Sunday, February 11, 2018

February freeze

It's been absolutely freezing this week, which has made me even more determined to find a place to winter in the warmth next year. I'm going to have to tighten a few belts, though, because that kind of luxury isn't going to come cheap. For one thing, it's a busy time of year for me work wise, so I'll be foregoing some courses that I know are good earners, and secondly, renting a property for six weeks or so might be pretty pricey. Does anyone know anyone who knows someone who might know someone else who would have somewhere I can rent? Cheap. Haha!

Well, anyway, it's in my scheme of things to make life easier and more pleasant for the remaining five years that I have still to work. Yes, still five years to go. That's the result of the increased retirement age here. Such is life.

Anyway, in the nearer future, we have a few things to look forward to and I am clinging on to these metaphorical pieces of driftwood to keep me going.

Spain...where I'm going in April!

The first is a trip to Spain to visit a friend in April. I visited her last year, and also discovered another former teaching friend from Rotterdam lives close by, so I'm hoping to see her too. It is a lovely area south of Valencia and inland from the sea. I loved it and although it's not quite warm enough for my winter plans, it would be a good contender otherwise.


The historic boat lift at Thieu near La Louviere

The second is a boating trip. In May, we are taking the the Hennie H to Belgium and going to the famous boat lifts at La Louviere and also to the really monster 72 metre one at Strépy Thieu. I am so excited about this I can barely wait and would love to just hibernate between these two trips so I can get this cold spell over and just go. The ascent of these lifts in our own boat has been on my wish list for years. I hitched a lift (excuse the pun) on the historic ascenseur on someone else's barge a few years ago, but I've never been up the monster at all. I'm so glad I haven't lost my ability to be awed by these things.


The seventy two metre lift at Strépy

And another view of it. This section on the right is the
upper canal. Now imagine starting at the bottom of
the building and ending up cruising along this top part!

As for the current situation, my group of Syrians are doing well, although we've hit a bit of a motivation plateau. I can't say I'm surprised as this time of year gets to most of us and I can only imagine what it's like for them being so far from their loved ones. I am aware some of them are really homesick, so it's quite sad and I really feel for them. I only hope I am helping them with some light and laughter during the lessons.

In other news, you may have noticed I've published a new book. African Ways Again slipped onto Kindle at the end of January, so I'll need to add a page about it here, but for now, I hope you don't mind if I shamelessly put the link below to the preview. Thanks a million, allemaal, and have a great week!



16 comments:

  1. As always a great read. Have fun in Spain. We have done the historic canal once (in the rain!) and the mammoth lift several times. Two years ago we also did Ronquieres, an experience!
    Making plans for the summer now, going to Dixmuide for pontoon cleaning in March, then for a longer trip in April.
    Keep writing
    Love, Jude x

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    1. Thank you, Jude! Let me know when you are in Belgium as I have something to give you :)

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  2. Hi Val - I gather it's been freezing over there ... cold here, but not as bad as it could be, I'm thankful to say. Good luck with the search for a warmer pad - I'm sure some folk will be going away to warmer climes and you could take up one of those types of apartments with heating et al ... all the best - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you, Hilary! I must catch up with your adventures in BC!

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  3. I'm can no longer tolerate cold weather so I understand the need to seek a bit of warmth for the winter. The ~20°C temperatures in April should thaw you out. Not to mention the Vitamin D from sun & blue sky for the natural happy medicine. I look forward to reading about your trip to Spain and the water lifts you will be doing in Hennie H. Have a great trip. Becky

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    1. Thank you so much, Becky. How lovely of you to drop in and comment! I will definitely be blogging about both. I'm so looking forward to it. And yes, that Vitamin D will do me the power of good!

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  4. I’m glad you have things to look forward to, Val. As for somewhere to stay over the winter ... the weather in Nepal has been chillier than usual this winter, but it’s still warmer than the Netherlands! And it’s cheap once you get here!

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    1. Thank you, Jo. I'm glad you are having some warmth there on your mountain tops. I shall look forward to catching up with your adventures!

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  5. Brilliant! Your plans are exciting. I wish I knew someone somewhere warm to send you to. You could probably stay with my sister's daughter in Laredo, Texas for free...but there's no water there and not much to do except pet the dog who would be scared to death of you when she first met you, then would love you forever and not want you to leave. But I'll keep thinking...meanwhile, I'm hoping to get to finally start reading your book this week. I'm so excited! (Steph)

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    1. Bless you, Steph. Texas sounds wonderful. I feel I've already been there from reading your books and I can feel the heat as I read so that already does me good! Thanks for reading my book when you have the time!

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  6. I love that you are going to Spain in April - it always looks a fascinating place, and it is a great dream to think of wintering there. That boat lift is astonishing! I doubt there is anything like it in Australia, certainly not in my experience. Isn't engineering wonderful?

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    1. Engineering is wonderful, I agree Patricia, and waterways engineering is so inspiring. I love it and can't wait to go!

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  7. We have loved our last four winters in Portugal in our motorhome, Val. Up until the week before Christmas we were on the beach in tee shirts and shorts. (On my blog, link on wobs )It's so nice having the sun at that time of year and does wonders for the spirits. We also did all the lifts you mention last boating season, beware of the duckweed in the bassins, we had to keep emptying our filters but it was a great experience. Like Jude we did the Ronquieres inclined plane too. You have some treats in store. We are also looking forward to being back on the move in the boat but not yet, far too cold and still enjoying my new grandson

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    1. Now that’s what I call a good endorsement, Margaret! I have pretty much decided that Portugal is the place to be in the winter. Now I just need to work out how! I also need to follow your blog, so will hop over to WOBs now! I’m a big blog reader too, so I know I’ll love yours!

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    2. We went to Portugal earlier than usual last autumn for the bird migration which starts in September and came home early to meet our new grandson but we were still there 4 months! Fantastic.....next autumn's ferry already booked for end of October.

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    3. Who knows? Maybe I'll see you there!

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