Sunday, 5 October 2014

32 - To Elliott, Lily and Sebastian - October 2014

Dear Sebastian, Lily and Elliott, 

Do you remember the story about the special sort of boat called a narrow boat?

Well we have some OTHER friends with a narrow boat too.    They have two dogs called Muttley and Baxter and a cat called Daisy.

Muttley and Baxter are quite big, much bigger than Sammy but not fat, even though Baxter likes to eat fig tarts when no one is looking.  They have funny curly fluffy tails that are really hard to draw, and like to have cuddles because they think they are much smaller than they are.

Daisy likes to go in and out through the window.

 One night, our friends Graham and Jill decided to have a party.  ON A NARROWBOAT!

Can you imagine how  squeezy it was having a party with eight people, two dogs, two guitars, a cat and a pot plant?

Can you see what didn’t quite fit inside? 

That’s right!  With so many people on the boat there wasn’t enough room for the two guitars, so part of the guitar (and some of the music too) had to go outside!

Can you imagine what would happen if everyone wanted to dance?

Papa thinks that’s how line dancing was invented.  Every time we see people dancing in a line now, we will think of that party with Muttley and Baxter!

Give everyone a big hug for us!


Jojo and Papa

Saturday, 16 August 2014

31 - to Sebastian, Lily and Elliott - August 2014

Dear Sebastian, Lily and Elliott,

Papa has written a poem today.  He thinks it should be called “The Friendly Scarecrow”.

Do you think that’s a good name for it?

Love Jojo and Papa

We saw a scarecrow with an old straw hat
In a vegetable garden he stood, not sat.

He didn’t act scary, he didn’t shout “BOO”!
and his is face looked quite funny because it was BLUE

The birds pointed and laughed and stamped with their feet,
They were laughing so much they just couldn’t eat.

They were laughing at him, but he didn’t care,
He’d saved all the veggies without having to SCARE.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

30 - To Elliott, Lily and Sebastian - August 2014

Dear Lily, Elliott and Sebastian, 

These people are our friends Martin and Tracy.  Can you see how happy they are?  

They live on a boat.  Look how low the window is, they can touch the water without leaning over very far at all!

Their boat is very long.

It’s so long that I could only fit half of it in this drawing.

They have two little dogs, one brown one and one black one and they love to come out and welcome us very loudly when we come to visit.

This very long boat is a special kind of boat.  Can you guess what these special very long boats are called?

No, you’d never guess!   

They are also very narrow.  They are so narrow that Papa couldn’t lie down sideways in them, and Elliott’s bed wouldn’t fit across the top.

Hang on tight Elliott!  Don’t fall in the water!

Now can you guess what the name of these special boats is?  

I think you can, its called a NARROW BOAT!

Narrow boats are specially made for England where some of the canals are really really narrow, and they are made to fit into them.

All of the furniture is down one side of the boat, and they have to be very long so that it all fits in a neat row.

You’d have to be a very tidy person to live in a narrow boat.  If you left a mess on the floor there would be nowhere to walk.

Give everyone a hug from us, 


Jojo and Papa

Saturday, 2 August 2014

29 - To Sebastian, Elliott and Lily - August 2014

Dear Sebastian, Lily and Elliott,

When we were talking to Lily last week, we showed her our friend Ria standing on her boat.  All boats are boys here in France and in Belgium where Ria comes from.
Her boat is beautiful and shiny and grey and his name is Max.

There is a special story about why the boat is called Max.

When Ria was a little girl she lived on a farm, and her father had a great, big horse to do all the heavy pulling work on the farm.   He used to pull ploughs and wagons and help in all sorts of ways around the farm.

He was a special working horse from Belgium and he didn’t have a tail but he did have a wild scruffy mane, and big hairy ankles that made it look like he was wearing slippers.

He was a very big strong horse, but he was very quiet and gentle too even though he was quite old.

One day when Ria wasn’t even as big as Lily is, she was playing near him and she must have made so much noise that he decided he couldn’t take it any longer. 

He gently picked her up by the shoulder so he wouldn’t hurt her, and took her away to where she couldn’t annoy him any more!

When Max was too old to work any more, Ria’s Dad went to town one day and came back with a brand new tractor.

It was red and white.  Oh oh!  What’s wrong with this drawing?

Ria used to help her Dad drive the tractor too, even though she was a very little girl.

So now, whenever we see Ria and her husband Dave in their boat Max, we think of Max the great big gentle horse and the days before there were tractors to do the work.

