March 2005 Spain, South France

Anniversary one year now living on the boat

Pam and Mick joined us in their apartment in Gran Alicante for four wild days, what a wonderful time we had together as always. Weather was still up and down, we met some of their friends at the local pub White Rose... owner was a real Leeds United Fan, we felt right at home, and we tried every shot going in the pub, we rolled home 4am every morning and was still up and out next day.(Thought we were all young again). We laughed till we cried some days, we enjoyed our time together and visited many different places too, great sharing their apartment, there dreams, no wonder they bought property here in Gran Alicante, prices in Spain have really risen in the last few years as we said.

Mick & Pam and the four of us in Benidorm.

Benidorm, sun sand and shops galore... not too much sun here below as you can see when we arrived.

Great breakfast here though.

Before we knew it, time to say good bye to Mick and Pam, they were flying back to Leeds and we where heading off through Spain and driving back to France, we where hoping to take the blue skies and weather with us. Will miss the walks on the beach and the sound of the sea,the smell of the clean air too, hopefully we will be back to spend some more time here.

Driving back From Spain to South of France through fields of lemon and orange groves then onto the vine fields and the changing country side and changing prices again.

The weather had not improved, still so windy down here we stayed two nights in Narbonne and chilled and rested and went to our favourite restaurant on the canal for a candle light dinner. Met up with some friends again at Beaucaire too for a cup of tea. Still nobody around for mooring forms and information, we kept missing each other.

African Queen boat, some stunning boats. We visited the city of Carcassonne again you can see castle from moorings on the canal, wonderful city. Might consider mooring here one day.

We were lucky to be in Narbonne for the wine festival too, lots of celebrations and I so enjoyed seeing the children's faces, all dressed up and throwing confetti, lots of music and dancing going on, so we joined in the celebrations.

We enjoyed heading back to St Jean but goodness , snow every were as we got towards Saint Jean de Losne, they have had some really cold weather and the canal had frozen over again. It was nice to be back, all was well with the boat, David had taken care of the boat while we were away,we unloaded all our belongings and things we had brought back from Spain. A very warm welcome back from everyone. Judy and Paul's invited us on their boat for dinner to welcome us back and share our experiences and look at our photo's, we dropped every thing and went down pontoon D for Dinner. Enjoyed a wonderful evening as always, sharing all we had discovered in south of France.

Normaddie... Judy Paul's boat

We arrived back to our boat around 11.15pm to find our doors on the boat wide open... we had been burgled, we had left the keys hidden on the boat which we should not have done... my lap top, our flat screen TV, my coat, our GPRS system, our walkie talkie had all gone,some of John's tool's as well as car keys, bike keys.

We were devastated, also six months work I had completed on the web site, my lap top case and all my back up photo's of the holiday all gone, along with my computer CD's.

The police were at a loss. They did not think making a statement was too important, or that they would ever catch the thief, though insured we had failed to insure the expensive items on board, so would not be covered, so no need for a crime number they said!!!

The insurance was some thing I had over looked. I was lost without my computer, all my photos. I cried for England, all the people at the marina were at a loss why this should have happened especially the night we got back from holiday, having been away a month and no problem's. Every person including our selves said over and over... if only!!!

We had been watched unloading the car, and watched as we left moments later for Paul and Judy's boat just boats away we dinned. Clocks can't be turned back, but we learnt some valuable lesson's and people are now locking their boats and checking things. I felt so invaded and insecure for some time after, as did everyone else in the marina, unsafe the word I would use.

I was sad to say the least, then in my blur of the week I fell back wards into the engine room and cracked my ribs, badly bruised my hip and lower back, I felt so mangled, my whole body hurt, I was now in pain inside and outside with all my bruises. I was unable to cough, cry, or move much without screaming in pain, poor John was at a loss of what to do. But everyone did rally round, David ran and got some frozen peas from the shop, bless him, Pam held the ice onto my ribs to help stop the bleeding.

Over the next few days knowing I had no TV or computer,to keep me company, I was brought knitting needles and wool from Judy, on my sleepless nights I knitted to take away the pain, ended up with a beautiful scarf. I made greetings cards, and I moaned a lot to John. I was loaned a computer by Judy and Paul too help me through. Everyone was so kind, just dropping in daily to say hi how are you doing, can I get you any thing, this helped pass the time and helped in the healing process, nothing you can do for ribs just time and bear the pain. I will get better fast I thought must be healed for Canada and Louise's graduation, I will be I will be...

The next few weeks passed and I prayed each day, heal my ribs then please find my Lap top, please return it to me.

Judy Paul with my birthday cake and my rose, helped take away the pain.

I did not give up, my birthday passed in a blur on the 18th this year. I received many many cards and some wonderful flowers from John, we will celebrate when I am feeling better.

Judy and Paul brought me some cake and candles around, Pam and David bought me the biggest electric casserole dish, I had been looking for one, so when I am better a meal for everyone will be in the pot, so get ready. John & I were invited to dinner with Caroline and really enjoyed ourselves on Vixi, it was good to get off our boat and forget.

Gromit keeping an eye on things...

Three weeks later Havelock on the boat Casco, noticed someone hanging around the marina, Havelock took a photo of him, then within hours another boater had a dreadful experience with the person hanging around, he had tried to enter her boat. Captain Bob was alerted and was straight on the the VHF radio to us all, we were soon all off our boats and we all surrounded the intruder, but he got away, the photo and description helped the police catch this person next day.

They got a search warrant for his house, hoping to locate our belongings... they found my Lap top and most of our belongings in his possession including all our keys, what wonderful news...

Much celebrating done by all of St Jean I think, including the police who wore Cheshire cat grins... (like me)... for catching a thief and returning our belongings to us. He had sold our TV but that's replaceable. Within four days the thief was in court and sentence to five months, we were awarded 900 euro for what he had done to us and the loss of the TV and the stress he had caused, he has no money so I doubt we will ever see any of this money.

We are pleased all turned out well in the end, and he can't hurt any one else.

We got on with the rest of our lives putting things behind us, enjoying the sunshine all the spring flowers beginning to grow all around us, we are all getting ready to take off for the season, Gromit off Lea Crest said he would keep watch for us all on pontoon D. My pain was getting less as the month wore on thankfully, I even chanced the 5 mile Monday walk and managed I was proud of myself, I had missed so many. I suffered a little later but it was worth it.

John even had a hair cut ready for spring, David opened his salon especially.

More birthday celebrations as well as good byes, Paul's (50th) & Karen, they are setting off down south.

The Marina was alive with birds and song.

We had a day out on the river on Havelock's boat casco with David, Pam, Peter, Richard John and I, it was a wonderful day with sunshine following us, it was good to feel the air and to enjoy a ride on another boat, we all took food and enjoyed a wonderful picnic.

This is Havelock (our hero) in Auxonne

Cheers to you, with your photo of the thief and thanks for helping in the recovery of our belongings.

Next photos is David getting ready to twist the cord to open the lock gates on the river Saone on our way to Auxonne.

Pam and I stocked up on some of card making supplies while we were there. Great day had by all.

Saint Jean de Losne where we experienced some really good weather in March.

Keep up the good work Gromit ... bless him he got upset when Pam & David moved the boat for some work to be done.

Celebrating one year of travel completed.