watch this space….
In 2 days time…. I will announce an… erm….announcement ….. a big one… that is….
watch this space….
In 2 days time…. I will announce an… erm….announcement ….. a big one… that is….
My husband worked in a brothel in Barbados. It was just for a few weeks. He was eventually asked to leave. The threats and the rather large, naked ladies that were hosed down daily, convinced him that it really was time to leave.
This bizarre story goes hand-in-hand with almost nine years of my life on the high seas on a ten metre boat. We had close-calls with pirates, muggers, and man-eating crocodiles, which was enough to keep the adrenaline buzzing. Boat crashes, storms, almost sinking and a whale collision filled the gaps, if ever we became complacent.
A near ‘agreed’ abduction by a beautiful French Gigolo, who lifted me up from the road after I was run-over in France, didn’t alter the incredible bond between my new husband and I – a bond that I’ve only witnessed in movies. But, I still carried the mixed emotions of losing one man, while falling head over heels with another.
But, I have learned to live my life, and I have finally figured out who I am.
All for $3.99! Click HERE to read/buy/see great reviews!
‘…I haven’t slept more than 6 hours in two days! I loved both [her] books. Informative, funny, intelligent writing by a talented lady.’
And, the reviews continue…
‘As always, she writes with honesty and humour to engage sailors and non sailors alike.’
‘A wonderful read. Jackie’s writing style exudes energy and joie de vivre.’
‘I got it this morning and I can’t put it down.. .’
These readers are reading about:
…and so much more….
For about the price of a decent cup of coffee you can lose yourself in my world – where I stepped into a fairy-tale relationship with one man, while grieving for another….. More details HERE….and…
Don’t forget to write – let me know what you think….
We are loving Buzet sur Baise. We’ve perfect autumn weather, a safe and quiet port, nice friends just down the road, all within a wonderful quaint village.
With one week of good weather forecast, Noel and I are busily painting the top sides of Rouge Corsair. It’s so easy to forget how hard painting is, this morning every part of my body aches, including my fingers!
Sunday morning we took a break and cycled 5 kilometres (uphill) to a vide-greniers (garage sale). Although it was more like a huge market with just about everything you could ever want – good stuff too.
Within the bustling, friendly market we met, an Australian, an Irishman and an Englishman, who have invited Noel to play cricket, tennis and go cycling. Noel thought this was rather nice, but did wonder, ‘can’t we just sit under the shade of a tree and drink beer?’
While Noel tried to convince the locals that beer, shade and trees, really was the way to go, I had great fun searching for rugs to insulate our floor for the coming winter, some blankets and bits and pieces. We had great fun with Lorna and Kim from MV Sunflower and a great giggle coming home – thankfully it was downhill!
To find out about the calendar of garage sales, flea markets and flea markets of France, Switzerland and Belgium, dial up: http://vide-greniers.org/
And if ‘coins’ are your thing, look up Richard Lytton. He is a numistatist (and a rather nice chap), www.gascogne-monnaie.com (Australian and world coins).
As we approach our winter mooring, we’re starting to focus on the next part of our adventure, and look back at what we’ve achieved so far. The journey has been a pleasure and, conversely, a bit like a Carry-On film too. After the ‘challenges’ of buying a boat in a country where we don’t speak the language, we are now reaping the rewards.
First: The challenges Hauling-out, survey and work in a foreign place, with an angry broker (the sellers’ broker) as the sellers had accepted our low offer (our fault?) – AND, secret ‘meetings’ between the yard and previous owners, where we could never figure out what was going on and always felt like we were being led up the garden path to rip-off-land – made a rather stressful time. But, it all worked out in the end – and rather well!
After we’d traversed the buying process, in order to get going Noel spent two-and-a-half days bent over like a crone in the engine room, he fixed umpteen leaks in the wheelhouse windows and we painted a 18.5 metre boat (“why’d you buy something so big?”) – hanging up-side-down to reach the hull or balancing in the leaking dinghy.
