A Travellerspoint blog

Inspirations

and the end of the road

all seasons in one day 7 °C
View The Turkish bit.. on ackers888's travel map.

This next entry will be quite difficult to write, but it will be my final blog because I have returned to work this week.

I have been humbled by two things during the year I was travelling.

Firstly, I have been left absolutely in awe and have the utmost love, respect and admiration for beautiful Lois. Lois knew from mid-2008 that she was terminally ill but chose to live her last few months to the fullest that she could and I was proud to spend nearly every waking hour by Lois's side during the last months of her life. It was incredible to witness the way she handled herself.

The one thing that struck me during those times, was that Lois kept on smiling despite knowing what was happening to her. You only have to look at the photographs to see how happy she was. Lois was totally focused on squeezing every ounce of life from the time she had left. She swam as much as she could when we were sailing in Turkey until she found that too hard. When we arrived in Thailand, we walked in the jungle to see the wildlife, rode elephants and visited the local sights, all with a dogged determination not to miss a thing.

When we arrived in New Zealand, Lois was afraid to get on a motorbike because she was finding it hard to walk, but I persuaded her to hop on the back of my bike as a pillion, the last time on Christmas Day, so that she could enjoy the thrill of the perfect Kiwi biking roads. We also went to the top of Mount Ruapehu, walked in the podocarp forests and spent many hours seeking out whatever natural hot springs we could so she could soak up the natural thermals and minerals. Even when Lois was being given treatment at Auckland Cty hospital in January, we went for daily walks in the city parks and along the beaches chatting and laughing, enjoying meals out, karaoke and playing pool. Thank you Katy Duncan, Sarah Hoyle, Maria Pearce and the staff at the Domain Lodge for helping us through this time.

Finally, when Lois realised she had achieved all she wanted, Lois chose to take on the arduous journey of travelling back to the UK to see her family before she left us. One of the last things Lois did, was to pay a visit to Harewood Forest to look at the snowdrops. Her father Derek organised the taxi to drive us there, and Lois was very happy to see the beautiful spring flowers emerging. Lois passed away peacefully on 24th February 2009, less than 3 weeks after we returned to the UK.

We should all take one thing from the book of Lois, and that is despite what is thrown at you, we should grasp life to the full. Don't worry about things that are not important. Do the best you can in everything you do, and most of all, be happy. I have been inspired by the way that Lois led her life during the last few months and am immensely proud that she chose me as her husband and took me into her life.
Lois at Raglan

Lois at Raglan

I would like to thank a lot of people, but especially; Lesley (Lois's sister) for helping me to nurse Lois at the end, Luke (Lois's brother) for pulling out all the stops and building the disabled friendly Lodge, and finally my utmost gratitude to Margaret and Derek (Lois's parents) for allowing Lois and I to fly off on our travels when I am sure they would rather have wrapped her up at home in cotton wool.

I spent a couple of months on my own before, as you know, spending the summer travelling a little bit more. This has helped me to recover from the physical and emotional ride of the last year. I tried to visit as many family and friends as possible to help them deal with what has happened, but also to let them know that I am ok and the healing has begun. I am not saying life is hunky dory, but the signs are looking good. It will take much time for me to live with what has happened, but I am getting there. Going back to work has been both daunting and good. Daunting in having to revert to the 9 to 5 routine and commuting, but good to see familiar friends.

Paul

Paul


Finally The second humbling thing is the incredible fact that there have been nearly 25,000 people reading this blog. At first it was a trickle, but within a few weeks, the floodgates opened, and I have to thank every one of you because you motivated me to keep the blog going, and to keep travelling. Your messages were very encouraging and enjoyable to read and they spurred me on. Thank you to all you blog readers, I hope that you enjoyed each of the entries.

I will leave you with one of my favourite photographs, a Buddha, quietly smiling behind a flower in Thailand: Thank you everyone.
Buddha smiles

Buddha smiles

Posted by ackers888 15:01 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

I fell In

much to the amusement of the crew !

sunny 28 °C

I forgot to mention on my Turkish blog that I fell in.... It had been a hard days sailing, and in the evening we arrived at coldwater bay, an Idyllic spot where you anchor off and take a line ashore. There are no roads in or out, and the only restaurant is a short paddle away in the yachts dinghy.

AFter some slow food service, and fairly quick beer service, we all ended up a little tipsy. Being the skipper, and clearly the most responsible person, I decided that I would take the painter at the front of the dinghy when we paddled back in the dark so that I could be the first aboard the yacht and gallantly help the others up. Contrary to my usual habit of tying the dinghy to the yacht before boarding, valour got the better of me, and as I knew better, I simply grabbed the ladder at the back of the yacht and started to step up. I hadn't reckoned on the fact that there was a bit of a swell, and at that moment, the yacht pitched up, the dinghy pitched down, and they separated, with me hanging on betwixt the two. The yacht and dinghy parted company gracefully and I eagerly tried to bridge the gap.

