lundi 31 janvier 2011

Monday 31.01.11

Yesterday we had our new friends Marie-Jo, Michel, and their children Gabriel and Johanna over to tea on the boat. We had a great time and are amazed at how kind they have been to us. We have an invite to call in any time and not to hesitate to phone them if we have troubles with anything and they will help. They came bearing french books for us to read and encouraged us to to talk french with them . Gabriel doesn't understand that we don't comprehend his french chatter and it is amazing how much we can now understand!! He's a lovely well-behaved kid and spent a happy time playing my electric guitar through the amp..... not sure the other boat dwellers appreciated it though!!

Gabriel plays my guitar!!

dimanche 23 janvier 2011

Sunday 23.01.11

Well... we had our dinner party last night with 2 americans and 4 young french people... and it was a blast!! Quite literally. I cooked chicken curry and potato and chick pea curry and rice with side dishes and we all enjoyed it tremendously. After dessert, (provided by our american friends Rob and debbie) we went outside and let off John's Christmas present from Eleanor and Nick. Two massive 50 shot fireworks which caused quite a stir in sleepy old Auxerre!. We then returned to the boat and talked until the wee small hours with our new french friends.  We have been invited for a french meal at Adrien's house in chablis in a few weeks time, when we are promised a very good meal..... Goodee

From left to right Gabrielle, Adrien, Anne and Elio.

Today we were invited for drinks at lunchtime with another young couple whose wife and children came on our boat in the port last week. They made us so welcome and despite nursing hangovers from last night we managed to consume 2 more bottles of wine. Their 2 children were lovely and Gabriel (5 years) showed us his toys and was most entertaining. His mum Marie-Jose is a teacher and his dad Michel is an explosives expert who demolishes buildings and stone  in quarries. They showed us some of the videos of the buildings falling down. Their house dates from 14th century and is a lovely old building which they are doing up at the moment. They also have a delightful plump baby called Johanna, she smiled at everyone and allowed me to have a reminiscent long cuddle with her.  I dont, however, wish to return to work.....!!!!
We've now staggered back to the Puddle Stone and are repeating last Sundays evening with watching TV feeling slightly woozzyy..... More soon...

jeudi 20 janvier 2011

Thursday 20.01.11

I've been very remiss and havent written for a while and we've had such a busy time!!!
Last Friday we were in the supermarket when we bumped into a young man who is living on his barge near us.  It is called Caroline and is a 'Cave Vagabond'. heis goin to run it as a travelling off licence. well, he invited us round that evening and with some trepidation we went.... Spent a fab evening with Elio (who lives on the barge) his girlfriend Anne, Adrien and his girlfriend Gabrielle. Adrien has a vineyard in Chablis! We talked a mixture of French and English and the time went by so fast, it was soon 1am! We returned to the Puddle Stone very pleased that at last we had met some French people.  We were amazed to learn, however, that they were all younger than my youngest child, but hey you're only as old as you feel....!!!!
Saturday we found a fab museum 'Musee Leblanc-Duvernoy in Auxerre. It was free and had the most amazing tapestries a whole room of them floor to ceiling of the chinese emperor's visit to France. They took a very long time to complete but they are still there in all their glory.
The lady there was very kind and explained a great deal about the place, maybe because we were the only people visiting at the time!! There were some lovely clocks too:-
Well, couldnt resist a photo of us too!!
Sunday was the most amazing day! It was the wine festival of St Vincent in Auxerre. The whole of the town centre was closed, people were dressed up in their traditional costumes and there was FREE wine tasting all day. You buy a glass for 5euros and this gave you permission to sample the 60 or so different wines on offer (which they were not allowed to sell you - Sunday you see.....)  Needless to say we took advantage of their goodwill...And had to buy a portion of 'frites' to soak it up a bit. There was a fellow there who had a camera attatched to a helium balloon with which he took photos of the crowd from the air- we've never seen anything like it!!

The locals were pleased to pose for us too:-

And in the evening we rounded off the day by going to church.... No really, a classical concert in St Eusebe Eglise with the Auxerre Man's choir they finished off with Amazing Grace sung in English- just for us........

We went back to the boat and settled in to watch TV in a rather inebriated fashion!!

lundi 10 janvier 2011

Monday 10.01.11

At last I feel human again, that was a nasty bug and so everyone has kept away from us, and John was very lucky in escaping it entirely!!!  We have managed to get a few jobs done on the boat which we'd been putting off (like the edging on the new shelves and tidying the wheelhouse.....) and generally tidying away the stuff brought back from the UK visit.  Its amazing how stuff can be squirrelled away although 2 pairs of Jama bottoms are now recycled as dusters!! The rule is that everything new on the boat means something else has to be jettisoned, so far it is working. The weather here has settled into a rather overcast state with temperatures as high as 13 degrees, we both feel very cheated as we havent yet enjoyed the snow here, the heaviest fall being over Christmas when we were away!  We have a new friend, a 'Coypu'. A kind of giant water rat, he's over 3 feet long including his tail and met us on our return to the boat. he wasnt at all put out by the car headlights and just sat chewing his fish totally unperturbed.  he's rather heavy and makes an awful noise when he's under the boat, and lives in a storm drain near us.  We are happy to co-exist with him but he just looks horrid with that tail that is definitely a rat's tail! Ive tried to upload a picture from the internet but it won't let me so you'll just have to google search it for yourselves I'm afraid!

When we woke up this morning we had a pea-souper which made us think that Sherlock Holmes was likely to come down the river at any time, so in absence of the coypu picture you've got one of the fog instead!!