Meanwhile, a cat adopted us, which was nice until we found out she had at least one other home. We tried to convince the cat to go home and stopped feeding her, but there was a bountiful supply of field mice. The cat stayed and continued to leave a trail of gall bladders on the carpet and mats to denote her preferred nocturnal eating spots.
When we set off, we tackled low bridges that caused palpitations. We fudged the drawing of the bridge curves, guessing the water height (after flood rains), and we considered several alternate suggestions from other nomadic-brained cruising folk, such as ourselves:
The problem with these ideas was:
We took a day off prior to tackling the low bridges, we had flood rain that night that really ensured the adrenaline reached peak levels…. with clenched teeth and other body parts…we made it – just.
We made good time south and Noel swam in The Med, he said, “It was very nice, no surf, dead flat and I managed to avoid impaling my feet on the broken glass and syringes.” (I have trouble swimming in the sea, since my shark encounter…another story for another day!)
More recently, we have sacked the planning staff on board that we used on the current co-ordination of events. (Fancy coming so far south for warmer climes to head north again!) There are vacancies in the afore mentioned position. So far, no takers.
Now: The Rewards Each day we trickle along, accompanied by the ripple from our bow. Otters ruffle the silky surface, my favourites, the Kingfishers, flash bright blue and vivid orange within the canal’s banks.
It’s a real feast for our eyes, as we putter through villages, rolling hills, and resplendent trees where horses frolic. The relaxed way of travel heightens our senses, the breeze picks up the tangy perfume of autumn, and in the evenings iridescent dragonflies flit in the fading light.
We hear the throaty calls of the dawn chorus, eerily hidden by heavy mist. We are enjoying the cool nights where we feel the pleasure of wearing warm clothes.
We’re no longer sailing but we’re still weather watching. Wind is still to be respected and, now, rain too.
The journey is becoming etched on our skin, by way of smiles; created by new friends, passing acquaintances, helpful locals and friendly waves.
It’s been an honour to do this journey and we’re having the time of our lives. It’s all there for the taking, just waiting for us and anyone with a sense of adventure.
The next part of the adventure We plan to renovate below decks and enjoy living in a small, friendly village, Buzet sur Baise. It’s here we’ll re-acquaint with friends that we’ve made along the way, and hopefully make new friends (while creating a nice home too).
When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you
When you’re laughing, when you’re laughing, the sun comes shining through
My dad used to sing this to his three daughters when we became down in the dumps. It always made us smile.
My positive: The boat is a mess and we have a list of jobs to do that is so long I don’t think we’ll ever see the end of it. But, Noel and I still make time for a good laugh!
Yesterday, we were sitting in the wheelhouse, that is now a workshop, and I looked at the vacuum cleaner. Noel had been using it to clear up after working each day.
‘Whose is that?’ I said
Noel rolled his eyes and said, ‘It’s ours. Allow me to introduce you, vacuum cleaner meet the wife, wife meet the vacuum!’
Needless to say, I found this very amusing, Noel was a bit perplexed and I must say, I was a little embarrassed!
Can I just say that I have swept the floor since we’ve been on board . . .!
WOB is a new FB group, which could have been called BOOBS! . . . but we’ll get to that.
I use Facebook for marketing my books Cruisers’ AA and Of Foreign Build, and keeping in touch with friends and family. It is only recently that I’ve been joining groups AND I have become an administrator of one such group. (I use the word administrator lightly as my fellow administrator is being far more, uhm, administrative than I am!)
One of my favourite groups is WWSA (Women Who Sail Australia), an off-shoot of WWS (Women Who Sail). These are closed groups. In both I find love, respect, friendship, help and a safe haven for any help and support that I may need. These groups also contain a wealth of incredible experience and advice.
I got to know Carole Eardman Grant via WWS a few months ago and we met when we were in the same town. It really is remarkable how these groups (and FB) bring people together. Carole is Canadian and is currently renovating a barge in Kent, (UK), with her husband Barrie. I am from the UK, but live in Australia and was in the UK when we met.
Carole helped me with lots of information while Noel and I were looking for our barge. Our relationship has grown quickly into a marvellous friendship. We chat a lot on FB, mostly about boats! We support each other and we are very open and honest. Carole always has a positive word when I slip into negativity.
