Late for his own funeral!

It’s a bit of joke amongst those who are notoriously poor timekeepers that they’d even be late for their own funeral.

Dad was quite a stickler for punctuality, and I take after him. I’d rather be half an hour early than two minutes late – the feelings the stress response and subsequent adrenaline surge bring I’d rather avoid whenever possible.

Yesterday I thought we’d got everything well planned.

Everyone was at mum’s house, ready to go to the crematorium, in plenty of time. People had travelled from many miles away, and we’d been a little anxious that one or two wouldn’t make it.

But they did.

The hearse and limo were booked to arrive at 1230hrs, to take mum and her four daughters to the funeral.

They arrived promptly. We were all ready to go. Some of the family had already left for the venue.

What we failed to anticipate was roadworks on the very busy A449, that literally commenced in the hour prior to that. It meant the cortege had to turn left rather than right, and it took 24 minutes to get back to where they’d started from before we even commenced the drive to Worcester Crematorium, a journey which ordinarily would take around 20 minutes.

It’s crazy enough to only have 45 minutes per funeral here, but to have missed the first 15 minutes made the whole service whizz by in the blink of an eye.

Thankfully our amazing celebrant Margo was ready to trim the order, and managed to play just one verse of Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way’, which was enough to sum up the tribute she’d read to dad.

Dad would’ve been quite amused I think, and chuckled with the twinkle in his eye that I can see when I close my eyes and remember him in his ‘good’ days.

So many people came to pay respects to dad, from the park home site they live on, old and dear friends of the family – one he hadn’t seen for many years from the squash club in Sutton Coldfield he was a member of for over forty years from 1964, and two carers from Rainbow Care, who’d been visiting mum and dad twice a day since June. It was a testimony to the high regard everyone had for a great man.

The wake went well too, and was a magnificent celebration of his life. Barry’s slide show, that he’s literally been working on each day since dad died on 9th February, was outstanding and will be something the whole family can cherish for generations.

We’ll still be back and forth to support mum in the days, weeks and months to come, but for Barry and I it’s time to focus on building our businesses and making some money to live on – or we’ll be heading back to New Zealand by July 2016 as he won’t successfully pass the second round of his UK visa application!

Back on the cut

This afternoon we left Worcester Marina after three months and three days. What a great mooring spot it was, so handy for the city centre and of course all the too’ing and fro’ing I’ve been doing since 10th December.

We’re moored up this evening at Diglis Basin for a day or two, before heading up the River Severn to Stourport and beyond.

We’re really looking forward to catching up with lots of fellow traders and boaters in the near future.

Settling in for a winter in Worcester

On Friday last week, Barry moved Areandare swiftly along the fast flowing river Severn without a problem, and by Monday, he’d moored her up safely in Worcester Marina, Lowesmoor Wharf, ready for our three month winter stay. It’s nowhere near as picturesque as Tattenhall Marina, where we enjoyed an extended stay last winter, but it is very handy for a number of important things.

We’ve both got mixed feelings about being ‘static’ for so long, after nine months of happily moving around the system and a new view most days.

However, the electric hook-up, water on tap anytime, pump out at hand, Aldi a five minute walk away (I love Lidl and Aldi), a buzzing city on our doorstep, and public transport within easy reach will certainly outweigh our reservations.

Xmas lights on in Worcester

Worcester embracing some of their xmas decorations – lights on around 3pm as it’s dark so early now

And really, it’s the season for stillness and hibernation, so we’re going to embrace that whenever possible.

We’re looking forward to exploring Worcester more. We love the city, and the Cathedral is magnificent. I’m planning on going to a few evensongs and carol concerts, I imagine the acoustics will be outstanding. Most of the time we visit cities without the luxury of staying, so this will be a pleasure.

Our main reason for choosing Worcester is there’s a handy bus service to my mum and dad’s, so it’ll be easy to get to them during the day time and back again!

