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

  • April 2020
    M T W T F S S
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Life under lockdown–Part 6

Posted by contentedsouls on 02/04/2020

Thursday 2nd April

I get very few opportunities these days – for obvious reasons – to excercise my Spanish in the ‘real’ world (I use the term loosely) and when I do, I always seem to screw it up – even the most basic stuff. My most memorable cock up to date was to tell Maria that her daughter had 10 arseholes instead of being 10 years old.

This week I added to the list when I ventured down to the local, non-English speaking, shop. I couldn’t understand why the gentleman looked so shocked when all I’d asked for was the dog food – it was only on my way home that I realised that I had used the verb, ‘to eat’ instead of the noun, ‘food’. What I had actually asked him was, ‘where eat dog?’ – no wonder he’d looked worried.

Yesterday I had an opportunity to ‘meet’ some of our neighbours. Our terrace looks down onto their’s and I spotted what looked like a spare gas bottle on their roof, which we were in desperate need of. No problems getting an existing bottle swapped out for a full one; but getting an additional bottle is not possible at the moment. My mission (which I chose to accept) was to ascertain if it was surplus to requirements and try to purchase it. It was 2 days before I found an opportunity to approach them without knocking on their door. In those 2 days I mentally rehearsed the conversation and realised that I had the vocabulary to cover this, but would be unlikely to understand any return questions. My solution to that potential problem was to blast them with so much information that they would lose the will to live and not bother asking me any questions. I told them that I had seen the bottle on their roof and, if they weren’t using it, I would like to buy it and was willing to pay 10 euros for it. I probably also told them why I needed it, how old the dog was and what colour knickers my Granny used to wear on her birthday.

What I hadn’t factored in was the novelty value of a crazy new English neighbour arriving to ‘visit’ a large family that had been in self isolation for nearly 3 weeks! I successfully negotiated for the bottle and popped home to fetch money and Graham to carry it. I ostentatiously cleaned my hands, the money and the gas bottle handles, which gave the whole family ample time to gather and ‘interact’ with their novelty neighbours. The other factor that I hadn’t counted on was their basic honesty; they wanted to be sure that we knew there was no gas in it, how we could exchange it, and that there was no regulator with it. All of this, in typical local gender bias, was addressed directly to Graham! We, eventually, escaped and scuttled home with our prize. We have a spare regulator, so all we need now is to exchange it.

It is amazing how such triumphs brighten the day. Another such moment was when I found a T-towel lurking in the van.

I have discovered that the best time to walk the dog is mid-afternoon as there are very few, if any, people about – siesta still seems to be observed even though it’s not hot and (most) people aren’t working. About once a week (when both Muttley and I have reached desperation point) I push the, ‘max of 500 meters from home’ limit and stay out for about 45 minutes. This week’s jaunt took me up the other side of the Old Town to the castle – I chickened out before I reached the top though because, if I was spotted, there were no houses within 500 mts that I could have come from.

Here’s some pictures


9 Responses to “Life under lockdown–Part 6”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    Glad to hear you are making such heroic efforts with your Spanish language, well done you 🙂

    But I have one question, why did your Granny only wear knickers on her birthday? LOL

    Keep safe & well both of you 😉


    • I’ve re read what I wrote and I’m sure I didn’t imply that she ONLY wore knickers on her birthday!
      Red for her birthday and cream ‘pantaloon’ types the rest of the year. I slept in the cream ones many a time on unplanned sleepovers; sounds unhygenic, but they were the size of a sleeping bag on the 4 year old me!


  2. Alison said

    Rob and I are enjoying this very much. Keep going you two. We too liked the bit about 10 arseholes……..! 🤣🤣


    • Hi guys; if someone had said that this was going to happen when we met up last year… well, we’d have called for the men in white jackets. I take it you got caught at home, rather than out sailing? Lovely to hear from you xxx


  3. Gill Stollery said

    Thank you for an enjoyable post and lovely photographs. I would love to have been a “fly on the wall” listening to the conversation with your neighbours!


  4. vallypee said

    Oh Jill, you are lovely. I’ve been thinking about you a lot this week. I hope this nightmare will be over soon and you can get home to the boat. I loved reading about this highlight to your day. I’ll bet it was hilarious, and I loved the dog food story too!


    • I seem to be having a much better time than you – whilst most of the planet is chilling, you seem to be doing a lot of hard and stressful work; congratulations on the ‘Zoom’ learning curve; I wouldn’t know where to start!


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    Life under lockdown–Part 6 « contentedsouls


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