Back and Forth, Warm and Cold, Wet and Dry



Sydney finally dried out for our last couple of days and we left in perfect weather for our marathon trek to London, where we were also treated to perfect views of central London and the Thames, just as dawn broke over England. That day and the next few were about the only ones in the month of June to give us summer weather. For the rest of the month it alternately drizzled and poured. At least, however, we were spared the floods that plagued much of the North and Midlands, during the wettest June on record. Fortunately, the purpose of our visit was to visit family rather than to travel further afield than southeastern England. During the few drier spells, we had pleasant walks through the Sussex countryside and could enjoy the roses in Erika’s garden until they too succumbed to the damp. It was delightful to spend a leisurely time with Tom’s Mum, Erika, and to catch up with her friends Doreen and Hope. As a bonus, Inge, Tom’s sister managed a flying visit on  the way to speak at a symposium in Rome.





A few days at Great Bentley in Essex also gave us the chance to see Vicky’s sisters, Annabel and Fiona, and to catch up on our correspondence. It was also our first chance to see the handsome framing, arranged by Annabel, of the antique world map, which Tom’s brother, Chris, had given him the previous year.

Despite the most carefully laid plans, our return trip to Hobart felt almost as long as one of Cook’s voyages depicted on that map. Our only sight of Hong Kong was the scene outside the airport, which was rather less exotic than the view from a train pausing in Basingstoke station. In our absence, Virgin Blue had decided to drop the flight we were scheduled to take from Sydney to Hobart and we had been rebooked on a flight in the evening via Melbourne. We trudged back near midnight to find ‘Sunstone’ bobbing expectantly, but too tired to do anything but fall in our bunks. The only consolation was that we woke the next morning to crisp dry air and a view of snow on the top of Mount Wellington.






By this time ‘Sunstone’ deserved some attention and care, so we hauled out briefly on the well-remembered RYCT slipway for a quick scrub and anode change. There were enough other maintenance jobs to keep us busy and out of trouble when we weren’t socialising with Hobart friends. Vicky was also plotting a week long Tassie Tour in which every moment would be filled with activity, sights and photo opportunities.


The weather throughout July was distinctly cool and our Dickinson heater was permanently alight. We also discovered the bike track to the north of Hobart, which was just right for aging limbs as it is gently graded, running as it does alongside railway lines.

To keep our brains at least slightly active we also gave a talk at the Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS) – the challenge on this occasion being the use of Power Point instead of the slides we had always used in the past.






While ‘Sunstone’ was idling away the winter we took our race fixes on ‘Lock on Wood’, a lively Half-Tonner owned and sailed by Peter Geeves, Vice-Commodore of the DSS. Peter and his partner Noni were kindness itself to us. We thoroughly enjoyed their company and their generous hospitality.