Here we are in our little 2×4 cabin on a rainy, then foggy, then oh, it looks like the sun might break through, then no, there’s the fog and here’s the rain again day. Francois can only stand up straight in the companionway and frequently bangs his handsome head on something or other and we constantly do our boat dance, shimmingly past each other trying not to disturb what the other is trying accomplish, pick up or put away without getting pissy. And we look at each other and think we are in heaven. Is this normal, I think?
And the thought of being (land) homeless doesn’t even seen to come into play. Afterall, we’ve just been to the local farmers’ market bringing back some yummy things to keep us sustained for the next couple of days including a very good looking Polish sausage that’s hanging from a hook infusing it’s scents throughout the cabin. Is this what Poland smells like? If so, yum! Mix with that the aromas of freshly ground coffee all ready for tomorrow’s first, then second cup and oh, that crusty bread. My Frenchman does love his bread. That fresh slab of salmon that provided meals for 2 days. Feeling really good knowing we have supported four different local businesses and we haven’t even hit the butcher down the road or the lobster pound a few miles away.
And did I mentioned we’re homeless? Of course I did because I keep repeating it to myself each day. Homeless. I had to write all of this down because I can’t for the life of me figure why this isn’t more upsetting. Is there another shoe that’s going to drop? Are we going to wake up tomorrow and wonder what the hell were we thinking?
We’ve put an offer in on a property nearby after a second visit. That one that had all the points on our wish list checked off. Offer received. So what’s happening on the other end? Have they gone to bed to sleep on it while I stay awake wondering what the outcome will be? Are they just as uncertain as we are. If they turn our offer down will we walk away? The dance of uncertainty continues. But the love affair with this property is ongoing..
Room with a View
As I’m writing this we have received a firm acceptance of our offer. Papers signed. Both sides satisfied. Now comes all the other stuff. Lawyers, notaries, inspectors, insurance, interprovincial challenges,so many tests to be done within a short period of time. But the bottom line of all this is we will no longer be homeless once the snow flies. Our little Red by the Sea with all its charm, all its imperfections, the blank canvas waiting for us to imprint our own mark will soon be ours.
Our Garden Awaits
In the meantime we can now get on with enjoying the rest of our summer. Exploring our new sailing ground. Discovering corners of our new universe. We will become Aspotogans or Aspotoganites. Not really sure what residents of Nova Scotia’s Aspotogan Peninsula are called but we’ll be there absorbing everything the region has to offer.
“As much as you want to plan your life, it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things that will make you happier than you originally planned.”
Now that our R.E.D. has a home we can place more attention on finding an off-season home for the crew.
To keep things focused we made a list of priorities in the search for our land home, a sort of wish list.
- The most obvious, affordable. We’re retired and one of the main points of this exercise was to be mortgage free. If a small mortgage were needed then we have to be able to pay it off in a very short period of time.
- Property on the sea or at the very least a view of the sea. Can’t call it ‘Red by the Sea’ if it’s not by the sea can we?
- Southern or south-east exposure for capturing heat from the sun especially during the winter months.
- The perfect size for the two of us. In ‘Goldy Locks’ terms, not too big, not too small, just right. But it has to have room for family and friends to visit. Got that? We EXPECT visitors!
- Two bathrooms. The key to a harmonious relationship.
- A place for R.E.D. Lots of cost saving if we don’t have to store her for the winter months and it would be great to have her close to be able to make modifications in the off season.
- A garage or at the very least a space to build a garage in the future.
- A place for Francois’ workshop. Maybe that should have been higher up the list.
- Charm. For me it needed to feel like home. You notice I put this priority below Francois’ workshop but we all know it easily could have been #3 on my list but we’re a team. Life’s a balance.
- Minimal work to be done.
- Not too far from a marina so during sailing season we don’t have to drive forever to be out on the water.
- Other minor things came up in our discussions. Very minor but Francois said he would like to have wild roses and lupins in the garden and I have always wanted a window seat, my Kat perch, at which to read and write and dream.
I think that’s it. Now that I’ve written it down, it’s a longer list than I realized. We fully expected some properties would have features we loved but never would have thought we’d find one with all boxes checked. It was just a guidline. The main points we put at the top as priorities. The rest we knew could be added with time. We also thought that it might be best to rent for a year to get to know the area better although we have both fallen in love with the south shore of Nova Scotia in particular St. Margarets Bay area so that became our focal point real estate wise.
