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
  • Meta

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 Now I’ve gone through that same depression again – although the anger has been replaced by fear – by the realisation that I could be infecting myself and bringing it home with me each time I shop.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.

10 Responses to “Life under lockdown–Part 5”

  1. vallypee said

    Oh Jill, I’m so very sorry. I’m not going to tell you what it’s like here, because we are all scared too, but at least it’s not raining (for once). To be honest, no one is quite sure of the boating situation. It seems there are restrictions on leisure cruising in the Netherlands, but whether liveaboards count as pleasure craft, no one in our harbour office is quite certain. Belgium and France are simply not accessible to us now. I can well imagine how frustrated you must be now…wings clipped and lousy weather in what is supposed to be sunny Spain. And I’m like you about going to the shops. I only go when it’s absolutely necessary and I won’t let Koos go at all. Then I wrap myself up like Grandma Giles. Look after yourself, lovely. You WILL get through this! XX


    • Yes we will get through it all. I don’t know about you but, if these blogs aren’t honest , then there’s no point. I always said that I started the blog – many years ago – to have some memories to look back on in my dotage; preferably somewhere warm and sunny in a rocking chair surrounded by rescue cats and dogs and smoking a clay pipe.

      If it’s not honest, it’s pointless.

      I’m glad you are doing your best to keep Koos and yourself safe


  2. John Jenks said

    We too are in stage 2 lock down here in Sydney Australia, so still able to go the shops and other essential places such as chemist etc but our government are preparing us for stage three with more stringent enforcement. At least we are able to stay on our boat, in self imposed isolation even if we cannot get back to our home in Perth Western Australia.Thank-you for your honesty in how you are feeling and it somewhat parallels how my wife is feeling so we certainly identified with you.


    • Hi John, glad you are able to sit it out on your boat – like us, you can’t get home; but a boat for me is always the best place to be in times of trouble. Boats always soothe the soul.
      For some, my honesty was a bit too much on the last post – no point in blogging now if it’s not honest. Chins up and take care x


  3. Kevin TOO said

    Well Jill I’ve got to agree, being told not to go out is a great deal different to not wanting to go out…
    But if we’re going to have a proper go at trying to beat this virus then we must stay away from folk.

    I took the decision last week to stop working and stay at home, two reasons mainly, 1) my manager,
    other staff and customers don’t (or won’t) understand the very basic concepts of personal hygiene
    (the use of tissues/soap & water) and the need to not sneeze and cough in my personal ‘safe space’
    and 2) I don’t feel that it’s my time to die right now.

    So here I am in the house, with my dearly beloved for company, thankfully able to live off my savings
    for a few months and only venturing out for essential shopping once a week.

    I’m lucky that we’re all well ATM, all my boaty blogger friends seem to be OK too, so things could be worse 🙂
    There is only one drawback, Sue No Problem is getting very devious with her Winter Wassats… LOL


    • So pleased for your safety that you have taken that decision and, even more, delighted that the two of you are back together – could be the most time you have had together in a long while!

      I have no control over anything Sue does; never have had, never will!!!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jan said

    Hi Jill we are in lockdown in Co Fermanagh. Lucky enough to have good dog off leash dog walking on the doorstep. We can also see a bit of a Lough out of one window. Have stopped even the quickest run to the shops as the post office has started local deliveries (as has our butcher). Bless them. We have signs that Spring is almost here, sun in the mornings. We are in annual cuckoo watch…. or rather waiting to hear it arrive. Probably 2 weeks away. I totally agree…it suddenly clicks in. I am sure the weather will change for you very soon.

    Stay Safe. Jan x


    • Hi Jan, sounds like a good spot to be in given the circumstances – great that the dogs can go off lead- nowhere here for Muttley, but he’s older now so not such a big deal for him like it would have been. Great that you can totally avoid shops now.
      Let me know when you hear a cuckoo.
      Take care


  5. Hi Jill
    Keep posting. So fantastc to hear my own anxieties and frustrations echoed.
    Stay safe.


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