Going home and coming back again

4 December 2017 to 12 January 2018

Along this journey we talk a lot about where “home” is. People are always asking us “where are you from?” Sometimes we say the UK, sometimes we narrow it down to England, sometimes we pin it down further to London but sometimes we just point to Pintail and say “over there”.

Both of us agree that over the past 18 months Pintail has very definitely become home. We have adjusted completely to the quirks of living on a sailboat and find it incredibly comforting that although outside the scenery is constantly changing below deck are all the familiar comforts of home. However, after a long nine months with only the occasional night away from her we were ready for an extended break from our floating home and some quality time back in the UK with family and friends.

Having left Crete in about 20 degrees and arriving to 2 degrees at Gatwick, adjusting to the temperature and to putting on socks and boots every day took some doing. We quickly dug our winter woolies out of the attic and bought new thermal vests.

To make us feel very Christmassy indeed we even had some snow whilst we were in Wanstead. For one day we enjoyed walking around our old neighbourhood in the white stuff. Meg wasn’t so convinced but it was all gone by the next day.

We left Pintail before we had a chance to put up her Christmas tree and lights so thank you to everyone who shared their homes and their decorations with us to get us in the festive spirit.

With our family and friends there were all the hallmarks of a very traditional British Christmas: silly hats, silly games, sprouts and slime!

Stefan even managed to catch the traditional Christmas lurgy and retreated to bed on Boxing Day leaving me with a chance to catch up on some museum time.

Having spent my childhood on the edge of Winnie the Pooh’s home on the Ashdown Forest a trip to his exhibition at the V&A with my family was a must.

Amongst the original artefacts and drawings from the stories were interactive and audio visual displays

which we threw ourselves into with an enthusiasm Tigger would be proud of, dressing up as Christopher Robin and playing imaginary pooh sticks.

When I spent time in Crowborough with Mum and Dad it had been reassuring to find that the Forest is indeed still there, even if it was far to cold and muddy for a walk to the Enchanted Place.

For the first time since Lisbon I also got to have a Kippsy art date, this time to the Rachel Whiteread exhibition at Tate Britain. We loved her resin doors and windows and her hot water bottles were brilliantly nostalgic.

Whilst there we also got our fix of Henry Moore, Derek Jarman and some Turner that made me grateful Pintail was safe on the hard in Agios Nikolaos.

As well as spending lots of time with our families we also got to catch up with lots of friends and old work colleagues to catch up on all the news

including Stefan’s gorgeous goddaughter, Charlotte, and her new brother, Jack. Life is definitely not standing still for everyone whilst we are away.

It was good to spend time with our favourite people in our favourite places and favourite haunts.

But after all the visiting and catching up we were exhausted and I turned to Stefan one day about a week before we were due to fly back to Crete and said “I just want to go home”.

Crowborough, Wanstead, London will always feel like home but Pintail was very definitely where we wanted to come home to…