The Saga of Pas de Deux, Chapter 13: Reunited at Last! Christmas Bells are Ringing!

Good news, everyone! After an exciting 10-month wait, the UK Home Office has granted me the right to live in the same country as my lawfully wedded husband! Not only that, but the “UK Decision Making Centre” gave me a generous 30 DAYS to enter the country, starting the day before I received my confirmation letter. There’s nothing better for a case of chronic anxiety than being asked to drop everything and move to a foreign country within the span of a month.

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Fuji knows how it feels to be an outsider.

As you may have noticed, the waiting may be over, but certainly not the complaining. We really are very, very happy to be together, however, so rather than subject you all to a scathing inditement of the injustices of the UK immigration process, let’s move on to a happier topic: the 2017 HOLIDAY SEASON!

 

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Kentwell Hall at 1 pm, also known as “sunset” in the British Isles.
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Friendly English gentleman, wearing a fez.

Christmas is by far my favorite time of year, and I have very particular ideas about how it should be celebrated. A Christmas that is not overloaded with Victoriana and a healthy dose of earnest, somber carolling (“Who Killed Cock Robin,” anyone?) is no Christmas at all. That’s why our first outing upon my arrival was to the Dickensian Christmas celebration at Kentwell Hall. Benn and my brother-in-law, Barnaby, were not impressed, possibly because the entire event was geared towards families with children under the age of 10. I, on the other hand, felt it could not be improved. Not only was there a sober, dignified bearded man in a fez reading a seriously abbreviated version of A Christmas Carol, but the whole story was was renacted using a shoddy and possibly unnecessary Pepper’s Ghost illusion!

 

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Pigs on the loose at Kentwell Hall! 

England is, of course, the best place for a Dickensian Christmas. The boat maybe not so much, unless you consider the relative squalor of our living conditions: only a tiny coal fire to heat the saloon, damp sinking through the walls, and every surface covered with a light dusting of ash. Mr. and Mrs. Cratchett, indeed.

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Fuji never minds the cold!

That hasn’t stopped me from insisting Benn’s mother and brother come over for Christmas dinner. At the very least, it will be cozy! Besides, I have lots of plans for our Christmas meal. I’m not sure our little boat oven is capable of cooking a meal for more than 2 people at once, but Christmas is a time of optimism, and I remain undaunted! I am a rather hit and miss cook, so we’ll see how it all turns out. At the very least, I am pretty excited to have an excuse to buy cloth napkins and 50p wine glasses at Wilko’s.

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Ipswich Haven Marina Boatyard in the snow

The boat isn’t nearly as sad as I’m making it out to be, either. Benn has installed a little coal-burning stove, which has so far proven to be very, very good at warming the saloon. We were hoping it might help with some of the winter condensation problems, as well, and it has been effective in the upper regions of the boat. The staterooms, galley, and head are still a bit damp. The dehumidifier has become a great friend of ours, and, thanks to the insulation and diesel heater, we do seem to be more on top of the condensation issue than last winter.

 

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See? Very cozy, with a boat-sized Christmas tree!

So, that’s all the news fit to print about the little saga of Pas de Deux. Here’s to 2018: the year we finally (hopefully) set off sailing!

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Ipswich Harbour from the bow of our brand new dinghy!
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