3 October 2023

The long journey home!

Our BBF slept well, but woke early. He dozed and then got up at around 08:30 hrs. Showered, shaved, got dressed and packed the last suitcase. When he took it downstairs he found Brec and Sandy there and so he sat and had the last breakfast in Milford.

He loaded his two large suitcases into the back of Sandy’s car with Brec’s help! 

Then they gave each other a huge bear hug with watery eyes! Promises were made to return Insha’lla!!

It was a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky as Sandy drove us all to JFK airport. There was much traffic on the road and it was good that we had left early.

When on the bridge over to Long Island we had a view of the New York sky line. 

Sandy dropped us off at Terminal 7 for Condor Airlines and then followed another tearful hug and grateful kisses for the generosity and the wonderful hospitality shown us!

Our BBF found the check in desk and dropped off his two suitcases. Then he had to go and pay for the second one, $118! 

The security took with the long queue about 30 minutes and he had to go through the X-Ray machine twice and be subjected to a body search as his artificial knee showed up on the scan!

Once belt, boots and everything had been gathered we were off to find lunch! Alan had one last Burger! Then it was just a matter of waiting till it was time to board!

The Air Tags seemed to show only one suitcase loaded on the plane! It says Backpack but it is a suitcase. We hope it’s a glitch and nothing more!

We boarded late and we Bears are in the shoulder bag under the seat in front!

The route to be taken we found interesting flying over the sea where we sailed just a few short weeks ago! We are amazed now that we sailed back and forth over that bit of ocean!

Our late take off from JFK we felt did not bode well for our onward journey! During the flight our BBF watched a film called A Wrinkle in Time about two children looking for their father! He then tried to sleep a bit but only rested his eyes. 
Another film was watched Fools Gold, and so the time passed till landing! 

Our BBF did his best to get across the airport to get his connecting flight to Düsseldorf, but failed as they had shut the plane doors a few minutes before! 

The Air Tag showed that one case is still in JFK! 

We were quickly booked onto another flight leaving at 08:35 hrs, so now went directly but slowly to that gate to wait! The family have been informed so now we just have to get to Düsseldorf to report the lost suitcase! 

And then the App told us that both suitcases had arrived in Frankfurt! Good news at least!

And then our BBF had a window seat, but tried to sleep!

We were in Düsseldorf in next to no time! 

And our Bags were there too!

Petra and Vincent were there to collect us and took us to Sigrid‘s for a welcome breakfast! Sigrid had her own surprise, birthday gifts for the sailor home from the sea! 

Back in our own four walls our BBF went to bed and we began telling the other Bears about our adventures! 

Alls well that ends well, now our BBF needs to recover from the adventure in America! 

2 October 2023

The Last Day!

Our BBF slept well and deeply. He woke at around 08:10 hrs and went below to make coffee. Brec was up eating his breakfast. Sandy came down and Alan made himself some breakfast too. It all got into a bit of a rush then, Sandy was helping out at Communion and left first. Brec and our BBF after getting dressed followed thereafter.

When it came to Communion the congregation formed a circle and those serving went round clockwise. Our BBF and Brec got on the side where Sandy was serving. Each human took a piece of bread from one server and dipped it into the wine (Sandy) before eating it. The congregation then held hands for the last prayers.

Our humans returned home, where Brec got changed into work clothes to go and sort out a few things on the boat as the weather was so fine. Sandy and our BBF got in the VW Beatle with the top down as it was so sunny and warm and went shopping.

They stopped for lunch at Five Guys which has the reputation of having the best Burgers in the country.

They were certainly good and came up to the hype they had on the walls.

Alan wanted a simple Luggage Strap for the new suitcase, but it proved a bit difficult  finding one. Eventually they did. He also bought a couple of Air Tags to put in the suitcases which they found in Walmart, and a couple of Luggage Labels too. Then it was back to Milford. He finished packing the one suitcase and then Booked in for his flight online.
That done a certain stress fell from his shoulders.

When Brec returned from work the humans went out for a last meal together in a really nice Italian restaurant down town.

Our BBF ordered a salad for a starter, but it was huge and he just ate enough to make him want more.

He had a Seafood Platter with Linguine and it was indeed good. Sea food here in Connecticut is always fresh and not something he can get as easily in Mönchengladbach.

The humans toasted themselves and the adventure that had shared and enjoyed some more good time together.

Back at home they relaxed and watched a film, the Green Book which is base don a true story,  was funny as well as being a comment on racism in America. One last toast using the Shipfaced Glasses filled with Port ended the perfect day before they retired to bed.

1 October 2023

A Birthday on the Lane.

