The French Diaries!

The French Diaries: Part 19 “Dreaming of Papageno.”

Realisation hits. We've really just bought a boat!

It’s a beautiful morning today. The week has been a frantic combination of locking the door, wearing the same jumper for a week and refusing to talk to anyone other than Edouard.

I have become a hermit, not stepping out of my house unless it is to post off paintings and prints. There is no point in going outside. There is no point to meet new people. Talk to anyone.

The only thing that exists right now is Papageno.

“It’s a nice day today,” Edouard says, looking out of the window. “You should go out.”

“Huh?” I glance briefly at the sunshine streaming through the windows and continue to type on my laptop. “Oh yeah, it’s nice.”


“Sorry love, I’ll go out when the work is done.”

I have felt no need to go and venture into Marseille. The city that I was supposed to call my home has crumbled away from my mind. The visions of eating croissants and drinking lattes in the sunshine with new friends has dissolved like surf of a wave. I was supposed to be glamourous, maybe wearing a nice sundress, laughing at some little joke at a quaint little café. Instead, I’m sitting in the same seat by the radiator that I have for the past few months. My hair is a bird nest on top of my head. I’ve worn the same jumper for a week with a scarf around my neck, huddling by the radiator like an old woman. I am not glamourous, I am not quaint. And I am not laughing at some cute little joke the bartender has just made.

It’s me, tea, Papageno and the occasional swig of Captain Morgan.

There is nothing but the sea in my mind. Nothing but the sound of the ocean crashing and folding over, the creak of the boat as she slices through the waters. I dream only of swimming through blue, black and green. Nothing but unfurling sails, running back and forth over the deck as my crew escape from 17th century pirates through a secret cave, discovering treasure, swimming away from mythical beasts, exploring islands, overcoming storms-

“-Lizzie? Lizzie!”


“You should shower, Lizzie,” Edouard says, breaking me away from my daydream. “When did you last shower?”

“I’ll shower when I deserve it,” I mumble, my eyes still glued to the screen as I frantically tap away, completely submerged in the story. “I’ll shower when The Delos Story is done.”

He laughs and leaves to make me a pot of tea.

He’s good like that, taking care of all of the small things in the house that I should be doing to help as I throw myself into work. One of our walls is completely covered in to-do lists, looking unnervingly like something a detective discovers from a maniac’s home.




I’m lost in an ocean of thought, storylines, imaginings and paint. My life suddenly exists within four stone walls as I work, work, work.

Edouard thinks I should go outside, enjoy France, explore Marseille and see sunlight. He thinks that I am only existing in our living room and my laptop.

But it’s so much more than that. I am in a world of my own, my mind only full of the visions of blue and green, blue and green as the sky opens up wide to me, as the night sky swallows the day and I finally see those stars that I’ve missed so much.

To see the blazing of light across the heavens that you had never seen before so bright.

I need to make this happen.

I need to make this a success.

I need to pour everything I have into this project.

Into Papageno.

It’s strange to have a dream realised. To be swept up in it and have it overtake your heart, mind and soul. When I was younger, I had always dreamed of being able to travel and see the world, but I think I never truly believed that it would ever happen. I wasn’t brave enough to do it on my own. Even to go backpacking on my own feels terrifying.

But I feel like I’m capable now. After everything that I have experienced. After the unique journey that I have taken.

I don’t know how my family truly feels about the situation. I suppose I felt a bit like a let down, a failure in the sense that I didn’t get married, settle down and had children. I spoke to my parents and I think, despite being happy for me they were afraid of my life choices. Of course they wanted me to settle down in one place and have a family. They wouldn’t have to worry about me then. They would know that I’m safe. But now their youngest daughter was going to live in a boat and travel the world?

I think it’s the same for everyone’s parents.

I know that I’m uprooting Edouard from his life as well. I feel maybe I’ve been selfish. But is it selfish to pursue your own dreams?

Edouard has been travelling for the past six years, so for the past six years his family have not been able to enjoy just having him present. They were all so happy to have him back in France, settling down with his new English girlfriend.

Until we realise that we don’t want to stay still. Not yet.

“I need to go,” I said to Edouard. “The adventure can’t be over. It can’t be.”

And then I buy a boat and take Edouard away again.

I’m very aware of the consequences of what our adventures have on other people right now. How it may affect them. But at the same time, I know there is no other alternative. I know that if I start adapting my plans to save the hearts of those I love, then I will never adventure in the true sense of what I want.

I will not live the story that I want to write.

When I told my folks, I think they simply realised that I was going to do what I was going to do. They have lived in Australia for the past seven years now, so I think they understood that I had to follow my dreams.

And who can argue with living on a boat in the Caribbean?

I called my Nan yesterday. My sister and I lived with my mother in my Grandparents house for a long time. Some of the most wonderful childhood memories I have is living with my grandparents.

“Hi nan!”

“Oh, hello love! Where are you at the moment?”

“I’m in France!”

“What are you doing there?”

“Er… I live here, Nan. With my boyfriend.”

“Oh! Lovely!”

“But I’m going to be moving soon…”

“Oh really? Where you going to?”

“…I’m going to live on a boat in the Caribbean…”

My nan was over the moon. I don’t know what I expected, but what she said was exactly what I needed to hear at that time.

“Oh, that’s wonderful! Oh wow, I’m really proud of you. You’re really going to live your live. What memories you’re going to have! You really are living your life!”

