Notre Herbe est Verte*

img_6130

I’m thinking that the last few posts here have been a little pedestrian and everyday after the events of the summer, and that I have missed writing a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that made this whole venture heaps easier. If you’ve been following this you’ll know that we bought the Adventurer over the internet without seeing the boat before parting with the money. That’s actually pretty dumb, but we had faith (and that could have been pretty dumb too). Here’s some of the things that we are super grateful for.

– Gas, when we moved on the Adventurer we had just about a full bottle of butane for the cooker, that has lasted us for the four months we have been living on board for so far.

-Diesel, we have a full tank and two full jerrycans in the lazarette, that’s 300 litres of fuel, around about 200 hours of cruising (and currently just short of 400€). Also, when we moved on board we had 20 litres of diesel for the heaters. It is so easy to take this stuff for granted, I mention it because Christian’s boat “Tourettes” didn’t have a drop of fuel on board when he bought it, and the Aussies that bought the Mvuu had to dump all their fuel because it was contaminated.

– The six bottles of wine that were on board when we moved on, they didn’t last long but they went a long way to a) calming us down after a stressful 40 hour drive and b) making us feel welcome to what at the time was a totally new way of life.

Random boats

Random boats

-Winter mooring, for free WITH electricity and wifi. There are so many things to be grateful for, but this is just brilliant. I can’t even begin to describe how lucky we are for this, it wasn’t on our wishlist as, well how silly would you sound asking for free mooring with the extras in return for looking after a cat and making sure that nothing untoward happens to a house that is totally locked up and made good for the winter?¿!

-Rubbish bins, yay a big shout out for the bins that have given us so much. I can imagine that this makes some people uncomfortable, “what do you mean they look through the bins?¿!” But we have followed the re-use, reduce, recycle philosophy for years and like good wombles we make use of the everyday things that folks leave behind. And people do throw away stuff for no other reason than they have simply upgraded and have no use for things anymore.

-People, the people here are brilliant, when it seems (to me) that everyone wants something, the boating community are almost a throwback. They have gone out of their way to welcome us to the community, a few times people have walked out (quite a way) to us to thank us for work done or to tell us that there may be something of interest we could use. We’ve been given advice by the bucket load and stuff that has been invaluable for two newbies that didn’t know their arse from their elbow when it came to boats only a few short months ago, (and still have an awful long way to go).

-Work, I have been so lucky to find work that isn’t work if you know what I mean, when you enjoy doing something (yeah, even painting) it’s not exactly a chore is it.

-But really, the big point of this post is the Adventurer, when everything could have gone tits up – seriously, this whole let’s-live-on-a-boat-that-we-bought-on-the-internet-without-seeing-in-another-country-with-no-work-prospects-and-so-little-money thing could have been an unmitigated disaster – but didn’t, there were a few stumbles but in the great scheme of things everything lined up and went incredibly well.

Also, I’m super grateful to the cats, they’ve adapted to living on the water so well. Apart from the sound of the engine which they still have to get used to, (though they have a reprieve until next year), all is good in the feline world.

————————————————————

insulation

This last week I started getting the boat ready for the winter. We found a roll of aluminium backed insulation just ahem, lying around in one of the boat yards the other week, perfect for the small gap between the headliner and the outer shell. The salon took a whole day, way more time than I was expecting, but time well spent as I managed to get everything back (almost) exactly as it was, with maybe a few extra bulges. The bedroom was a different matter, even now that we’ve completed the job I have no idea how they put the headliner up here, it seemed to be from one direction but then from the other end it seemed to be put up from the other. Long story short, with 50mm of excess hidden under a strip of wood, I cut the headline, stuffed the insulation in, stapled it back, replaced the strip and no one will know. Very confused how the previous person put it up though, I actually started to think magic was involved?¿! Next is to finish the ceiling in the galley and head, and then put the loft insulation (from the Tante Hanni) under the floorboards wherever possible.

If a woodchuck could chuck wood, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck.  The lock keepers supply for the winter.

If a woodchuck could chuck wood, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck.
The lock keepers supply for the winter.

Good news, the heater that JP and Ilse lent us IS NOT petrol, we don’t know what it burns (yet) but it’s not the danger that we thought it was. I cannot help but wonder, I know it’s a different language and one must be careful with translations but, these heaters are sold as “petrole” heaters, how many Brits buy these things and put petrol in them?¿! So we’ll still only use this when it gets really cold, but feeling safer with the knowledge that it is NOT the potential bomb that we thought it was 🙂

*Our grass is green.

Kettle and Black(ie).

