Category Archives: 2014 09 UK – Ipswich


We’ve been in Ipswich since September 19th and are really feeling settled.

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Bathroom and laundry building is new, featuring HOT showers that don’t require you to push them every minute to get more water (unlike other marina showers).

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We’re in England so you must have a garden near by with the marina planting pansies for the fall.

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The walk into town is only 1/2 mile or so with the longest part going from our pontoon to get out of the marina.

To hop a train station is just a ten-minute walk once you’re on the main road.

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Have found a lap pool (although, not the same without my Y pals).

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Shopped at the outdoor markets (TUE-THU-FRI-SAT).

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Walked through the Christchurch Park,

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which goes on…

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and on…

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and on…

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and on… and, where we just bought a 2nd-hand bike from a non-profit where disabled folks get Police repos and polish them up for resale.

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(FYI: Behind Max is TRIMILA, one of the little ships of Dunkirk. During the rescue this boat transported over 2,700 soldiers from the beach to other boats waiting to make the run back to Dover. Prior to assisting in the evacuation in 1940, she saved 330 lives serving as a lifeboat. The owners and their chocolate lab are live aboards as well.)

Back to the park… it’s pram central around here. I’ve never had to avoid so many baby buggies. They’re like bed bugs, only in reverse coming out in full force during the day then scurrying home at night.

But, must say, I love seeing the little ones exploring the world,

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and, not only the humans.

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Figured out why there are so many Cardinal-named buildings…

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because in the early 1470’s (the monument here says 1470 or 1471) a Thomas Wolsey was born in Ipswich.

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In addition to being a cardinal, this political churchy figure was also an archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor for Henry VIII having first served as royal chaplain for Henry VII.

Remember the Royal Chateau in Amboise and King Francis I? The French king who imported Leo to France? Well, his reign overlapped with Henry VIII, and Wolsey organized a meeting between these two kings at “The Field of Cloth of Gold” in 1520. And, prior to that he negotiated the Treaty of London for 20 nations. In short, Wolsey’s foreign diplomacy skills weren’t too shabby, and Henry, as well as Pope Leo X, recognized and rewarded him with powerful positions.

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Having gained prominence (and money… Hampton Court was his home) through Henry VIII he subsequently lost it when Anne Boleyn and family came on the scene and started making trouble. Because he couldn’t sway the Pope to annul Henry’s first marriage to Katherine of Aragon, Wolsey lost favor with his buddy the king. Not only did he lose favor, he was accused of treason. It was probably a lucky occurrence that he died on the way to face trial. At least he died intact, with his head connected.

In addition to Wolsey’s birthplace plaque, there are others explaining why some of these buildings are Old with a capital “O”.

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Plus, I’ve found a lovely little cafe serving good coffee and scones run by Hannah and her mom.

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And, the most rewarding bit is the meeting of new folk, such as Gary, our next-boat neighbor. He delivers high-end sofas four days a week. Having him over for tea yesterday he shared some of the latest marina news and advice (such as staying away from the two Sea Scout teaching vessels that have managed to bash several boats getting in and out of slips so much that Linda, the marina manager, told them move to an outer dock or leave).

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It seems like every time they come back from a teaching lesson, there’s something damaged, such as the missing toe rail.

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Anyhow, he told how he delivered a sofa to Elton John’s abode (didn’t meet him but found out Elton spends 2,000 pounds/month on flowers, ensuring every room has some).

Gary also told us how he bought a 104′ sailboat in 1999 and with four other friends took off for four years without really knowing where they were going. Let’s just say he learned a lot.

He’s just one of the live-aboards we’re enjoying getting to know. There are plenty more, such as Jo, a young woman who was just hired by Skip Novak of PELAGIC to be a first mate. Skip owns two boats, both operating at high latitudes in Antarctica. Jo will be meeting one of the boats in Capetown later this month then deliver it to South America for charters down in the Southern Ocean. She’s just 25 and a sweetheart and sailed with a family to the Baltic and here, the family being Jane, Paul, and their young daughter Lily who’s home-schooled.

Anne and Peter on the next pontoon over are quite wonderful as well. She’s working full-time while Peter is retired from Honda (he used to race their motorcycles when living in South Africa).

Plus, there’re Leslie and Adrian (they’re getting ready to sell their boat and buy a river barge), Helen and Gus (who are in St. Katherine’s in London but bring their boat to a marina nearby for work), Julie and Rick (who’ll return from the states next spring), and many others who make this marina feel more like a home than just ‘a place to winter on the boat’.

And, some of the cutest are the pups, such as Kurt’s Stitch who lives opposite us on our Pontoon EE.

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Who can resist a welcoming face like that? :)

But then again, his nickname is ‘Stinky’ from when he eats too much rawhide. When Kurt’s hatch flies open we know Stitch has been doing his thing.

Tomorrow night we’re having folks over, including some who work for a really cool, carbon-free shipping company. The discussions should be interesting and lively… so, stay tuned!

Home, Sweet Home

We’re here! A lovely sail up into the river brought us that much closer to our new home port.

Leaving early Thursday, September 18, we motor-sailed to the mouth of Orwell River. Carefully heading towards the waypoints Max had plotted to avoid the numerous sandbars and wind farms,

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we arrived at Felixstowe.

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A huge shipping port, we sailed slowly past lumbering cranes lading containers onto patient ships. We thought of our shipping friends Rod Jones and Steve Palmer who could probably tell us all the logistics required for loading these ships.

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Other sailboats were enjoying the gentle breeze on a warm September afternoon before heading to their evening anchorage.

Having planned to get to Ipswich at the head of the river, we were so taken with the idyllic scenes along the water we decided to stop for the night.

Able to easily find a spare mooring, we spent late afternoon and night absorbing the tranquility and beauty of the English countryside.

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The next morning we slipped off the mooring heading for our last stretch of boating in 2014.

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Both of us smiling knowing we had almost completed our goal of reaching our home berth after leaving Orr’s Island June 6.

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We passed ships, or, rather, they passed us,

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and, we waved to those docked along the shore.

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After crossing under the bridge,

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we called to alert the Ipswich Lock Keeper we were headed his way. A welcoming voice responded telling us to tie up starboard to when the lock opened.

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We later found out the friendly voice belonged to Clive. We also discovered from some new friends Clive use to play music appropriate to the situation… Unfortuantley, someone complained about the music, so his bosses told him to stop or be let go. Now, he welcomes and releases boaters with a gentle ‘off you go’, which we can hear from our berth.

And, now, we’re home!

The folk are wonderful, starting with the marina management, Linda, Chris, and Natashia, as well as the boatbuilders we see when walking to/from town.

Fellow live-aboards, cruisers, and local boaters are welcoming and informative. No sooner had we berthed that at least three different people came up to welcome us.

Julie and Rick, Leslie (from Virginia Beach originally!) and Adrian, Anne and Peter, Janet and Richard as well as those we haven’t formally met but with whom we’ve smiled and good-morning’ed, well, we feel as if the community has given us a huge hug.

And, how can one not appreciate waking up and finding these lovelies beside your boat?

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Ipswich, we’re delighted to be here :)