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
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Archive for April 22nd, 2020

Life under Lockdown–Part 8

Posted by contentedsouls on 22/04/2020

Wednesday 22nd March

The sun continued to shine for us for a few more days after my last blog, and the time passed pleasantly enough as we enjoyed a few games on the roof (thanks to the eventual arrival of two packs of cards, Triominos and Rummikub). The wild man of Borneo (aka G) decided he could no longer handle the mad curls growing on his head and chin, and took the dog clippers to both – having practiced on himself, he turned his attention to Muttley; Muttley then hid in the cupboard!


With the weather turning bad on us again, I turned my attention to Alexa thinking that she might help me learn the words to, ‘Resistiré’ –thank you Kevin Too for telling me how to get the accent. On asking her to play it, she responded with some ghastly dirge (try it yourself and you’ll see what I mean)!

I then asked her to play Viva Espana; she played the English version – the one reminiscent of early day package holidays from back in the 70’s – so I asked her to play the Spanish version; she did, the instrumental version. Even Alexa has turned bloody minded and gone rogue on me; just between you and me, I never liked her much anyway. I’ve always considered her to be the third person in our marriage.

Whilst G was walking Muttley around the block, I stuck my head out of the door to listen to the music and bumped straight into ‘Senor Propane’ – as he’s now referred to, thanks to AndyWindy. El senor (I still can’t get the wiggly thing over the ‘n’) was quite curious about our arrival here and what we were up to. I was in the middle of giving him my best shot at explaining that our home was a boat, currently in the Netherlands, and we would normally be here for 6 months each year, blurdy, blurdy, when G arrived back and joined the conversation in English! Given el senor doesn’t speak a word of English, G received some fairly blank looks whilst I tried to translate – no problem for G; he went into default mode and switched to French! G’s French is pretty good, but mine is very limited and I suddenly found myself in the position where I’m trying to translate G’s French into English, then back into Spanish. Needless to say, the conversation didn’t go on for very much longer!!!! As we bade Senor Propane good night (by then I’d ascertained that his name is Lorenzo), he shot back to his house after asking me to wait and then came back with an armful of oranges as a present for us.

Lorenzo having offered me his (informal) name, now means I can drop the ‘usted’ and use ‘tú’, but it also meant that I had to introduce myself the same way and ‘Jill’ is a pretty hopeless name to say in Spanish (Budd being pretty easy). Given that the ‘J’ is virtually silent and the ‘ll’ sounds more like ‘ya’ – I come out as more of an ilya (as in Ilya Kuriakin (?) in the man from U.N.C.L.E.).

I was so happy with this encounter and felt it was definitely another good step in the right direction for the future.

I don’t know about you guys, but I find that emotions are intensified at the moment. Whilst the smallest things can bring me great pleasure, the smallest things (that I would normally take in my stride) can, equally, be my ‘undoing’ and I sometimes wonder if I’m closer to unravelling than I think.

I went shopping a week last Tuesday and discovered a little shop selling ‘English’ stuff. I found a bar of Cadbury’s fruit & nut, Jammy Dodgers, Fig Rolls, Pukka Pies and steamed syrup puddings – it wasn’t cheap, but it was a real treat given that we’ve not been in England for over a year. The guy who owned the shop was a real barrel of laughs (not!). He was convinced that Coronavirus was a conspiracy theory just used by the Spanish authorities to revert to a military dictatorship.

From there, I went to the supermercado and felt, irrationally, uneasy about leaving my granny trolley (full of expensive goodies) at the check out – i was really worried that someone would steal it!

I’d never been to this supermarket before (let’s face it, I haven’t been anywhere here before) and it was a maze of small rooms – not like the usual ‘up and down’ straight aisles and I quickly lost my bearings, getting more and more agitated about the security of my hoard of UK treats in my trolley – I went back to check and realised that the checkout wasn’t the one I’d entered by; I found another exit and my trolley wasn’t there either, it sounds crazy but I could feel the panic rising in my chest. Eventually I found a third exit and my trolley was still sitting there quite happily but, by then, I was close to a full blown panic attack. I abandoned the rest of my shopping list, checked out what I already had, and headed for home.

The day got worse. G took Muttley out for his pre-dinner wee (Muttley’s wee, not G’s; it takes all of 3 minutes) and when he was nearly home, 50 meters away, he was subjected to a racist attack by a young Spanish man shouting abuse and trying to kick Muttley before going for G with his fists – G protected Muttley and blocked the bloke; I heard the commotion and had the door open. G and Muttley shot in and we slammed the door; the bloke was still following and started trying to kick down our door. We phoned the police who asked if we needed medical assistance – we didn’t, ‘ring us again if he returns’ they replied.

I can’t tell a lie, I was seriously rattled. We’ve never experienced anything like this in all of our travels. For the next two days I didn’t want to go out with Muttley and I didn’t want G going out with him on his own either, but we’re not allowed to go out together, so ………

I’m over it now; I guess it was just one of those things – the bloke was high and probably getting as stir crazy as the rest of us, in a way I have some empathy because it’s all getting a bit too much now.

I popped round to Senora Propane, Lorenzo’s wife, with our last jar of Gezina’s courgette and onion chutney and lied –saying that I had made it myself. Only a small porky as I had made some with Gezina – just not that particular batch. The gesture seemed to go down really well; but, somehow, I doubt that they’ll try it – is it polite to ask if they’re going to eat it and, if not, can we have it back please because we love it?

Not far from home, I discovered some new alleyways and so, unusually these days, I have some pretty pictures; it was quite a steep climb – let’s face it, everywhere here is a steep climb; it’s extremely good for us after 3 years in the flatlands.


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