Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

  • January 2020
    M T W T F S S
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The Cement Mixer

Posted by contentedsouls on 17/01/2020

Not a phrase I ever expected to head up a blog with. It sounds like one of those dodgy Duolingo short story titles – ‘a stranger in the park’ or ‘my passport is under the cat’. Now, before you think I’ve completely lost the plot, although I am willing to accept that I probably have, we have been living a very isolated life since around the middle of November – although we did speak to some nice people on Christmas day – and yesterday we had a lot of excitement.

Firstly, our HO’s rang and asked could we stay on for an extra couple of days, and then……….wait for it ……….somebody drove up our hill. I was fortunate enough to be sat outside and could, therefore, get the maximum excitement out of this long, slow process and the anticipation of their imminent arrival – so what could they possibly want? I was down to the gate with my best welcome hat and the bestest bonjour accent that I could possibly muster. Now some of you, who have stuck with my travelling ramblings over many years, may just recall my attempts to acquire a hot water bottle in a French pharmacie. I, at the time, was pretty impressed with my dodgy combination of minimal words and miming abilities ‘une bouteille d’eau chaude por le pied’ etc., etc,.

I was nicely warming up to being on the ‘guessing end’ for ‘cement mixer’, which is what my visitors were after. Washing machine? Spinning clothes drier? Jacuzzi? Clearly, their miming abilities were not up to my standard, as I obtained a hot water bottle; whereas they did not obtain a cement mixer – well, not until after I made a ‘phone call to the HO’s.

We had three little rescue Dacshund/cross dogs to cuddle here and each had a totally different personality. Betty, bless her, was very elderly and had moments of not quite knowing where she was – it was reminiscent of Baxter’s last year and nice to be able to gently re-assure her . Charlie just wanted cuddles, and Eric could bounce for England if he thought anything exciting might happen; like someone coming to borrow a cement mixer. Breakfast and dinner times were hilarious as the house turned into a race track for the four of them (Muttley soon picks up on other dogs’ habits and joins in).

We went to the nearest, and very beautiful, neighbouring 14th/15th century town on a desperately raw and cold day, where everything was still shut down for Christmas and New Year.


The weather turned a lot nicer and we were happy to just chill in the sunshine and walk around the lakes apart from a couple of trips out. Albi and it’s vast cathedral was impressive.


Gaillac was stunning.


Most of all, we loved the company of the dogs and the contrast of moving from the bottom of the valley to the top of a hill and the views.


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Time to pack, again, and start the next road trip into Spain. 200 and something bloody days I’ve been trying to learn Spanish……time to put it to the test!

15 Responses to “The Cement Mixer”

  1. Aaaaaagh! loads of stuff has got all duplimacated!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. andywindy said

    I’ve got a Cement Mixer in my garage if they’re still after one! Lovely pictures to describe the town again jill, thank you. I particularly liked the doorway in picture 2, ‘Le Pilori’ and the pictures of the Cathedral too. I got nudged out of the way in our office the other day, whilst trying to use the multi-purpose Printer, copier and scanner machine and it wouldn’t behave for me, all I said (well, expleted) was Oh, Gestetner, This duplimacator is fighting me! The young Lady didn’t have a clue what I was saying, but She did know how to get the Spawn of Xerox to work.


  3. Gill Stollery said

    Loved your pictures. The inside of Albi cathedral looked superb. Did they ever get the cement mixer?


  4. Kevin TOO said

    Hola Jill, nunca he logrado hablar en español, excepto, ¡hola, gracias y adiós! Jajaja
    Así que supongo que el mezclador de cemento sería un poco difícil 🙂

    Hello Jill, I’ve never managed any Spanish language at all except, hello, thank you and good-bye!! LOL
    So I guess that cement-mixer would be slightly difficult 🙂


  5. Barrie and Carole Grant said

    Now we both are still hanging…….. what happened to the cement mixer part of the story….. We’re holding our breath!!!!!
    We LOVED Albi area, have friends who have migrated to there….. and I think Sarah and Al Brown (WOB and BOB) aren’t far away.


  6. vallypee said

    Pretty unusual request, that, wasn’t it? I mean who just casually turns up wanting to borrow a cement mixer? Not the first thing on your mind, really, is it?…I think I’d have rumbled to tumble dryer, washing machine or even food mixer before I’d have managed to suss out the charade for cement mixers. What fun it must have been…I’ll bet that made your day complete 🙂
    Gorgeous photos! Albi cathedral looks fantastic!


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