Straw, Chillies and Reboots.


Six bales of straw to “thatch” our boat.

What to say? R & J from the farm gave us some bales of straw the other day, the plan being to strip back the tarpaulin over the boat, lay the straw over the top and then put the tarp back, hopefully creating even more of an insulated layer. Apparently the temperature is dropping to -8 tonight (6/Jan).

Felix, Lara and Blackie huddled.

The cats are sleeping and eating so much. When it started snowing the other day poor Lara didn’t know what was happening, she kept looking at the ground in confusion at why her feet were so cold, and then looking skyward wondering what that white fluffy stuff was. Meanwhile Blackie, who is acclimatized and in the know, was tearing about having a great time. Felix doesn’t seem too fussed, though he is spending a lot more time on the boat. Heidi, she gets up from the darkest confines of our bed maybe twice a day for a pit stop, occasionally she’ll venture into the salon to see what we’re doing, and then slinks back off to bed again. She doesn’t seem interested in anything but, she isn’t unhappy, she purrs away when we come to bed, (probably because of the extra warmth we bring). Lara, Felix and Blackie share a blanket at night, and the radiator and are content to huddle together.


I’ve had some painting work on the Tante Hanni this week now that the bathroom walls have been fitted and most of the ceiling is in place too. Funny, J&M are away in Germany so they don’t know yet (shhh), the frame was welded into position over the engine and the floor boards fitted, all well and good but there is so much clearance been left over the engine that you can barely stand up in the room over it. All through the main part of the boat, (bathroom, bedroom, salon), J has deliberately made sure that there is ample room to move about without banging your head, (wish they’d’ve thought about that when building the Adventurer), at least 5 cm clearance, but in the one place where they’ll have guests and a lot of moving about, the dining room, you have to crouch to walk around. I haven’t a clue what they’ll be able to do if they want to change it, either take the engine out, or rebuild that entire section of the coach work, ouch.

How much?

I really fancied a Hungarian Goulash for dinner this weekend, but we have no smoked paprika left (bit of a key ingredient), I tried in the local supermarket with no luck. I did, however, find something called piment d’espelette, I have no idea what espelette means, I tried in our (huge) dictionary and google translate but the word doesn’t seem to exist. Any way, look at the price of this stuff, really all it is is ground dried chilies, we used to grow our own chilies in Spain, we would dry some and roughly chop them, if I’d have known it is 240 euros a kilo in France, I’d’ve stored a load up*. Holy Moly that’s about 5 euros a chili!!! So that idea went out of the window, instead we’re treating ourselves to a chicken curry, (I never ever thought I’d say that a chicken curry would be a treat financially). The recipe is here if you’re interested.

*I found out that Espelette is a town in the province basque du Labourd, they grow expensive chilies is all I can say?¿!

Read more, I’m still doing well with this, (so long as you count non-fiction books too). The other day I saw a 26 book reading challenge for 2017 that I thought I’d have a go at, there may be a few that I stumble on, (a book set in Enfield, my hometown? The only one I can think of is a biography of Reg Varney of On The Buses fame, yes I am that old). 5/5

Write more, yeah yeah, I am getting there. I did write some stuff here on  the blog, plus there’s some more in the pipeline. 4/5

Watch more movies, ooh yeah, always. I’m just gonna hijack this segment for a moment though. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Gone Girl, a brilliant book that kept me guessing, and then I enjoyed the movie, we’ve watched it three times to date so it can’t be that bad. Around the same time I read The Girl on the Train, another book that I enjoyed, but the film is a pile of poop, they seriously dropped the ball on that one. Yeah yeah I know the book is always better, with very few exceptions, but…

Considering all that`s happened in 2016, I managed 299 movies. 4/5 (Need some more documentaries).

Eat better food, we’re doing well with this too, even if there was some meat over Christmas, woo hoo. Hmm, I just remembered all of the sweeties that we ate over Christmas, plus the crisps and the whiskey fire, hmmm 3/5.

Exercise more, oops, not doing very well with this either, yes I walk everywhere but only when I have to, and it’s so cold. 2/5

Drink less beer, oh don’t even go there. 1/5

Get better sleep, I’m taking this one away, I have no control over this except choosing what time I go to bed.

Structured guitar practice sessions, oh man! I dunno what happened but I haven’t picked up the guitar in two weeks today, it’s not boredom or anything, I haven’t felt like it. 1/5

Oh crap, I seriously have some commitment issues toward this reboot lark.


So I´m 49 tomorrow (7/Jan), I can only say that Gandalf had better hurry it up!



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