We're really looking forward to our second Christmas as liveaboards on our 43ft seagoing cruiser at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK.
Phil and I put up the Christmas tree in the marina’s customer lounge on Wednesday afternoon and got the lights up on Ravensdale this afternoon (Friday).
Me decorating the marina Christmas tree
We've put 800 coloured and 400 white fairy lights around her guardrails, up over the flybridge and across her aft deck and are now considering getting some more lights for added drama.
We collected our Christmas decorations from our shore-based storage unit at the start of the week (We haven’t quite managed to get rid of all the stuff in storage yet, but we’re still working on it. That said, we haven't quite worked out where the Christmas decorations will live when we let the unit go, but I'm sure we'll manage somehow J)
The finished tree
The plan was to put the lights on Ravensdale before doing the marina tree, but the weather took a turn for the worse and no amount of festive spirit could persuade us to decorate our boat in the wind and rain so we decided to do the customer lounge first.
The marina manager used a clever ploy to get us to erect the customer lounge tree this year.
She said she thought we might like to do it because we haven’t got a house anymore so can’t put up our own tree at home!
I pointed out that we would be having a tree on our boat, but found her approach so funny that I just couldn’t refuse.
It gave me a mental picture of being a small child standing outside with my nose pressed against a window, watching everyone inside having a good time J
Despite the weather, it’s good to be back home after a two-week holiday in Scotland visiting some of our old haunts from before we sold our house, bought our Neptunus 133 and moved onboard.
I did everything I could to make sure there were no nasty surprises waiting for us on our return after our homecoming from an earlier holiday was marred by the discovery that the power to the freezer had gone off and the boat stunk of rotten meat.
We ran the contents of the freezer right down before we went away and everything that was left in it was in airtight containers.
Tying down the canvas cover after it came loose at one corner
Thankfully the freezer was fine this time, but the fridge had gone off and we have no idea how or why this happened as it worked fine when we turned up the temperature when we got home.
My first night back was spent throwing away its contents and scrubbing it out before we could put away the supplies we’d bought on the return journey.
One of the press studs on the canvas cover on Ravensdale’s windscreen had also come loose and the corner was flapping so Phil tied a rope over the cover to hold it down and we ordered some new elasticated fittings to hold the corners down.
On a happier note, we were delighted to see a kingfisher that had visited the marina a few times before we went away when it returned on Sunday and we actually managed to get close enough to get a photo or two of it before it flew away.
Kingfisher on one of the escape ladders at Maryport Marina
The kingfisher making its getaway
The first week in Scotland was spent staying with a good friend, who was our next-door neighbour when we lived at Alness in Easter Ross.
We had intended to return to Ravensdale at the end of that week, but snow on the mountains in the Scottish Highlands, coupled with a good weather forecast for the following week encouraged us to look for a holiday cottage in the Glencoe area.
The view from the sitting room of the cottage
Me with my camera by a Glencoe loch
We were lucky to find a good late deal on a lovely cottage in Ballachulish, with a magnificent view of snow-topped mountains.
The property was immaculate and the owners, who lived nearby, were helpful when needed, but otherwise left us alone – just the way we like it J
We met up with some old friends in Fort William and spent the rest of the week photographing the beautiful scenery in the Glencoe and Glen Etive area – one of our favourite places to be when we’re not on our boat.
We also took some photos in the Corpach area, just a few hundred yards from the house we sold before we moved onto our boat in November of last year.
Unsurprisingly, we both came home with loads of photographs. That said, I have many more than Phil because I still belong to the machine gun school of photography believing that the more I take the more chance I have of getting a few decent shots.
Phil taking photos on Rannoch Moor
View of Black Mount on Rannoch Moor
Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe
Loch Achtriochtan at Glencoe
Glen Etive and the tree that appeared in the James Bond Skyfall movie
Ben Nevis across Loch Linnhe
Another view of Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe
Blackrock Cottage in Glencoe
The Pap of Glencoe across Glencoe Lochan
Looking back up Glen Etive
Another view of Black Mount on Rannoch Moor
Boats on Loch Leven at Glencoe
Loch Linnhe at Corpach
A stag in Glen Etive
Phil feeding a hind in Glencoe
Me feeding one of the hinds in Glencoe