Thursday, 19 September 2013

Liberté season over, not quite what we had in mind......

We went out to the boat at the end of March. Full of good intentions we were going to start painting her and doing some other jobs (there's always something to do on a boat) and then take a leisurely cruise along the Bourgogne canal and back.

As it happened, for one reason and several others, not much of the aforementioned actually happened! But as we keep telling ourselves, we are in France, we are retired, it doesn't really matter we are still enjoying ourselves and lucky to be doing so.

Some painting did take place....
and I made new sunshades for all the windows, hand
sewing 180 small magnets to keep them in position!
Nigel had  to be brave and drill holes in our precious
boat to enable him to screw on the awning channel
to slot the screens into.

In a nutshell, we had ongoing engine problems, necessitating Nigel coming back to the UK for a week to get a part repaired, then fuel issues, the weather was mostly against painting....wet and cold for weeks on end and then suddenly weeks of mid 30's temperatures. In June I had to fly back for a week to deal with issues when an elderly relative was admitted to hospital after a fall, we both came back for another week in August for Hattie's birthday and Christening, to see Drew and Alana's new home and to collect the motorhome from service.

The birthday girl
A fashionista, just like her mum! :)

Then, just as we thought we could go for a short autumn cruise for a few weeks, I had my suspicions confirmed that I have a slipped disc...ongoing back issues since Morocco which suddenly became far worse. A doctor in France told me to lie flat for a week to let the muscles relax but this did not help so we decided to pack up and come home.

The view from our back deck this season....
 on this occasion there was a Pink Floyd
tribute band playing on the boat where the crowds are.

So here we are back in Bolton, I'm waiting for an MRI scan but already in less pain than I was on the boat. Whether it's the medication (same as I was given in France) or the comfy 5 foot memory foam bed, the exercises I've been given,  the relief from seeing my own GP or just the passage of time I'm not sure but I feel I am now on the mend and raring to go on another winter motorhome trip. The bungalow feels spacious after the boat, especially now that Drew and Alana have moved out into their own home just a 10 minute drive away from us. 

We were going back to Morocco this winter but we think we have changed our minds and will try Sicily this year. After watching the Tour de France through Corsica we decided we'd like to go there but on doing some research we feel that Sicily will be preferable for us.

Even though it was not what we expected the good things about this season were.... we had several sets of visitors, enjoyed socialising with the other boaters we have got to know over the years and met some new friends, attended the Dijon rally (by car, not boat), spent some time with Richard and Aoife who came out to a gite in Burgundy in late August, and we now have new and fully working solar panels which will be a big help when we are wild mooring next year. Also, as mentioned above we finally made and installed the sunshades for the windows which have made a huge difference in the hot weather and they look very smart.

New sunshades, can be flush to the windows
to keep out bugs or attached to the side decks to
increase ventilation and keep the deck cooler

So the blog will continue once we set off on our winter trip, in the meantime, here's a few summer highlight photo's to be going on with.


A rare treat....watching a cuckoo being fed by foster parent
whilst eating our breakfast on deck


Summer cocktail


My college friend Jean
 (we met in 1969!)
and her partner Peter, came to visit










My sister, Janet came to stay for my birthday
We visited Besancon and Beaune while she was over


Nigel and Cathy Lee (3rd and 4th from left)
 stayed with us during the Dijon Rally.
Here we are on a wine tasting tour.

Best of both worlds?
This arrived on the visitors' pontoon one day.
Must be a pig to steer on a windy day!
Sadly only one cygnet made it to adolescence
And no season would be complete
without a visit from Mandy and Bill.
Here we are in Gray during a brief
period of sunshine. It rained almost
the whole time they were with us!









Plenty of sticks after the spring floods




And finally, the epitome of summer in France, the beautiful sunflower