It’s happening- all the hours spent over the computer doing on-line navigation courses, researching the route, deciding what sort of boat would be suitable, engaging in dialogue with other boaters on the Great Loop forum, and even the online flight booking, all had a dream-like quality that could be safely ignored in the light of the day, unlike the dark nights spent in a state of free-floating anxiety.
But two weeks ago the first physical sign appeared, a Union Jack which it seems will flutter from somewhere on our boat, in competition with the Star-Spangled Banner which will compulsorily adorn the stern. Not sure this is entirely wise, but we shall see. Then Christmas brought a brightly coloured rubber fish key-ring (to stop the keys sinking to the bottom of the waterway in the inevitable event of their being dropped over the side of the boat) and some very appropriate socks from my friend Alison.
So here we are, packed up and ready to go, and I’m feeling reluctantly excited, trying to put out of my mind the way my friends have been hugging me rather more than usual lately, as if they might not see me again. At least I’ve been promised some ballroom dancing in Orlando on Thursday night.