This entry is brought to you courtesy of Jean Paul and the H2O wi-fi link. He remembered the boat from its winter mooring 2000/2001 so we have been given free access to the wi fi network.
The trip from Chalon to St Jean de Losne was calm and uneventful, through hazy sunshine and frequent gatherings of clouds on the horizon - warnings of the promised rain forecast by the Capitainerie at Chalon. Three days of rain ahead the cheerful assistant told me - total bollocks! The river meandered through woodland and past fields of Charolais, with nary a puff of wind to stir the sluggish current and only the occasional leaping fish or speeding hire boat to cause any waves. We overnighted at Gerky and had the pontoon almost to ourselves, just a small hire boat with two German men aboard moored ahead of us. The Gerky facilities were all padlocked and the camp site deserted; it being the end of the season or perhaps no longer funcioning. We both took an early bath and sat on the pontoon in the loveliest part of the day for apperatifs. The light in early autumn evenings is absolutely magical. There were more fish a-jumpin' but that was the sole disturbance to the tranquility of our first mooring without the mod cons of electricity and water.
Once past the entrance to the Canal de Centre, the hotel boats and commercial barges cease to be a problem. MWNN took this picture
of a pusher (a barge that pushes other barges carrying cargo, usually rows and rows of cars) in the early morning of our departure from Tournous.
From Gerky we travelled upstream, leaving the woods behind as the river widened and moved even more slowly across the flood plains to the South of Seurre (where we overnighted for the first time because MWNN misinterpreted the distance to St Jean de Losne; the PK markers indicated that it was almost 28km from Seurre to St Jean de Losne (doesn't sound much, but when the maximum speed is 6km per hour, that's over 4 hours to add to the time from Gerky to Seurre) MWNN's calsulations did not take account of the derivation ( a straight canalised section of waterway) that makes the distance closer to 18Km. I took an instant dislike to the Capitain at Seurre who denied he spoke English and then
tried to get me to agree to move the boat from the place on the very broad (new) pontoon to the end of the old, very narrow pontoons further downstream that debouched straight onto the main road. With an arthritic GSD and maniacal Killer Terrier to cater for, I dug my Eeyore heels in and refused to be budged. The Capitain pulled on his most officious hat and accompanied me back to the boat to inspect the 'book' - to check I hadn't lied about the length; his logic ran thus - we are a long boat, he charges by the length, he didn't want us taking the space of two shorter boats on his posh new pontoon. As he charges by the length, I don't see what his problem is. MWNN placated him by agreeing to move if more than two boats wanted to moor on the posh pontoon. He then offered to sell the Capitaine the boat and offered to throw in me and the dogs for the asking price. The Capitaine was happy at the thought of the dogs but declined the offer on the grounds that he didn't want me included in the deal. French logic again - it's a mystery!
We made the trip from Seurre to St Jean de Losne in less than 3 hours and moored up just in time for a late lunch. It was while entertaining the South Africans we'd first met in Louhans that I discovered the Capitainerie here offered connections for the laptop, either throught the phone line or the wi-fi. We drank our way through two very good bottles of Cotes de Rhone Villages (one of which I'd opened for MWNN at lunchtime) and half bottle of Champagne before our visitors called it quits. They are selling their (very new) boat because it's too big.
This morning, MWNN was joined by these fellows
for breakfast outside the galley window. We're moored on their pontoon and they were very miffed at being evicted yesterday. The promised rain materialised this morning but cleared by noon as we returned from the supermarket. An email from our builder necessitated a phone call to my bank earlier this morning to arrange a transfer of an 'interim payment'. MWNN is now getting twitchy to head for home to inspect the work before final settlement is made. But as we have over a week's cruising and almost a fortnight of maintenance work before we can leave the boat, plus two days of travelling, it's highly unlikely we shall be home soon after work is completed.
Which reminds me bogwitch could you see if you can sell my ticket. Not only am I cured at Lourds, the Muse has vanished completely with a jaunty 'adieu'.
We have just had lunch; steak and salad for me, cheese omlette salad for MWNN, with the remainder of the Cotes de Rhone Villages, Champagne and Espresso and chocolate noir. La vie est dur.