We arrived in Crossmichael to a very warm welcome by Olek and Trevor - so lovely to see Olek again so soon, and just lovely to meet Trevor, Marta's partner - we have seen him and spoken with him on WhatsApp lots, but meeting him in person was cool. Only one problem - he's even taller than Olek...
Karol and Marta arrived not long after and to see them both after 3.5 years was so special. Karol is wonderful, a really neat kid - in part because he is shorter than me still, although I don't think that will last somehow. He is funny, smart, with a cool sense of humour. and an infectious smile. Jola (Marta's mum) arrived just before dinner and we had been hoping she would be joining us!👏 So big hugs all round. So wonderful to be with them all again after 3 years.
We met Darby, Trevor's daughter, later that day, and a day later we met Mickenzie, Trevor's son. Olek and Kenzie call each other Stepbro 💙💙.
It is such a close and loving blended family, and such a blessing for all included.
|Our place for the next week or so.|
|Looking down the street as dusk starts|
|Sunset between the houses next door.|
|On Thursday Olek was hard at work filling the trench that had been dug to replace piping for the heating leading to a new heat pump. Heat pumps are different here - much larger. This one takes care of heating the house and water.|
|Happy in his work!|
On Friday, it would have been Caitlin's 15th birthday, so Marta and the boys, Jola and David and I went to the cemetery at St John's Town of Dalry to visit her grave. She has such a beautiful headstone and it always makes me cry.
|We thought about Caitlin, and Tim was strongly in our thoughts.|
Marta had arranged a bit of a gathering for Saturday afternoon - Jola, Trevor's mum and dad (Doreen and Billy), Marta's sister Olga (up from London for a week's work) and two of her children, Elif and Kamil. A big extended family gathering with some friends too.
|Karol has a set pattern to the manoeuvre|
|Springing from one tramp to the next|
|And shooting the ball through the hoop.|
|The early birds were Doreen, Billy, David, Jola and Marta. I was there somewhere ...|
|Stepbros - Mickenzie and Olek.|
|Sam and Ewen. Sam is a friend of Olek's from Secondary and Ewen and Olek have been friends from Primary school.|
|Mickenzie with the smallest member of the family, the somewhat misnamed Yogi ...|
|Impeccable balance ...|
|Billy and Doreen|
Sunday was a day for relaxing...
|Marta and her sister Olga relaxing in the sun. |
Monday was a school day for Karol, even though it was a Bank Holiday in England. Olek however was heading for Chipping Norton to stay with and work with his other grandfather, earning money for Uni and a ski trip in January next year.
|Olek is off, being delivered to Dumfries Railway Station by babca Jola. All of us were sad, including the two in the car...|
|Later that day, Jola took Elif and Kamil to the Sandyhills beach - we followed in the motorhome.|
|That evening (I think), Trevor pointed out the reversed image of the trees and roof next door in Marta's glass.|
Last night was our last evening with the family. Time for David to throw himself into trampoline and basketball fun - or was it fun? Today he is suffering ...
|David's preferred position on the trampoline ...|
|Watching in awe as Karol sinks yet another goal!|
|Can he get up? By the way, he is braver than me - I didn't even try. I know my limitations would be over-extended by even getting up on a trampoline now. Note to self: buy a mini tramp to use for balance improvement when we get home.|
|Trev was particularly taken with how relaxed Cady the cat was with David. This WAS not near the trampoline ...|
As I write this section it is Saturday morning (our second Saturday here) and we are leaving today. It is time to get back to the boat (our new pram cover is being fitted on Monday and we have to clean and tidy the motorhome and restore it to its pristine condition before we return it to Ian and Irene). But it will be very sad to say goodbye to the family, both new and old.
|David and Trevor|
|And Marta cooking breakfast this morning.|
The week has been both busy and relaxed, and while we have only seen Marta in the evenings and briefly in the mornings before she headed off to work, we have really loved being here. Our original plan had been to come up here pretty much straight after we arrived, but Covid put the kybosh on that, dammit. So then we decided to tack this on to our trip to Cornwall. The timing then meant that Marta was unable to take time off work because of events already scheduled. So we haven't seen as much of her as we would like.
So we are looking forward to having her and Trevor, Karol and Darby on the boat for a weekend in early August. And we are going to be looking after Yogi their dog for a time after that. Our new boat dog! (Kai, our former boat dog has moved to Bulgaria...)