Together we have set up Women On Barges (WOB). Our group has, very quickly, become a place of friendship, respect, support and again, a safe place for women to share doubts, fears, accomplishments, hopes and dreams. It’s a marvellous resource of information as well.
These are my experiences of Facebook and groups. So far I have had not had a negative occurrence. But I’d love to hear how it’s changed your life. With a bit of time management on Facebook, it is always a positive event for me.
And just where does BOOBS fit into all this? Well of course, the group is for women . . . . but a name that has been whispered around decks and between friends (and I’ve stolen this from my mate Carole 🙂 ) is Babes On Old Barges = BOOBS! I, for one, think that is pretty neat! For now we’ll stick with Women On Barges (WOB) – come take a look, you’ll be made very welcome.
Women on Barges! This group is a place for women on every shape and size of barge — or any other type of boat — to come together and connect. Some of us live on barges, some only holiday on barges and some of us want to. Some of us know a LOT about boats in general, some know not much at all. We are single; we are married; we have kids, grandkids, we are working or retired. Some of our barges are in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland or the UK or other countries. We are from a variety of countries which are as diverse as we are. No matter who we are, this is a place for women to share respectful, supportive discourse.
Writing 3 positive comments each day for 5 days has created a lot of interesting remarks. One of my favourites is from a fellow barge owner and friend Carole Eardman Grant. ‘I read a book by a lady who made it her project to keep a journal of daily positive thoughts and gratitude for a whole year. It changed her life!’
I had to find out who this was. The lady’s name is Elizabeth (I’ve yet to find her surname), but you can find her blog here.
She says that the experiment was only supposed to last for six weeks. ‘At the end of that time period, my readers voted for me to continue the blog for one year.’
Click here to read an inspiring interview with Elizabeth.
I was amazed to read some of the outcomes of Elizabeth’s experiment:
It is pretty powerful stuff! Here are my 3 positives for today:
2. The tree that has attached itself to our boat is causing passer-bys to stop and say ‘hi’. I’m enjoying talking to many people from different walks of life – the tree is an ice-breaker.
3. I am part of a fantastic new group on Facebook called Women on Barges (WOB). I am having a lot of fun ‘meeting’ new people with a kindred spirit from all over the world and sharing advice, stories and offering support.
On day 1 I nominated some friends to take part in writing positive thoughts, but I think I’ll just leave it open. Please contribute if you wish, I’d love to know your positive thoughts (here and on your timeline!)
The flood rain meant we had to stop and enjoy Ranchot for a few days, which wasn’t very tough. Dad particularly loved the little village, ‘it was very pretty.’
Kieran (my nephew) stirred up his creative juices and turned a Lipton’s Yellow Label Tea bag into fishing equipment. Utilising the staple and string Kieran made a hook and line and attempted to capture a whale.
With rested crew we were all ready to tackle the swirling water and we pointed the bows towards Besancon. Gentle locks, eerie tunnels, cups of tea and a pleasantly cool day accompanied the intrepid crew who were ready for anything.
Mum became navigator and loved the team work of the crew while traversing the canals.
In Besancon our lovely friends Linda and Bill met us with healthy grins and a fabulous few days have been spent talking boats, books, writing and wine.
The grey clouds are now starting their march across the sky. A serious card game is developing, and many satisfied yawns can be heard beneath the pitter-patter of rain.
This was my second question to Noel when we were searching for our first boat – (see the first question here).
At this point I hardly knew the front end of a boat from the back end. I also found the cruising world completely mind-boggling.
Noel’s response to this question, ‘getting to port’, holds a lot of truth (for us). I love being out there but with only two of us on board, after several days of a tag-team match (one is always on watch) it does become tiring. The constant demand on your body to move three-dimensionally, twenty-four hours a day, causes fatigue (the reason most accidents occur). Plus we are always looking forward to exploring our next destination.
What’s it like?
Sailing oceans is not like a plane or car ride. Nothing is certain except a vast puddle of water and a great stretch of sky…
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