I think I was so beyond happiness that I couldn’t even cry.

Truly in my heart of hearts, all I have ever wanted was to make my family proud. To make my Granddad proud of me.

My nan was the only one who told me I should go sailing with Delos in the first place.

“Oh, wow that sounds wonderful! Go for it, girl!”

I think everyone was a bit afraid for me.

“Elizabeth? Go sailing? She’ll sink the boat!”

And maybe they still think that now. I remember seeing their bemused expressions around Christmas when I told them I was going to buy a boat and sail around the world.


Hell- maybe Edouard thinks I’ll sink the boat. So, I have a lot to prove. A lot of hardwork to do and a lot to learn. I’m now a boat owner and I have to be responsible for my crew and to the reparation.

We found out recently that Papageno doesn’t just have one broken mast but she has two. I’ve been contacting everyone I can think of, finding new contacts in the area, getting quotes and advice. After contacting the marina today to arrange taking over the storage payments. I suddenly feel like a grownup.

We have $5000 left to pay on her balance, $650 in storage fees, and then the payment for new masts and rigging will begin!

Wowza. Three weeks until she is official 100% mine.

But I find it all exciting. It’s a challenge, and I like that. People did tell me to be prepared for the life of a poor sailor, and that may be so. But I like that struggle. I like that adventure. I like that fight.

But if not having money makes me poor, then so be it.

Because I’ll still feel like the richest person alive, with Edouard on our Papageno.

So here it is, the beginning of the journey. The beginning of the adventure.

I hope you guys will join us for the ride!



Want to help the adventure? You can help towards our boat repair fund for new masts and rigging by donating here! 

You can also help us in this dream by signing up as a Patron. By doing so even for a dollar is a HUGE help. You also get to read early blog entries, extras and videos! Interested? Sign Me Up!

Psssst! We are also now on YouTube!

You can also help another way by buying one of my books or visiting my shop of tees or my NEW section of limited edition art prints and original paintings. I hope you like! Much love!

Thank you as always! Lizbef x


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  1. Hi Liz.

    Make sure the damaged rig is included in the sale. you can scavenge all of the fittings and reuse them, saving thousands. Also, you can remake one of the masts out of the two damaged ones or even get them both repaired. Tell Edouard to get hold of a top quality rivet gun in France before you leave, it will repay the investment. You can cut out damaged parts and sleeve the mast with another tube extrusion (even buy another damaged mast to do it) and a load of rivets are needed to do that. You can even launch and sail a ketch pretty well with just a mainmast, and get a mizzen along the way. A whole new rig is an horrendous expense, no matter where you are in the world, so “bin diving” is the way to go. Even saving one mast winch is a couple of hundred pounds. You can do it with a bit of ingenuity. Go girl, we’re all cheering.

    PS couldn’t get your video to run. Do you have a youtube link to your channel?

      1. Lizbef
        Have a Bene 381 in Gib, followed you and the gang. For what its worth I do some freelance writing for Practical Boat Owner and am the resident engine expert in Ask the Expert. So any issues with the engine or any repairs and maintenance. Contact me, more than glad to help. John is spot on abobve about the mast. In the olden days and on some new boats today you will see they were/are supplied with joins in the mast. Not an issue and relatively easy to do.
        Stu Davies

  2. Elizabeth

    Sounds like you’re on a path towards your destiny.

    I’m on a similar path having purchased and living aboard a 42’ Bavaria. Have set a departure date two years from now – using the time to get the boat blue water ready.

    In that mode I devour sailing channels, to keep my motivation level high. That’s how I found Delos and you. You might want to check out “White Spot Pirates”. The blog chronicles a young German girl “Niki” buying a derilec boat “Karl” and breathing life back into the boat. Three years later you find her single handing the boat from Panama to Costa Rica and intending to do a pacific passage.

    The two big takeaways from Niki’s blog are 1. Persistence is everything & 2. In Niki’s words “I’m German – I read manuals”.

    Words to live by. Good luck on your grand adventure!!

    Blue Skies & Fair Winds
    Bob McCorkle
    SV Chaos

    1. Hey Bob! Congratulations with your boat! That’s so exciting! I hope to see you out there one day, mate! Thanks for the suggestions- I’ll definitely be checking them out! Yes it’s been a crazy journey and I’m excited, humbled (and dare I say, terrified?) about it all! But I believe sometimes with choices, you should take the one that scares you the most- because you’ll grow more from making the decisions that challenge you.
      Wish me luck!
      Sending you all of our love and thank you SO MUCH for the support!

  3. Found your blog via SVDelos and realized that their youtube story is far behind! Great that you bought a boat!! Did you buy it ‚unseen‘? Or did you have someone check it out beforehand? Not afraid that you‘d have to invest another 20k to get her sailing? Would be nice to see a few pics!
    Good luck and all the best

    1. Hey Lukas! Thank you so much! I bought it unseen- it was at a great price and was an AMEL. There was no way I could afford anything like that in Europe. And plus I knew there wasn’t anything wrong with the hull- it was the masts and rigging. Edouard was a boat builder in France so we’re ok with a bit of a project! Haha 20K?? I’m hoping 6K will stretch it! Haha, I’ll be working my ass off to make sure I get her in good fighting shape. We’ll do it, promise! Thanks for the love and I’ll do another post soon where you can see all the pics of Papageno!

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