Back in Decize, this time at the centre of town, mooring beside the Tourist Office. Water and electricity are free, as is the use of the shower block. The receptionist had lived for 12 years between Brighton and Worthing and misses England very much. This time when I asked for internet access, I was offered the use of the office machine, which I declined, mainly out of deference to the colleague who would be deprived of her machine for an hour, but also out of surprise at the offer.
Decize is a lovely old town (there's been a church here since the IVth Century) of around 10,000 souls (if you include the population of the surrounding villages.) The town fathers are very proud of their tradition of canoe-based activities. We saw a couple of canoes with Dutch tourists, heading up to Nevers for the Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend. This is the watery version of the bicycle tour, where the luggage goes ahead by road to the next hotel on route.
There is a lovely shady walk beside the river here - The Promenade des Halles, whose trees were planted in the early 18th Century. The river Loire itself surrounds the town on three sides and the mooring we are at is at the furthest reach from the he main waterway heading north along the Canal du Nivernais. The two river locks were installed in the 1750s to link the Canal Lateral a la Loire and the Nivernais. The navigation channel around the town is hard to see and marked with red and green bouys with no indication of depth. This disuades many boaters from making the trip around the town and, as happened two years' ago, we are moored alone, just a few steps from the town with its shops and restaurants.
21.00 Friday We have just returned from one of the fastest evening meals we have ever had in a French restaurant. Lesley recommended the 'Paris Saigon', a Vietnamese restaurant overlooking the mooring. I can't think why she did, the food was very ordinary, MWNN proclaimed the Cotes de Rhone no better than a vin ordinaire, and the waitress was texting her friends on her mobile phone throughout the meal. MWNN had to signal the arrival of our deserts (mine was a hot one - baignets de ananas) on the dumb waiter. The waitress' colleague, serving in th bar, had heard the 'ping' of the bell, glanced at the desserts and walked past our waitress without alerting her to their arrival. Needless to say, there was no tip!
Loony GSD is giving cause for concern. She's become very 'clingy' and panics when we leave the boat without her, making frantic attempts to escape and follow us. She starts to do this when we've been aboard for a long time and we've just entered the 10th week. Have to admit I'm getting a tad homesick too. Mais, malheureusement, we won't be able to go home until the last days in July as the Irish Outlaw may be there with friend and there's no word from her about any changes in plans.
< whinge > God, I miss my bath.
And my bed.
And my flushing toilet,
And my washing machine.
And my PC with its internet connection.
< /end whinge>
Because I probably won't be able to get on line on the day -
Happy July 4th
to all my American friends.