Back on dry land by JoJo

Summer 2015, back in the UK

After our mad dash to Grenada and a quick pack up of Island Swift (hope we did a good job) we were back in the UK just in time.  Simon's Dad was very ill and sadly died two days after we got back. He was at home with all his family around him.  I am just so very grateful that we got back in time, and that we were not in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, which had been the plan.  Simon then spent two lovely sunny afternoons with his Mum, Elsie. Sadly she suddenly got very ill and died a few days later, exactly one week after Ken.  So very sad for us all, but so romantic for them after being married for 67 years.  I loved Ken and Elsie very much and was not prepared for how emotional I became. They had a beautiful joint funeral.

Ken and Elsie

Ken and Elsie reading a letter that Simon sent, just a few weeks before they died
What a culture shock it has been to be back on land.  It makes the last ten months feel like a dream.  Did we really buy a boat and sail all that way?  Everyone has been so welcoming and lovely.  The children were wildly excited to see their friends, cousin Kesha and their 'stuff'.  I am still calling the bathroom the 'heads' and the kitchen the 'galley'.  It's a marvel to have fresh running water, baths, fridge, electric, internet and space. Space to do something without having to work around someone else.

The shops are full of treats: apples, malt loaf, grapes, tahini...  I don't have to weather-watch any more, but I am still keeping an eye out for hurricanes.  For the first time in 10 months I can sleep soundly without being aware of the boat.  My brain in not constantly planning the next passage or thinking up alternative plans in case the wind changes direction.  Very strange.  

Circus tent down
But it's cold! Simon has tried hard to keep wearing his shorts and I have finally found a jumper.  The children have been swimming, surfing and kayaking but complaining about the cold much more than before!  Simon has got the Pacer dinghy shipshape and the boys are taking turns sailing her during club sailing nights. Lochlann is ecstatic to be able to play his piano again and Finbar is locked away in his room studying calculus. Life goes on as a normal.  Well not exactly, this is the first summer we have not worked in 25 years!  Or to put it another way, we are celebrating our 25th year as a street theatre company. 

Circus tent up

So we are starting to think about work again.  Finbar, Lochlann and Kesha performed 'The Creatures' at Mazey Day in Penzance recently and have booked themselves into Port Elliot Festival at the end of July.  This is a stilt walkabout show that we developed for Mazey Day many years ago.  The last time we performed these characters was with Finbar and Lochlann in Egypt.  It is a bit strange seeing them perform and us watching and keeping them safe.  Taking time off from working has given us the space to decide what we want to do.  Do we still want to work?  After 25 years we realised that we do still want to make, perform and tour shows, just maybe not as intensively as in the past.  So, Simon and I have been planning a new show for 2016.  Lots to do to make it happen.

Over the last 25 years very little maintenance has been done on our house, which has become the scruffiest in the street.  So it is now time to start  working on the house.  We might even manage to get it to a point where we could rent it out!  Simon is very busy working on the windows and the exterior, while I am supposed to sort out all our stuff inside!  This is a massive job, particularly as the boys want to keep everything.

Three sitting on the tent
But I am missing our beautiful little boat and the outdoor life.  To make me feel better Simon has done a fantastic job at transforming our back yard into somewhere we would want to spend some time.  It's lovely and makes a bit difference.  Having never been in the house in the summer, I did not realise how much sun it actually got!

Another sad bit of news was that my 96 year-old great aunt has died.  She was the last of the older generation in my family and a wonderful lady.  She was a headmistress for many years and was well loved by many of her pupils.  All of us learnt to love her as children, even though we were also a bit scared of her.  She had wonderful family stories to tell and I feel that my world is a sadder place with out her being in it.

Lochlann reading on the tent
We are planning to visit our French house in a few weeks.  Then back to Cornwall for Simon's sister Miranda's wedding to Keith at the end of August.  They will be using our circus tent that holds about 250 people.  One of the first things we did on getting back was to check if our lovely tent was still in good condition (having not used it for about 10 years!).  We put it up in Miranda's field.  It was wonderful to see it up again.  So many memories of performing shows in it.
Finbar has his Open University exam in September, and we have two weeks working in Wales performing 'The Last Illusion' during October.
Then in November we will be heading back to the sun, rum and sailing of the Caribbean.
We are so very, very lucky.
Written by JoJo, May 215

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