18276 Daze or Taylor Made II

​I’m fucking FIFTY, how in blue blazes did that happen? Wasn’t something supposed to happen to me so that I would become an adult, something happen to my hearing so that I couldn’t abide loud music any more, something surely was supposed to happen to my taste that I wouldn’t want to listen to rock music anymore (and therefore the need to have it loud), it surely seemed that this would happen because at a younger age all adults deemed MY music too loud, so therefore this would happen to me?¿! Why do I still think like a twenty-something, (though my body sometimes rebels when I think that I can do something that my bones and joints aren’t too keen on any more). I remember when I was so much younger, a simple math quiz at school wherein we had to work out how old we would be at the turn of the new millennium, (being as we were all the same age in the class it was a pretty pointless test), I was going to be thirty one, an incredibly (at the time) distant age that didn’t even seem to be part of reality when you’re about six or seven years old. Then suddenly, whoosh, and where did that time time go??? Hey ho. We had a lovely day, had a half bottle of Absolute vodka for breakfast, yeah yeah, don’t get excited, it was only a small 350 ml bottle, the first taste of decent vodka – there was a bottle of cheap crap over Christmas, but I barely got a look in, looks accusingly at Vanessa and Jacqui – since leaving Spain, with some sanguine OJ, bliss. We had a walk around the village before settling into the bar for a couple of hours, then home for a curry.

 

I have a new guitar, and she is an absolute stunner. There is this wood called koa that not only looks beautiful (a bit like a tiger’s eye crystal) but sounds stunning when you build a guitar out of it. The Baby Taylor I bought the other year is a great guitar, perfect for what I needed at the time, (to relearn how to play, properly this time, as Vee says, “tunes all the way through, not just bits and riffs”). So I am the proud owner of a Taylor GS  Mini-e Koa. I’m not dwelling but I have bought several cars cheaper than this thing and I had to sit down and breathe deep for a bit after pressing the purchase button. I have to say that for the first time, ever, I now appreciate that I can actually play, more, I sound like a freakin’ professional playing this beauty! So the vid is a bit rough and ready, and I tried to record it so many times my voice started going, but here’s the guitar in action….

 

 


So Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been out for a month now, and horrifyingly, we still haven’t seen it. Seeing the Original Version is a big thing in Spain as, those people that speak English want to see the movie in its original form instead of the dubbed version (if you’ve ever seen the dubbed Spanish version of The Matrix, you’ll understand, Morpheus’ character was just so, so wrong, and apparently the guy that dubs Bruce Willis sounds like Pee Wee Herman). But it’s not a thing in France, at least not in this area, there was ONE performance, but it was an hours drive away and on New Year’s Eve, impossible to get there by public transport, grrrr). So we’ll have to wait until the DVD release. However, the great thing is that because we are no longer online, there is no chance of getting spoilers spilling onto my timeline on Facebook, I can actually say that I still know nothing about this film and in this day and age, with the journey from the cinema to home viewing being as little as three months, it won’t be long before we can see it at home. I did think to buy the book of the film, but guess what, that’s not out until March?¿!

Vanessa is the most unstressed person I know, nothing phases her, almost. The other day she came back to the boat absolutely gagging for a strong beer to calm her down. The VNF and the internet being the cause. The VNF is the Voies Navigables de France, the group that takes care of the canals and rivers of France, that’s it, they’re not a bank so while they do handle some sensitive information, it’s not sensitive sensitive information. So when the simple act of changing an address turns into a series of hoops that you have to jump through, including providing various important proofs of identity, Vee started to loose all will to live. It’s partly our fault as we have no fixed abode, because we live on a boat, and my way of thinking is that the VNF deals with people that live on boats and yet they are not set up for people like us, “what do you mean you ‘ave no address, how eez zis possible?” It turns out we have to wait three months and show some utility bills (?¿!) before we can change our address (from one place we don’t live to another place we don’t live just so that it’s easier to get our mail that they refuse to email to us).

We went out on New Year’s Eve, my sister Jacqui was here and while we knew that St-Jean de Losne would be a ghost town on a night when you would think that every where would be open and full of revellers, we thought we’d pop out, just to see if some thing had happened and SJdL would surprise us and we could have a beer or five. Erm, NON! The whole village was a ghost town, no surprises, not a bar open. As Vanessa says, SJdL never, ever fails to disappoint. Having grown up in and around London, a couple of New Years at Trafalgar square and all other years at pubs or clubs, this place just, oh I dunno. If it wasn’t for the work here, I think we’d have gone long ago, so looking forward to the summer and some cruising and visiting some other places, with better bars, and maybe a cinema (finger crossed).

The cats are all good albeit in virtual hibernation. Heidi has a cardboard box that she sleeps her nights in, and sometimes the day, it depends, if she decides to grace us with her presence we can take the box away, if she lays in then that’s pretty much it for the day. Lara and Squeaky share the bed during the day, or if we happen to leave the spare room door open, Squeaky relocates to the top bunk. During the night they tend to squeeze into any gaps they can in the bed with us, Lara normally hanging on for dear life between me and the edge of the bed.

Okay that’s it, I’m running out of things to say, it’s winter and there’s not a lot happening, here’s a few things that don’t warrant a whole paragraph

  • I’ve just finished reading Fire & Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michel Wolff, I feel slightly sullied that I read it, there were no surprises, Trump really is a total cockwomble who has no place in politics let alone being the President of the U.S. He is agnorant (ignorant AND arrogant) of face palming proportions and his administration has the intelligence and maturity of a primary school class.
  • That heater we bought wasn’t quite the excellent purchase that we thought it was, it looks great but is actually a cantankerous piece of crap. The mechanism that controls the height of the wick was poorly/cheaply designed, you either cannot light it, or have to dismantle it to put it out with a fire blanket. We would send it back but, we bought it on someone else’s bank card and they have since left France, so we’d never see the refund.
  • Winter; it sucks, not so much the cold, I can stand that, it’s the rain that annoys me, especially living on a small boat where there is little drying room. The first winter here was dry, just cold, but it seems we’re making up for it this year.
  • A very large barge went into the dry dock in December, and over the course of two weeks, proceeded to disappear as it was dismantled.

  • Weirdness abounds buying the new guitar, Amazon France had one but it was more expensive than Amazon Britain, I couldn’t buy it from Britain because they wouldn’t send it to France. When the guitar arrived having been ordered from France, it had been sent from Britain?¿!
  • I had an email from Spotify saying that (in around seven months) I’ve listened to 39,000 minutes of music, about 27 days!
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Error, Connection Lost

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.