A Gift


Tòti Bleu still sleeps in the garage but as the daffodils open in sunny blooms, we begin to order necessary items for building. As soon as the weather warms, we will coat the exterior plywood sides with epoxy, pull out the chassis from the garage and put everything together. In front of our fireplace, there is much conversation about the roof as it will be the most difficult. So….there is discussion and ordering but no movement yet, at least not for Tòti.

In the meantime, a gift from a friend arrived for Mark. This gift made it possible for Mark to have his “dreamboat”. However, the boat was in England on a trailer. We have an old car, we never drive long distances or on autoroutes, and we live on a tight budget. This was a big trip for us! We decided to drive to England, pick up the boat and trailer it home. Mark did everything necessary to make sure the car was in the best shape possible for the trip. He spent weeks mapping out the best route, and reserving places on the ferries. A friend who loves Bella agreed to stay at our house and look after the chickens, sheep, cats and Bella.

At 5 a.m. we left home, nervous and half asleep. I had cooked and frozen meals for our house sitter and packed the car with energy bars, and a carton full of food for the road. After driving 13 hours, we arrived at the ferry to find that the company was on strike. Dark was descending and we were tired so we drove to a nearby seaside village and had dinner. The waiter suggested a small inexpensive room over a pub just within walking distance so we took his advice and slept there until 5 a.m.

We drove out of town headed for the next possible ferry, 4 hours away. Arriving at the dock in England, starting the car amidst huge trucks, campers and cars, off we went. I followed closely a car with a British license plate to be sure that I was on the right side of the road, left side that is. After 5 hours of crazy driving in heavy traffic continuously telling myself to stay left, we arrived in Weymouth, a beautiful beach town with unspoiled architecture from the 1800’s. We had our first fish and chips, later falling asleep with the sound of the sea crashing on the shore. The next couple of days were spent with old friends, enjoying pubs and conversation. Finding the boat, Mark spent hours learning everything about it and I spent hours talking with Pauline who has loved sailing this boat for the last 10 years. We hitched it onto our car and off we went at night to catch the ferry. I drove and Mark navigated. The traffic was horrendous, it was night, I had never driven with such a long trailer behind me, I was on the wrong side of the road (in my mind) and I was so terrified my body shook. Arriving in France at 4 a.m. we headed for home and kept going, although slowly up hills, until we arrived, 14 hours later.

This story is not about Tòti Bleu but it is about a dream. The boat is Mark’s dream and his dream has seemed impossible. We often start to feel old age creeping up on us and finances are scarce. An unexpected gift came into our life but we had to push ourselves beyond our imagined boundaries to make it possible. We felt that not only was our car too old for such a trip but maybe we were too old as well. We did it and arrived home feeling much younger and stronger. We did it, discovering that we worked together well as a team. What I had dreaded before leaving turned into one of the best few days away from home I’ve ever known.

Mark is a sailor. It is his passion and always has been. This boat, a Wharram Tiki 21, brings his dream to sail to Corsica closer. As I get older, I realize how short life is and how invaluable dreams are to our happiness and health. This boat sitting in our garden on a mountaintop is a miracle.

“The impossible just takes a little longer”.



About Suzanne

American living in France. Artist and lover of nature, gardening, all living beings. Married to the love of my life, mother of two wonderful daughters and grandmother.
This entry was posted in Community, Gypsy wagon/Roulotte construction technique, Horse drawn vehicles, Lifestyle, Small living spaces, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Gift

  1. YOU are his dream boat darlin’!!!!!

  2. Thank you Ann and Nancy. Yes, I feel blessed. See you soon Nancy! Sorry not to. see you this year Ann.

  3. Ann Marqus says:

    Suzanne, your life and Mark’s seems to be full of miracles. This is one more. You two are very lucky. Happy, happy!

  4. N2 says:

    Yaay, You Two Intrepid Travelers! What an adventure you are on. See you soon over there. Arriving April 1. x0x0 N2

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