Felix the brave isn’t in a very good space at the moment, poor little thing had a poor paw, we took him to the vets to get that sorted but after three days of not eating (something he normally excels at), we took him back to the vets and after a blood test found that his kidneys were failing. So the poor boy has been locked in a cage with a drip hanging from his front leg for the last four days. We go to visit him twice a day, Vanessa mostly, anything to do with an animal in distress and I turn into a blubbering wreck, but with the vets being closed on Sunday we wondered how/if we would be able to visit him. Luckily he has been allowed to come home for 24 hours, (without the drip), which will be good. We’ve been told that he has an uphill struggle to overcome this, especially with the amount of poison his kidneys dumped into his system, but he is a strong cat with a lust for finding new and improved ways for getting the most out of his life, (a nice way of saying getting into trouble). We’re sure that he’ll be fine, all things considered.
There has been some moving of goalposts from the VNF (the French canal and river authority). We now have to pay rent to live on the water, this in itself isn’t a big deal, actually it is but it’s been a few weeks since we found out this new ruling and we have had time to assimilate the information. The new ruling is that if you want to live on a stretch of water you have to pay rent, (price is decided on the size of the boat, we guesstimate about 750 for us). If you are continuously cruising then you get away with it, but we’re not so we can’t. The thing that ticks me off a little is that we paid our vignette for the year which at the time allowed us complete usage of the waterways, (or so we were led to believe), then we find out the new info which would have stopped us from buying the full vignette and instead we’d have just bought a month one for when we (finally) get to do some cruising. So this year, unless we can get the price of the vignette discounted off of the rent, we’re paying twice, hey ho. There are ways and means around this in the summer but not so in the winter with the locks being closed and being iced in. Fingers crossed with the discount I guess.
JP and Ilse are back from their extended holiday in Spain. So much to say about this that I’m probably going to get lost in my words here, bear with me. After the initial hi hi and all is good, they asked what we are going to do with the stuff that we have stored in their huge shed (winter carpets, spare insulation etc), this caught us by surprise as it felt like a -thanks for looking after our place for the last eight months, now you can go away- type thing. It didn’t help that during a catchup aperitif, I made a faux pas. I laughed. At the time of this sudden outburst two thoughts ran through my mind, this is very, very rude and also that this is quite uncharacteristic, (honest). In the few weeks before JP and Ilse returned I was in danger of having to refuse some work as there are only so many hours in the day and I am desperately trying to keep the weekends free as, well, life is too short to work all the time. I managed to not turn any work down but for the next few weeks, at least until mid June I am fully booked, in amongst all this work I am desperately trying to find some time to actually do some work on our boat. So when JP said that he has work for me painting HIS boat, I laughed, honest it was involuntary and felt so wrong but I couldn’t help myself. I explained that I am fully booked at the time, and then the next day apologised and said that I didn’t mean to appear rude, I was just laughing at the irony. Well this little episode didn’t put us in the good books and I thought that I’d blown our cushty little mooring. We did really want to go upstream when they returned to spend some time on the cut, but with Vee going back to the UK soon, I don’t like the idea of leaving the boat for over eight hours a day in the middle of nowhere while I’m working, so now we want to stay here, at least for a bit longer. Slight confusion and more than a little paranoia on my part, what did we do, how could we have done more? There were few other things that made us feel a little uncomfortable, (Felix struggling to get over the gate with his poor paw, so that he can go to his morning spot for a snooze, only to have the dog let out at just the moment he clears the gate, a “well, you’ll be going soon” when we were finding out about the new VNF ruling, you’re using too much electricity, even though nothing was plugged in at the time). In hindsight, my laugh saved us from a whole heap of aggro, the work was passed onto our neighbour, Fabreze and consequently we are learning lots of new ways of swearing in French. Long story short, what was going to be a quick paint job is going to take a long time, and I can’t help but feel that my outburst saved us from this as, normally I can’t say no, I dunno, cue the woo woo moment, I’m inclined to believe that some higher power hit me in the funny bone right there and then with the intent to save me from a world of pain??? Whatever, I was passed over for the work and bloody glad I am too, Fabreze is going nuts, there was some sort of deal between them which involves a sit-on lawnmower, but I think that Fabreze may be thinking the whole deal isn’t worth it considering the time and effort involved in the paint job. But back to the first few days of their arrival, things were tense and then, all of a sudden their entire attitude towards us changed for the better, more than that, we were great friends again like we were at the end of last summer?? I have no idea, as I said, paranoia on our part that we didn’t do all that was expected? Whatever, all is good now and no mention of the storage space, or moving on. I have mowed the lawns and done some other stuff in the garden, which was part of our agreement for our space here.
So, now that JP and Ilse are back, we topped off our water tank, and so the boat is all balanced again, and as expected the first few days we were all over the place trying to get our balance back, it is amazing what a few months with a few degrees of list will do to your balance.
In January someone booked me for the first week in May to help out with insulation and replace the walls and ceiling on their boat. I told my regulars that I wouldn’t be working that week and all was tickety-boo. The work needed to be done while moored on a quay so that we had room to maneuver, and because the job was booked so far in advance I kinda assumed that this was all booked up too, well you know what they say about assume making an ass of u and me. Bearing in mind that Monday was the first of May (supposedly the first day of the job), the boat couldn’t get to the mooring until the Friday (because the basin is full on at the moment in prep for the summer season, because he hadn’t booked a place!!!) and I wasted a complete week waiting for this …. person to get his act together, by then of course his time was up and I had to get back to my regulars, the guys that I’m going to be working with for the next year and so can’t really piss about. Some people!
I am going to get back to talking about the boat soon, these are our adventures in France though, work and genereality(?). You will be pleased to read that in this post I am NOT going to complain about the price of food in France, rather, I am applauding something. The price of beef is at an incredible low, and so beef is the new mushrooms, indeed it is so cheap that mushrooms can be included too. Proper chili-con-carne with lumps, great lumps of meat instead of minced. Vee isn’t a great meat eater, especially red meat but after so long chili made with lashings of red wine (hey, when in Rome) is a welcome addition to the menu.
Did you ever hear something, some word or phrase, but hear it wrong and then wonder how you could get it so wrong/and or not hear it right no matter how much people say that you have it wrong??? Hmm, let me explain. There is a Pink Floyd track called One Of These Days, there is one line of lyric and for years I thought that line was “One of these days I’m going to dance with the devil”, even when pointed out to me, (and there has been many discussions about this, sometimes heated, hi Paul 🙂 ). The real lyric is “One of these days I am going to cut you into little pieces”, I listen to this track a lot, it’s brilliant but rarely do I hear the real lyric, it’s one of those lines that (to me) can be heard one way or another, but rarely what they’re actually saying. So what? Well Fabreze has a dog that we both thought was called Nathaniel, when we got to know Fabreze we realised that the dog is actually called D’artagnan, but whenever he calls the dog, we hear Nathaniel?? No matter, move along, there’s nothing to see hear???