Independence Day

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It’s been a week of celebrations here, big and small. The biggest (of course!) was my birthday last Wednesday, which really started on Tuesday evening Australia time, so I got to celebrate for 38 hours! It was very special to hear from both my wonderful boys, Nick and Rob, and to receive so many lovely birthday messages from family and friends, including a skype video call with our Mandurah ‘family’, Chris, Heidi, Kieran and Drina. Modern technology really does help to make us feel as if we’re only just around the corner instead of half way round the world.

It also happened to be one of the hottest days we’ve had here, with humidity to match, so there was nothing for it but to escape to the movies for the afternoon to see ‘Jersey Boys’ and then continue the air-conditioned luxury with a meal at the Boat-shed Bar & Grill. Unfortunately I didn’t get to sample the famous Maryland crabs – apparently they’re so famous that at this time of year it’s impossible to get a table at the most sought-after crab houses, which are veritable tourist traps we’re told.  So we’ll wait until we can get the boat off the dock and find a more authentic crab house further down the bay. (I’m secretly not convinced that they’ll be any better than the Blue Manna’s we caught and steamed in Mandurah!)

And Friday was 4th July, so we joined the rest of America in taking the day off work and went to watch the paradeindepenDay2

There was a small contingent of Yankee Doodle Dandier’s and historical floats, but the remainder of the (very long) parade consisted of just about every conceivable local interest group plus the inevitable political candidates for the upcoming local elections. Considering the Naval Academy is right here in Annapolis I was surprised there wasn’t more of a naval presence. But not as surprised as seeing the rather large float representing the Islamic Society – now that’s a gutsy move we thought. Not too much cheering as that one went past…. but good to see that multiculturalism is alive and well in Annapolis.  At the end of evening, feeling we needed to embrace the whole experience, we ate hot dogs on the back deck washed down with beer, and watched the fireworks over Annapolis harbour. God Bless America!

We also had an independence day of our own. Finally the nice man from Yamaha came and fixed our outboard motor, so we now have transport! A little bit excited that we’ll be able to dinghy in to the city dock for essential things like ice cream and beer.  We’ve also taken a couple of trips around Spa Creek (just because we can) – it’s a very pretty area with some very swanky large waterfront homes, one of which belongs to Barry Levinson (he of “Rain Man” and “Good Morning Vietnam” fame). Maybe if we pay him enough compliments he’ll invite us in to share his air-conditioning?

Despite the couple of days lolly-gagging around, the remainder of the week has passed at a frenetic pace. Bruce has installed four new deck hatches for the cabins, the AIS and the HF radio (almost), whilst I’ve painted three out of four cabins (have run out of paint so will have to wait until we can get back to the hardware store). The netting for the trampoline, new deck hardware and materials for the stack pack and mattress covers are on their way.  But the to-do list is starting to resemble the Hydra – cut off one head and another one pops up. We discovered that the oven works to a degree, in fact to precisely 200 degrees Fahrenheit. At that rate it would take about 12 hours of gas to cook anything. We toyed with the idea of trying to get it repaired, but it’s in such a state of general disrepair that we’ve thrown caution to the wind and ordered a new one. Oh well, just one more installation. (Terrific as Bruce’s skills are, I think we might need outside assistance for that one.) Tomorrow we’ll hire a car for a couple of days so that we can go and do a whole heap more errands. No wonder we’re in bed early each night!

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