Legends from our own lunchtimes

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A night we won't forget - Singapore

By five we were dozing again, by nine out for the count, bur really that is no way to combat jetlag we thought, so once again forced ourselves upon the town.

We dragged ourselves through alternating bouts of numbness and pain through the day as we retraced old steps, until our evening rendezvous with Rob and Janet, who appeared fresh from the morning’s flight, and refreshed from a few hour’s sleep, bright eyed and bushy tailed.     

Our bodies must have been coming back into morning as well, because as we walked at length through the evening sights we too, were enjoying ourselves immensely.   So much did we enjoy that walk through Clark Quay and Marina Gardens and the amble home that for the second time in three nights we found ourselves returning to our room with a very few hours remaining until we were required to depart for our flight.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The day we don't remember - Singapore

We arrived at our hotel before eight in the morning, grateful for the room that was available, determined somehow to beat the fatigue that was to come.   Just a few hours sleep we said, and set the alarm for lunchtime, waking in a fog, forcing ourselves into the heavy tropical outdoors for the afternoon.

The fog in our brains didn’t lift, the coffee didn’t hit wherever caffeine is supposed to hit, we returned to our hotel at six, ate early and were in bed by eight, determined to get a proper sleep.

We did too, until not long after midnight when we woke, together as though an alarm had alerted us each to the other’s state of mind.   

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The night that never was - Paris to Singapore

We thought we were clever booking a day flight to Singapore, after all it would be before midnight for us when we arrived, and it was but of course it was also tomorrow, very early, and we hadn’t been to bed and we were supposed to be getting up.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Singing for our supper - Paris

Tomorrow we fly out, coincidentally on the same flight as Joan and Peter who not coincidentally are staying in “our” hotel.

There is a restaurant in Paris according to Peter, where the staff are fair dinkum Opera singers and the food is worth eating and we should he has been saying, make a point of going there on our last night in France.   So we did.

We fiddled around in Paris all day, which is not a difficult thing to do, and met Joan and Peter and the appointed hour at Bel Canto, where as promised the food was indeed worth eating, and the music incredible.  We were the first to arrive and if not the last to leave, the last who did not have a key to the premises.

When we arrived back at our hotel thankfully close to the airport, it was the day we were supposed to be leaving.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

That feeling you get. - Port-Saint-Marie to Roissy CDG

There’s nothing worse than waking to a carefully timed alarm, to dress in a relaxed manner, ready for breakfast and a five-thirty am departure only to realise that something has been left on the boat fifteen minutes drive away.

A high(ish) speed chase in the pre-dawn mist had us back in time to pick up Joan and Peter, and together we traced our commute by car, train, bus and train, checking in to our airport hotel in early afternoon, feeling strangely exhausted.

Perhaps that's how the plants are feeling after a long hot summer.  


Saturday, October 11, 2014

It's a wrap! - Lagarde and Port-Saint-Marie

The covers on, the last of the cleaning done, the instructions written and the last of the food and drink deposited with Grahame and Aileen to do with what they will in the few days they have remaining, packed, we checked into the bed and breakfast place at Port Saint Marie, showered and shot back to Lagarde for one final night of rollicking good times.

The alarm is set for “too early”, we arrived home “too late”, but tomorrow our year is done!


Friday, October 10, 2014

The end is nigh. - Luneville

When the time comes to arrange a lift to Lunéville to pick up the car, we know we are close to the end.   

We’re strangely relaxed knowing that no matter how much or how little time we have left now, the work will expand to fill it, so we have hired the 2CV and have co-opted Joan and Peter to drive us to pick up the hire car which will get us all to the station on Sunday.

While we were at it, we figured a walk around the town centre and the chateau would definitely be in order, and perhaps a nice lunch to put us in the mood for our penultimate party in Lagarde.

Yes, it is tough work, but someone has to do it.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

We can see the light.

One has to be careful when one sees the light at the end of a tunnel, that it isn’t a fully laden barge coming the other way.  

We can see the light now, and we’re fairly sure it’s not.  

The last of the washing has been done, the covers are ready to go on, the lines that needed replacement have been and we have enough time up our sleeves to bother those around us who haven’t.

Now we just need to work on reducing the supply of food and other perishables….. perhaps tonight.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Making haste slowly.

The new inverter arrived today along with news that our house batteries will be replaced under warranty, which is nice, so with the hatches and access panels wide open, we managed, Bill and I to install a couple of little electrical controller gadgets that will make battery management easier next year.

All in all we’re just washing and cleaning and wandering around scratching our heads and watching time and the last few boats of summer pass.

Meanwhile Brenda and John have left as well now, but the six of us remaining are not getting to sleep any earlier.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

It’s anything but quiet around here.

Life in the harbour continues at a rate that is in stark contrast to the grave silence in the war cemeteries that surround the village.

Kent and Heather left today, flying home to the States with a zillion gigatons of wine collected over summer, leaving us guessing as to how they expect to actually smuggle it in.  The inside of the boat is getting sorted to the point where the mechanical bits can finally be accessed, and then a whole new meaning of “mess” will become apparent.

