7 December 2015

Adventures in Trinidad's Officialdom

Our fine, feathered friends...as long as they kept to the bow and above deck!
Each morning when we woke in Scotland Bay, we discovered ever more birds perching on our rigging.  They were unperturbed by our company, jittery, but remaining in place.  They left their new home by mid morning but until then we were only a slight nuisance to them.  They sat on the boom, on the shrouds, on the spreaders.  We drew the limit on the solar panels - we didn’t want any poop obscuring the precious sun rays from topping up our batteries which on a cloudless day reach 100%.  And so, the bird territory was the bow and above.  We still owned the cockpit.  One bird flew inside but quickly realized when I yelped that he/she was not welcome and left in a hurry.
 During the deluge - waves of rain

After the deluge - rainbows are a dime a dozen here but still worthy of a  photo 
We were finally notified that our illusive liferaft, having arrived ten days ago, was “unstuffed” from the shipping container.  We had already taken a trip to Port of Spain to get and pay for prerequisite papers from the brokerage.  Once unstuffed, we made another trip in a pick up truck with our trusty driver, Ian Taxi.  Our destination, “Shed 10”, the busiest depot for overseas shipments.  

We were let through a fenced gate with dozens of guys hanging about, one of whom directed us down a drive and around a corner and then a bit further - this all said in a dialect that is sing song and incredibly speedy with Trini phrases and short forms.  Peter is better at deciphering the meaning than I but between the two of us we often - not always - get it right.  When we don’t, we nod vacantly, and ask the next person.  An added problem is that when we have asked multiple people, the answers are often different, pointing us in different directions.  All sound very certain, but even the police steered us wrong on one bike ride.

This time we successfully found the dark and bustling entrance to Shed 10.  We signed in with our paper work with a less than patient woman at one booth who directed us to another to make a payment.  The glass fronts on each booth - we went to four that morning - were opaque with a small opening where money is usually exchanged.  To speak to the voice on the other side and to hear the response - Peter had to bend to 3 feet and peer through the hole, alternating mouth then ear, which added to our confusion.  After negotiating the maze of booths, we were sent to a waiting room where it was very obvious that we were foreigners being the only white people in the entire dark, cavernous shed.  The large room had plastic rows of about 150 chairs behind a large space - standing room only?  There were vending machines with drinks and a tiny faux Christmas tree at the front.  It was a waiting room built for a large number of people waiting a very long time!  

A tall, soft spoken Rasta man took us under his wing, found our package and guided us out after a very short wait.  (Later, two women who had been waiting two days! told us our process was expedited because we were white and most likely to tip.  Obviously irritated, they told us not to do so as it only added to the corruption of the place.)
Hustlers - inside and out??
We went to a series of long tables where women were standing beside unpacked cylinders with clothes, rugs, towels, sheets etc piled on the table, being inspected piece by piece.  Our box was glanced at.  We were sent to another smaller waiting area with a huge fan blowing. Another sign of a long wait!
The inspection area in the cavernous, dark Shed 10
Again more speaking through holes in glass booths - the same lady in different booths.  Next a security desk - more papers, more stamps - back to another transport desk - more stamps - transport man going to security woman to tell her she stamped our paper incorrectly - fast walk to find Ian Taxi around the corner and down the lane - drive back to Shed 10 - Peter, the captain (it’s easier to be the first mate in officialdom) talking to guys who wanted to use a forklift to carry the package to the truck - guys had to go find the package although we knew exactly where it was - forklift brought package to truck - guys asked for tip in low voice with hands out - small tip given with our only change - guys not very satisfied - get into truck - drive to customs for boatyards - customs cleared - drive to dinghy dock - raft loaded into dinghy - drive to grocery store - pouring rain, soaked - purchases made - more pouring rain - go to Immigration and Customs to clear out of the country - drive to Scotland Bay - more pouring rain - load raft onto Milly.  Beer.  Sigh.
While waiting for Peter, I took a picture of the bull finch inside the cage.  These are singing birds for 30 minute competitions.  Although you can't actually see the bird, I was berated by a guy inside who called me over a few minutes later - I thought he was going to tell me about the bird.  Instead, he lambasted me for breaking the copyright laws by taking a picture.  He wanted me to pay for the pic.  Instead, I apologized.  Maybe he was a hustler!
Ready Milly, a little more complete, for sailing and off to Grenada at 21:00.  So good to be sailing under a full moon.

