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Beer and Blogging

We have no internet on the boat anymore. JP and Ilse have moved away now and, while we thought they would be leaving the internet working for their cameras, they didn’t. Not now having the internet at our fingertips is both a blessing and a nightmare, but as usual we adapt. To get online now we walk/cycle over to the clubhouse and log on over there. This means that internet time has been cut down by huge amounts, no faffing about on Facebook anymore, (I thought that I would be suffering huge withdrawal symptoms from not have a daily dose of Facebook, but no, and really I don’t miss it much at all, I don’t really care what you all have for dinner or what you watched on the tube last night, or how many days it is to effing Christmas).

Winter has set in here, we woke up to a thick frost this morning (Sunday 26th). We now have a thick goose down 13.5tog quilt on the bed, last year we had a summer quilt (4 tog) with two similar single quilts and a blanket squeezed into the quilt cover with it, nice but the single quilts had a mind of their own and decided to move about in the cover, and of course they both preferred Vanessa’s side of the bed leaving me to freeze my arse off. The only thing wrong with a 13.5 tog quilt is that it really is a weight and whereas before I was up and out of bed once the alarm goes off, now there are two or three snoozes on the alarm before I want to crawl out of the comforting embrace of our heavy night nest. We also have new heater that, whilst not the most economical, certainly raises the temperature quickly and with the added bonus that we can cook on it, including toast! YAY!

Lara and the new quilt


I though that work was going to start tapering off for the winter, eventually drying up around December and I would be able to hibernate again and play guitar 24/7 for two or three months. Erm, no! It looks like I have a few weeks off during the silly season and my birthday, but that’s about it. So a tentative plan has started to take shape from the people that don’t make plans as they rarely ever happen as planned. Next May, and by  then we will have been living on Adventurer for nigh on two years, we are going on a three month cruise. Ooh excitement and a little trepidation, we bought the boat for just this scenario, but things went  little haywire with the unexpected expense of the whole boating experience and the cost of living in France (yes I am still going on about that), and so we’ve been static for over a year in the same place and only three hours added to the engine running time in what is now eighteen months aboard. Oops, I got ahead of myself there, I thought work was going to stop in winter, a time when you cannot go anywhere because the locks are closed, but being as it isn’t, we can afford to take three months off and do some wandering around  a 700km circuit around the rivers and canals of this beautiful country.*

Talking of which, the couple that winter moor their boat next to us were by yesterday to check on their boat, and said that once the snow comes down on the Jura mountains (halfway betwixt here and the Swiss border), it is truly beautiful and asked if we would like to join them next time they go, oh yes please! Photos to follow 🙂

Adventurer has now been “thatched” for the winter, with a slight difference this year, last year we covered the whole boat which meant the gang-plank was unusable, instead we set up a palette with some steps which involved a long step onto the boat, it was okay but when icy involved a little more thought. Our Heidi cat is getting on in years now and is not so good on her pins so much and so not so great at jumping onto the boat, her need for the gang-plank is greater so, of course we accomodate the cat rather than our need to keep warm, instead we’ll wrap a bale of straw into some tarpaulin and find a way of securing it over the sun roof and so insulating the saloon, I just haven’t got there yet but this morning’s frost was a wake up call.

Vanessa’s culinary skills are getting better, I just have to learn to not take it for granted that not every one knows, for instance, Vee was roasting some potatoes and I said that they may need turning now, Vee kneels in front of the oven and I wonder what is taking so long, I ask if she’s having problems and the answer was “no no” she’d turned the spuds over WHILE THEY WERE STILL IN THE OVEN?¿! Lemme explain, I watch people, I see how they do it which teaches me how to, I learned how to be a bar tender, to a certain extent a chef, waiter, boat painter , mini lab operator, floor and wall tiler, labourer etc. ad nauseum all by simply watching, and because of this I get surprised when everyday things aren’t easy to people. An example is that me and a mate drank, a lot and we used to hit the top shelf (optics), so when I started working behind the bar and asked him to pour us a couple of drinks from the top shelf, I was shocked and stunned when he couldn’t suss out how to work the optic. Out of the thousands of drinks poured for us, did you never spot the trick with holding the glass with a slightly curled finger that operates the optic?¿! Out of the hundreds of times I have roasted potatoes, did you never see that one takes the potatoes OUT of the oven to turn them over?¿! I must say though, the additional blast from the oven being open so long was welcome.

