Friday 30th - St Jean de Losne: MWNN took some photos of a boat we'd met on our first year in France six years ago, first at Sillery and then up at Dinant in Belgium. Roly, its New Zealand Captain was 'walking the deck' this morning in full Scottish gear 'piping a welcome' to friends who were visiting. I was very impressed at his playing which was excellent, despite the fact that he'd chosen a somewhat unfortunate lament with which to welcome his guests.
Yesterday _I_almost ended up with a group of American guests for dinner, as the smell of the pintade was driving them crazy and they gathered at the bows of the boat looking forlorn. They'd battled with pieces of Charolais earlier in the week and had deemed them tough and inedible. MWNN explained that 'the Memsahib' always pan fried Charolais steak in butter to prevent this happening. The Americans were keen to learn the secret of the pintade recipe as they said it smelled very mediteranean. MWNN replied 'close - it's based on a Provencal recipe'. I escaped having to make it 'stretch for 6 people as MWNN explained we couldn't seat that many at our dining table. The pintade was a 'very special price' at the supermarket and, despite being a small bird, we ate the remainder cold for lunch today.
The trip downstream to Seurre was swift and at one point in the derivation I watched a magnificent hawk hunting along the bank. He disappeared from view behind some bushes before MWNN could see him but we saw him again perched on a fence post watching the boat go past. There has been much discussion but no decision as to what type of hawk it was. I say it was an Osprey, MWNN says not.
Less than a km from where the hawk was hunting, Killer Terrier sprang to attention and stared at the left bank again. There, slinking through the undergrowth was a large cat, completely black and intent on its prey. Its concentration was broken by the sound of Killer Terrier jumping up and down on MWNN's lap and shrieking 'mayhem mayhem' The cat crouched low and hid behind a rock, glaring at the source of the sound of the enemy, at which Killer Terrier made squealing gargling noises reminiscent of the Skexies (sp?) from the Dark Crystal. Further discussion ensued as to just how long ago the Dark Crystal was released and whether we'd watch the sequel.
At Seurre we moored up behind the sailing boat 'Jade' that we'd met back in Tournous and heard from the Liverpudlian crew that _they'd_ received a very different reception from the Capitain here having been plied with Kirs, a map of the town and a booklet on the Soane on their arrival yesterday evening. They left us shortly after my post-lunch bath (of which the female deck hand was most jealous) and I felt almost guilty at its decadence having caught sight of their solar 'shower' bag hanging from the rear guard rail as we moored up behind them.)
Saturday 1st October. Enforced stopover at Seurre today as the weather interpreted the Meteo's forecast of 'partly cloudy, 65 degrees F' for today as 'lashing rain, stiff wind and barely 50 degrees.' The little electric heater has been pressed into service for only the second time and, after a walk into town with the dogs to stock up on more milk and tomatoes at the Petit Casino and bread and cakes from the bakers, the dogs are drying off in front of it while MWNN dozes beside them in his armchair. The Petit Casino manager told me that there was no chance the rain would let up today and so far he has been proved correct. It's too late to head downstream for Gerky (5 hours away) as sunset is at 7 and poor visibility on the river in this weather requires navigation lights which I am sure have run out of batteries. MWNN isn't keen on doing his Captain Ayhab trick in the rain unless absolutely necessary - which it's not.