Isn’t that a lovely way to name a boat?

Give everyone special hugs from us, 

Lots of love,


Jojo and Papa 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

28 - to Sebastian, Lily and Elliott - July 2014

Dear Sebastian, Elliott and Lily, 

Do you remember the big bike race we watched two weeks ago?   Well it’s still going!   It should finish today in Paris.  They have raced for such a long time I’ll bet everyone is really tired.

It was such fun standing on a small hill and waiting for the race to come to us though.

The first thing we saw was a helicopter way up in the sky, then we saw two more, then waaaay over in the distance we saw a blur of coloured things moving along the road very quickly.

They were all the bikes racing towards us. 

There were a lot of them.  Nearly two hundred bikes!   Sebastian knows how many two hundred are, I wonder if Lilly and Elliott do.    

They were going so quickly that we really couldn’t see anyone except the first few.   Do you remember which rider gets to wear the yellow jersey?

That’s right, the person in the lead.

They were going so fast that every bike had passed us by the time Jojo could count to twenty.

Because the cyclists are racing all day, they can’t stop to eat so they have some people whose job it is to give them food in special bags.    

The racers don’t even slow down to pick up the bags, because they don’t want anyone to pass them.

As the riders are racing along, they take the food from the bags and put it in all their pockets to eat later, then they throw the empty bags away so they don’t get in the way when they are racing.

Everyone thinks the bags are great souvenirs, so there is a race to pick them up. 

One rider threw a bag right into Papa’s lap while he was taking photographs, so now we have a bicycle lunch bag in our collection too!

Don’t forget to give everyone a big hug from us,


Papa and Jojo

Sunday, 20 July 2014

27 - Sebastian, Lilly and Elliott - July 2014

Dear Lily, Elliott and Sebastian,

When we are travelling on our boat we see lots and lots of fish in the water.  Sometimes it is very clear and just like being on an aquarium.

There are lots of little fish swimming in the plants.

We often see some bigger fish too, but there aren’t quite as many of them.

Sometimes we see really, really

really BIG fish!

We keep looking out for sharks, but we never see any.

Do you think there are sharks in the canals in France?

Give Mummy and Daddy a big sloppy kiss from us,

Love Jojo and Papa

Monday, 14 July 2014

26 - To Sebastian Lily and Elliott - July 2014

Dear Elliott, Lily and Sebastian,

Well!  Last week we went to the the most famous bicycle race in the world.  It’s called the Tour de France and goes all the way around France.     Before the race passes by though there are lots and lots of trucks and cars and specially decorated contraptions that go past in a special parade called “The Caravan”.  There are so many they go back along the highway through a few towns at a time.   Can you see them way back in the distance?

The very first thing to come through was a little car with a HUGE statue made in the shape of a man riding a racing bike.

He was wearing a yellow shirt because at the end of every day the person who is winning the race is given a brand new yellow shirt and he wears it when he is racing the next day.

The cars and trucks were all shapes and sizes, some were the team mechanics cars and they had ten bicycles on their roofs, some were buses with people in them, some were painted in really funny colours and had people dressed in costumes sitting on the roof.

They were going very fast though, so everything was blowing everywhere and the people on the roof had special seat belts to keep them safe.

They must have been quite cold.

Some of them were specially decorated trucks and the people on them were throwing presents to the children and to JoJo too!

Can you see all the children in yellow tee shirts?   A lot of people had yellow shirts so that they could cheer the winner on!

One of the men on the trucks threw a yellow cap to Jojo, she was so excited that she couldn’t catch anything else very well after that.

I wonder what will happen to that hat when we get home?

I wonder if some of the other things she caught will come home with us?

I think they might!

Lots of love to you all, don’t forget to give yourself a big hug from us,

From JoJo and Papa

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

25- Sebastian, Lily and Elliott - July 2014

Dear Sebastian, Elliott and Lily,

Well it’s been a long time since we’ve sent a story to you, but we have been having a wonderful time travelling around in France.

Do you remember on our boat, the doors are very low and Papa is too tall?! Sometimes he bangs his head as he goes through them. He says “ouch!” and rubs it with his hand to make it feel better.

Yesterday as we were travelling in our boat we saw a big fish swimming very fast past us. He mustn’t have been concentrating, because he swam right into a brick wall and made a huge splash!

 We wondered if he said “Dam!”

He didn't look very well afterwards, and we were sure he must have had a big lump on his head.

How would a fish rub the lump on his head?

 Give everyone a hug from us,

Love Jojo and Papa.