Academy of Beer, count me in!

So as I said earlier, (this was on Sunday, it’s now Thursday, I really am the slowest typist), JP and Ilse hae now left and moved on to their new house near Carcassonne (before they then move on to their apartment in Spain for the winter, oh how the other half live). The house here is for sale, but really between you and me it’s not, not really really for sale as there are just too many obstacles in the way for a potential buyer. Let me explain, the house was handed down to JP from his father and we believe to his father from his grandfather, there is a lot of history here and JP has a hard time turning his back to that, so with that in mind heere are the “obstacles” There is a house in the area that has twice as much land, three bedrooms instead of the two here and a swimming pool, all for substantially less than the price of JP’s, I should just mention here that there will be no negotiating the price, that is set in stone and will not be budged?¿! Also, we hear that the French want to buy a home, not a house, this house has been stripped of furniture, pictures everything, there is no personality, just blank walls and echoey rooms. And, and this is the funniest, have you ever shown a house whilst youo have washing on the line, plants dead or dying in their planters, and you would never greet potential buyers with your arms crossed in the classic “I don’t want you here” body language stance. It’s all very confusing, they want to sell this house, but deep down they don’t?¿! Am I talking out of place, gossiping? Yeah probably, but some things are just too curious not to pass on.

I went over to Tours to meet up with Mum and Paul recently, we had a great time, (you saw the photos from Château Chenonceau in the last post?). Going to Tours was a real eye-opener on how much of a backwater village St-Jean do Losne really is. The first is that I went to the cinema, I really do miss going to the cinema, (I saw Blade Runner 2049 which, considering is a sequel, was simply brilliant). But the point of saying this is that even with money for trains, going to the cinema here is impossible for those without cars, the last train is something like 7pm. We adapt, yes, although we are still trying to find a way to get to see the new Star Wars movie in a few weeks time, but the good thing is that because we’re not online any more, I won’t have to tread delicately to avoid all the spoilers that’ll be online within a few days of the premier. Okay okay, that’s a first world problem, ah poor Spikey, no cinema, boo bloody hoo. Well the next small village problem stops the world. Do you know when you walk into a bar, any bar in Tours there are at least eight different beers to choose from, in the local bar in St-Jean there is two, crap and not so crap but we’ll-charge-you-as-if-it’s-a-premium-beer-anyway! Maybe it’s just as well though, a trip to a bar here is an expensive business, especially if you would want to try all eight beers, hmm. That’s it, our world is so small now that these are all the downsides of living in a small village 🙂


I finished Stephen King’s Dark Tower series of books for easily the umpteenth time recently, it took me eight weeks to get through the eight books, I though being that I have read them so many times I would take longer, but I was just as addicted this “viewing” as the first. I don’t mind admitting that I was a blubbery mess for the middle section of the last book, just too sad! I’m now on The Expanse books by James S.A. Corey, great stuff.

Vanessa is unbeatable at Carcassonne, how annoying. Well, that was until we added a new expansion on Tuesday (Traders and Builders), now I think I am back on form (I think?¿! Those are famous last words). I am confused about the times of these games, the box says forty minutes per game, on each expansion the time stays the same, forty minutes, so why does it now take us TWO HOURS to play a game.

I had a fright at one of my jobs the other week, I was asked to paint the anchor chains, with two chains at one hundred metres each I saw my soul destroyed and a month of sundays of complete boredom, but luckily it was only a few links every ten metres to show how far in/out the chain was so the barge-master knows how far in/out the chain is at any one time, phew!

That’s all Folks, ttfn.

*I’m not saying any more for the now, any more suggests a fully fledged plan and ya know, that’s not our style baby.