It is confirmed, Klaas and Lynne are home. Klaas is 10kg heavier and his dog Wolfie is 5kg heavier. Now to fix that. Klaas reckons it won’t be a problem.

Thanks to CPS a parking company who stored the kayak for me for nothing right near where the Queen Mary 2 docked. Unfortunately I dropped the kayak on the wing mirror of the Audi when I picked it up, so have had to do a repair job.The van needs a fair bit of work as well so that is all good fun. UK people are really helpful but space is limited everywhere. The van is around the corner in a yard so it is an 800m round trip every time I go there. That doesn’t sound like much but try it with the tools at the house and attempting to fit a piece of timber across an odd shape. I guess after a few trips you either think near enough is good enough or you get better at guessing. It is the smallest I could get but I like it and it’s easy to tow.

As with any new country it is difficult to find where to get things. The local Homebase hardware shop is what I would call boutique. There are lots of different things, even some bedding and electrical goods, but it is about a quarter the size of a decent Bunnings. No drive through for timber, pavers, cement and the like. So too the car parts place. I haven’t found anything like a decent Supercheap yet. Most things, like tools, adhesives, timber, hinges, screws, rope etc are more in pounds than our prices are in dollars. At £1 = $2.20 that means they are more than 2.2 times the price. I think we might be spoilt in OZ.

Staying at Trevor and Marilyn’s is more like staying with family than friends. They are great except Marilyn treats me too well, and I also have the bonus of one of their sons, Simon, who is here. Simon was 8 last time I saw him. Trevor was my boss in Libya in 1977, which doesn’t seem that long ago really. He is a great engineer but has been retired for 7 years and does other fun stuff now. The photo of him with his MG that he rebuilt yonks ago has him dressed in his Concord uniform with a British Airways tie. He shows people through the one at the museum one day per week. He is also an assistant lock keeper and boat builder – all voluntary.

Note the kayak on the Audi Quattro. The racks need another bit of work but it is all coming along nicely.

My plan is to start paddling 13th August so no significant posts until then.

The little ship lines up next to the big one2015-07-20 20.34.43

This isn’t gonna work. They shoved it in the baggage loading hole further back. Would have been no problem if that extra landing wasn’t there2015-07-20 20.47.19

Klaas feeling pleased with himself for pretending he needed a wheelchair which got us priority boarding2015-07-20 21.53.18

Leaving Manhattan behind2015-07-21 06.49.01

Outside Trevor and Marilyn’s at Staines2015-08-04 13.49.53