Autumn colours

Autumn colours

So Franglish was weird this week, I didn’t really know what to expect, and was a bit taken aback when Monica, the woman that organises this didn’t really have much English, I thought that this was some sort of lesson type thing, how can she not speak much English, confusion?¿! It turns out that we split off and each small group has an English speaker and a French speaker, and we talk, that’s really it. If any one says something incorrect (grammatically not politically 🙂 ) then they are corrected, simples really and I guess pretty obvious but, well, never one for details me?¿! The only thing is we have to discuss a passage in English and French that is… really, obnoxiously difficult, whatever happened to Janet and John easy peasy learning tools, (run Spot run). Here is the passage:
– Would you like to see a film tonight or would you prefer to go to a pub?
– Why don’t we call Peter and Mary and see what they’d like to do?
– Let’s do that. But I suspect Peter would rather go to a pub.
– I’m not sure. He may have something else to suggest. We’d better call them now. It’s already six o’clock.
Easy yeah? Look at all those contractions, I was totally screwed with this in French, the French woman in my group read it, looked totally flummoxed and voiced my thought that they should just go to the pub and be done with it. Hey ho, after wondering if I’d been put in some sort of advanced group, we started talking, slowly and moved away from this silliness and into everyday stuff, (hi, my name is…, have you seen my grey elephant? You know, proper every day speak).

Erm, with all this worry that we have about the impending winter, how we are making the boat warmer by adding insulation and that we’ve been lent a heater and blah blah blah. I would like to add here that we do have two diesel heaters on board the Adventurer, I thought I’d written that here, so really, there’s no worries, we’re only moaning and whinging because we haven’t “suffered” a winter for so long.

A brief work catch up, the Alcyon is still not undercover, I cannot imagine how they were expecting me to paint this boat in a rainy country?¿! Okay, work this one out for me, they cannot put Alcyon under cover as there is a boat already under it, (there is only one cover), they say that this boat is being worked on and when it is finished they will remove it. No one has worked on this boat for over two weeks. I asked if there were any weather sensitive patches on the boat, hence the need to keep it under cover, there aren’t. I then asked if it’d be possible to remove the boat for a while so that I can use the cover for the Alcyon, being as it needs to be finished by the end of October, non, that boat is being worked on?¿! Thankfully there was some extra painting to do on the Tante Hanni while Jimmy and Monika are away.

Work on the Tante Hanni

Work on the Tante Hanni

I don’t know if I’ve said before, while JP and Ilse are away we are looking after their cat, Blackie (at a guess they named her that because she is completely black). They left some food and said they’d reimburse for any more on their return. What wasn’t expected was that the neighbours two cats found that Blackie’s food is better than theirs and have decided to chow down whenever they want, leaving the bowls empty. So now we have a temporary house/boat guest, Blackie’s food bowl has been relocated into the covered cockpit, and I dare say it won’t be long before she comes into the boat proper.

Blackie

Blackie

While at the Franglish thang the other day I had a bit of an eye opening oh-crumbs-what-do-I-do-now moment. I was explaining that we used to live in Spain and how everything is so much cheaper there (yawn Spike, get over it). I was kinda (in French) saying that no, I am not a vegetarian, but we find it so expensive to buy meat that we are “almost” vegetarian, I was asked how much a chicken is to buy in Spain and I said that we used to pay about 4.50€for a chook, they were horrified, but not in the way you would expect, it wasn’t the price, it was that the chicken I’d eaten was so obviously a tasteless battery type, not free range chicken and how could I do such a thing, (curry, it adds flavour to the blandest of meat). Okay, I am the bad man so I asked about their chickens, oh they live in paradise, they are fed corn and something else (that I never got to translate), and basically live a great life until the day they are killed to be eaten (and, basically makes the chicken about expensive). Two things I got from this, three if you include that I was actually there to learn French, 1) (no matter what I say here, someone is going to take offense), is a chicken bred for food okay when it really has no life OR 2) a chicken that lives in luxury… but only for a while. I am not ignorant, I do see both sides, yes I understand that the French chicken is pampered and therefore taste better. But, ah you know what, there is no argument, I am guilty of war crimes towards chicken and if I can’t afford the pampered French meat then well, we will have to go without. After this “conversation” I didn’t express my thoughts about French potatoes, just don’t go there Spike, probably grown in heated beds, gotta be something to explain those prices. Okay, that is it, I will not blog about the price of food again, not until the next time anyways.

img_6089Jimmy and Monika have just arrived back from Germany, I asked if they could bring a decent German beer, they brought a case.

The otter came by again the other day, we’re going to call him Kettle, (think about it, water otter).

Vanessa brought loads of stuff back from her trip to the UK, a whole load of spices and black pepper, some slippers for both us (both fuddy-duddies), thermals and oxtail soup woo hoo.

img_6084

I went to the local River Rats committee meeting last weekend, the almost dormant 21 year old Spike in me jeered and asked wtf I was doing, I couldn’t answer. I now have to do a “pub” quiz for the middle of November.

Lentil, potato and mushroom curry is absolutely delicious.