21 November 2015

The Ants Come Marching

It is so wonderful to be at anchor again.  We are in Scotland Bay on the Northwest shore of Trinidad.  A beautiful natural setting and small bay surrounded by lushly, textured steep hills. There are no buildings at all, just a couple of campsites on the beach.   Beautiful until you go to shore where, disappointingly, the human picnicers leave there vast quantities of garbage lining the shore.  Really disturbing! 
A small amount of the copious garbage.  Humans can be disgusting!
But from the boat, where the garbage is less visible, we see schools of silver fish jumping like skipping stones in synchrony across our path, sea turtles languid until we glide up politely in our kayak when they gracefully swim faster than any stereotypical turtle ever moves.  It’s obviously better to be in buoyant water with a house on your back then on land.  We see bank swallows and bananaquits.  We have suddenly become birders, sitting over morning coffee and tea with bird books at hand trying to identify the birds perching on our spreaders, even on our wind instruments where they turn with the wind.  
Milly as birdhouse
We are searching for an 8 km trail to a distant waterfall where we can bathe in a pool at it’s base.  Sounds idyllic on a hot, humid day when the air seems thick.  But, of course, we have to walk there first…and back…. after the cooling swim.

We hid our kayak in the lovely ferns that are pushing up through discarded beer cans, styrofoam take-out containers, water bottles, plastic bags etc. etc. etc. and tried to find the trail head.  After several false starts where the trail ended in a ruin of a quasi shelter with no less than a porcelain toilet inside connected with pipe to a hole a few meters uphill.  There are at least a dozen of these civilized outhouses surrounded by litter!
The toilet and pipe are the most prominent remains in the sites along the beach.
We finally find a trail occasionally marked with orange ribbon - a good sign.  It follows concrete mud covered pavement, the ruins of an American military camp from W.W.II.  A hanging vale of branches eventually prevents us from going further.  We have learned that this particular tree’s bark, leaves and little green apple-looking fruit are “poisonous” and since we don’t want any itchy rashes, stinging welts, or watery eyes, we decide to turn around.  
Descending into the depths of the gully
Instead, we turn right and clamber up a hill along another trail marked with blue tape.  It takes us up and then down into a deep, damp gully which is a river during floods.  We stop very briefly to look at a column of long-legged, red bellied ants marching across the rocks.  And then we notice that the ants are everywhere in great swarms of military movement.  On we go for a few short steps until Peter yelps in pain.  He has been bitten by those ferocious insects.  We both look down to see our shoes and ankles swarming with ants. They are quickly moving up our legs as we dash about swatting with hands and hats.  After minutes - or at least, seconds - we are clear and continue on the path.  But the earth is now swarming with these ants, all moving in one direction but not in discrete columns that we can step over.  They are everywhere.  After a brief sprint up the steep path we decide that these creatures, which are now enormous in our minds, are not worth the adventure of exploring.  We turn back only to go over the spot of our original infection.  In even a few moments as we literally run over the slippery rocks our shoes were again covered.  Again, we furiously batted them off as we gained higher, drier ground.

We have done quite a few jungle walks but so far had not encountered these tiny, hostile creatures with strong and painful pincers.  We did not reach the waterfall but we are not giving up.  When the locals come on the weekend, we will ask direction.  If it’s the same path, we will choose to wait for another waterfall on another island.
Peaceful serenity after our encounter with the mad ants
Today, we instead headed back to Milly for a swim and a paddle to look at the teeming underwater life from the safety of the kayak.
Milly looking enormous beside our only neighbour

18 November 2015

Buenos Aires, Argentina to Chaguaramas, Trinidad - Season Highlights

We had a wonderful time visiting “home” and catching up with family and friends. Many asked questions that have made us thoughtfully reflect on our first season abroad, almost three months living in Buenos Aires and then eight months on Milly. Of course, as with all good answers to great questions, they don’t occur spontaneously but were tossed about late at night when sleep evades or as a topic of conversation over dinner and a glass of wine in Trinidad upon our return to Milly.  Nothing like rehashing a season before we start a new one.

Because this is a blog, questions will be answered in point form with a new picture when possible.  I find it painful to skip the stories and limit the list to so few.  Perhaps, one day, we will write a chapter or two.  But, unbelievably, when we are cruising, there isn't enough time!

