Finger Picking Good


Wow, over two weeks since the last post? What has happened Spike? Well truth be told between writing something here and picking up the guitar for a couple of hours, I have chosen the guitar, (there were a few other things in the mix too, it’s not *all* play in this boating life, ((actually it mostly is, but I don’t like to brag)). After years of strumming guitars I’m learning how to play finger picking style, a bit more classical and Man! I wish I’d attempted this years ago, apart from the obligatory intro to Stairway to Heaven that I think all guitarists know, that’s nearly all I could do without a plec, (apart from the extremely bastardised opening bars of Romanza). I may try to find a way to share some of my guitar recordings here, just so that it’s not just Vanessa’s ears that are abused 🙂


Last week (13th/Feb) was our 19th anniversary, we did have plans to go out for a meal with a bottle of wine, but then we remembered that we now live in France and not Spain and decided that the expense, (right now while there’s very little work around) is a little over the top. Then we thought about a cafe (a greasy spoon actually) that had been recommended to us, cheap food that’ll fill you up, it’s called Yummies so ya just know that there’s going to be an imaginative menu. It was closed, which I’m thinking is probably a blessing. Instead we got a takeaway kebab (in a roll?¿!) with chips and went home to watch a movie, oh yes, I know how to show a woman a good time! I’d better get my thinking cap on for next year’s, maybe beans on toast and a bottle of Buckfast.


Time is really running on, it seems that the worst of the winter is passed (fingers seriously crossed on that), and we’ll be able to move away from this mooring and explore the area a little. This involves making some semblance of a plan, despite saying last year that making plans seems to be a futile exercise when you have a boat, they have a way of destroying them. A few things penciled in; paint the deck and the outside of the cabin, connect the starter battery to the solar cells so that we are reasonably self-sufficient power-wise (so that we can start the boat whenever we want, unlike last year). Also I need to work out our power needs to see if our solar cells are enough or we need an upgrade, (yeah yeah, huge amounts of procrastination on this last, but amps, watts and kWh all sounds so terribly complicated). But at number one with a bullet on the list of things to do is to go out for a proper cruise, at least more than the two and a bit hours that we managed to clock up last year.


Just going back to the winter thang very briefly, I may be speaking too soon but what?¿! Was that it for the ice age of a winter that St-Jean suffers each and every year (according to the locals that migrate to Spain every year), I actually – and I really hope I’m not speaking too soon here – feel cheated, what an anti-climax! I missed taking some photographs as I was told that we would be in the grip of ice and snow for months and so figured I would take the photos later, (there were some beautifully frozen cobwebs I wanted to snap). Apart from one morning the other day we’ve not had the oil heater lit for over two weeks now. While we’re here looking after JP and Ilse’s house 24/7, there is a chap that has the keys in case of emergencies (we call him Professor Metallica as he teaches metallurgy at Dijon University). He comes by every now and again to check that things are okay, he figured that we had gone somewhere else as our boat is all bundled up in her winter coat, because the tarpaulin over the boat is green rather than clear he figured nobody would possibly want to spend the winter in darkness. Truth be told it didn’t even occur to me to consider there was any other tarpaulin, I saw the green one and bought it. Any hoo he came by the other day and delivered a huge, transparent tarp for us to use. Wonderful, I am hugely (bigly) grateful, but the current one filters the streetlight above the boat to a bearable low-wattage, and, with all the straw and the five upturned plant boxes on the roof to keep a barrier between us and the tarp, I can imagine it would look like a huge mess being on display, AND the whole thing will hopefully be coming down in about six weeks, I just can’t be arsed taking the whole thing down just to replace it.

A few extra things;

  • It was a beautiful sunny day on Saturday (18/Feb), so I took myself for a walk down the disused railway, there’re some photos scattered about this post. It feels like forever since I haven’t had to bundle myself up in a jacket.


    Simon Drew’s Preposterous playing cards.

  • When I was clearing the Tante Hanni bow out last year, I found some tattered playing cards, I (reluctantly) gave them over to Monika saying that if they have no use, could I have them as not only do I read with Tarot cards but playing cards too, and these look like they could give fun readings (for parties etc.). Last week Monika gifted us two NEW decks because there were a few cards missing from the original deck.
  • I’ve become addicted to earl grey tea (“tea, earl grey, hot” Capt, J.L. Picard). The half litre thermos we have makes an excellent teapot and some days I’m doing five of them, I’m hoping that this counts as my daily water intake as the thought of drinking cold water at the moment doesn’t fill me with joy, even if the weather is getting a bit better.
  • The cats are all fine, though the neighbours two cats have now formed a gang with another (stray?), so along with this new development and the weather they are still unused to, they are becoming lazy and we’ve had to bring out the litter tray again. While I sympathise with our cats and look forward to taking them out onto the cut so that they can roam free for a bit, I am so happy that these others aren’t coming onto the boat and nicking our kids food. We’ve tried to take them for a walk around JP’s garden, but they’re not interested and so their world really has unfortunately become very small.



I was just going to pop this post up online yesterday (Mon 20/Feb), when the WiFi signal from the house disappeared, I waited and waited but it didn’t return, so this morning I contacted Professor Metallica to ask if he could come by to reboot the whajamacallit, but he’s on holiday until next Monday. No internet for a week, (unless we walk over to H2O and use their signal). But this is a good thing, lately I have been spending an inordinate amount of time online reading up on what fuckery the ommpaloompa in the White House has been doing, hopefully this week away will cure this current addiction so that I can spend more time writing and playing guitar.



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