We woke this morning to a very different view, looking out over a friends lovely garden and stunning English countryside, with the sun shining on an early autumn day. It smelt great too – when before had we even noticed the smell of an English garden. We walked through the countryside to the pub, picked apples to make a crumble and watched the rugby on a proper TV. Yes it seems we are back in the UK.
We felt surprisingly bereft at leaving Raya tied to the dock in Las Palmas. We checked the bilge pump, the electrics and all the lines were secure as possible, about a hundred times but still nervously looked back as we walked away up the pontoon. This will be the first time, since we moved on board, that we have left her for more than a night or two but once we were at the airport the excitement of seeing friends and family took over, we have a busy couple of weeks ahead.
As we flew up the Portuguese coast and then across Biscay the sea far below looked calm and inviting. Four and a half hours on the plane, against five months of adventure by yacht, those two facts are somehow difficult to equate.
Arriving in the UK did feel strange, so familiar and yet slightly foreign, as did wearing long trousers, socks and jumpers. We went straight out into the Friday night traffic on the M25, but we were in no rush and the sun as shining for us.
Now we are here we are revelling in all those small things we have missed. Having a shower with high water pressure that you can stand under for as long as you like is a real treat and today we have actually had a bath. Watching proper TV with choices of programmes is a pleasure and the prospect of unlimited internet is exciting. Real ale, cider, sausages and sunday roast all sound delicious and the greeness of our surroundings is lovely. Shops where everything is recognisable and written in English will be a relief and last but not least there is the delight of toilets where you can flush the toilet paper.