Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Plan B it is.
It' been a grim few months About month ago we returned to Tyneside, possibly for the final time. Gill's sister met us and we had a little ceremony on Marsden beach and scattered Denis's ashes at one of his favourite spots.
Afterwards Gill and I lingered for a few more days to complete clearing the house. The experience has been wholly demoralising, worse in some ways than the funeral itself. The sight of treasured possessions piled up for auction or to be collected by a 're-cycling' charity was so sad and sobering.
Before we left Gill signed the house sale papers at the solicitors and handed the keys to the estate agent. Now there is nothing in the way of completion other than a temporary delay in a transaction further down the chain. The hope is everything will be resolved by the end of the September.
Since mid-August the weather has been atrocious, lots of unseasonably cold days with viscious thundery downpours. We did manage a day trip to Shrewsbury which we liked so much we immediately put it on the 'shall we move here' list despite the place being miles from the sea and almost as far from Dover as Buxton.
Other than that, apart from short walks locally we have not used the moho or even got out on the bikes. Since there is no pressing reason to be around when the sale house goes through, tomorrow we head off for a ten week jaunt through France, Spain and Portugal. Hopefully we'll squeeze in a visit to Sarah and Rob in Lisbon - their exciting plans are coming to fruition, Sarah left work last Friday, Rob finishes this Friday and then off they go towards a new life in Lisbon in a little over a week's time.
Our 'plan A' was to travel through Corsica and Sardinia this autumn and return via Bologna and Lake Garda. It has been postponed until April - June next year. We figured that though the house sale seems assured, nothing is certain until all the papers are signed and exchanged. If the sale was to fall through then Gill would need to be on hand the complete any new legal documents. In Spain or Portugal you are never more than a day's journey from a regional airport connected to Manchester by a budget carrier. It seems more sensible to be travelling in Iberia than a Mediterranean island like Corsica or Sardinia. Our plan is to head down the west of France quite quickly, reaching the Mediterranean coast a little south of Tarragona in early October. We are hoping for a bit of late season warmth to chase southwards towards the Algarve.
So, that's our plan B - home in late November via the Bilbao to Portsmouth crossing. We will be re-visiting many places we have been to before - breaking our 'to boldly go' rule - however, quite a number of them we have not seen for thirty years or more. Really with that time gap it's like visiting anew, not only will the place have changed but, like 'Dr. Who,' the Pete and Gill of thirty five years ago are virtually different 'incarnations' of ourselves. Out of respect to a 'previous Pete' I have packed my decades old bodyboard. Will I have the nerve to brave the Atlantic surf like I used to? Not sure, but if I don't take the board I will never find out - so, in it goes into the moho garage.