Yesterday I read an email from Air New Zealand which freaked me out. They announced three phrases of keeping their company going – Survive; Revive; and Thrive. As I read the words below my heart sank:
“However, we are not factoring a return to long haul flying of any note until next year. We believe that until there is a vaccine, effective treatment or elimination of the disease in key markets, the New Zealand Government will not fully open its borders for growth in long haul air travel.”Air New Zealand Update 5th June 2020
Our booked one-way flight on 16th August was cancelled eleven days ago, it said if we had ‘urgent’ need to fly to contact them directly. I didn’t see our need as ‘urgent’ at that stage and felt we could wait until we received the promised credit and then re-book. However, that hasn’t been forthcoming. So yesterday I decided to look at all possible options, with the aim of getting an answer and some certainty.
Eventually, I found an 0800 number, on the Air New Zealand UK site, and called it. A softly spoken young woman with a sublime kiwi accent answered. Long story short, we’re booked to fly to New Zealand on the same day as originally planned – just from a different airport (Heathrow not Gatwick), at a later time, all the way to Auckland with Cathay Pacific. We’ll then be quarantined, hosted by the NZ government in a hotel, for 14 days. We’ll be allowed daily supervised walks. Once completed, and all’s well, we get to fly ‘home’ to Gisborne, arriving at 1.30 pm on 31st August.
Whoopie! I was, as you can imagine, rather tearful. Although he’s unlikely to admit it, Barry was emotional too. Obviously nothing’s certain. Look at the past few months! But it feels like it’s going to be okay, and it’s highly likely we can get out of the UK before a second lock-down.
Thank you Air New Zealand for making it SO SIMPLE. The people in New Zealand, and organisations there, really have a completely opposite mindset to England.
A Last Night Lockdown Party
Dave and Brock came aboard last night to watch ‘Monty Python & The Holy Grail’. We feel that the five of us are one household. We’ve been together since around 25th March and know where we’ve been, and none of us have left the bubble for a week. we’ve so enjoyed their company, and feel bereft to be saying farewell.
After Dave and Brock left, around midnight, Kim suggested staying up for a dance. I was reticent. I knew we had to move today, and hoped to get up early to get as far as possible. Then I realised what a gift this time with her on board is. So I said yes! Let’s do that. There’s a first time for everything. We had a mini-disco, just the three of us, by the light of the full moon, until 3 am!
Leaving The COVID-19 Lockdown Flag Bubble Mooring
As you can imagine, this morning’s meanderings didn’t start till late. I cooked bacon, tomatoes, and eggs for breakfast around 11 am. Plum had messaged to say they were coming back around 2 pm, and could bring us some groceries, so there wasn’t a rush. Once he and Julia returned, we collected our provisions and said our goodbyes. It felt SO SAD!! But there’s so many more boats moving now, and mooring up nearby. This chapter is completed.
Tons Of Thank Yous
Where do we begin? It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. One we’ll remember with immense fondness. We realise how fortunate we’ve been to spend the lockdown in such a beautiful part of the country, with special people. I/we want to say a heartfelt thank-you, to everyone, for supporting us through.
I hope I don’t miss anyone out! Here goes:
- To all the friendly local people who’ve walked past us, smiled, chatted, shared news and generally made us feel incredibly welcome and showed us how lucky we were to live as we do.
- Plum and Julia for the home-made cakes, the brazier, the Ronnie Sunshine, the cordless chainsaw, numerous shopping stock ups (they have a car), sharing chips and baked potatoes.
- Dave for his convivial company (Barry I know has relished having other males around!), bringing shopping and sharing our outdoor cinema. Brock has been a joy to be with. Barry and I rarely ‘take’ to dogs, we’re not known for canine love! But Brock, well, he’s not a dog. He’s a human dog. The sweetest, most loveable one we’ve had the pleasure to spend time with. And only the third to be ‘allowed’ onboard Areandare.
- Blackberry Farm for the fresh free-range eggs, and the friendly couple at the house by Hurleston Reservoir for half a dozen eggs and the free rhubarb.
- Nantwich veg boxes. Oh my goodness. What a treat they have been in lockdown. Brilliant! Thank you.
