Saturday, March 31, 2012

We are now Liveaboards plus 1st visit to the vet!

Tonight is our 2nd night aboard Caxton. Yesterday we picked up the dogs and cats from Heathrow animal reception centre, the dogs went mental like never before.....Bombo was howling....he never howls! It was such a relief that they all arrived safe and sound.

We decided just before we left Oz that we would try and find a cattery to put the cats in as it was just too much to put them on the boat for a few days then take them to Macclesfield and then back to the boat all in a week. We  found a cattery near Billing Aquadrome, so they are there till Easter Saturday.

Next stop was Fedex at Wellingborough to pick up a package we sent last week from Oz, next we met up with brother Russ and Tracey and went to Caxton.....Elaine absolutely loves it, Russell ran through the boat systems with me, I still cant get my head around the Mastervolt charging system! It was now dark so we had a Chinese take away and a late night.

I was up very early this morning ( Jet lag) and took the dogs for a walk around Yardlay Gobian at 6.30am. Elaine was up and unpacking when I got back, I proceeded to familiarise myself with the boat. After a couple of hours we noticed that Sam the dog was behaving very strangely and appeared to be having a fit and his back legs were paralysed! Big panic....rang Russell and he found a vet in Milton Keynes, by the time we got there he was much improved but very agitated, the vet couldn't find anything obvious but gave him a anti inflammatory jab. We reckon he may have been stung by a stinging nettle, he is a very sensitive little dog, they don't have stinging nettles in Oz, they only have killer spiders and snakes. Now thankfully he is much improved. We think they have doggie jetlag, they are sleeping an awful lot.

Next stop Milton Keynes shopping centre and with Russell and Traceys local knowledge and bargaining power we now have a new phone, wifi setup, dinner set, vacumn cleaner, towels and sheets and of course a cuddly toy!
When we got back to the boat I changed the drive belt on the domestic alternator and adjusted the other two, hoovered  the boat, plus lit the fire on the second attempt!

Elaine continued unpacking, unpacked our purchases, tidied up and played with her new phone plus we set up the wifi. We also had a few drinks with dinner and now we are absolutely buggered.

Tomorrow we are going for the maiden voyage.....

Bedtime said Zebedee


Thursday, March 29, 2012

A quick recap

... of the week our lives changed !

Just one week ago we left our house in Freshwater, Sydney, Australia ...
From this - our old house - just one week ago
...then went to live in the warehouse with our animals ...
The penthouse
 ... then just yesterday took our last remaining furnishings to the tip ...
Paul's ute does its last trip to the tip
... the warehouse office returned to its former glory ...

.... then we were just down to this pile of baggage  !

... the animals were whisked away efficiently by Skypets - they had to go in the morning, so that they could have their final health checks done 24 hours prior to travel ...

Poor boys ...

... and now we are in the UK - having arrived this morning after a great trip on a Qantas A380.  We are staying at the hotel Ibis, just hanging out waiting for the boys to arrive tomorrow ...

This is the view from our bedroom window - so we should be able to see the boys land tomorrow morning at 5.30am ...

Tomorrow we will take the cats to a cattery for a week (Plan D!) - as we decided it would be too stressful for them to drag them from the Airport to the boat and then to Macclesfield and then back to the boat again ... the dogs, however, will love it!

Oh yes, the boat - tomorrow we will go to the boat- and spend our first night aboard !!!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish*

We are now at Sydney airport awaiting the big bird.

The dogs and cats were picked up this morning and would have to go down as one of life's more traumatic experiences; as much as we told them that we would see them soon they just didn't get it!!  I think we can now honestly say we will not be back in Oz till they have all shuffled off this mortal coil!  It is way too hard to say goodbye to them and put them through all this - as expected, mind you !

Elaine finally had the much anticipated breakdown at Sydney airport after we had checked in.....she rang her Aunty for a final chat and that was it ... the flood gates opened !  Myself, I feel fantastic, probably due to having a few bevvies - or maybe my breakdown will come later !!!