Sadly for me, the back of the yacht was a tad wet, and I slid slowly, but calmly down the transom..and promptly plopped into the murky (but warm) waters below. The last thing I heard before disappearing under the waves, was raucous laughter from the three most unhelpful crew in the dinghy. They described the scene as that of a cat scurrying frantically to hold onto a sheet of ice.

I could have sworn as I slipped below I felt a helping hand on the top of my head push me under. Needless to say, I bobbed up a few seconds later, glasses and flip flops still in-situ but I had lost my camera from my top pocket, and my mobile phone took an unhealthy glug of salt water which started to fizz the battery and elctrics. Fortunately for me, I had put the swimming ladder down before we went out (something I always do) and I stepped aboard in fits of laughter.

To compound matters, I ruined my mobile phone which was in my pocket, and dropped my digital camera to the bottom of the sea. In the morning, I spotted the camera on the sandy bottom, so I promptly donned my snorkel and fins, dived into what I thought was a couple of metres of water, only to find it was more like four metres deep, and on the way back up, having grabbed the camera, I bust my eardrum...very painful, and foolish. But I did get the SD card out of the by now ruined camera and have the photos to prove it...

Posted by ackers888 15:59 Archived in Turkey Tagged boating Comments (0)

Blissful Sailing in Skopea Limani

a week away in the sun in Turkey on Able Tasman

sunny 30 °C

Hi folks, it's been a little while since I updated the blog because I have been busy moving back into my house. But I was fortunate enough to be able to use Able Tasman, Malcolm and Lauren's lovely yacht (thank you Malcolm and Lauren), in Gocek for a great week's sailing in the sun.

With my crew of Marion, Chris and Alison assembled, we duly flew out to Turkey in two batches, Alison and I on 9th Sep, Marion and Chris on 12th. The first couple of days Alison and I prepared the yacht for the upcoming voyage. The first couple of days when Alison and I were victualling the weather was stormy..thunderstorms and torrential rain, which meant that we were unable to do any sailing. But being short handed that wouldn't have really been an option anyway, so it was with some fortune, when Marion and Chris arrived, that the clouds cleared, and the sun came out for the rest of the week.

I'll dispense with the details of where and when we went to places, suffice to say, we sailed every day of the week, with the winds being kind to us. In the week we had the canvas out for most of the time, and only had to motor in and out of ports, remote bays and blissful locations.

Here are some pictures to wet your appetites...

the yacht moored up:
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filling up with provisions:
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The skipper (Me) on the bow looking for danger:

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Marion relaxes in a local cafe

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Alison dutifully fills up with water before departure

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then decides to play to the bow
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then Chris played on the bow

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Whilst the local chicken ran round headless:
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and the ducks kept the water off their backs:
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we spent many hours at the helm, swimming in remote bays and generally chilling out:
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we had plenty of time to do some local sight seeing, including shopping at Fethiye market:
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as well as time to experience life at the helm for each of us:
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all in all a great week was had, the company was good fun, we all had a lovely time and I now have some more volunteer crew for future trips... :o)

Posted by ackers888 11:07 Archived in Turkey Tagged cruises Comments (0)

The Blog

was it worth it?

semi-overcast 20 °C

Just a quick note to say that I am still alive and kicking, but want to say that I am fascinated by the fact that my blog has attracted Nearly 21,000 visits ! I am amazed at how many people have been following this story, and really appreciate the comments and support that everyone has provided throughout the time. I am about to embark (excuse the pun) on my next jolly, 10 days sailing in the Mediterranean, and will provide pictures and a new entry shortly after. I am not sure what the swans ong will be before I go back to work, but I will conjure something up.

Posted by ackers888 01:00 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged boating Comments (1)

Avebury

and getting friendly with the stones

semi-overcast 22 °C

Recently I have been busy moving back into my house in Southampton after the great flood of 2009 (which occurred in January). It's taken a long long time to get to this point. The insurance company had been trying to keep costs down and were stubbornly trying to avoid having to replace £20,000 worth of parquet flooring. However no amount of industrial dryers could get the damp out, so a few weeks ago The Hampshire Floor company (a very good company) moved in and I am now the proud owner of a brand new oak parquet floor.

In the meantime, and to help break the monotony of unpacking, I took a side trip to Avebury, which is a fantastic example of a stone circle, much better than the tourist trap of Stonehenge. I wandered round the stones and took a trip with Hoobs, my new friend, along the ridgeway, an ancient track that winds itself up over the downs nearby. It's amazing how cathartic a summer day can be when you are out on the Wiltshire Downs.
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For those of you who don't know, Avebury was constructed some 5,000 years ago, nobody really knows why. There are over 100 square miles of neolithic sites around the area including Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow, The Avenue and Windmill Hill to name a few..not forgetting the stone circle that completely surrounds the village of Avebury itself. The Red lion pub in the centre of the village is the only pub in the world inside a stone circle.

Dowsing between the rocks along the avenue, Hoobs sat patiently and waited whilst it was proved that the ancient Pagans knew exactly what they were doing when placing the stones. Each time a stone was passed, the copper rods crossed over..quite spooky.
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Posted by ackers888 01:11 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged educational Comments (0)

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