Running The Home Brew Boat will be breeze too. An address for deliveries and a half mile walk to the nearest UPS parcel collection place where Barry’s already becoming a regular customer sending on-line orders away …

Weekends away

Last weekend I spent at a Hoseasons lodge in ‘Cricket St Thomas’ on the Dorset/Somerset border, celebrating my younger sister’s hen weekend. With unseasonably mild weather we were able to relish a few country walks and a relaxing soak in the hot tub each evening. There was underfloor heating AND a log burner. Very cosy.

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Our luxury lodge for three nights in the middle

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Crisp, clear blue skies and sunshine all weekend – once the mist lifted

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Saturday lunch at a splendid local pub – with my sisters, Viv’s soon to be step-daughter Rachel, and daughter Samantha

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Kath, Linda, me and Viv saying goodbye for now – we’ll see each other again on 14th December for a family xmas lunch

Tomorrow we’re taking the train down to the south coast (via Birmingham New Street as the tickets were ridiculously cheap), venturing to the buzzing city of Brighton staying with my younger daughter Kim and celebrating Barry’s birthday.

He says he loves having a winter birthday rather than a summer one.

I think he’s crazy!

We’d planned to have a night out with his friend Dickie and wife Sandra, but sadly they’re no longer able to make it. So we’re not sure what festivities lie in wait, but I’m sure we’ll find fun things to enjoy before he reaches his 60th year – yikes!

All snug and warm on Areandare – more coal and kindling would help …

We’re loving our new look Areandare. The cut out of the dividing wall from the kitchen to the lounge has made a huge difference to the feel of our living area, and transporting meals and drinks is so much easier.

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Small is beautiful and plenty of heat to keep us cosy

What we omitted prior to leaving Oxley Marine, was the opportunity to buy more coal and kindling – silly us! I guess it’s something we’ll get used to and maintain a stock in future.

Luckily we had some left over from the Epping stove, and a few bits of wood to start us off. Barry’s bought some kindling in Asda today, but we’ve not found coal yet – we’re in the middle of The Black Country for goodness sake …

If anyone knows of a good source let us know.

We’re in Merry Hill for a night or two, then Barry will be heading to Stourbridge once I’ve left him – again – as it’s my weekend at mum and dad’s.

Last night and today has been rather cold, I suspect the clear sky and full moon included a frost. I even put my long sleeved fleece nightie on as I just couldn’t get warm enough to go to sleep despite the toasty body lying beside me.

We’re heading south slowly, for our three-month winter mooring at Worcester Marina. I’ll be grateful for the stability to be honest, as we’ll be close to public transport to get me to my parents and other places.

I have no problem catching trains and buses as I’m not having to rush anywhere, though getting from here to Ombersley tomorrow is going to entail a bus to a train to a bus and a short walk! It’s seriously not far, but sometimes it’s more complex than others.

I still prefer it to driving on the busy roads here, especially when you’re used to travelling at less than three miles an hour 😉

Boating festivals for 2015

We’ve been making headway organising festivals and possible routes for 2015.  Some events will be ones we’ve enjoyed this year, and a few new ones. We’re booked into a huge festival in August at Blisworth which will be fabulous, and may even go as far south as Banbury for their ‘Canal Day’ in early October.

We’ve met so many friendly and fascinating fellow traders in 2014, many of whom we keep in touch with and will be ‘working’ alongside again. It’s a very different way of earning an income than having a structured schedule of work days each week, in the same place, with the same people.

It has it’s drawbacks of course, such as having to do accounts and not having a set and secure income to depend upon.

This year we set the foundations for our three businesses – next year we’ll be so much more experienced. Which is helpful seeing as we won’t be able to live off our savings anymore, they’ll be securely stored in the bank ready for Barry’s next UK visa application in November 2015!

Anyone readers Facebook who want to support us in a small way (apart from buying home brew, having some life coaching or booking a face painting party that is!), we’d love you to ‘like and share’ our pages – The Home Brew Boat, Awaken Life Coaching and Funtastic Facepainting.

Interesting times ahead, none of us know what the next day will bring …