Busy week in Plymouth

Cobbles IcecreamsIt’s been a busy week for Julian, as he’s worked hard repairing and making further improvements to the boat. When we arrived in Plymouth last Thursday night he made a to-do list that ran to 37 jobs and counting, and over the past eight days he’s been gradually ticking the most urgent of those off. The problem with the battery has been solved (we think). The biggest job all week has been repairing the pulpit and replacing stanchions. These were noted in our survey when we first bought Carina, and were jobs that needed to be done. But as with everything on this boat, what starts out as a relatively simple job, quickly spirals into something major. To secure the pulpit at the front of the boat, Julian had to take down the head-lining (ie the ceiling) in the fore cabin, to access the bolts securing the pulpit. Not only did he discover that the bolts had disintegrated, but he found blackened electrical cable leading to the front lights, requiring a re-wiring job.The poor guy has spent the week contorting himself into tight corners to replace, repair and improve Carina.

To give him as much time as possible to get the work done, I’ve spent most of every day off the boat, exploring Plymouth with Lily and Katie. The ongoing appalling weather has made it difficult at times, but we have had fun. Amongst our favourite places is Cobbles ices and doughnuts in The Barbican – a retro ice-cream van and a retro doughnut van, owned and run by Cobbles, a professional clown. Icecream and doughnuts are to die for, and the vans are so quaint and cute, situated in on the cobblestones beside Sutton Harbour. The girls and I can happily spend hours there! We were joined one day this week by my old friend Sarah Foley, her two children and her sister Lisa. Sarah actually had an icecream van at her wedding, so I thought Cobbles would appeal to her, and I wasn’t wrong!

Smeeton's lighthouseAnother favourite hangout this week has been Plymouth Hoe, with its amazing views over Plymouth Sound and vast green expanses for the children to play on. Lily and I climbed to the top of Smeeton’s lighthouse on Tuesday, while Katie stayed below with granddad. There are children’s amusements at the western end of the Hoe that are ideal for children Lily’s and Katie’s age. The problem with those places is that the kids never want to leave!

We’ve also been to Plymouth museum and art gallery, which was perfect for an exceptionally rainy day. There was a lot to see and do, a lot of hands on activities for the children, and a big toy box that kept them amused for almost an hour while I sat and gazed into space in a delirium of tiredness.

But our favourite place in Plymouth continues to be the National Marine Aquarium. What great value for money (or it would be, if my sister hadn’t brought my year-long ticket back to Ireland and I had to buy a new one!). We go there over and over again, never tiring of the amazing sea creatures, and the added bonuses of a great soft play area, a wonderful discovery room where a member of staff supervises craft activities, and very friendly and informative staff who have yet to tire of Lily’s questions. This week she got to wear a real turtle shell on her back, and both girls interacted with an amazing inquisitive octopus. They made a rock pool in the discovery room and made a fish out of crepe paper.

We set sail tomorrow for Fowey, about 25 nautical miles west of Plymouth. I’ve never been to Cornwall before, so looking forward to it.


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