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
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for March 27th, 2020

Life under lockdown–Part 5

Posted by contentedsouls on 27/03/2020

It’s me back again

People in the UK are a week behind us in Spain now. We’re just starting our 3rd week of lockdown and, believe me, a 2nd week makes a big difference – the virus figures keep rising and the weather has continued to cry with us.

I previously shared the fact that I had gone through anger and depression before reaching a level of acceptance that my wings had been clipped. Acceptance that brought me peace and positivity. Now I’ve gone through that same depression again – although the anger has been replaced by fear – by the realisation that I could be infecting myself and bringing it home with me each time I shop. Even the fact that we’ll imminently run out of wine doesn’t tempt me out of the house now! It’s amazing how long it takes for reality to, finally, sink in. I am currently trying not to berate myself for this slow to dawn realisation, because we are living in unprecedented times and I don’t believe that our psyche can make such a monumental adjustment in such a short timescale.

I know that there are others in a far worse situation than ourselves but, this is my diary, I want to tell it honestly how it feels for me and I’m not forcing you to read it. Even amongst my own privileged social retiree group, I have friends whose house sits have been cancelled leaving them homeless in foreign countries and another couple living up a ladder on their new boat in a car park because their boat launch got cancelled along with the UK waterways’ closures.

One of the contributory factors to a shitty couple of days was the irony of our situation. We came here to safeguard our mainland European cruising lifestyle by getting Spanish residency; to escape rain and grey skies; and for me to improve my Spanish.

If we had been back on the boat in the Netherlands we could have continued carefully and safely cruising but we now have a kind of forced residency (although not officially because all government offices are closed) because we can’t cross borders as we can’t prove that our home is in the Netherlands; it’s rained every day and the temperature has dropped to around 12/14 degrees; and whilst having all the time in the world to continue my Spanish studies with Duolingo, I am unable to go out and see if any of my Spanish works in practice, and if I can understand what is spoken to me.

Talking of Duolingo, I realised that I’d somewhat lost the plot when I found myself – instead of translating a given sentence in to Spanish – shouting contradictions at it.

‘March is a warm month in Spain,’ says Duolingo.

‘No it’s not. It’s always bloody raining, dark and cloudy’’, I reply in my limited Spanish.

‘Madrid is a beautiful city,’ says Duo.

‘So why didn’t they stay there and not come out to the coast and infect us,’ I shout back (people from Madrid with holiday homes here are the new ‘enemy’).

It’s a good job G doesn’t hear/understand what I’m saying or he might be tempted to call men in white jackets – although they’re probably too engaged in herculean efforts elsewhere to worry about me.

‘We had a really good meal in that restaurant last night,’ Duo continues rubbing further salt into the gaping wound…………

….I’m not going to share my response to that one with you ….. it’s beyond publication!!! At least I’m getting plenty of practice at past tense!


Normally food shops here open around 8.30 – 1pm and 5 – 8pm. Today we were informed that they had to close by 7pm and then we had further information that they would only be allowed to open from 8 until 4. At least the family shopkeepers will get a break, but it will be hard on the people that are still working to tie in with these new hours.

So, what have we been doing? Not a lot really. The new TV stand arrived – don’t yawn – this enabled us to have a furniture shuffle in the sitting room making it more to our liking and it feels more spacious and cosier now; although the phrase, ‘re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,’ springs rather too readily to mind. I watch the cockerel, chickens, dogs and cat being cuddled by their devoted owner on the roof terrace below me – this can use up a happy hour! I stand on the doorstep and listen to the singing, dancing and support for frontline workers in the early evenings.

Most of all I ponder about the occupants of the tiny little house, way up, across the hill from us, always so brightly lit – I wonder who they are, if they are OK, what their lives were like before all of this, and what their lives are like now we live in a Sci-Fi movie.

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