We are both now (as of yesterday) officially RETIRED – or at least UNEMPLOYED! Reality is starting to dawn. No income (difficult for two accountants!) and a BIG plan with limited preparation. Yikes!
But, being a resilient and flexible couple, we will cope – perhaps with a few “bumps in the road” which we will muddle our way through!
We had a lovely meal at Toby Tobin’s Dining Room in Reigate last evening to celebrate. Christine has been to Taunton to say “au revoir” to her parents and Stephen has been enjoying his new new-found freedom with a bike ride (no surprise there, then) and pottering about at home doing sundry little jobs that move things a little bit further forward.
After we both spent a restless night thinking about all the things we still have to do we, independently, reached the conclusion that it would be infinitely better to delay our departure by a week. After all, there is nothing particularly special about the date we had chosen (11 April). So our new deadline is Saturday 18 April.
The last two days have been a move outside our comfort zone – particularly for Christine (but Stephen had to “think of other things” on a couple of occasions too!) We have been on an expeditions’ first aid program provided by Lifesigns. The aim was to give the participants a basic grounding in the skills to help and survive in situations they may encounter outside the norm. In all honesty things were not very gory (Stephen looked at all of the slides – even if he had to turn away pretty sharpish for some of them!) and, while we hope we are never in a situation to need the skills and techniques we learned, the experience will definitely prepare us should they be needed. In addition, Michael, the course leader (a thoroughly good bloke!) gave us a number of very useful suggestions and tips for our upcoming adventures.
P.S. Our thanks to our fellow participants – Ollie, Kate, Chris, Nina and Maddie – you helped to make the two days a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience.
Christine found a number of her notes from the earlier stages of the Round the Coast ride so these have been added here and here. Meanwhile we have carried on emptying the house with many books carted off to the annual book fair at Epsom Methodist Church and storing “stuff” in the loft.
And yesterday was our wedding anniversary! 31 years!! Unbelievable!!! Where has the time gone? Over a scrummy dinner at a local gastro pub the conversation inevitably centred on the forthcoming adventure and the route to be taken. We are now leaning towards reverting to Plan A and following the Loire, Rhine and Danube rivers to the Black Sea in view of the increasingly dodgy situation in Ukraine and our fears of “fallout” in Russia. But next week we may change our minds again!
Although there is an awful lot still to do it feels like we are getting somewhere on two fronts. Firstly, if you look at the Around The Coast section of this website you will see that has been considerable activity. It is partly to learn how to do this website malarkey before we go, but also so people can see what we have been up to over the last four years when we disappear off for long weekends. We have completed about 3/4 of the coast – essentially all the way from London to Edinburgh (the long way round!) but with a couple of gaps on the south coast. We have done over 4,800 km and have taken a fairly leisurely 73 days (although that does include a number of “part days” at the beginning and end of longer trips or where we were filling in “gaps”.) There are links to Christine’s thoughts at the end of each day although these are incomplete – she is trying desperately to find where she “filed” the others. These have not yet been properly proofread so apologies for typos and inadvertent spilling mistooks! There are also links to the routes on Bikely.com if you want to see where we actually went. The other element of progress is on clearing up the house ready for letting out (so that we have something to live on while we are off enjoying ourselves!) As we have lived in the house for nearly 18 years and neither of us are the tidiest of individual (stop sniggering at the back!) there is quite a lot to do! However, we ARE getting there! There have been several trips to the “dump”, Oxfam shops in Reigate and Epsom are getting significant volumes of new stock and the dustbin men do not know what has hit them!
It’s mainly about our new adventure but details of our previous escapades are also available.