Meanwhile, the dinners in the evening while reducing in numbers don’t seem to be reducing in volume or quality of food or company.   We all have things to use before we go, and I suspect that Grahame and Aileen who will be the last to leave, may be left with a surplus!

Monday, October 06, 2014

It's quite clear.

It’s clear that there are things to be done, but it’s also clear that the things to be done can only be done by one person at a time, so while one of us made himself scarce fiddling on other people’s boats, the other did what she does best of all and simply got on with the job in hand.

The party though if that’s what it is, has grown to ridiculous proportions. We now have four Australians, two Kiwis, two Brits and a pair of Americans participating in the sort of progressive supper that is surely not designed to ensure that work will begin in the morning at any hour before “later than we’d hoped.”

In any case, the morning fog and cool is not particularly conducive to early starts, unless one is prone to walking around the village with camera in hand.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

A splendid adventure - to Parroy and back.

It takes just a few minutes to travel from Lagarde to Parroy by car, or a few hours by boat.   

Midway through what did indeed promise to be a luncheon without end, someone decided we should abandon the car, and cruise the afternoon away.   As it happens, Joan and Peter had also spent the night at Parroy and were ready to leave at the same time.   The trickle of our friends returning to our base is becoming a flood.

All went hilariously well until the time came to exit the second lock, when to the amusement of all except Grahame, the good ship St-Jeane-Laurence of its own accord reduced its speed to something less than a crawl.    Amusement turned to bemusement when it was discovered that, so close to home, the throttle cable had snapped.

Normal transmission, music and hilarity returned in a very short space of time however as Peter put his years of commercial shipyard operation into good stead, and Grahame saved a significant amount of fuel on the balance of the journey.

Saturday, October 04, 2014


All of this lying about waiting till the mood takes us to get on with variously completion or commencement of our wintering tasks has given us itchy feet.   

We really wanted to spend a few of these glorious autumn days up the canal a bit, quietly contemplating the year that has been, but the onslaught of what could only be described as slackness put paid to that and we couldn’t seem to summons the motivation to move.

Tomorrow we had planned to travel for a few kilometres with Jacques and Maggie aboard to rendezvous with Grahame and Aileen now almost home as well for what we suspect will be a rather long lunch.   The forecast though is not of the kind that jumps out and says “great weather for boats”, so now we are looking forward to having a lovely Sunday Drive.


Friday, October 03, 2014

Beneath the calm
- Lagarde

One of the really nice things about this time of year, is that one can go for long walks in the crisp morning air, or the soggy morning air as the case may be, and not have to roll out of bed particularly early to do it.  

The mist seems to try to lift sometime after eight, but just as often gives up and pops back down again for another hour or so, making getting up early to catch photographs of it a particularly civilised experience.

Things may appear calm in port, but on the boat chaos is beginning to ensue.   The sort of chaos that is born of procrastination and waiting for parts before starting to do anything while a deadline looms large over the not too distant horizon.

It will probably work itself out we think, so settle back into finishing our respective books while lazing around in the sunshine.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Never do today what you can do tomorrow
- Lagarde

The trouble with having a few more days than is necessary to complete a relatively few number of tasks is that those days seem to slip away without any of the work actually being started.

To be fair one of us tends to be rather more productive than the other in times like this.  She’s the one sifting through things, getting them cleaned and ordered, having cups of tea or walking with Maggie and so on, while the other tends to get flustered and grumbles about working in a confined space with grease and diesel on his hands while white linen is hanging around everywhere drying and being sorted.   The solution is simple, and involves quite a lot of freshly brewed coffee and a book.

There is no point in getting stressed about the work that needs doing, and  life in a boatyard provides plenty of opportunities for distraction.

For what it’s worth, we did get a few things ticked off, but we have a week up our sleeves and where in the coloured brochure does it say we need to be busy every minute of the day anyway?

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Looking on the bright side.
- Lagarde

After two days of mind numbing electrical trouble shooting, it turns out the battery problems that we’d been quietly experiencing during the year were exactly that: battery problems.  Not refrigerator problems, or inverter problems or some other major electrical fault created problems: just a pair of year old batteries that decided they didn’t want to play any more.

The good thing about that is that they are under some sort of warranty, so with just a little bit of luck will be replaced one day by a nice man who will just turn up in a truck and if he gives us a bill at all, we should have enough left over to buy airfares back next year.

Duncan will turn up one day in his truck with the replacement for the replacement parts in the injection system too, and just maybe we can get rid of the horrible old diesel smell that emanates from Mr P before we go home.  It's probably the engine equivalent of the olfactory welcome one receives when entering a cat refuge, but it's not good enough - we just won't let his incontinence get the better of us after all we've been through.

With just a little more luck than we seem to have had this year, we may (he stupidly says, committing it to writing) start the next with nothing to do of a mechanical repair nature.

Meanwhile in the village, the sun was shining and the sky clear blue, the autumn leaves were exactly a complimentary colour to their surrounds and all seemed particularly well with the world.

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