Good Bye Ireland, Hello England
If you have been following along on the trip, you know that something is missing between Ireland and England. Such is the life of a cruising family. We left in May feeling like we have years ahead at our disposal to enjoy traveling around foreign countries with nothing but time on our hands but as was the case last year, you never have as much time as you imagine you do. Last summer we had several cities nixed from the plan due to time constraints and here we are, freshly minted new arrivals in Europe and we have already nixed a whole country! There are several reasons for this. First and foremost is weather. Never have we experienced more occluded fronts and persistent low pressure areas – one after another – marching across our path. The other reason is plans and visitors that we wouldn’t have changed for the world but have left us needing to start to head to England where we will have other visitors with tickets bought and paid for to visit us. So we left Dingle last week and hoping to visit the Scilly Islands off the Western Coast of England but missed that too due to some weather coming in – we marched along to Falmouth. Clearly there are more lovely locations than even a retired family has time to visit.
Here is a snapshot of destinations mentioned below:
We loved Cornwall and all that it had to offer. Every day the brought weather conducive to open doors and ports we had visitors stop and share with us “must see” locations. That bit of advice was perfect as we had rented a car to go to Plymouth (planned to go by boat but we had also only planned to be in Falmouth for 2 nights- once we saw the darling town, the planned changed – again). Still, Plymouth was important for the educational opportunity. Last year we visited Plymouth, MA and spent some time talking about the pilgrims and the Mayflowers arrival in 1620. We had another opportunity to further this lesson when visiting Mystic CT we docked at the Museum there and discovered that the beautiful Mayflower II was being painstakingly and lovingly restored to its original glory in time to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the original’s sailing. How could we possibly miss seeing the city on the “other side” from where the Mayflower set sail nearly 400 years ago. So 1 day in Falmouth was spent on a 2 hour drive each way to go to Plymouth and the steps of the pilgrims.
Unfortunately, the weather we pretty snotty the next day when we had planned to enjoy a beach/rock walk in Lizard the Southern most point in England and St. Ives. Well, we did go but it was non-stop torrential rains. We also only discovered upon our arrival that the lighthouse in Lizard would only be open with a tour that didn’t start for another 3 hours. Well, all was not lost. Even in that rain it was plain to see how adorable each of these towns were. If you are coming behind us and wondering where to stop, our recommendation would be to skip Plymouth but do visit Falmouth, St. Ives and Lizard. All of these stops were really so typically darling English. And in our typical lucky fashion, we arrived to find “Falmouth Week” in full swing with bands playing every night, regattas every day and the whole thing culminated in a fantastic fire works display last night.
The Pendennis Castle, built by Henry VIII was a wonderful day of exploration and got us talking a bit more about WWI. Jack is really fascinated by WWII and can’t seem to get enough information to satisfy his curiosity. There were some guns and cannons from that time but he learned a bit about the Pendennis’ role in WWI (as did we all) and that opened up some new discussions. It really is so incredible to be standing in castles and fortifications that are older (by far) than our country. They were everywhere in Ireland, and often many centuries old and based on the little we have discovered here in Falmouth, we are going to continue to enjoy seeing them. They are such wonderful fuel for a little boy’s imagination. Especially the forts that he can run around and hide in. On the day of our visit there were having medieval demonstrations as well.
On the homeschooling front we are continuing to make strides. We have fallen into a rhythm and Charlotte Masons guidelines have been a God send. Since the beginning of our efforts when Jack joined us in the Azores, we have completed 2 math books (1 Geometry and 1 Metrics). Jack has begun work on the Geometry 2 book and is making fast headway there too even opting to do more work on Saturday so that he could enjoy Monday off while we are underway to Cowes. We have been busy in Science and have conducted 3 on board experiments including replicating Archimedes work with levers and displacement. We are struggling to find the right materials for our ancient history lessons. He is bored and we can’t quite get into a groove with it. If you have any suggestions with this – Im all ears. I have bought a couple of books online and they will be arriving with Jenn and Tracy when they come. Wish me luck. On US History we are doing well – we jumped ahead a bit when we arrived in Plymouth to take advantage of the lessons provided by our location. We may go back and cover more of the pre-pilgrim American history – or not. We shall see. Grammar is provided for in the Charlotte Mason book and we frequently take side “trips” from her content when we feel like we should due to where we are. This busy week provided a perfect opportunity for Jack to add to his journal so I requested 5-6 sentences about the week and “blew off” some of the other Charlotte Mason work. Thank God we have a good reader with Jack and he gets a lot of help with sentence structure just by spending time reading.
Heading next to Cowes, England on the Isle of Wight and after that visit which was supposed to be 2 days (but how can that be?) we will travel up the Thames to London. We have begun our homework (or rather Alec has) studying the ins and outs of getting us into St. Katharine’s dock. The dock being behind a lock will necessitate a precise arrival time only 2 hour before or 1.5 hours after the high tide. The trip distance from the entrance at Ramsgate to St. Katharines dock is 73 miles and due to the speed of the current coming or going we will want to be getting the free push from mother nature rather than trying to “swim upstream”. Other issues on the radar for the Gratitude are: a small hydraulic leak which has been plaguing us since Florida but remains mercifully small will be dealt with while in London. Additionally we have a small coolant leak – equally unimpressive but should be dealt with and a stabilizer issue which is not time critical but needs to be looked at. Hopefully all of these issues will be handled while we are in England and before we begin our “migration” south to Portugal.
Thanks for reading.