- Pip and Mick who introduced us to Nantwich Veg boxes and collected ours numerous times. I’d not known about their blog before, and am enjoying following their adventures now. We WILL meet up again, at a time when we can gather together and get to know each other better. I have absolutely no doubt. Thank you for everything and safe and happy travels. Good luck with your impending choices.
- The prolific dandelions on the side of Hurleston Reservoir. You made the most delicious honey. My jar is almost empty.
- The cows across the canal, for their endless entertainment value.
- The blue skies and sunshine, surrounding nature, vast sky, sunrises, sunsets, moon cycles, spectacular stars, International Space Station. Just magnificent to watch for so long.
- The gorgeous Sharon, at The Shop By The Canal. You are amazing. So helpful. Thank you for letting us have post delivered to you, and for your patience and perseverance with the appalling service from DHL.
- Everyone at Nantwich marina, for diesel, pump-outs, water, rubbish, gas bottles, and the launderette!
- Roberta and Lee of NB Halsall. Sadly their itinerary didn’t often match often with our needs, but the couple of times it did we were extremely thankful for.
- To you – blog reader. All of you, around the world. Especially those who take the time and trouble to comment. Even that (not so) ‘decent human being’. Your ‘caustic feedback’ was most interesting, albeit intended to be cruel, and opened our eyes up to the fact that no-one is liked by everyone and that’s okay.
- To Kim. For letting me persuade her to leave her spacious apartment in Nigeria and fly at 24 hours notice out of Lagos before their airport shut. Being such an uplifting boat companion, and for encouraging us to consider many improvements on board. Evenings of six-handed rummy, and Cambio (another card game), for Lagos Monopoly, Netflix and Spotify subscriptions, buying me a Foraging In Spring pdf, and a myriad of other nourishing things too numerous to mention. What an extraordinary gift she’s been.
- Finally to Barry. For his patience and fortitude. His never-ending DIY skills and ability to turn his hand to anything. He’s let go of The Home Brew Boat with sadness but understanding; built a new table in the back cabin for Kim (which I’ll inherit at some stage!); painted the bathroom and bedroom; invented a step to hop on and off the boat with; swapped the fridge and electric cooker around (thanks for your help too Dave); and most recently built me a shelf next to where I sit and work. Almost as soon as I thought of it! He’s been a bit lost without the back cabin, and me in the front working, but he’s coped admirably. Thank you, husband.
Hurleston Locks to the Llangollen Canal
Dave set off for the Middlewich Arm ahead of us, while Kim and I walked to Hurleston Junction. The Wine Boat was moored in Pip and Mick’s lockdown spot!
Thankfully the rain relented this afternoon. The wind, unfortunately, was more persistent! Check out Barry cruising round the corner, and seeing this sight …
Richard and Ruth Chamberlain, have had a busy lockdown delivering coal, gas and diesel to narrow boaters on their route. Ruth said they’d noticed a sharp increase in gas sales – due to people doing more baking. We can recognise that from our experiences – well mine anyway!
The Lovely Llangollen Canal
Once at the top of the locks, Barry moored up for a water fill-up. Kim and I walked up to Blackberry Farm hoping he still had eggs left to keep us going for a week or so. Yay, he had! He even brought us some large ones out he’d recently collected – including a double-yolked one! I shall enjoy that, as I don’t eat the white unless it’s in scrambled eggs or omelettes. I can’t bear the taste or texture.
We’ve had a splendid afternoon cruising and locking. It’s blown away some cobwebs! The Llangollen is a gorgeous waterway.
New Mooring View
We didn’t make it quite as far as we’d hoped, as Kim has organised a family quiz at 8pm so we needed to be moored up by 7pm. We’re in a stunning location though, Wrenbury Heath. There’s water lilies across the canal, the sun is just going down, and we’re still in the countryside. It’s been dry all afternoon thank goodness!
COVID-19 Symptom Study
Today there’s been a few more questions asked on the App, and an anonymised survey to complete. They have reported that the funds raised will keep them going until the end of the year. Of course, if we do successfully get to New Zealand in August, we’ll have to stop then. But there’s a new one being launched there too so I guess we’ll just change …
From now on, my aim is to blog twice weekly, on a Saturday and Wednesday. I’ll be posting brief updates more regularly on our Facebook page, so stop by ‘like’ us and ask for notifications there if you want to keep up to date.