While we were home we made two trips to the little house on Moreton Island and various friends joined us there. The first trip over is usually the one where we relax and find out what bits and pieces we need to bring over as replacements/ improvements etc and the second it with a very loaded down car! This year we spent a week each time so lots of food and drink had to get taken over as well. The poor Mitsubishi Outlander (not really designed for heavy off road) struggled in the very soft sand as there had been no rain to speak of to harden the tracks. The first trip over Angela and Andrew from Moore Park Beach joined us for a few days which was lovely. Pete and Andrew put the tinnie in and rowed out to the weed banks for a squid catching trip, caught two then decided it was all too hard without the outboard. So that meant the outboard had to come back to Brisbane for a service. We also measured up for one more blind for the front verandah. 

The second trip my son Rupert came over for a few days and helped put the new blind up. We had also brought over the outboard which was a help for the next few squid. By the time Veronica and Jock came over the outboard had decided to stop working – so no more squid! Pete and Jock cooked a huge Beef Wellington and I made “hedgehogs” and prawn cocktails to have a 70’s night. 

Just before we came back to Spain we took a trip to New Zealand. My Aunty Liala lives there and we stayed with her in Orakei. In that week we managed to catch up with some old friends and work colleagues of mine and had a wonderful day at Waiheke Island. The reason for the Waiheke trip was that when I was sorting out my Mother’s effects a few years ago I came across a bundle of letters that her Grandfather has written (typed, fortunately) to her nearly every week for many years when she was first married and back in England. (mid to late 50’s) They form a great snapshot of life in those years and mention many members of our extended Foreman family in detail as they all lived in Hamilton where he and my Grandmother both lived after coming out from England during the war. My cousin Ruth managed to assemble a number of cousins and siblings, including a connection from Wellington by internet. We all took turns at reading a letter out loud each. We only got about a quarter of the way through them in the whole day we set aside with many stops for laughs and explanations! Ruth is going to get them digitally copied so we can all have a copy. Maybe another reading next visit to NZ, I hope. 

In New Zealand we also visited Fleur and Mark (cousins) and I got to hold an actual Emmy Award. Their business associate drives the camera boat for the Americas Cup and they won an Emmy for the photography.  The story goes that they came second in the race as all the time they were just behind New Zealand ! (taking the pics).

The next week was pretty busy with last minute appointments, tidying up the apartment and seeing the last few people. What should have been quite a comfortable trip back to Spain with good connections turned into a bit of a nightmare as the airspace over Pakistan and India was a no-fly zone thanks to them throwing bombs at each other. We missed our connection in Madrid and on to Alicante so instead of a horrible time trying to reschedule and loose bags etc we rented a car, stayed the night in Madrid and drove to Torrevieja the next day. We arrived back to find the boat in excellent order thanks to Gonzalo’s careful attention while we were gone. Joe and Janice from the boat behind had bought us some food basics. It was the best homecoming we have had. In the past years we have come back to a boat on the hard, stinking hot, dust and leaves all over and either staying on board in the heat with no facilities or in a nearby room having to unpack and repack!

Back to the land where good wine is cheaper than bottled water and petrol….