Our invitation to the Ozzies to take afternoon tea with us turned into a massive gathering. The American owned Joli Coeur we had met at Blangy turned up, followed by the Ozzie owned Zee Otter we had first met at Chalons en Champagne in 2000 (with its previous owners Stephen, Fay, Fay's 11 year old daughter and her rabbit.). Zee Otter is now owned by another Australian, Peter, (hot air balloon champion) and his American wife, Judy. We had met them briefly in St Jean de Losne at the end of our 2000 6 month cruise, just as they were taking over ownership of the boat. Our tea party for five was now for nine. Jennylyle's 'brown betty' tea pot was pressed into service along with mine and we gathered round our picnic table (seats 8) just as Steve (a fellow pilot and friend of Stephen) arrived in his landrover. We had watched a hot air balloon (his) take off over Santenay the evening we moored there. Afternoon tea soon became aperitif time and Peter produced a bottle of rose and a 1998 Santenay.
Zee Otter and Joli Coeur are both 24 metre Dutch barges with masses of accommodation space, but it was our humble 13 metre narrowboat that was able to provide table seating for 10 'en plein air' until well after a glorious red, pink, and turquoise blue sunset.