Ever had a fight with a kings size mattress? No……well its an interesting experience and one we are determined to win. Apparently they have a mind of their own and can be quite obstinate; we want it to stand upright but it would prefer to flop onto its side and the wrong side at that. We are wondering how Mark and Trish got it into the boat in the first place but logic dictates it got in so it has to get out. We bend it, squash it, fold it and eventually emerge out into the wheelhouse puffing and huffing (us not the mattress) and unceremoniously throw it over the side onto the bank – it was in our minds just to throw it into the canal for being so cantankerous but we are not that spiteful. Nicky helps us to fold the mattress in half and secure it before getting it into the car. Maggie wonders aloud whether we might have been better to collect the new mattress before disposing of the old one but that is just not our style. We eventually find a tip (known over here as a dechetterie) and Charles provides some humour when he asks in French (well he thought he was talking French) if he could throw the mattress away (“Je voudrais jetter un matalas”). We think he actually asked if he could throw a sailor away!!! Off we go to Montargis to collect our new firmer mattress which comes without fuss or reluctance and we get it back to the boat and onto the bed base very easily. The rest of the week is relatively quiet with usual domestic tasks.
On Sunday 1st March Charles works out an 11 mile trip for him to cycle and Sally to run. We set off with enthusiasm until we come to quite a steep hill – oh well its good for the training but when we get to the second one Sally asks if he is having a joke. Just to emphasise we are not talking small inclines we are talking proper hills – if you were driving you would be going down to second gear – just in case you think I’m making a fuss. Anyway I’m proud of the fact that I managed to run up all the hills and maintain my pace and very impressed with Charles for not getting off to push his bike. We get back to the boat having actually travelled 12.3 miles in 129 minutes. A bit slower than I would have liked but feel I’m on the right track for tackling the half Marathon back in the UK in May. Rather tired we have a lazy afternoon and enjoy a cold beer on our deck; the first of the year – (not the beer but sitting on the deck) after which Maggie and Nigel join us in the evening for a few drinks and a catch up.
Monday morning and my body tells me I might not be as ready as I thought – there are lots of aches and pains and I would give anything or nearly anything for a long soak in a bath. I decide to take the rest of the week easy on the running but by Monday afternoon we decide to cycle to Gien – only about a fifteen mile round trip but we take an easy pace and stop for a coffee before taking our life in our hands as we cycle back on the road which is the most direct route.
We take a drive out to a garden centre to buy plant pots and plants to provide some colour to Bluegum but once back realise that we hadn’t bought enough so later in the week Maggie and I make another trip out to buy more of everything and now have plants on the deck rails and also on the roof.
We have our first French lesson on Thursday afternoon so cycle up the road with Maggie and meet Peter another boater who both have been taking lesson throughout the winter. We meet Charlotte who does not or will not speak any English although it is suspected that she understands some and also Laura who is from Bulgaria and speaks good French and English. Well that was an experience and a lot of fun. Charles reflected that he understood everything that was said whilst I thought I understood most of it and made up the rest.
Thursday Maggie has invited us for supper with the Capaitainaire, Dorothé, so as our new sofa is arriving on Friday we decide to deal with the old leather sofa. Well Mark and Trish – you did have a very solid well made sofa. It took all morning to taking it apart with the aid of hammers, scissors, screw drivers and sheer force to get it into sufficiently small pieces to get it out of the boat – not quite as problematic as the mattress surprisingly. This time we googled the phrases we needed to dispose of it at the tip and succeeded without any humour on the part of the lady running the dechetterie. Maggie again speculates at our rashness to dispose of it before the arrival of our new sofa but we are the ultimate optimists. We have a lovely evening but fail to fulfill the object of the evening – Dorothé telling us all about travelling on the Rivers Saone and Rhone but we had a lovely evening all the same.
Friday arrives and so does Darren and Jacob with our new sofa. Apparently delivering to a boat is a first for these guys and we get a lot of scratching of heads and ‘airbrake’ noises (that whistling intake of breath through clenched teeth sort of noise) as they weigh up whether its really possible to get it in without it or them falling into the canal. We remain positive and optimistic but have no answer when Darren says ‘but you know its Friday the 13th anything could happen’. Maggie arrives with camera to record the events and offer moral support. We remove the dog box on the roof of the boat and whilst it takes all of us we get the sofa into the boat without incident but think we are all quietly relieved. Click on the big picture for the slide show)
Bluegum gets her bi-annual engine service on Saturday morning by Peter an English guy who has lived over here for quite a few years. All is well and completed quickly, quietly and without fuss so now we need to decide when we want to set off.