So - with that we bid farewell to Aus - we have 45 mins 'til take off - it has been an amazing country to live in - indeed, the land of opportunity

.... pity about the crap drivers ... 'but' !!!

*Ref Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy !

Toodloo for now ...

Paul and Elaine :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Last full day in Oz

We had a bit of a lie in today after another full day and late night last night.

First stop was to the local car wash where the ute had a full detail before I hand it over to my replacement at work (Rocky)

They did a really nice job.

 Whilst we were there we also met up with another old friend and my ex tennis foe- Johnnie. I never could beat him grrrrrrrr. We also popped around another old friends house to say goodbye to Andrea. They are off to the UK in September so hopefully we will hook up.  
 We then bought some food and went to Little Manly Beach where I had my last pose next to my beloved ute........I loved that firetruck!
 It was a glorious day at Little Manly and being a week day deserted, it was always our favourite beach as it was a harbour beach so it it a lot calmer and protected plus it is off the tourist trail,
 We sat there for about 1.5 hours and had a good old reminisce.
We are now back at the warehouse and doing the final packing of the suitcases and carry-on baggage, could be another weight problem methinks.
The animals are being picked up in the morning at 8.00am and we head off to the airport at midday.

I will try and do a final Aussie blog from the airport tomorrow, if not

Farewell Australia Its been FUN !!!!!!!!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

1st Day of Retirement

Today  was the first day of my retirement! Not sure if it will be permanent, we will have to see how our investment choices turn out!
We were up reasonably early, mainly due to all the lads arriving for work, we are living in the spare office at work remember. The boss has kindly let me still use the ute so we went off down to Manly to divert the post, change the address on our drivers licences, pick up Elaine's new glasses, drop more crap off at the op shop and finally check up on our wills.....remember we are flying on the A380 and I am sure the cracks aren't getting any smaller!

We got back to work at lunchtime so we took the dogs for a walk to the park and to get some lunch there.

Behind the warehouse there is a canal, its really a storm water drain but hey its similar    

 It even has sofas dumped in it, and like its English cousin is a bit short of water!
 It is a nice park backing onto Pittwater, during the weekend it is full of screaming rugrats but today was perfect, it was deserted.
 We had lunch at the Flying Fox cafe, which is a dog friendly cafe.
 The boys had a quick pose, and then it was back to the warehouse where I am doing the blog and Elaine is having an afternoon nap.
Here's to many more afternoon naps!

Tonight we are off to another farewell dinner, tomorrow is our last full day in Oz and Wednesday is up up and away! 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

So much to blog about ....

... but we have had so little time to do it !!

Elaine here - and here is a bit of a recap of the last week (or so !) Russell, Frank, Tracy, Kim and Chris delivered Caxton safely to its new mooring - here are a couple of pics from along the way and also a pic of it tied up - just waiting for us !!!  (I think Russ said they tackled 127 locks - way above and beyond the call of duty ... but glad it wasn't me on our maiden voyage !)

Caxton at the Cube in Birmingham

Waterfall !

Visitor - our dogs are gonna go mad when they see swans !
Caxton - ready and waiting !

As for things on this side of the world - we have now vacated our house and are residing at Paul's work - in a spare office on top of the warehouse !

Last week the removalists came to pick up our many and various boxes ... the truck managed to get up our hill of a driveway - only took out 3 tree branches on the way up too !
A few of the boxes we have sent to storage !
Boxes we have shipped - sorry Daddy and Trev !
Removal truck driving up driveway !
Parked up - having done a neat reverse turn at the top - also plenty of rocks under the wheels !
After the removal truck went I set about cleaning out the kitchen and bathroom cupboards ... and scrubbing them clean !  Note to self - become a 'spring-cleaner' from time to time ... some of those cupboards were rotten !

Then on Wednesday night, we said goodbye to the little Suzuki ...

Going, going ... 
Gone !  Enjoy it Em !  (PS:  Why did no-one tell me I had my slippers on !)

