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It is August and we taking a break from work, a brief holiday on board Cirrus, and something is different from normal.

We have taken our holidays this way for many years now, loading ourselves with provisions and clean clothes, stowing our bag’s contents away in cupboards and lockers, the contents disappearing like snow in spring sometimes never to be found again, then casting off lines and motoring away to the next adventure. It all started when our children were too little to have a view on coming with us or staying behind and has continued right through to the time when they no longer live with us; they have their own lives and can make their own choices. Sometimes it seems that this is almost all we have done, all our married lives together.

Arriving at the marina on Saturday we took our time loading, shopping for food then meeting with friends Joe and Carol to hear tales of their own boaty adventures. The tide had lifted Cirrus from her muddy bed by late afternoon and the moment came to take the next big step in our lives. We took hold of our mooring lines, untied them from the cleats and posts then coiled and hung them up in the rope locker ready for… who knows what. Normally, of course, the lines would be left tied on ready for our return to the mooring but this time it is different. We are not planning to come back to this berth, ever. So this simple act becomes another milestone on the route to retirement and living aboard. Just how many milestones there are to go we don’t know. Some of them stand out ahead like sentinels winking at us and daring us to go past. Some are less obvious and sneak up on us unprepared or maybe even pass before we notice. Moving out of the London flat will be an obvious one, of course, a big change of lifestyle we cannot fail to notice. But stowing the mooring lines just snuck up on us and jumped out with no warning at all. It marks the beginning of the end of our two year association with Gillingham Marina. Even though we will be returning in a week so the yard can give Cirrus a fresh coat of paint and some new windows, we are done with this particular berth.
So to all the creatures of the mud whose lives depended on Cirrus’ twice daily rise and fall, farewell and… sorry.

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