Hello everyone and welcome to the latest blog of the Olivia Rose Diaries on 29th October 2021.
We are almost at the end of our first week house-sitting in Marseillan and have found it to be a very different experience from staying with friends or renting a holiday cottage. I feel as if I have walked into someone else’s life and I find that both fascinating and liberating. As you might imagine there is also a degree of responsibility, both for the animal(s) you are looking after and the house itself. Our duties are very light on this first house-sit as we have only one cat, the magnificent and affectionate Ziggy, who has very quickly adopted us as his surrogate family.
In this new life we now live a two-minute stroll from the Étang du Thau, with the Mediterranean a ten-minute drive away. In sharp contrast to the woods that surround us at Le Shack, which are turning red and gold with their autumn foliage, the predominant colour of our landscape is now blue – blues skies and blue waters that reflect each other and change hue constantly throughout the day.
The quays of the smaller harbours like Marseillan and Mèze are lined with small fishing and sailing boats and the atmosphere is peaceful, even sleepy, although it is a half-term holiday here in France so the restaurants are doing a roaring trade.
We cycled the forty-mile circuit around the étang, stopping at Séte, where the port is a much bigger affair, with huge commercial fishing boats towering over flimsy motor launches, and had to fight our way through the crowds, dodging our way round pedestrians, other cars and cyclists, and doing our best not to run down the waiters, who had to cross the road to serve their pavement tables by the quayside.
We visited this area in 2018 on Olivia Rose, our first full year of cruising, and it has been an interesting experience to see it from the land this time, rather than from the water. Our bike ride passed over the Canal du Rhone à Séte at the eastern end, and hugged the Canal du Midi for a short distance at the western end, bringing back many happy memories. As I sat by the canal while we had our lunch, I could so clearly picture us on Olivia Rose, transporting myself out of the present and into the past, pretending that I was watching two strangers cruising past on a beautiful blue and white boat, bright red geraniums tumbling in profusion from the window boxes on her decks.
Below is a short excerpt from ‘Just Passing Through’ which captures my feelings as we cruised across the étang.
‘The next day we passed through the lifting bridges in Frontignan, heading towards the Étang de Thau. This is a vast stretch of water, twenty-one kilometres long and eight kilometres wide, but quite shallow, between five and ten metres in depth for the most part. It is separated from the sea by no more than a spindly sand bar so whilst technically it is a lake, it felt more like the sea, and was certainly wild enough when the wind got up. The wind was too strong on the day we arrived, making it dangerous to cross, and so we had to wait it out.
The following day dawned fair, perfect conditions, the water and the sky merging together, stretching from the horizon to the heavens. It seemed as if our whole world had turned intensely, gloriously blue. Olivia’s bow sliced through indigo-blue water, scattering diamonds in her bow wave where the sun caught the spray. I lay out full length on the deck, the sky cornflower blue above me, the sun hot on my face and was overcome by a rush of pure joy. This was freedom.’
Whilst we are on the subject, ‘Just Passing Through’ will be available to buy for 99p, rather than the full price of £3.99, under Kindle Daily Deals from this coming Monday for a month, November 1st until November 30th. For any of you who have not yet read it, this is a good time to buy it! The offer only applies to the Kindle version, so the paperback is still full price I’m afraid. My other book, ‘A Simple Life’, is not under offer and remains at the usual price.
Interestingly, we authors cannot enrol ourselves upon the Daily Deals. It is up to Kindle to offer us the opportunity, after which we confirm our willingness to participate, and then wait to see if we have been accepted. This is the first time I have had the chance to be on the Daily Deals and so I am looking forward to seeing what a difference it might – or might not – make to my sales figures.
I will leave you with some more pictures of our first week. You can see why blue is my favourite colour, but we have some rainy days ahead so it is time to finish the blog and get back out in the sunshine before it disappears.
Hope all is well with you and see you next week.