Pete and I flew to Heathrow and met my brother Mark, who flew in from Luxembourg. We rented a car and drove straight to Henley on Thames. Had a day walking around and a nice lunch that turned into a bit of a pub crawl! We drove to a little village called Thrupp on one of the Oxfordshire canals where a series of books we’ve been reading is set. Felt a bit like groupies but it was nice to see the actual settings. After collecting my Mother’s ashes from the funeral home we left the next day for Yorkshire. Her wish had been to be scattered on the old family farm in Swaledale that had been in the family for 500 plus years till her brother sold it in the seventies. (Don’t even ask why!) Once in the dales we met up with the farmer (Maurice Metcalfe) who bought part of the property and his great niece, Jean, who kindly gave us access to the gravesite on the land. Around the early 1800’s the then current Broderick family member had fallen out with the church at Mucker where the family were traditionally buried and was interred on the hill behind the farmhouse. His grave and a cairn wall are there where there are plaques for subsequent family members. It was very cold but lovely and clear - Mark and I scattered the ashes on behalf of all her friends and family. Strangely, it wasn’t a sad occasion. The plaque we had planned would have been too big so we have to revise it and have it attached at a later date.
Mark left us at Heathrow and flew off after returning the car. Pete and I went to Wimbledon where my father’s wife still lives and had a lovely 5 days with her and members of the extended family. Whilst there we caught up with Huw, our crew member from Australia to South Africa, for lunch in South Kensington. He gave us the original picture that a magazine had done for an article Huw had had published by them about our rounding of Madagascar and subsequent broken bulkhead.
We managed a few touristy things as either of us had been in the London area for many years: Covent Garden markets, the Mall, Trafalgar Square and Hampton Court.
We got back to Spain to find another thunderstorm had just been by and we had broken mooring lines (retied by the marina staff) and a few other little issues that we fixed up. It took ages in the cold and dark with the boat lurching all around. We had to throw our bags into the dinghy and get them out from the boat as the paserella was unusable. Who knew the weather was so iffy around here….The marina is a bit unprotected too which is a pity as the environs are quite quirky and fun.
We got out of Benalmadena early on the 2 November and got to Marina del Este. It was like entering at brand new world – warm, protected, calm. I think before we were still too near the Gibraltar Straights for comfortable predictable weather – who knows? It seems you can safely add about 10 knots to any predicted wind. I guess we’ll learn more as time goes by.