dimanche 27 février 2011

Saturday 26.02.11

Tonight our young french friends invited us to dinner at one of their houses in a little village called 'Milly' which is near Chablis. We got ready to go out bemoaning the vile weather which was a torrential downpour. When we arrived it was to find that the two people we had expected were in fact 6, and gradually the place filled and we were surrounded by 15 of France's youth. OUR FIRST FRENCH PARTY!!!! We were introduced but I soon forgot who was who but we had a fantasic evening and one we shall always remember. Very stupidly I had offered to stay sober, so I could drive home and John could drink..... Adrien (whose home it was) is our french friend who owns fields of vines and manufactures his own'Bio' wine so naturally there was a sea of wine there. They gave us a 'french savoyade fondue' evening and several times I thought I had fallen asleep and woken up in the 70's as Queen and the Kinks music blared out and we sat round with our bits of bread and fondue forks. Home-made (by Adrien) chocolate mousse followed and I had to really try to maintain my strict calory input!  The food was followed by an impromptu dance, and when I realised that I could no longer support John I decided that it was time to take him back to the boat before it became impossible for me to get him safely over the threshold!! We had such a great time , thank you to you all, whose names I still cant remember but I have remembered a couple of very naughty french phrases which I will try to retain.!!!

Thursday evening 24.02.11

Tonight, John decided to brave the dark and cold and go in search of some live music. We'd heard that there was a reggae band playing at a local venue and it was free...!! I was busy watching the thriller on TV (Marchlands) which John hadnt been following anyway, so he went without me. He returned at 11pm saying it was really good and so I dressed and went back with him.  What an experience! It was free but we had to queue up to get a ticket, which in turn we gave to the bouncer, who stamped our hands..... Very strange. But then when we wanted a drink, we had to queue again, buy a plastic orange beaker for a euro (refundable on return of the beaker) and purchase tokens which we exchanged for our drinks at the bar... An awful pallaver but worth the effort! The reggae was good and we danced until the place shut at midnight. We were given warning that the bar shut at midnight and above the bar appeared an electric digital countdown clock reducing in seconds....really weird evening but it was fun anyway, and the most alive that we have ever found the people of Auxerre to be. We werent the eldest there but were definitely close to being, but nobody laughed or pointed so we just had a good time!!

jeudi 24 février 2011

Thursday 24.02.11

Well, I think that spring is officially here as my 2 swans gave us a pornographic display, right outside our kitchen window!!! Poor John was doing the washing up....... (Mmmmm...!!!). We both decided, having watched, that we neither of us wanted to come back as swans.... They seem to have adopted us as their parents demanding food from us at all times. The other morning John was woken at 3am by their beaks tapping on the hull and demanding bread through the window!!! They are quite sweet though, and I always buy them a baguette (at least 1, often 2 or 3) from the supermarket. They talk to us making funny little noises and wagging their tails, I just hope to goodness that they dont think we are swans and are expecting more than bread from us.......???!!!!
The one you can see at the boat is called Flanders and his wife is Swann ( after that well known duo). We can tell the difference as Flanders has a scar above his beak ( hence 'Flanders' doubles for a war wound as well, as in WW1 battles).
They have disappeared from view now so I can only presume that they have gone off to look at houses in which to raise their future offspring...

dimanche 20 février 2011

Sunday 22.02.11

This week we have spent alot of time just enjoying the sunshine and doing odd jobs around the barge. Thursday dawned bright and clear so went for a picnic along the towpath. We cycled to Bailly having had lunch at a lock along the way. The views were fantastic and made us long to start on our big adventure of travelling by barge.
 The 2nd lock from Auxerre . 

 Our lunch spot, idyllic and no-one around!!!

We had a good cycle took us all afternoon and I set off back in front of John. Id got to the first village, looked back and he wasnt behind me...!!! I waited and waited, and after 10 minutes turned round and cycled nearly the whole way back to find that his chain had come off and he was well fed up!! It started to get really cold and we were very pleased to get back inside our lovely warm home and have a nice hot cup of tea!!

lundi 14 février 2011

Saturday 12.02.11.

This evening we had 5 young french friends round for a huge chilli con carne. It was very good, I didnt use any mixes, all fresh ingredients and all the pans were scraped clean... not a single crumb left for the poor old ducks and swans.... We explored several different types of wine , shared our scotch with them and they shared their 'Marc de Chateau Grenouille'. This is a distillate from the chablis grapes and tastes wonderful but totally different from anything we've tasted before... A kind of local speciality but one we could become used to except that it is 43%!!! They all eventually went home at about 1.30 am and we retired... Yesterday I felt very sorry for myself...and rather unwell...... I dont think I drank too much but just that the various liquors maybe clashed inside my chemo washed liver...... Oh well, I feel better now despite it being monday morning.!!!

An innocent looking wine bottle which packed the punch of a lion!!!!!!

Sunday 06.02.11

Today was the 44th Chablis wine festival of St Vincent. We didnt know what to expect but drove to the town to find that we had to park in the next village as the road into Chablis was blocked off !!! We have never seen anything like it, everthing green was covered in multicoloured paper flowers giving the impression that it was high summer, despite being wintery february! The sun shone brightly to complete the illusion. We had a great time and once more paid 5 euros for an engraved glass and were then allowed to drink as much as we wanted..... We had a really good time they even installed a giant lemonade machine for those who were driving!!  I bet there were some very sore heads in surrounding areas when monday and work loomed it's ugly head....!

Me at the lemonade pump..... It was a really lovely day, the french certainly know how to do a wine festival...

Saturday 05.02.11

Today we took our very close friend to Bailly to see the wine caves where they make Cremant (fizzy white wine, a little below the standard of Champagne). He has been staying with us for a week and so we all went. The cave does tours each day in the summer but only on saturday and sundays in the winter.  we were a little perturbed that there was no english tour but we went and understood a little of what they were saying. The main interest is that they are in natural limestone caves which some artists have decorated with sculptures in the rock, well worth a visit if you are in the area!

They obviously like their women large in the caves......