St. Margaret’s Bay
A couple of casual outings with our agent and several drives along the coast checking out communities, marinas, boat clubs and making note of places for sale.
Down to the Sea
And there she was, our RED by the SEA. With lupins and roses in the garden. And a window seat. All of the above stated priorities checked off. All! We never expected this! A ten point landing.
Charming with a View
We sat back and thought ‘whoa‘! Then a touch of fear set in. Are we really ready for this? Maybe it’s too soon. Maybe we should wait. Always best to sleep on big decisions and never good to make it emotional. I remembered Francois’ words when we first visited our condo in Montreal, top floor with the phenomenal view. ‘Poker face, Kathy. We’re negotiating’ Sorry, buddy but that ship has sailed on this one. I gushed to the super nice owner just how utterly charming her place was to which she responded that she immediately saw it in my face and told us she hoped we would return when we have time to enjoy a glass of juice with her. Yep! That ship has sailed so far away it’s out of sight.
So we slept on it or rather we went to bed but neither of us slept much. Each mulling over our own thoughts. Francois the sane practical one thought finances while I was placing furniture and in full on nest phase. We did however secure a second visit with our agent,you know,just in case. We went to discuss finances at a local bank branch, you know, just in case. We secured contacts for a property lawyer, inspectors etc. You know, just in case.
There is still so much to happen before we can truly say we are no longer homeless…so very much! And when I can channel a more rational me, I know it may not be this place that becomes Red by the Sea. It’ll be disappointing for sure but as a good friend said, if not this one, there will be others. More to come as the adventure unfolds but for now we get to dream a bit and mentally arrange some furniture and virtually tend to those wild roses and lupins just down the lane.
Down the Lane
It’s a big messed up fog of confusion this moving business. We know we need to find a land home but where to search. We know we need to find a home for R.E.D. that’s relatively near where we live. We don’t want another situation of when we were in Montreal and had to drive for almost an hour in good traffic to reach our boat club and for those who know Montreal, ‘good traffic’ exists only in dreams. Most yacht clubs require a full membership before a dock space can be reserved, if indeed they have space for the season. We could take a lesser convenient mooring but our dinghy, Ballon de Rouge, is still under man power (a small engine is in his future but for now it’s not a priority) and with no shore power how long would our batteries stay charged in frequent east coast fog? I felt like a cat that had just been let out of her travel case. Anxious. Confused. Stressed.
After a couple of days of driving along the picturesque southern coast of Nova Scotia and visiting several marinas and yacht clubs we settled on a home for R.E.D. at least for this season but so far what we see, we really like. Shining Water Marine is located on the eastern shore of St. Margaret’s Bay on the Light House Route of Highway 333 otherwise known as Peggy’s Cove Road, within 15 minutes from Halifax and within easy driving distance to some of the country’s best beaches. Perfect!
And there seems to be a resident lobster fisherman at the quay just west of us. He may see me standing at his slip when next lobster season rolls around. If I’m to understand that could be as early as August around these parts.
Shining Waters offers the full service of a Yacht Club in a beautiful but relaxed setting without the comittment of a membership. Washrooms, showers, laundry, new docks with electricity and water. No problem storing our trailer, a functional ramp should we need to haul out for the occasional land trips and a fairly active social agenda should we wish to participate. And the best part, located near the Head of St. Margaret’s Bay and the gateway to some of Canada’s best sailing ground.
Shining Waters Marine
Finger #53 will be ours for the season and should we choose to continue our relationship here into 2018 and beyond, a deposit to secure our spot is all that’s needed.
It was with mixed emotions that we headed out this morning but we didn’t want to overstay the welcome of our generous hosts. But first we had to do a bit of pruning. That pine tree was just far too close.
Inches to spare.
Next on our agenda aside from washing away all the traces of land travel, is to relax a bit, explore our new sailing ground and on off days, find a land home for the crew. We’re confident that we’ll discover our “Red by the Sea” in good time. We aren’t in a hurry, we are comfortable aboard R.E.D. until October and the close of the sailing season and when we find it we’ll know it’s right.
Sunset on the Bay
Today the Galley Kat is much more calm and settled. Our little chalet is now splashed and safely at her dock and tomorrow is a new day with a clean slate on which to write more of our story.