2018 – End of a Chapter
It has been such a long time since my last post. Things have progressed and changed. The main one being that a sale has been agreed for Gleda.
We left Cartagena on 31st October 2018 with all our worldly belongings piled into the truck and no further forward on a sale for Gleda but we had agreed we wanted to spend Christmas with Neil’s Dad and a few months getting the van ready. We had a full days drive across Spain to Santander to get the ferry to Plymouth.
Spain is a country of many vistas and it is true, the rain in Spain does fall mainly on the plain. We drove through stunning scenery and in the approach to Santander there was snow on the mountains we were driving through.
The ferry trip started off as a nightmare for me. We left Santander at 9pm. We picked up a meal straight away as we hadn’t eaten since lunchtime then about 10pm went to our cabin. Our cabin was directly above the bow doors and below the bridge facing the bow. As we left the shelter of Santander and into the Bay of Biscay we started to pitch, a lot! The motion didn’t bother me at all but it was the noises. Laid in my bottom bunk with my earbuds in and the flimsy pillow on my head, I was convinced that the bow doors were caving in and that the lorries on the vehicle decks were falling over. We rode up the waves then the anticipation of the slamming and noises and we dropped down the other side; agonising. I was truly scrared in a way that I never had been on Gleda. I eventually got to sleep about 6.30am. When I woke up just after 9am we were up by the coast of Brittany and the sea was like a mill pond. The rest of the trip to Plymouth was really pleasant. We bagged a table at the bow window, which was just above our cabin, and made ourselves comfortable for the day. The weather was bright with lots of sunshine and a few fluffy clouds. As we left the boat we crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t be stopped by customs. Not that we were carrying anything we shouldn’t but just the amount of stuff we we had on board would have meant a big job to repack it all.
We arrived at our new home, the fifth wheel caravan, around 7.30pm. The heating wasn’t working and it was a cold and frosty night. We spent the night with Neil’s dad who lives just up the road. The next morning we were set to start unpacking and making the truck ours. Disaster. Neil fell off the top of the truck while trying to open the roof bag and fractured his heel. Neil was taken by ambulance to the Royal Cornwall Hospital and his Dad brought him back some hours later on crutches and with a “boot”. Not a good start. We were lucky to have Neil’s Dad on hand for somewhere to stay and some support. My friends, Maria, Ian and Laurel came to visit the following day and helped me off-load all our belongings from the truck into the van as we hadn’t yet emptied that. We stayed with Ray for a few nights while Neil sorted out the heating in the van. We were keen to move in as soon as possible and start making this new space our home. Neil does not a patient patient make and was not at all pleased to be virtually immobile. However, sometimes stubbornness pays off and by the time I left him to go “up country” the last week of November, we had put up the storm porch over the front door between us and he was determined to fend for himself.
I’d gone up to Leamington to visit friends and family and to take a holiday in Tenerife. I was very lucky that my friend Anni gifted me the weekend break as she could no longer go. So the last weekend of November, Mum, Barbs, Annette and I took off for the sunshine. Not a bit too soon either. Since the day after Neil fell, it had rained every day I had been in Cornwall and I was missing the sun terribly. We had a great weekend. The weather was fab, the hotel was clean but everything else about it was pretty poor including the food and drink. However, we went out and enjoyed ourselves regardless.
I also had a break planned with Maria and we went to York for a few days. The Christmas market was on and we had a lovely time, pottering, shopping, eating, drinking and chatting. We had taken the train up so there was no stress of the drive and we could enjoy the train trip too – it made part of the holiday. Finding a shoe shop that stocked Irregular Choice shoes was a bonus. Not that either of us bought any but we spent a good 30minutes browsing.
Naturally I visited Dad. His condition is pretty much the same, maybe a bit less engaging than he was at the beginning of the year. However he still held my hand tight and I was pleased to see that he was using his twiddle blanket I made him; gripping on to the pompoms. Two of the carers told me how much he enjoys the blanket and hangs on to the pompoms.
I headed back to Cornwall after leaving Neil for 3 weeks. Neil was more mobile having got rid of his boot at his last checkup at the hospital and then driving again. The weather had not improved in that time and when I got back it rained for another 6 days. I never knew the sky could hold so much water. It is very depressing to not see any sun for weeks at a time. In Leamington it was generally cold but bright. I don’t mind cold and bright, in fact I’m coming round to not minding wet mixed with sun but not to see any sunshine ……
At Neil’s first physio session, he also got rid of the crutches and now has some exercises to try to strengthen the foot back up.
Christmas Day we spent with Ray. I cooked the Christmas lunch and then we went for a bit of a walk in the field opposite the park which has a mown path around the stream.
New Year was quiet as it usually is for us. This year with added poignancy as it is one year since Neil’s Mum, Betty, passed away.
2019 sees us starting our new life in the van. We have made no plans as yet. We are still making the van our home with some changes here and there. Now Neil is virtually fully mobile, although he won’t be running anywhere soon, we can move forward with the bigger jobs.
This year may well see us visit Gleda again if her new owners would like Neil to show them around. Again as seems frequent in our story, it seemed fate stepped in and Michael, a long time follower of the Gleda Project and over the years has commented and supported Neil through the build, is the new owner of Gleda. We have yet to meet Michael and his wife in person. The weekend Michael went to view her, Neil was on crutches and I was in Tenerife so unable to show him around personally. Thanks to Giles & Julie for meeting Michael at YPC.
I will miss Gleda terribly. Despite the van having many more creature comforts, the lifestyle is not and will not be the same. Different, but not the same which I’m not suggesting is a bad thing. I did have a bit of a weep on Christmas Eve when I realised that this was it, Gleda was moving on. That said, I’m still not a sailor. I’m not interested in going sailing on any other boat. For me, Gleda was our home and sailing was part of keeping that home. I’m quite happy to hang up my First Mate hat as far as sailing goes.
I’m not sure if I will continue blogging, either here or elsewhere. Since October I have hardly written in my journal at all or had the motivation to write. This may well be the last post from Landgirlafloat -in fact do I now need to re-name, maybe LandgirlAgain.
For those of you still reading thank you and farewell. May 2019 be the year you want it to be.