Wisborough Green, West Sussex, England
It might even be a white one for us! I’m writing this from Wisborough Green, West Sussex, sitting at the dining table in Damian’s sister Davina’s house. We arrived a few days ago to -2C and fog and the weather hasn’t improved since – it couldn’t really be more of a contrast to Tonga! And why, I hear you ask, would we leave a fabulous southern summer for the grey misery of an English winter?
We’re here to visit Damian’s family, who he hasn’t seen in about five years. We’re staying at Davina’s and the rest of his family, including his ‘new’ nephew, two-year-old Joshua, all live within a few miles. I haven’t met any of them before (apart from Skype calls) so I’m on best behaviour…!
The good news is that – finally, about 10 days before we left NZ – the insurance company agreed to accept our claim ‘without prejudice, subject to the usual adjustments’.
While we were waiting for the insurance company to decide, we were running around getting quotes (in triplicate) for a new mast, sails, gel coat repairs etc etc etc. The repair list is formidable, and there has been a huge number of choices and decisions to be made: and the more we researched, and the more people we spoke to, the more confused we were.
It has been all-consuming, trying to get our heads around all the technical requirements and physical approaches to building a mast (carbon or aluminium? High modulus carbon or ‘regular’? Male mould or female mould? One piece or two? How many halyards? etc etc). Then there are the sails: do we go with what we had before or go with something different? Which of the dozens of potential sail cloths is most appropriate?
I could go into a whole lot more detail but you’re no doubt glazing over already. I know I am. It’s been fairly tedious on many fronts, but we’ve also learned a lot along the way and will certainly know it inside and out by the end of this.
We left Sel Citron parked among the Pohutakawa (NZ Christmas) trees in Whangarei. We hauled her out at Norsand Boatyard the day before we left: it felt like deja vu, having spent so many months on ‘milk crates’ there last year. She is supposed to be going into the shed next week for a new paint job, which will take 6-8 weeks – the yellow topsides are going to be re-done as they were quite badly scratched up during the dismasting. Hopefully a fair bit of the repair work will be done while we’re away. Then the mast will be ready (in theory) by about March and with luck we’ll be in the water soon after.
We will be spending Christmas around Billingshurst/Wisborough Green. With Damian’s brother, sister-in-law and two-year-old Joshua, as well as his sister, we are going to their Dad’s place on Christmas Eve, and then to his mother’s for Christmas Day lunch. It will be the first Christmas where Joshua really understands about Santa and is more interested in the presents than the wrapping! And it will be the first ‘cold’ Christmas Damian or I have had in about 25 years!
Meanwhile, they’re forecasting gale force winds (100mph) here tomorrow and another similar storm for Christmas Day. Never enough big storms, I always say…
Might have to go find some mulled wine. Already developing quite a taste for it….
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year.
PS. Click on Images in the Menu bar at the top of the page to see our full England photo album.
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