her to sail to Iceland, Greenland and through the Northwest passage to Alaska. Brrrr. Rather him than us. It was with heavy hearts that we said goodbye to our precious boat, glad that her adventures were going to continue.

Safe sailing and fair winds, darling.

One member of the family moves on and another arrives. On Polly's birthday we were joined by Mr Cuddles, a Syrian hamster with a big personality. Keeping track of him while he explored the house in his exercise ball kept us on our toes, especially as he managed to escape on occasion! He soon became the most spoiled hamster on the planet.

Six grandchildren will keep you busy. There was homework to help with. Our biggest challenge on that front was making a gas mask with Polly for her World War Two project.

All the trips to the park and time on the trampoline will keep you fit!

Who is that masked girl?

Our house, when we bought it, was perfect for two. Now we were often six, it could prove a little crowded. We scratched our heads for ways to increase the space available and perhaps create a sanctuary for ourselves.

Work out with Iwan

The easiest and cheapest solution came to us at around 3 am on a sleepless night. We'd convert our dirty, unused attic space into a Bedouin tent. It seemed obvious, well to us at least! Insulation and floor boarding were ordered and we set to work.

The first job was removing old, itchy fibre-glass insulation and sixty-eight years of dirt. Then the floor was boarded more extensively. The lorry dropped off a load of insulation and we insulated the rafters, being sure to leave ventilation behind. It was hard and often awkward work, almost like working on a boat again. Finally came the fun part. Fabric was donated by Angie and Gwyn, left from the Bedouin tent we'd helped create for their daughter's wedding and we could start decorating.

Who's idea was this anyway?

Work break, Karaoke time

Now the fun part starts!

Six months seemed to fly by but after a month in the States we would be reunited with four of our family who were coming to spend three weeks exploring with us. It was time for a training hike with Polly and Gareth.

Now we just had to squeeze in a week visiting friends in Spain.

Are we there yet?

Made it to the top!

Well that's one way to get down again!

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