Christmas and New Years

Hello everyone,

We hope that your Christmas was wonderful and that 2013 will find you all healthier and happier than ever before.

This Christmas was a different one for us as we headed back to Ontario for the first time since 2002. It was about time to share that special event with our family and especially the grandchildren.

With that in mind, we headed north on Dec 15th and arrived in Tillsonburg on the 16th. I got right to work – baking cookies, decorating a tree and the house. Murray dusted and cleaned and got the house ready for company. Then we both wrapped and bagged Christmas presents to put under the tree. In this busy schedule, we found a few minutes to spend with close friends and family – one evening with George & Barb and another with Linda and Kuyler.

Jeremy, Cynthia, Matthew and Samantha arrived on the 22nd and our small house bulged at the seams. The next day, I occupied Matthew and Sammy with decorating cookies. I had never expected that they would put quite so many sparkles on just one cookie! Steve, Kath and James joined us for dinner and we all shared a huge pot of spaghetti, a meal all of the kids would eat.

On the 24th, we all packed up and had dinner at Steve’s house where James was very excited to see his cousins again. And, of course, Santa was coming the next day! The moon didn’t shine ” on the breast of new fallen snow” as there wasn’t even a skiff of snow at our house. But, eventually, all of the children were nestled all snug in their beds. And then the adults had a moment to catch their breath before tackling the balance of the things to go under the tree.

Christmas was full of excitement as the children found their presents from Santa. But then, they had to wait until James and his family arrived before opening any other presents. And, this day, James decided to have a long afternoon nap. Eventually, Mom & Dad made enough noise that he awoke. Once they arrived, we had more presents to unwrap and a wonderful meal.

Jeremy and Cynthia were taking their kids to Thornbury to visit with her Dad and Stepmom on Boxing Day. The forecast was for snow and then they changed it to a “winter storm”. So, quickly, bags were packed, the car loaded, hugs exchanged and off they went in a flurry of snowflakes. We tidied the house again, did laundry, took the tree down, packed our bags and watched the weather reports.

In the morning, we decided to head out. The roads should be cleared by then and we would take the chance. The worst bit of highway was between Ingersoll and London, with slush and snow still on the road. Beyond there, we saw many cars in the ditch and tow trucks preparing to haul them out, approximately one per mile. But the roads were very clear and we made good time. Until we hit traffic jams in the US, in Cincinnati and again north of Knoxville. The last time, we decided to stop for the night. With an early start the next day, we were soon at the marina and snug in our vee-berth.

The next two days we ran around, shopped, did laundry and made final preparations. On Dec 31st, we dropped our dock lines and headed out. Into a cold wind, of course. New Years Eve was spent at anchor near Blount Island, in the St John’s River. Today, we headed on and anchored south of St Augustine for the night. The turkey breast is cooking in the oven, champagne is cooling and life is good aboard the good ship Windswept IV.

What are our plans, you ask? Well, get south as quickly as possible to get to warmer weather. I am still hoping to be able to take my new book to the islands with us, so we may have to wait for it to be finished. Friends are waiting us all along the way and we will try to connect with as many as possible. And then, of course, cross over to the Bahamas as soon as we can. But, it is a boat. Even though we have checked and re-checked the systems, something is bound to fail and cause a delay. Oh well, that too is life aboard.

Hugs to all,
Heather & Murray