After a false start from lock number 1 of the downstream flight to Blangy, (we pushed 'le button rouge' many times and waited over 25 minutes for the power to the automatic lock to be switched on) the cruise was lovely if somewhat overcast. We followed an osprey fishing the canal for the first couple of km., marvelling in the slight adjustment of wing or tail as he slowly scanned the water for signs of prey.
Dinner at The Maryland Hotel was quite 'the French experience'. We were asked if we had a reservation and on learning that we did not, were given the best table for two, in the window beside the entrance.
Aperitifs arrived with a basket of bread, a jug of iced water and an unopened litre bottle of vin rouge - but no menu - this was a traditional set dinner a la mode traditional for 12 Euros.
The cold entree was a platter of terrine, saucison sec, and various salads. Orders to wipe our plates and cutlery with bread were accompanied by the explanation that the entree chaud was arriving. This was fish (hake) in a wonderfully light butter sauce. The same plates and 'weapons' were required for the main course of roast pork and smooth, creamed potatoes.
The 'keeper' plates were for the cheese board and the desert bowls. Half way through the main course, at about 9.30, the large party, for whom the remaining tables had been reserved, arrived. This was the local music society returning victorious from a competition. When everyone was seated, the grande dame (in her 80s) was ushered in, to many choruses of a welcoming song. She was greeted with many kisses at each table as the waitresses served the kirs. As we left our tip of a few euros, the waitress bid us an enthusiastic 'au revoir' and we left to the sound of many 'bon nuits' from the party which was just starting the entree froid.
The Americans, moored behind us on the 24 metre 'Jolie Coeur', were very envious of our experience. They had decided to give the local eateries a miss and had cycled 5km up the hill to the Auberge.