Little Switzerland, North Carolina

8th-14th and 24 - 30th May 2007

We arrived in Little Switzerland just after Vivian got back from Canada to discover that, in her absence Chris had come up with a brainwave to build a working waterfall into the new kitchen.   It was hard to envisage how this would work but on arrival we found a team of hard-working Mexicans busy on the stonework.    

It wasn't long before we were both put to work as well, Phil helped Chris with the woodwork required to prepare the very old and somewhat sloping kitchen floor and the walls for installation of the new kitchen cabinets.    One of Phil's fist challenges was to open up a trapdoor in the existing floor, which led into the cellar and convert this into a solid piece of floor.  

I don't even what to know what's down there!

Meanwhile the girls set to work on the design for the new kitchen, creating a scale design board, on which to decide on the arrangement for the new cabinets and appliances.   Finally, draft in hand, they were despatched to visit the kitchen designers at Home Depot, who would be installing the kitchen.   

After many months of working on the boat, which seemed to involve almost daily visits to the hardware store, Christine had been hoping for a break but this vacation seemed to have a daily visit to the Depot on the itinerary too!    

During our many trips to have discussions with the designers, the boys continued their good work, finally creating a floor area without holes and getting the walls ready for installation of the drywall.    In addition there were many wiring and plumbing issues upon which to work. On occasion, however we returned home to find work at a standstill and boys sitting out on the deck, beer in hand!

At the end of each day, we enjoyed a gourmet dinner, prepared on the outside grill and served on a beautiful selection of paperware.   At least there was water in the bathroom for the washing up, a great improvement to the way we had been living aboard Anju!

Get back to work you slackers!

The inaugural trickle!


Once the cement on the stonework was dry, there was great excitement in Little Switzerland.  It was time for the inaugural trickle of the kitchen's water feature.   

Three of us sat with bated breath while Chris attended to the plumbing down in the basement.    Apart from a couple of small leaks, the waterfall trickled beautifully and we were soon inundated with a stream of curious neighbours!


Vivian had to head up to Canada to visit her mother who involved in the setting up of a new museum in her home town.   Vivian was invited to the grand opening, mostly it seemed to decorate the museum and carry in the exhibits!    As she was taking this long road trip, Phil and Christine decided to tag along, share the driving and use the opportunity to catch up with sailing friends in London, Ontario (see separate webpage on road trip).   
We were gone for eight days, so Chris had to carry on with the good work by himself.   By the time we returned we found the walls dry-walled and the floor ready for the sanding company to start work.   

Once they began work, our next challenge was to keep Vivian's two Portuguese Water Dogs, Zappa and Shelly away from the newly varnished kitchen floor.    With a combination of improvised barriers and Phil threatening Zappa with a reciprocating saw, we somehow succeeded!

Work on the kitchen had to stop once the varnishers had been in, so Vivian and Christine occupied themselves battling a particularly virulent strain of weed in the garden, which for no obvious reason, was called Beautiful Ohio.   The girls set to work with machetes and weedkiller and hacked the lot down to the ground.   In no time at all, however the darned things were popping up new shoots all over the hillside again.

Stay away from the kitchen Zappa!

Scary woman at work with machete

We did get the chance to do some sightseeing during our visit.    One day we took a trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs right behind our friends' house.    

Another day we all took a Sunday off to take a trip through the countryside to the tourist hot spot at Chimney Rock, where we enjoyed lunch overlooking the mountain.


Sightseeing on the Blue Ridge Parkway and at Chimney Rock.

On another day off, the boys hit the road to check out Derek's new boat and help sort out a few teething problems, whilst the girls took a road trip to the very underwhelming Bat Cave Art Festival.    Whilst the art was not particularly impressive, it was cool to visit a town called Bat Cave.   We'd taken the scenic route and for a while we feared we were lost in the mountains, particularly when we spotted an alien in somebody's garden! 

Before we left North Carolina to return to our own projects aboard Anju, we were all in for a surprise.   Chris had promised Vivian a Mustang Convertible as a wedding present, for their wedding the previous year.

One day they had spotted a beautiful Mustang for sale in a nearby town and took it for a test drive.   There was much debate about the merits of buying the car.  Chris finally made an offer but never heard back from the vendor, so it was all forgotten.    

A few days later, talking to one of their friends, Vivian learned that he'd bought the car for his daughter and stoically said that she was glad it had found a good home, as it was a beautiful car.   Little did we know that the boys, who had gone out on a pretext, were collecting the car to surprise Vivian and had asked their friend, Dirt, to spin this story, to double the surprise on Vivian's face when they drove up with the shiny red Mustang!   Naturally we had to take a test drive through the mountains forthwith!

Before we left, we also had a change of vehicle.   We had been borrowing Vivian's Toyota Camry previously but as Chris was heading to Europe for a few months, to be joined later by Viv, we set off back to Green Cove Springs in our new loaner, Chris' Honda, courtesy of our friends' wonderful generosity.

Mustang Sally, you'd better slow that Mustang down (at least till you get the title!)

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