Friday night - Just as dinner ended, the heavens opened and the downpour began. It lasted until well after 11pm so the poor dogs were denied their post prandial walk.
Saturday morning and MWNN metamorphososed into Captain Bligh, lashed me to the mast, and set out into the teeth of a fierce gale, promisisng to heave to if the wind didn't subside - the fibber. We took off from Cuissery at 11.30am; it's now 4.30 pm and we're still motoring. Lunch was a mug of soup with home made crutons, a packet of crisps and a pot of tea on-the-go.
The second lock of the day at Loisy was a masterpiece of French lock logic; the back gates would close only when the front sluices were opened fully. As we were right up against the front gates, with a hire boat full of South Africans behind us, MWNN refused to open the slackers fully. He almost came to blows with a group of workmen who were lunching at the lockside cafe when one of them began winding the paddle at great speed. Meanwhile the bows of the boat began swinging wildly and, with only one hand on the middle rope and the other on the tiller and throttle, there was little I could do from preventing us crashing across to the opposite side of the lock. I yelled 'front rope' to MWNN to bring him to his senses and back off from the nose to nose confrontation with the 'helpful but ignorant of boat safety' Frenchman.
The final lock of the day was no easier, someone had walked off with one of the paddle handles, leaving it in the open position. With the wind no kinder, the boat was tossed around in the lock chamber, despite the slow opening attempted by MWNN.
The remaining 3.5 km into Louhans passed univentfully and, despite the wind, we were able to moor stern-in alongside a hire boat and batten down the hatches for the night.
Sunday 18th - The day dawned bright with a clear blue sky after a night of a magnificent full moon and little cloud. The wind is still very strong, so much so that the washing that I did and put out on the over-stern-side dryer had to be brought in just as we started lunch. The drying rack was being lifted and was in danger of deposting the clean clothes into the river. The sun disappeared and we now have full cloud cover and a bitter wind.
For lunch I served pate de fois with salad, followed by steamed Atlantic Salmon, new potatoes, petit pois with half bottle of Mumms, ending with goat's cheese and compte with red wine (for MWNN), coffee and speculos. My wonderful battery driven frother makes the most fabulous frothy milk (dried skimmed milk heated with boiling water) so I am able to enjoy my latte and cappucino to my heart's content.
It's market day in Louhans tomorrow morning. The market spreads all through the town and sells just about everything; from cheese to chickens, pears to peacocks, duvets (we need a new one) to donkeys. We've a long list of items to buy but MWNN has forbidden the purchase of either a goat or a donkey (the old spoilsport)