Thursday was our last day in the house - we still had plenty to do ... so Paul had the day off work.

We still had a few furniture deliveries to do also ... I will be so happy to never have to deliver any more furniture !!  We cleaned and sorted and packed and repacked (and realised we still had too much to fit in the suitcases, so we had to pack yet another box to air freight ... already air freighted one box - sorry Russ - here comes another one !)

It was really wierd to see our house so empty (and echoey!) ... but we decided it would probably have sold better empty ... the rooms actually looked quite big!
Front room cleared and cleaned !
 By 7.30 pm, we had done one trip up with our stuff to our new abode at Mona Vale and had to head back to the house to pack up the rest.  It was just starting to rain and Paul was determined he wasn't going to do another trip (its about 30 mins drive up to Mona Vale) - so we packed everything in the ute and stuck the bed and mattress on top of it all !  We must have looked like the Beverly Hillbillies driving up that night ... cats in the back, me and the dogs in the front and a tray full of stuff - topped off with our mattress - getting slightly damp in the rain !

Switching off the last light switches and saying goodbye to the place was a big tear jerker ...:( 
Last drive down our driveway !
 We finally got up to Mona Vale and unpacked ... here is a pic of our new temporary accommodation - pretty flash or what ?!
Bed, cat and dog crates and cat litter tray ...
... what more do you need in life ?!
 We hit the sack finally about 11.30 pm on Thursday night ... quite tired and emotional !

On Friday, it was Paul's last day at work ... he didn't have far to go ...
View from my 'penthouse' window ... there is Paul and his boss !

... and there he is - hard at it on his last day !
 On Friday morning I took the dogs for a long walk - we have been neglecting their walks of late as we have been so busy - so they were quite tired at the end of it !  The cats weren't happy with their new place - poor little William was hiding under the covers of the bed the whole day and the other two (Geoffrey and Jaffa) were hiding in various places ...
... and here is Paul after work ... crashed out with Bombo !  Do you like our bedside cabinets ?!
 Paul only had 2 mins lie down after work because they had a work do planned for him (yes, another one!) ... the guys set up a barbie in the car park and got the beer and wine in ... we started about 4 pm and finished up about 8.30 pm - by which time we were very blurry !!!

Car park barbie !

Paul got a lovely bell bought for him from Scott ... it is also engraved 'The Manly Ferry'

Paul is very excited about that bell ... why do I suspect it is going to be used to call me to lock duty !

In between all the merriment, the Fed Ex man came to take our last air freight box ... wish we had packed the bell in it !
...  on its way to you Russell !

The A-Team !
Even the dogs came down to join in the fun !

It is now Sunday afternoon ... yesterday we did another couple of furniture deliveries and went to visit our friends Olof and Jane - who sorted out a few hiccups on our new laptop for us!  Yesterday afternoon, we sold the last bit of our furniture - the little sofa - yay - it's gone !!!  Last night we went for dinner with our lovely friends, Pat and Martin ... Pat made us an amazing meal - just what we needed !

This lunch time I went to the Newport Arms to farewell my beautiful friends Anne, Louise, Sonia, Krista and Karen (and little Sage!).  I thought I would be bawling my eyes out but I feel wierdly detached from everything at the moment - which I am sure is some kind of defence mechanism - as there is still stuff to get done - just don't have time to be a blubbering wreck yet !!

Sage - with the biggest lolly !

Krista, Sonia, Louise, Anne and Karen

Sonia, Louise, Anne, Karen and me !

Tonight we are off our to dinner to farewell our friends Mick, Pattie, Liz, Phil, Sue and Howard ...  and that's us - up to date !  Only two more days here, then we will say tata to our animals til we see them again at Heathrow ... more on that later !

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Farewell to our Friends

Saturday afternoon we had drinks at our favourite watering hole, the Manly 16ft Skiff Club. We started at 3.00pm and carried on till late at night.

We had a great time with our long-time Aussie mates, actually 90% poms!

Hopefully it wont be too long before they come a visiting Englands green and pleasant land.