What surprised us?

The stunning beauty of the Brazilian coast
  • never a dull moment during those long passages. 
  • daily rainbows, after every squall 

Cars left to rot at the side of the road in residential Buenos Aires
  • dealing in the “Blue Market” to change American to Pesos in Argentina - felt clandestine but is a nonevent for the residents, a matter of survival
  • the amount of plastic water bottles in the sea - very sad
  • the lack of North American cruisers in Brazil - not one!  And only a handful of Europeans.
  • the heat and humidity.  It’s wiltingly hot! In Trinidad especially.

Were we ever scared?  This is commonly the first question.  Usually people who ask are thinking of the weather we encountered, imagining fierce storms and huge waves.  I readily admit to being a bit - no, quite a bit - wide-eyed and nervous at the end of our passage to Santa Catarina  ( A Shake Up Cruise).  I won’t repeat the ewww and ahhh I felt that final night again but, yes, I was scared/nervous for some minutes until I realized Milly could handle the waves the ocean was hurling our way and that Peter, enjoying the tumult, was an incredibly able captain.

Peter was never unnerved by weather or anything to do with sailing.  He loved every minute of it - calm, waves, upwind, downwind.  However, he also had his nervous moments.  One was while anchored in the very small Maracas Bay on Isla Grande, Brazil.  The bay was beautiful, surrounded by steep, rocky shores which rose to high mountains on the island side.  The exit/entrance was one small cut through rocky shores.  Although the anchor felt solid, the wind rose to such intensity on a pitch black night that he sat at the helm for what seemed like a few hours.  The next day when we weighed anchor, we pulled up mud, a couple of plastic bags and a few pieces of metal.  The anchor had done just as it should and dug in deeper.

Peter’s second nervous night - why does all the scary stuff happen at night when it’s that much scarier? - was in Galeao, a small, secluded and impoverished town well away from any sail traffic.  We anchored with local fishing boats.  The town was in the full swing of celebrating some festival or another - there is no shortage of parties in Brazil.  Somehow in our isolation, we felt guiltily like an ostentatious super yacht.  And when we went ashore, we were sensitive to a lack of welcoming smiles.  Peter was vigilant that night and we left the next morning.

Were there any bad moments?  Really very few and mostly momentary
  • missing my kids.  I was very grateful for our communication systems when they worked.  But when they didn’t…I was not a happy mum.
  • Peter hanging off the bow in rough seas in the middle of the night to fix the furler
  • electrical problems that prevented the batteries from charging properly for a couple of weeks.  The fix was easy, once figured out.
  • until the drugs started working, seasickness was never fun
  • a ship making a last minute turn directly at us on a dark night, oblivious to the little boat in it’s way
  • not being able to figure out which way Brazilian fishing boats were headed because their lights did not follow any of the conventions.  Instead, they were decorated like flashing Christmas trees.
  • me releasing the screecher halyard instead of the main.  Luckily, I realized quickly and it didn’t come down too far.  But I was in the doghouse for a short time.

What were the highlights?  Really too many to list - every day held several:
Splashing Milly - January, 2015

The wild beaches of the Uruguayan South Atlantic coast
  • sailing in the company of dolphins at the bow
  • looking over the gunnel to see a school of rays just below the surface, gliding in formation
  • the moon and stars above and bioluminescence below on night watch
  • Dropping anchor after a long passage
  • The long passages

  • Shopping in farmers' markets
  • The culinary adventure and fast sensations of trying new-to-us fruit and veg
  • the political intensity of Argentina, from bombing to cover-up to murder to more cover-up and the daily protests of thousands who are engaged in the politics
  • the many wonderful South American characters we had the pleasure to meet
  • dining on the beach with chefs dressed in shorts - only
  • the French Guyanese military shorts worn by seriously macho soldiers as described by John Gimlett in The Wild Coast. “These (the shorts) were always half a dozen sizes too small, making them look magnificently gay, as though Village People had taken over the bush.”  Completely accurate description! And, no, I don't have a picture.  We were trying to be respectful.
  • Fernando de Noronja

  • Introducing our son to Milly
  • hanging out with other cruisers for the first time in French Guyana

We had some fun!!  And now, we are about to start our second season.  More fun to come!

