Jolly Sailors

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Sunday 25 May 2014

Jolly Sailors

This morning our time in the UK drew to a close as we set sail in the sunshine from Harwich to Hook van Holland. It's been a busy time since we left Durham and we've  posted about a few of our activities already, but between times we've also visited Gwen in Richmond (Yorkshire), my family in Nottingham, the Bushcraft Day in Derbyshire, relaxed in Burton on Trent making the most of our last few days of gym membership, dinner with Gemma in Birmingham, lived with Phil in Banbury, met Dave and Antonia in Oxford in the sunshine, relaxed with Esther's parents in Stone (Bucks), went back again to Oxford to meet Rachel and Jonathan, had laughs and remembered old times with Ron and Shirley... amongst many other things. Phew! Lots of happy memories and we've only just started.

It's been a fun packed fortnight (and a bit). To be honest we could easily have stayed longer and done more in Britain as we were having lots of fun and there were so many people we would have wanted to see but hadn't managed yet, but we also wanted to make sure that we got away in time for summer and the sunshine. Esther and I know we can always find a reason to put off a big change and we didn't want to fall into that trap. It also feels like time to get back in the van, having lived in it for 3 weeks solid in Durham and then Nottingham, since arriving in Banbury we've been cheating a bit and staying in real beds inside houses!

So on Friday morning I booked us onto today's Sunday sailing and yesterday afternoon we set off into the Buckinghamshire countryside to head to the M25 and then A12 and A120 to Harwich. Not even the tropical storm we seemed to discover on the way could stop us, even though it had me driving at 30mph on the motorway, but we pushed on and got to the sunshine on the other side.

We made a short detour into Colchester, as there was no way we could possibly  leave the country without using up all of our Tesco vouchers and coupons, and arrived at the Harwich port around 8pm. We'd been told and were hoping we could sleep over here and the check in staff seemed happy enough to let us pull alongside the boarding lanes and sleep here. We did think we'd be alone and it was a bit eerie for a while, but more motorhomes arrived to join our informal campsite. Having slept in cars and/or got started in journeys feeling knackered due to getting up at 2am to catch a flight, it was nice to revel in the luxury of cooking dinner and getting into your own double bed for a quiet 8 1/2 hours during a long journey.

We got up to sunshine and checked in before being boarded by immigration who seemed to be looking for extra people in our toilet (and I always thought I had an honest face). But that was the most eventful part of the process and I'm writing this up using the boats free Wifi.

Next stop, Holland and after that who knows? We have a provisional plan in mind to head North to get to Norway in time for the summer and do some walking in the Fjordlands. We've read that most of the snow is clear by the end of June which gives us a month to work our way up through Denmark, but that could all change depending on what we do or find out along the way.

For now I'll just sit and stare out of the window at the sea.....

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