A Month in England



We spent the month of June back in England. There tends to be a reminiscent flavour to these visits and this was no exception. Annabel and Fiona had organised a reunion of the three Wylie sisters with former crew on Wylie yachts during the mid-1960's. The result was a lively get-together with Iain Brooksby, David Shepherd and Steve Spackman, with their spouses.



For a further taste of the past, Dave took us sailing in the Walton Backwaters - 'Swallows and Amazons' country - in Souzette, his and Annabel's lovely old pocket cruiser. We were in Great Bentley for the Queen's Birthday and so also had the full benefit of the Union Jack flying on the village flagstaff, lilies on the pond by the green and hosts of fragile poppies on the edges of the fields of wheat. The epitome of English summer.







The only experience which remained to complete the picture of summer on the East Coast of England was to go mudding. Mike and Pooh Curtis obliged when we visited them in Blakeney, Norfolk, thus also completing the reunion with former Wylie crew, among whom Mike had starred.

From the earthy to the sublime! On the way back from Blakeney we stopped off at Iain and Sarah Brooksby's beautiful 17th Century house near Norwich for afternoon tea - of smoked salmon and wine.





We made a brief foray into London to visit our cruising friends, Ian and Judy Jenkins. Our walk with them through Richmond, turned up not only typical views of the upper Thames, but also two cruising-related surprises, The grave of Captain George Vancouver and a monument to one of Chile's revolutionary heroes, Bernardo O'Higgins.


On our way to Cambridge and Papworth Hospital, we made a pass through the village of Linton and past Moate House, where the Wylie family lived during Ken's (Vicky's Dad) years at the Cambridge University Appointments Board. Much of the village was unchanged and Vicky was even invited to join a charity tea which was taking place in the garden at Moate House.


Tom's visit to Papworth Hospital was for a catheterisation procedure to deal with mild tachycardia - often called palpitations. The procedure is a bit similar to the kinds of tests they do these days on the computerised ignition systems of cars. The patient is hooked up to a variety of monitors and sensors, displayed on a multitude of screens. A probe on a catheter is then inserted through a large vein in the groin and run up to the heart. This probe is used to test the heart's electrical circuitry and find the faulty circuit which is causing the tachycardia. Once the site of the fault is found, a second probe is run up the vein. This probe has a heated tip which is used to cauterise the extra circuit. A few tests immediately determine whether the procedure has been successful, which, in Tom's case, as in about 98% of cases (including Tony Blair's), it was.

In the meantime, Vicky and Erika enjoyed a day out in Cambridge, wandering along the Backs and through the Colleges.


Thus rejuvenated, or at least repaired, Tom was prepared for his 60th birthday, with a poem from sister Inge and a beautiful antique world map - suitably marked with Capt. Cook's voyages - from brother, Chris. This rounded off a wonderful month spent with Erika - marred only by the fact that football World Cup was going on at the time! The incessant coverage was eased by England's relatively early departure. Fortunately, it is possible to doze through most of the games as so little happens in the average soccer match.

We rounded off our stay in England with a visit to Nick and Cat Newington and their two daughters, Moana and Tai. Nick was our bowman for several years and then took off around the world himself, joined part way round by Cat. They then spent several years as professional crew on yachts in various parts of the world and have now settled - for the moment - on a farm in Scaynes Hill, West Sussex.