10 November 2015

Coming Home

We have arrived back in Trinidad to find Milly looking brilliantly white, patiently waiting to be put back in the water where she belongs.

Prior to our trip back to Toronto and during our seven weeks there, I have spent some time considering a few questions commonly asked and what our nomadic life means with respect to those questions.

First, “Where are you from?”  That’s an easy one when you have lived in one place all your life minus a few years here and there.  We are from Canada and, even more specifically, from Toronto.  
Canada follows us everywhere!
When cruisers ask, “Where are you coming from?”  they often mean where have you sailed from last.  This is a somewhat confusing answer - is it the last port or the port of origin or what?  Even more enigmatically, we proudly fly the Canadian flag but will most likely never sail the boat to our fine country.  Instead, Milly’s origin is Argentina, an answer that baffles many.

Next, “Where do you live?”  A bit difficult.  We could say Toronto or Canada but we have only been there for seven weeks in 2015 and maybe not at all in 2016.  More accurately, we live on Milly.  I’m comfortable with that response.  But if the answer to the question needs to be a place, well, Milly wanders from port to port.  The longest we have been in any one place is San Fernando, Argentina which we may never return to and here, in Chaguaramas, Trinidad, which appeals as a place to get boat work done but from which we will sail as soon as we can.  Actually, we live on the sea.  Okay, so the answer to the question is, “We live on the sea in Milly.”

The question that I struggle with most is, “Where is home?”  When we travel, we fall easily into referring to our hotel or, even more so, our rented apartment, as home as in “let’s go home” even though we are both aware that this is not really the case.  Home, when we travel, is where we lay our heads.

However, when we were about to return to Toronto or when we arrived back here, we said we were going home or had been home.  We referred to Toronto as home - feeling each time that we were betraying Milly.  When we arrived in Toronto, indeed, the place felt like home even though we had only lived in our rented condo for a month before we left for Argentina.  Our friends and family were there.  And the streets, people and ambiance were so familiar, it felt like we had never left.  After all, we had only been away ten months.  Places don’t change that fast.

But we have given up our apartment and moved a few things into a 5’ x10’ storage space.  Our daughter, Emily, moved to New York City the day after we returned to Trinidad and our son, Tom, is as nomadic as we are.  So we no longer have a space in Toronto to call home and our little nuclear family has dispersed.  Still friends and some family remain and the familiarity makes returning exciting and easy.

Home in the Kawartha Lakes
We have a cottage where our children grew up and where we have lived as a family each summer.  We have stuffed it full of some of our city furniture and it holds some of our parents things - those things that we are sentimentally attached to and find difficult to discard.  Our precious photos of our children and family at all ages and stages are there.  On the cold, damp, windy days that we spent there on this return trip we were very cozy and comfortable.  It is a three season place that we love but is it home?  It’s always been “the cottage” but I guess it’s home when we are there.

Which leaves Milly.  Again, when we are away on a hike, for example, we might say “let’s go home”.  And she is familiar and comfy for us.  When returning after a hot expedition ashore, her cool indoors is a relief to come home to.  Even better is a dive into the ocean from her transom and a rinsing fresh water shower on the transom steps.  On passage nights, her helm is headquarters for radar and chart, stars and bioluminescence.  From her bow we delight in playing dolphins and secure her in ports with her anchor.

At home on Milly
 I prefer to believe that we are at home on Milly.  Her interior still predominantly has the elegant Antares touch.  Boats have built-in furniture and photos or paintings are tough to put up - it’s difficult to personalize a new boat.  On this trip home, I brought a couple of rugs and I’m going to add some watercolours and cushions when we come across them in our travels.  My happy mission this season is to make our home homey.

If home is a space, then Milly is it.  If home is a place, then Canada and Toronto are it….I guess.
Home in Canada - the cottage
The answer to the question, “Where is home?” still makes me a little uneasy but I consider myself very privileged to be able to say that we live on Milly on the sea.  Perhaps that is why cruisers are called liveaboards.
Our wandering home, Milly

16 October 2015

Milly on the hard

Milly in the Peake parking lot, looking like a fish out of water.
Well, we have been in Toronto for five weeks now and soon will be returning to Trinidad where Milly has been waiting on the hard - actually in a huge, fenced lawn space surrounded by barbed wire fencing supplemented with guard dogs at night.  We are sure she is secure at Peake Yacht Services in Chaguaramas, Trinidad!

