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

  • July 2020
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

…. and our world starts to, slowly, open up

Posted by contentedsouls on 10/07/2020

It’s so long since I’ve been on here that the computer had shut me out and it took my IT department the best part of an hour to get me in again! The second thing I noticed was that the last blog I posted was dated 22nd March, when it was actually 22nd April – I am amazed that that mistake slipped past you all; particularly Andy Windsor and Kevin Too. It just goes to show what a state we’re all in.

Back in the first half of March I was craving some ‘me time’ and, at first, I used that time wisely and happily. I don’t do anything with that time anymore and I know that I will look back on these two and a half months and regret the wasted opportunity. Whilst I know that’s the case, I still can’t seem to change my behaviour. I am forcing myself to write this blog today whilst, normally, writing is a joy to me; I’m hoping that this will be the first step to recovery because, I don’t know about you guys, but I do feel I need to ‘recover’ and find my mojo again.

Ensconced as we are (up here amongst the gypsies) in a new country, we have had a pretty steep learning curve which has caused me a fair bit of frustration (with myself mostly). As always though, my adventures have provided me with a great deal of entertainment whilst immersing myself in observing this new culture. The biggest hurdle for me was trying to get out of the front door, because our front door opens onto a little  open space with many escape routes should the police do a drive past the end of the road – a rare thing in these narrow streets – so outside our front door is where the young lads hang out (never girls). They literally sit on our front doorstep which, although a typically Spanish thing to do, can be quite daunting for us Brits. They are actually quite good lads and we now, over time, seem to have come to quite a good understanding and, whenever I ask for help, they happily oblige. We can’t drive down our street, so we unload shopping up the top and I trot down with it whilst G goes off to find somewhere to park. It’s ridiculously hot now and the shopping is heavy and takes 5 or 6 trips. The lads carry it down for me now and it has become a bit of a ritual to pretend to make off with the wine carrier.

They came in particularly useful when we, inadvertently, found ourselves to be the sole carers for a pony which was put into the scrubland below us without a sustainable water supply. Access to said pony was down steep scree; not great on our poor old knees lugging 8 litres of water. I coerced the lads into doing it for us as often as possible but I could not get them to bring the containers back. I’m sure I had all the right words (not necessarily in the right order) but they just filled the ponies bucket and tossed the plastic carrier to the ground. Can’t win them all – every trip they saved us was a blessing. It was a huge relief when, maybe 10 days later, I saw the pony being led away to new ‘grazing’ one night, I became quite stressed about the little fellow.


I like the lads best when there are just a few of them and they turn up with a guitar or two.


Every so often, particularly when there are about 10 of them and they’ve smoked too much weed, they get a bit crazy and I have to go out and do my angry Spanish Grandmother thing.  I wave my arms, stamp my feet, point a lot and shout, ‘that’s enough!’ Such power I have here as a granny age woman. I really must try not to let it go to my head though (and remember not to try it in the UK).

Eventually, G and I were allowed out together and to walk the dog up to a kilometer from home. It felt immensely joyous.


11 Responses to “…. and our world starts to, slowly, open up”

  1. Carole and Barrie Grant said

    It looks like you have chosen a lovely town and, like many Spanish towns, one with the air of permanence, like it has been there for a thousand years (and may have!) Welcome to the freedom of change!! It’s good to hear from you again!! Cheerio from us who are still locked down in Canada!!!!


    • I really wasn’t ready for buying bricks and mortar yet; although we chose an area quickly, I think we chose well.

      Are you staying with family, or are you house sitting again?


  2. Kevin TOO said

    How kind of you to come and talk to us once again Granny Jill, I’ll try to be as respectful as I can as I won’t be able to understand one word of the Spanish abuse that you might hurl at me if I’m not! 😏 No I didn’t notice the wayward date on your last post, but it’s all in the past now so I’ll forgive & forget 😉 Glad you are ‘getting to know’ a few of the locals even if they are a bit cheeky and of dubious habits, as long as they treat you with respect I’m sure you’ll get along just fine 🤔 Are you going to remain in Spain for the foreseeable future or will you be making a break for the Netherlands and Francois any time soon? ⚓


    • At least the lads ‘dubious habits’ don’t include alcohol, so they never get aggressive.

      There is no simple answer to your question. I’m desperate to make a break for Francoise but, at the moment, we are bogged down in Spanish officialdom. Probably best that I explain it all in another blog.


  3. Gillian Stollery said

    It was great to have some of your witty writings again…..


  4. Laurence zagmoissac said

    Hé eh….. you definitely are teasing. Looking for the next episode


  5. So glad you are back!Always entertaining.


  6. vallypee said

    Can’t believe I haven’t replied to this before. I’m so glad you are getting out again, Jill, but sorry there hasn’t been another blog to follow yet…fingers tapping.


  7. andywindy said

    At the time you wrote this, Our world in Cornwall was fully opened up with a vengeance, we were all back at work after 3 Months Furlough and Isolation, and tge County was packed with Holidaymakers following the prime ministers advice to holiday at home (Unfortunately, our home and not theirs).
    We were safe in our little bubble here in West Cornwall, no outsiders coming down, everybody wearing masks and queueing up with 2M distance to get into and around Tesco, and as a result the lowest rate of Virus per population in mainland England!
    Boy, do I wish they hadn’t come, no masks (or very few), no Distancing, and me unable to go and visit my Wife incase I took it with me! (No Autoimmune tendencies after Sepsis).
    At work, we have always practiced infection control measures due to where we go and what we work on, but outside work I have become a Hermit.
    I made a Very Nervous 225 mile 6 Hour train journey last week and drove my Julie back down with me for a couple of weeks. Bliss! I have taken 7 days off work, and we are just enjoying just being together, most days are PJ days, and we couldn’t be happier. I’ll be going up to Basingstoke for Christmas Week Lockdown or no, and driving back Boxing Day.


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