The weariness in our BBF’s bones is still there for he spent a restless night and got up tired. He stayed in his PJs and just put on a warm top and went downstairs to make some coffee. Brec had returned from taking his brother to the airport. With coffee to revive him he felt better. His thought of getting abluted and dressed died. He made himself some toast for breakfast instead and thereafter went upstairs to have a trial pack. Alan had bought a new suitcase and initially intended to ditch his old one, but not everything he had went into the new one, so he decided he would use it to pack the rest of what he had and have no rucksack as hand luggage as he did on the way out. It will cost, but we remember one year when he sent parcels back by post and he then discovered that an extra suitcase was cheaper. Then there was another year where Sandy gave him an old suitcase for all his stuff!

The weather outside was cold and wet. The men had to go to a birthday party on the Lane. It was John’s party for all his cousins and family who live on the lane. After our BBF had showered and as he was finishing dressing he had a Facetime call with Petra and Vincent. Consequently the men were a bit late getting going.

The weather was not really conducive to having a picnic party on the Lane, but John and Barbara had put up some tents to give protection from the rain which fortunately did not come full force, it just dripped a bit, but it was cold.

Two brothers, Brec and the birthday boy John and  cousin  Mark standing in front of the Pizza trailer John had organised. It had a genuine wood pizza oven and the pizzas served were very tasty.

A huge birthday cake was produced with a picture of John as a baby which we all found cute.

The Pizza Wagon had real difficulty getting out of the Lane.

But after much to-ing and fro-ing managed to back up out of the lane guided by Brec and another cousin.

John made a couple of speeches and was pleased that many of his relatives were able to come and help celebrate his 70th birthday. People sang Happy Birthday and those that knew it also sang Sandy and Brec’s family birthday song. Our BBF and Brec were the last to leave and drove home in the rain and dark.

30 September 2023

Brothers singing.

Brec had asked our BBF if he would make pancakes for breakfast last night, so this morning after a good nights sleep where some of the weariness in his bones was eased he got up at 07:30 hrs to make breakfast. He prepared pancakes, bacon and eggs, laid the table and then waited for the other humans to rise. Sandy woke and came for coffee. Alan made some apple pancakes and some plain and kept them all warm in the oven. The Morgan men slept in and eventually our BBF called up the stairs, “Morgan men, show a leg, breakfast it ready!”

The conversation at breakfast was easy and light hearted with much laughter. Brec and Geoff sat and played songs and sang to their guitars. Geoff had written many of the songs himself.

Leaving the brothers playing their music Sandy and our BBF went shopping. He doesn’t have many days left for one of his favourite activities now.

They went to the Trumball Mall in Bridgeport where Alan found a number of things he wanted and spontaneously bought a few others. Sandy went for a pedicure while our BBF shopped.

He then need a coffee and a doughnut and went to Dunkin donuts in the Mall as he has discovered the Boston Cream donut which he likes. Sandy joined him there and they then drove home. It was still raining and the Freeways were chockablock with cars, it now being the rush hour traffic on a Friday night.

Back at home Sandy and Alan cooked the evening meal, after which our BBF shared a glass of Writers’ Tears with Brec and Geoff, who then played and sang some more.

Brec is taking Geoff to the airport tomorrow early so we all said our farewells before going to bed.

29 September 2023

A Morgan Family Birthday Party on the Lane.

Our BBF was the last up this morning, the other humans having gone about their business. He spent some time in the shower and then trimmed his pirate looking beard to that of a gentleman. He made himself bacon and eggs for breakfast and Sandy retuned as he finished it. 

Sandy had done most of their laundry and our BBF could now do ours. We have to comment on the size of these huge machines, compared to the one Alan has these are industrial size which the picture does not do justice to. Sandy then left again to help her sister-in-law with the preparation for the family birthday party that evening.  Our BBF sorted out his stuff so that he could better find things. His suitcase had been a bit of a mess, but now there was some system to it.

Brec returned from having worked on the boat getting it ready for the winter. He made himself some lunch and after a shower the men left to go to New London to visit the Thames River Gallery where Brec has many paintings in their show.

Our BBF was now able to view the painting done by Brec which is the  star of the show. 

Our BBF looked at some of the other artists paintings and then discovered a book.

We had no idea that the US Coast Guard had a Bear as a mascot. He asked if he could buy the book and the owner John Johnson said no he could have it and pass it on to his grandchildren. Little does he know that we Bears will keep the book for a while first.

The men then drove to the Lane in Waterford to John’s house to help celebrate his 70th Birthday. Brec went looking for his brothers and after saying “hi!” to the woman Barbara and Sandy took a walk down the Lane to say goodbye to the Ocean.