The days leading up to our departure were full, busy and so hot that it looked like we had just come on board from a refreshing swim - no such luck.  We spent a few days at dock and, for the first time since our one nighter at Frade, near Angra Dos Reis, nearly four months before, we had unlimited fresh water to desalt, scrub and polish Milly.  We were like kids in a water park.
Approaching the slings.  A diver placed them in just the right spot under her hulls.

 We were also able to plug into shore power - although one of our two lines was not working and must be attended to on our return.  We had enough power to use air conditioning which we used with wild abandon throughout each hot night.  Unlike an anchorage which most often has a breeze even on a hot night, marinas are sheltered with no cooling afforded by moving air.
Hung and coming ashore via the travel lift.

Our two days at the dock were spent replacing oil and oil filters on our three engines, flushing the raw water coolant on four engines (including our outboard on TomTom), spraying and taking down our screecher and genoa, and other odds and ends.
The power sprayer guy has been doing the job for years.  He's an expert, getting into all sorts of contortions to get into every nook and cranny.

Two months worth of corrosion on anodes and barnacle growth on propellor.  Doesn't take long!


Set up for the next leg of the journey on a flat bed truck with six huge legs holding Milly up and level. 

Off she goes

Then Milly landed and we followed her to the pen.  I made friends with the head of security - wise move since she handles the dogs and we did not want to be in the pen at the same time.  And an incredibly sweet woman once you acquiesce to the very seriously followed rules.  
Arrived in new home.  Note rickety ladder that slid back and forth on Milly's sugar scoop as you climbed aboard.

Propped.  Solid?

Milly on land is a different beast.  You climb up an unsteady ladder, spray water from the hydrant below, work with no breeze but lots of humidity and look down fifteen feet to green grass.  Knowing that salt would be our primary foe once away, drawing moisture, mildew and mould to all surfaces, we cleaned everything!  I have never washed floors as often as on Milly but this time it was not just floors - all cushions, wood and leatherette-covered walls, tables, counters, mirrors, head fibreglass - everything was wiped with vinegar and water.  The bilges were cleaned and dried.  Heads were filled and covered with plastic wrap.  Mattresses were flipped and propped so they aired underneath.  All bedding, towels, clothes that were remotely salty were laundered (at the laundromat) and packed.  The freezer was defrosted and fridge and freezer cleaned and dried.  We have a dehumidifier on constantly with multiple extra dehumidifying devices.  A caretaker is looking in on Milly and cleaning her deck of bird poop each week.  
Ant grease applied.
Peter spread a thick coating of grease around every strut or cord that went from land to boat to discourage the ants that forage for food on Milly.  He meticulously covered every through hull and hull drain - and there are many more than you expect - with a plug, tape or mesh to stop flying insects like bees or enormous cockroaches from nesting or coming aboard.  Hopefully, rats will also be deterred.  
Scuppers covered with mesh and tape to keep out critters
Over the last days aboard, we had madly attempted to eat our overabundant supplies which I had so diligently collected.  Tinned or well-sealed food that was left, was binned and placed in storage under the settee.  All cupboards and anything that had been touched by food - pots, pans, cooking utensils, sinks, oven, stovetop - were cleaned of all crumbs.
Ready to go!
All this was done in sauna-like heat and humidity over five days.  I picked up lunch at street vendors who set up shop outside the gates - home-made Trini delicacies like rotis and curried stews with lamb, beef or chicken stew.  Each week day there were seven or eight vendors who brought only enough food for that day.  Once the food was finished, the hard-working mostly women, went home to cook for the next day.
Nightly entertainment
After working from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. - we made sure we were out before the dogs came in at 5 p.m. - we sat on our marina hotel terrace watching the iguanas and boats while enjoying a cold beer and some take out.  Often other working cruisers would come by and share their stories.  Bedtime was about 9:00 p.m. for all!

It was a great but exhausting week.  We left Milly in good shape and good hands.  And are looking forward to our return.

4 October 2015

A Visit From Our Boy!

