Wow, it has been a while, and loyal followers, I apologize.
I am on the north east coast of England, having made the journey in September along the coast from Eyemouth, to Amble, then to Newcastle, stopping at Blythe overnight. (and that was long enough!)
Amble and area was enjoyable, and there is a great boatyard there, but they didn’t get back to me about the work, and there are no bell towers anywhere nearby. Staying for the winter with little to do would be less fun than I wish. Amble has lots nearby to see, and I spent a day at Alnwick, wandering the castle grounds, and visiting the greatest used bookstore I have ever been in.
Newcastle was great, and I stayed there for 3 weeks, exploring the area, ringing bells at every tower I could get to, and enjoying a very secure and peaceful mooring at St. Peter’s Basin marina. The ringers made me very welcome, and it was great to get back to lots of involvement in that community. I rang at Jesmond, Fenham, North Shields, the Cathedral, and Gosforth. I also spent a significant time trying to find an appropriate boatyard for the planned winter works. St. Peter’s basin has no facilities, so onward.
I am staying in Hartlepool for the winter. There is a good boatyard with (especially) someone with a reasonable quote to repaint the boat. There are 4 local towers, and an enthusiastic community of ringers of all ages. The marina is large, well serviced, and affordable, especially considering the easy access to shopping, facilities, attractions, and things to do. In the same marina is the second oldest floating warship (HMS Trincomalee) and the national Royal Navy museum. More on that in a later posting.
The boat was out of the water for a month, and I was very busy assisting with the cleaning, supervising, coffee provision, and removal of the foredeck. The hull is repainted and the boat back in the water as of Monday. The foredeck and upperworks will be completed in the new year, as the weather (even for Hartlepool, I’m told) was very foul. However, I had ringing at least 6 times each week, so am actually starting to improve again.
I will take a break from boatwork, and off to Canada for about 6 weeks of visiting with family and friends.
Merry Christmas to all of you who have taken the time and effort to persevere and follow this blog. Thanks. Post a message if you are frustrated when I don’t post!