We arrived at Montchanin all kitted out for a cold damp September and found ourselves baking in over 30 degrees of heat for the first ten days. totkat is in a Gite in Northern France enjoying similar weather, so long may it last.
The boat was looking good with her three coats of blacking (mostly beneath the waterline but don’t be picky.) but the MAIN wonder of her August fitout is a brand spanking new sea toilet. No more bucket and chuckit for the ship’s idiot (aka MWNN). The new fly screens we had made in the UK have also proved to be a boon. We took out the hopper windows the first day aboard and haven’t had to put them back in. With the shorter days and cool breeze, the boat has been tolerable and mossie-free at night.
The journey through the flight of locks from hell was without mishap, but then dangerous locks are always far less so on the descent.
We had a joyous reunion, at St Julien sur Dhune, with Paul and Michelle who we had first met on our maiden French voyage when THEY were on their maiden voyage on Imagine. They have had a very successful season this year (they run a Barge and Breakfast). Michelle reckons that the huge hotel boats are not getting the American visitors since September 11. Imagine doesn’t fly the Stars and Stripes because she is not registered in America. At 23 metres, she caters for up to 4 people at a time. The big hotel boats are easy targets for terrorists and the tourists are staying away in droves. We were invited aboard with the dogs, for after dinner coffee and to meet their three women passengers who had just joined Imagine for a week’s cruise from St Julien on the Canal du Centre, to St Jean de Losne on the Saone. (See, nowhere near Bournmouth, bogwitch)
Further along the canal, at Santenay (heart of Burgundy wine producing territory), we met Bill and Francis on Phillipe le Premier. We met them last year in the extreme hot weather, in Toul. They have a Dutch registered barge, but, unlike Imagine, she flies a HUGE Stars and Stripes from her stern. Bill isn’t going to let a little thing like the terrorist threat prevent him from observing his right to fly the American flag wherever he wants. But then again, he is from Texas.
Bill and Francis had met up in Santenay with couple from Southern California, aboard a HUGE barge that we had seen earlier this season in Parais le Monial. Eleanor, according to the eccentric Irishman, Charled Fitzgerald, had been moored at Santenay for months, preventing him from getting to the water point and forcing him to have to cruise down to Chagny to do so. As Bill pointed out, he could have breasted up alongside and filled up but Fitz was outraged at the selfish rich bastard Americans who always hogged facilities and outstayed their entitlement to free moorings. I must admit to having taken an instant dislike to Fitz (something about men who are ostentatiously charming) so my opinion is going to be biased, but even MWNN was appalled when he cruised past us at Santenay and we heard him scream abuse at the Americans on his way to Chagny.
irishnoodles, you might google for him and see what you come up with. He was sacked from a Belfast Newspaper a couple of years ago.
So, here we are, back in the beautiful town of Tournus,one day’s cruise from our home base in Pont de Vaux.
I’ve finished chapter 13 of Family and have mailed it to you bogwitch.
jennylyle, Elodie is safely back on her mooring and all battened down for the winter, by the looks of things. As to the Waterways licence, there is no such thing as a 6 month one. You'd have to do that tedious thing of ticking off the number of weeks you used a weekly one - I'm sure it would work out mich more expensive than the annual one.