The sun was setting and the wind was blowing cold so our BBF did not stay long, just sat and thought what an incredible adventure we had all had.

John the birthday boy and his older brother Brec chilling after a tasty meal of twosorts shrimp with two sorts of rice and sauce with beans and roast cauliflower.

Our BBF was now also introduced to Geoff, Brec’s other brother who is a gifted song writer and guitarist. He had written a special song for John’s birthday and now sang it to him.

The candles on the cake were  blown out in one puff so wishes can come true. John now opened his presents and one of the first was the Tower of London mug our BBF had found in an antique shop in Lunenburg. John now surprised Alan by giving him a present!

John had had a number of glass globes made with the logo of Brec’s circumnavigation inscribed with his time in New Zealand for family members. We were there at the same time and Alan was now very emotional at this generous gesture.

The last present John opened was a small version of the larger one of the Lane in the Gallery, signed also on the back with some personal words from Brec.

Geoff then sang another song he had written about the front room of the house the humans were in. Back in the day when the Morgan’s were children it was their grandmother’s house and it was a lovely tune which invoked the love of the Lane and the times the brothers shared on it. One line of the song mentions how their mother would bring the children tuna sandwiches for lunch down on the beach. So now we know where Brec got his love of tuna from. 

This was just a Morgan family affair and our BBF felt privileged to have been included in it. The party ended and the humans returned to Milford, bringing Geoff with them. On Saturday there will be a formal large party to celebrate John’s 70th. 

28 September 2023

The last day’s sail!

It was a quiet night and the humans slept peacefully. They arose at 05:00 hrs and prepared for sea. Our BBF made each of them a thermos mug of tea and then they slipped in the dark through the rail bridge which opened for us out into the harbour. The sky was clear of all clouds and first light promised a fine day ahead.

There was little wind at this stage and the humans were wrapped up well for the cold.

Brec navigated well again we have to say and our BBF was the voice activated Autohelm!

As we came up to the Lighthouse at the entrance to the channel we were over taken by two fast US Navy Patrol Boats armed to the teeth clearly going out to escort a Submarine into Harbour. 

Then suddenly it was there coming in at a fast rate. One Patrol boat put itself between us and the Sub and gave us a toot, but we were already turning onto our course for Bridgeport. Alan gave them a friendly wave and then they rushed off to protect the Sub.

The sun then rose out of the sea in a blaze of glory.

It was still very cold, but the moral of the crew and us Bears was great. We had not seen the sun since before the Hurricane Lee caused us such grief two weeks ago now.

Brec set the Genoa and we motor sailed initially at over 7 knots later it came down to just over 5 knots which we managed to maintain over the whole voyage.

Brec served breakfast to his autohelm and then we passed the beach at the end of his family Lane where so many memories for him lie.

Brec had made a larger version of this painting which is the centre piece of a Gallery exhibition in New London  entitled, 

Brec deep in memory of his boyhood spent on the Lane. We too have been privileged to go there and share in annual Family picnics and stroll on the beach.

As the sun warmed up the day the humans were able to shed clothing and throughly enjoyed the last sail of this great adventure.

The wind was light and as it turned the Genoa was poled out.

First one side and then the other. Brec served lunch and made a Hot Dog Sandwich for his helmsman which would sell easily in New York on one of the many Stands there. Brec said that the Hotdog Stands Salesmen were very enlightened as Buddhist Monks would go up to then and say, “Make me one with everything!”

More clothes were shed and soon we saw the entrance to Bridgeport. Brec admitted that this was one of the fastest passages from New London he had ever made.

The sun on the last voyage of the season for us bears was great too and soon the humans made up on OTTER’s home slip at the East End Yacht Club. We had sailed in eight days a total of 497 Nautical Miles from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to Bridgeport, Connecticut in all weathers including a Gale!  Brec then shared out the last can of beer and the men toasted their achievement. Our BBF was emotionally tearful, both happy and sad it was all over! 

The men then packed their things to begin getting off the boat. Brec went to get his car, but the battery was flat. The alarm had gone off while we were away! Brec called AAA to come and start it this took a bit of time. Our BBF did what he could in Brec’s absence to pack and clean up. Then we too were off the boat and in the car back to Sandy in Milford.

Sandy had prepared a lovely meal of really thick lamb chops with fresh asparagus. An excellent red wine was drunk and ice cream was served after.

Brec unwound from his adrenaline rush by playing guitar softly.

Our BBF was a tired Teddy so went to bed early and slept the deep sleep of sailors home from the sea.