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

  • March 2020
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Archive for March 21st, 2020

Life under Lockdown–Part 3

Posted by contentedsouls on 21/03/2020

Saturday 21st March

Karen shared my last blog to her Facebook timeline and, as a result, I seem to have gained a younger readership in England (my guess is around 30 – 45 year olds). So firstly; welcome! It would be lovely to hear how things are for you and what you’re feeling – particularly as the majority of you will now have children at home all day, which will add to your problems.

Despite the school, pub, club and gym, closures; the UK is still a long way behind us. At the point of writing this you are still allowed out for no specific reason and to go out together as couples and families – you are still allowed to visit friends and families, you can travel together in a car. You can go for walks together or kick a football around.

You are not stopped from bulk buying and hoarding – I have no idea why, because it is so easy to stop, and it means you have to go out more often, to more places, in search of essential groceries which only puts you, and others around you, at even more risk.

Regular readers please bear with me here whilst I outline what happened to us for the benefit of the newcomers.

We find ourselves in an unusual situation from the majority of people because ‘home’, for us, is a boat which is currently in the NL and we have no way of proving that the boat is our main residence, so we cannot cross the border to return to it. ‘Home’ is where nearly all our ‘stuff’ is; tools, paints, sewing machine and, most importantly, the contents of my large kitchen store cupboard and stuff that needs doing, along with the stuff do do it with.

We left home at the end of November in our tiny, converted, transit van and packed it with the bare essentials that we thought we might need for the next few months; sleeping in the tranny for 4/5 nights at a time, house sitting in various locations in France and arriving in Spain where we rented a house. Then we went and bought a little house (to stay in over winters) and moved in on the day everything closed. We have very little with us and I remain eternally grateful that we negotiated the purchase to include all major items of furniture and electrical appliances!

Had we not bought this place however, when our rental contract was up on the 15th April, we could have found ourselves living full time with the dog in a transit van due to the new rule (unconfirmed) that property owners are no longer allowed to rent property to non residents – now wouldn’t that have been fun, not! It was our 31st wedding anniversary this week and I’m pretty sure we would not have made it to our 32nd.

This is going to go on for quite a long while, I fear, before it gets better. To start with I was shocked, depressed, frustrated and angry that some ‘thing’ could clip my wings and change my life overnight – and to think I was worried that Brexit might curb my lifestyle (does anyone remember ‘Brexit’ now?). Only once I had accepted the situation did I find some kind of peace and, strangely enough, it got easier.

I share this with fellow Brits in the UK because the same is about to happen to you.

I don’t have to worry about my finances because my pension keeps coming in, but for those of you still working and with young children to entertain, it’s not going to be a barrel of laughs. You can’t change it, so stop worrying about it –it is what it is and there is nothing you can do about it. I make no apology for repeating that the sooner that you accept it, the easier it will be. What you can do is plan for the things that you CAN change and lower your expectations so that you get more joy from the good stuff that happens and good stuff does still happen!

Just because Tesco substituted Brillo Pads for your order for toilet rolls, doesn’t mean you can’t wipe your arse with a tissue, and it does mean you can clean those manky old roasting pans and baking trays that lie skulking in the tray under the oven – if you don’t have any skanky pans you are definitely reading the wrong blog. I don’t have any – but that’s because I don’t have any pans (they are all lurking skankily at home).

Just think of all the times you just wished you had some down time; more time with the family maybe……now you have. Choose how you use it and be grateful for your store cupboard. I find playing Masterchef invention tests with whatever ingredients I have available can, actually, be good fun and bring about some surprisingly good results.

Recent observations, being the new ‘girl’ in town, means that I don’t know what is normal. I keep seeing women (mostly in their late twenties and thirties) wandering around in PJs and dressing gowns at all hours of the day – even walking their dogs – I have no idea if this is normal or if they’ve lost the will to get dressed! An elderly lady came to her door and shouted furiously at a young lad walking down the street  (shops closed for siesta and no dog) ‘go home – you’re going to give it to everyone.’  She was very loud; I was able to interpret it from across the valley – chuffed to bits that I could interpret it – sadly, it was today’s only delight in a grey and drizzly day; mind you, dinner was pretty good.

Well, I’ve just read this little lot back and it strikes me as coming across somewhat sanctimonious – it wasn’t my intention, I just wanted to share some of my experiences in the hope that you might be better prepared. Whilst I’m giving out ‘good’ advice; please remember that, if all else fails, there is always Sudafed for the kids and wine for you – I recommend that you lay off stuff that makes you hungry until food supplies ease up a bit!!!!

One final word of advice – if your partner is consuming more than his their fare share of your favourite chocolate, bread, cereals, or alcohol; hide it, but please remember where you hid it.

Now where did I put that last half bar of Fruit & Nut and that bottle of vodka …………?


Whilst walking the dog last night I explored a new area of town; I think I’m going to like it here when life resumes.


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