Hello and welcome to the latest blog on July 1st 2021. This feels like a momentous day as it is also our first blog back on board our lovely boat Olivia Rose after so many months of enforced separation.
This will be our fourth year cruising and I always have mixed feelings as we journey back towards the boat. Part of me is excited as life on board brings with it a definite sense of freedom, of leaving the more tedious elements of our daily lives behind and living purely in the moment. But part of me is nervous. Boats don’t appreciate being left, especially for long periods of time, and we have been apart for ten months, which leaves plenty of scope for things to go wrong. All the usual questions run through my mind: will we have sprung any leaks over the winter? Will the engine start? Is the shower still working? And then I’ll have a little panic as I wonder if I can remember how to throw a rope, or exit the lock without hitting the gates on the way out.
Thankfully we arrived back to find the bilges dry, always a huge relief, and no other obvious leaks. The cobwebs had taken over below decks whilst on deck much of the paintwork was green with mould. She looked a neglected and unloved boat, which is quite normal after so long with no-one aboard, and so our first day was taken up by a thorough clean. The second day was dedicated to the engine, changing oils, and replacing our old batteries. The engine started first time, another potentially worrying moment, but she sounded sweet as a nut. The third day was spent flushing and sterilising the water tanks, checking all the plumbing and getting in food supplies. On the fourth day we had a rest!
During that time we had the unexpected pleasure of meeting a British couple who stopped in the marina for a night. They had been cruising for a couple of weeks and had seen hardly any other boats on the water. This didn’t surprise us but we wish it had been otherwise. With so few British, American or Australian boaters able to get to France it was probably going to be a very different cruising experience to what we were used to. The social side of life on the water has always been one of its greatest pleasures and I wondered if this year, for the first time, we might actually feel rather isolated and alone. Time will tell, but whichever way it goes, it still feels very good to be back.
It’s a short blog this week, as there are more things yet to do before we can leave, so I’ll keep you in suspense until next week for news of our departure and where we are headed. On a different subject entirely I was invited to do an online interview about our dual lives, one on land, one on the water, by fellow blogger and author Vanessa Couchman, which went live over the weekend. I attach a link to the interview if you would like to read it. https://vanessafrance.wordpress.com/2021/06/27/ma-vie-francaise-11-mary-jane-houlton-living-a-double-life/
Vanessa’s blog is called Life on la Lune, providing a fascinating insight into life in France and she has also published three novels and a selection of short stories, all set either in the south west of France or on the French island of Corsica. Read and enjoy!
I will end with a couple of recent pictures, fewer than I had hoped to have for you but we’ve had a spell of wet, grey weather. I look forward to being able to share the beginning of our travels with you in the next blog. It’s been a long time coming!