What a busy couple of months we've just had. We've only recently finished
re-painting the boat and are just about ready to re-launch. We arrived into Carlingford on the 21st of June and moved all
our stuff off the boat and went to live with my mum in Newry. Then we stripped all the fittings off the outside of the boat
and the masts. We re-painted a fair bit of the inside and refurbished the mast and dinghy. This left us with grit blasting
the hull and deck which we managed in about 10 days just before the recent good weather got going. It was hard work especially
as we are now 12 years older than when we did the job before! There were some complaints from other boats in the yard but
none from the marina residents down below for which we were very thankful. The good weather started in earnest as we were
doing our painting which was great as the epoxy paint needs high temperatures to cure properly. We put on about 16 gallons
of paint with nothing bigger than a 2" brush! I think we might sell the boat if we ever need to do it all again!! However
the job is done now and the boat is in tiptop condition. There were no unexpected horrors lurking under the old paint either.
Over the last week we have been putting all the stuff back on board again; making strenuous efforts to limit the amount
of extraneous gear. We are only away for a year this time and after a year's re-fit the "to do" list should be quite small.
It's hard leaving tools and books behind as we've always had everything necessary on board before - we've had to be very self
sufficient in some of the places we've been. Peter refuses to leave the welder behind though!
For our final days in norn iron we will be berthed up the Newry canal outside the quays shopping centre. We will be there
from Tuesday 26th until Monday 01 September when we depart, so if you happen to be down this way stop by - you might get a
wee job to do as well. RTE television are coming on the Monday to film our departure for Nationwide so come and wave us off
if you want your mug on the telly. Departure is scheduled for about 14.00 from Newry and our first night should be at Carlingford.
We have 3 crew for the first month, all from the website so even though it took a fair bit of time to do that and a lot
of time answering silly emails and spamming people it was well worth it. It takes a lot of courage, I reckon, to send off
600 quid to a bank account number which only has a couple of pictures and a mobile phone number for reference.
It's hard to believe that we've been back more than a year now. Time seems to shrink when you're in it compared to what
you see stretching ahead of you. I didn't mind the winter so much but Peter says he's unlikely to spend another one here;
too miserable and dark. Hard to know what we will do when we return next September. Carrickfergus is a little drab to contemplate
another stay - never mind being expensive.