Archive | April, 2012

On the way with C,M & Ben

30 Apr

Yesterday began with us still at the Arsenal Marina and as usual, a howling wind and soaking cold grey rain. We had agreed to set off at around lunchtime and so in the morning Cathy and Mads went to school for a few hours while I checked the engine, filled with water, paid the Capitan (not as bad as we’d thought, only 25 Euros a night including power and water.) Continue reading

Have engine, will travel

28 Apr

On the way down the canals towards Paris, we met Eric and Linda in their narrowboat called Last Farthing. What a great boat she is! 50’ long and with her 80cm draft she was designed to carry cargo on the narrow and shallow English canals. After a cautious passage across the Channel she arrived in France eight years ago and they’ve been travelling since then. Continue reading

Happy Freedom Day

27 Apr

To all of our South African friends and to SA itself – Happy Freedom Day! Eighteen years ago Cathy and I were lying on our bed in Budapest, Hungary on the first leg of our 3 month honeymoon watching the inauguration of Mandela as President of our bold new nation. Continue reading

Hard to believe we’re living in Paris!

27 Apr

Its taken me a few days for body, soul and spirit to re-connect. Last week was a whirl of goodbyes and packing, with the magnitude of what we are doing not quite sinking in! It still hasn’t quite sunk in — it hits me in waves of “oh my word, is this really what we’re doing?!” Both the wonder and the amazement that we could dismantle a happy life in South Africa for this journey into the unknown. Continue reading

A family visit

25 Apr

My brother, Matthew, his wife Lousette and nieces Simone and Hailey came to welcome us into Paris on the weekend.  As we entered the lock at the Arsenal Port du Plaisance, there they were watching intrigued as Yangminshan rose to their level.  31 feet of boat, seething with an orange dog, two newly landed women-sailors, one cold and concerned James and a very relieved Tony.  Relieved that at last, his tenure was at an end that he could now flee the ship and return to his stately home in Leeds. Continue reading

Great literature in Paris

25 Apr

My choice of reading material is decidedly down-market. At the moment, I’m having a season of reading about Richard Sharpe, Bernard Cornwell’s creation, the soldier who rises from the gutters of pre-Victorian England and lifts himself through cunning and rough ability to loftier heights.

This morning, Sharpe found himself in a difficult position of being the officer in charge of a group of soldiers who have no respect for him, his northern accent, nor his lowly birth. The Spanish major, Sharpe had attached himself to until recently had been abandoned because he had lied to Sharpe and here was our hero, alone with his mutinous platoon.

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23 Apr

Well what a process!  On Thursday evening Cathy called to say that they were at ORT in Johannesburg but that their flight was at best delayed and possibly worse; Benny was already checked in to cargo but through her anxiety we worked out that all was still on track.

I was at the airport early on Friday morning to collect Caths and Maddy first at 10h00 and then Benny at 12h00.  I got there by taxi at 9h00 and spoke to them from Madrid. Their plane was delayed until 14h00 but otherwise all was on schedule.

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