We spent a restful week in Tobago in slo mo, snorkelling, hiking, and watching the depressions crawl across the Atlantic becoming “more organized” - sounds good, but it’s not for the likes of anything in it’s way - into tropical storms and then into hurricanes.  For our first few days, we kept an eye on Hurricane Danny. This new threat had me logging onto NOAA hurricane centre about four times a day.  At first Danny was pointed disconcertingly south toward Grenada.  Over time he veered north.  Great for us but not so much for islands in his path.  About a week later, Dominica was badly damaged by Tropical Storm Erica, with mudslides leaving many homeless.  Storms are ruthless and prove once again that Mother Nature deserves respect - complacence is not allowed.
Those little sails way off in the distance are the lasers - and I can hardly wait.
Our final destination of our first season was Chaguaramas, Trinidad.  We had timed our arrival to coincide with our son, Tom’s, laser training session with Trini olympian, Andrew Lewis, and coach, Vaughn Harrison.  As we neared the Boca or cut between two islands on our way toward the harbour, Peter spotted two laser sails about six NM away.  As we got closer, we could see one had a CAN on it.  There was Tom on the great blue sea meeting us.  I was jumping-up-and-down excited on the bow, blowing kisses!  Peter was too distracted to take pictures.  Lots of shouting, laughter, smiles and a few tears.  As we continued along, dolphins came to celebrate with us by dancing at the bow.  They must have sensed our exuberance.  Such a great way to put a big exclamation mark at the end of our first season!!
The dolphins were telepathic.  They celebrated and accompanied us for at least ten minutes 

Jumping for our joy!

We spent the next few days docked at Andrew’s family island house dock.  Milly looked terrific in front of a lovely villa.  The boys joined us for coffee before and drinks after training all day.  Wonderful!
Looking pretty in front of the "island house"
This was Tom’s last laser training camp.  He has decided to switch to the Finn class on a five year campaign for the Rio and Tokyo olympics.  Earlier in August, a few days of training for the first time in Finn, he won the North American championships which convinced him that the move from laser to Finn was a good one.  You can follow his journey on twitter @tomramshaw, on Facebook Tom Ramshaw Sailing or on his website tomramshaw.com.  Donations can be made through his website.  He has two irresponsible, non-employed parents so all donations to his much more costly campaign are very welcome.  Please consider it.
Checking out the rigging

R & R

Dragging at 6-8 knots.  

Cooking up a storm

We didn't catch anything but were presented with two fish by local fishermen as a gifts.

Bimini doubled as chin up bar
After his training camp, we had the pleasure of Tom’s company for a four day cruise on Trinidad’s north coast and islands - beautiful, mountainous and lush.  We snorkelled with sea turtles, swam, hiked, flew the spinnaker, fished without luck, sailed and sailed some more. Tom climbed the mast twice, jumped off the bimini, did flips forwards and backwards over the lifeline, and expressed approval of our new home.  

Approval!  From a dinghy sailor who sails to go fast, this was appreciated praise.
Trinidad is known for it’s industry rather than for tourism like neighbouring Tobago.  For the short time we cruised, we found a wild and undeveloped coastline.  Although not all that protected, the few anchorages on the north shore, were peaceful and beautiful.  The islands closer to Chaguaramas offered greater protection with easily accessible hikes.  Unfortunately, the litter on shore - comprised mainly of plastic water bottles and many flip flops - from partiers on shore or garbage brought by ocean currents was sometimes knee deep on otherwise beautiful beaches with coconut palms. 
A tiny section of an entire, otherwise beautiful, bay.
A little investment in clean up or, better yet, some care taken by humans with their debris would make Trinidad a lovely cruising destination - safe from hurricanes, English-speaking, fantastic boat repair facilities and very friendly people.  Nothing has made us more avid followers of the three R's, then the plastics we have seen in the ocean.

After docking at Peake Marina where we were taking Milly out of the water for a few weeks, Andrew took us on a tour of Port of Spain.  We ate jerk at a local eatery, saw Fort George and the Magnificent Seven mansions and were given advice on speargun purchases and fishing.  Our fishing definitely needs fine tuning.  The boys were kind and generous tour guides especially given that they had been out the night before.  It was a new experience for us to be introduced to a country by someone who lived there and spoke English.  We were grateful to Andrew, Trini celebrity who strangers stop to speak to because of his sailing success.
The sailor boys - view of Port of Spain from Fort George
 Thanks for joining us, Tom.  We loved having you aboard.  Come back soon, please!  
Now we just have to get our darling daughter down to see us.

Some kids never grow up!