After an anxious wait, the money from the sale of Northern Pride cleared in our UK bank account last Friday 18 March - hurrah! Whilst money isn't everything, we'd have been a bit bereft if anything had happened to the proceeds of the sale - we're relying on that plus whatever we can accumulate here to get us back to UK in possibly two years time and buy another boat to live on for longer. Of course we're very aware that anything could happen in the meantime to change that, by bringing it forward or preventing it from happening at all.
Sadly, since returning to New Zealand, my younger daughter and her partner have separated. Whether that's for good or not is not definite as yet, but the weekend we spent with them both last October was a very special and memorable time ...
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th October
We left our amazingly convenient mooring, a short walk from the railway station, just after lunch to catch the two trains that would take us to my younger daughter's home in Brighton. We were fortunate not to experience any delays, and a bonus of a sunny day to watch the changing landscapes from the carriage windows.
Kim and Joe, her partner, recently moved into a rental house, from their previous second floor flat, and this was the first time we'd visited. They also took on the responsibility of two cats a few weeks ago who we'd not yet met, 'Cleo' and 'Frankie'.
We walked from the station to the sea front, and relished the Indian summer warmth and the brightness of the buildings and people of Brighton ...
Ornate, Victorian lampposts line the promenade
Kim picked us up on her way home from work, and we went out to an Italian restaurant in Hove that evening to catch up.
On Saturday we planned to drive to Hastings, but thought we had to wait for a parcel delivery of my 'Fit Flops' - when it got to about 1100hrs, I phoned the company and they said it could be anytime between 0800 and 2000hrs! So we left a message on door as to where they could leave the parcel and went out - it was another sunny day so we didn't want to waste it.
Hastings is east of Brighton and it's poorer sister looking rather unloved and forgotten in comparison. Of course Brighton has really become a 'suburb' of London, with so many well-off people now living there who commute to London each day to work and subsequently property prices have escalated out of all proportion.
We had some good old English Fish and Chips for lunch, then took a short trip up the 'East Cliff Railway' - sadly it travelled through a tunnel so we couldn't see the scenery! We didn't realise that the 'West Cliff Railway' has views, and by then we hadn't time to think about descending there as we were on the last trip of the day - the only way was up! Then, when we arrived at the summit and walked to Hastings Castle ruins, we were most disappointed to find that it closed at 1600hrs - damn Father Time going so fast! We so should've left Kim and Joe's earlier and just left a note for the delivery people - and the story doesn't end here!
Yum! You can't beat English Fish and Chips at the seaside!
Especially with chip shop curry sauce, Sandra's favourite, sadly not available in NZ!
The cute Cliff Railway - shame about the view of the wall!
The outlook from the top was worth the trip - and there's the East Cliff Railway - with a view!
Kids precariously playing on the cliffs
East Cliff Railway - maybe next time we'll try that one?!
We walked back down the cliff and along the sea front, before heading back to Brighton through a place called Battle - guess what happened there in 1066?
The burnt out pier at Hastings
The small town of Battle appeared to have embraced it's history far more favourably than Hastings, we were a little sad that we hadn't just gone straight there! Of course it was not far from here that the actual 'battle' of Hastings was fought, where William, Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold II to become William I in 1066.
By the time we arrived at Battle Abbey it was closing, of course it was an English Heritage site so Barry and I were most put out to have missed a 'free' entrance! The Abbey was ordered to be built by Pope Alexander II in 1070 to try and make up for all the people killed by the Normans, and was virtually destroyed during King Henry VIII's 'Dissolution of the Monasteries' but has subsequently been restored. The Abbey was built around the spot where King Harold was killed, on 14 October 1066, so we were there just under 944 years after that date!
Once again it just goes to show the benefits of forward planning when you're short on time - it'll have to be added to the list of future trips! There were lots of people in costume around the town, so whether that's a weekly occurrence or just due to the fact date we weren't sure.
By the look of the phone box the 'battle' isn't over yet!
Not sure if these people are re-enactors or just poor people (yeah right!)
Quaint buildings everywhere - maybe this used to be the Blacksmith's?
On Sunday we drove to the seafront in Brighton and had breakfast at 'Carats' - strangely enough there's a canal nearby and we had to walk over the lock! The lock is for boats going to sea or coming in from the ocean and looked like a smaller version of the Floating Harbour in Bristol as it's to keep the water at the same level for boats regardless of the tide.
There must have been an yacht race out at sea today as a flotilla of craft entered the lock at once
A very industrial setting for a cafe , though apparently they're really busy every weekend no matter what the weather's like
This ship almost covered the length of the lock - wouldn't want to be holding those ropes!
We had a short trip into town after breakfast before chilling like a 'normal' family back at Kim and Joe's - what a rare treat! Joe and Barry did the 'boys stuff' and mended the stereo, Barry also tidied up an aerial cable. Meanwhile I weeded the garden and Kim mowed the lawn and trimmed a large bush at the end of the garden. So many people would just take such a family day for granted, and is probably what they do most weekends, but for us it was the first time we've had such an opportunity with Kim in a house and we wish we could do it more often - maybe at some point in the not too distant future we will.
The cats hadn't been outside since arriving with Kim and Joe, but Barry managed to persuade them that they wouldn't come to any harm sp they were let out briefly on Saturday and then all day Sunday. Frankie soon learned how to use the cat flap, though Cleo wasn't so keen on exploring the outside world seemingly too scared to venture much further than back step. Frankie quickly disappeared to explore, but once Barry or Joe called him and brought him back to the garden a couple of times he was fine to find his own way and was a much happier cat!
Barry and Joe get on with the 'boys stuff' in the sunny garden
Kim and Cleo get up close and personal!
In the evening we had a BBQ, it was awesome to have sunny and fairly warm days again, even though we knew it would be short-lived as the forecast suggested it was going to be cold again by the end of week. What a magical weekend we had, thanks Kim and Joe.
Getting a bit chilly later on - the shape of things to come!