We promised ourselves that we'd not do this again. In future, we'll stay here through the winter, returning to the house just for a couple of weeks over the Christmas and New Year period. It's just too much hassle, the winterizing and de-winterizing (we had soaking wet problems again this year, replacing the water filter) and the ferrying of clothes, pots and pans and all of the other things of everyday life. We leave as much as we can on Kantara, of course, but we don't want to have two sets of clothes, two sets of kitchen utensils (Grace likes stuff which is really quite expensive, and we don't want to buy a second lot), two CD and DVD collections, two guitars, four sewing machines (we have two types) and so on. And anyway, we warm to the idea of being on the boat during the kind of winters we've had over the past five years. We're hardier now!
I've been really glad of Twitter while we've been away. It's an excellent way to keep up with what's going on across the waterways, and what numerous friends and acquaintances are doing. The weather had been a major theme for all of the time we were away. The winds and the floods hit rivers and canals very badly. I'm still not really into Facebook. I have my Tweets copied automatically to it, which my FB friends seem to enjoy, and there's a lot of interest in our canal life amongst my ex-students and colleagues.
Some poor boater, I haven't discovered which boat it is yet, has suffered a burst holding tank, an incident which has made us glad that out only internal flooding problems have been watery ones!
Though nothing to do with our marina, I was saddened to read of the death of Pete, the skipper of NB Futurest, whose blog I've followed for years. He'd been cruising solo for 82 months. A memorial service was held at Tooley's Boat Yard in Banbury. Very fitting.
A friend of ours here had to be rushed to hospital for surgery to remove a stomach cancer just a few weeks ago. I'm glad to say he's up and about now, looking well after a successful operation, and itching to do some cruising. As we all are!
How good it is to be back. People here are so friendly; there's a real community feeling amongst us. A two-minute stroll out to the car to get something from the boot that is our shed, turns into a 20-minute chat with a moorer or three. Time is rarely an issue. It's brilliant.
2016, we're back!