July 15th, 2003

knitting sketch

Gray

We have just pulled into Gray after 2 days enforced idleness in the shade of some old oak trees. We pulled in on Sunday afternoon to escape the blistering heat and wait out the lock closures on Bastille Day. We were just 500 metres from a supervised 'plage' and took heed of the fact that the river is wide and slow and very clear. We all (except kiler terrier who says he is alergic to water) cooled off each day with an early evening swim, followed by much sipping of Pimms (for me) and quaffing red wine (for MWNN). This is what people think we are doing when we tell them we cruise the French waterways for 4 to 5 months each year.

There have been no boat's log entries for the past two weeks for a whole variety of reasons. Hopefully, there will be a 'catch up to date' starting tomorrow. Good to see you're ok willowfae
knitting sketch

Lock 8 – lock 20

Rotten decision to pass Girancourt as we were kept waiting for almost an hour, for a German boat to join us in the lock. Made the day excessively long and the heat is back with us again. Hauled off to moor at the prettiest mooring on this canal, with picnic tables and barbecue provided. Met a Dutchman who has studied the French and English languages and their similarities; he recommended Henriette Walter on this subject. There are some VERY interesting people aboard boats. He was another who had worked for BP.
knitting sketch

Gray to somewhere south of Mantoch.

Pulled in 2 locks short of Gray in a really shady spot; 500m ahead of us is the ‘plage’ at Autet – a riverside campsite with supervised swimming. The air temperature for today was recorded as 32 and the water temperature as 24 degrees. We all (well not Killer Terrier as he insists that he’s allergic to water) indulged in a swim in the clear, green Saone water from the boat to try to cool down. Even in the shade it is unbearably hot and the humidity levels are rising again. There has been another warning about the ‘challeur’, so will shall sit here in the shAade and await the re-opening of the locks after the celebrations for Bastille Day.

Sipping a Pimms in the evening twilight, after a late afternoon swim reminds me that THIS is what people think we do every day when we tell them that we live aboard for 4 to 5 months each year; this is what it is SUPPOSED to be all about; but life is not one long holiday of enforced idleness on the French waterways.

Into Gray on Tuesday to stock up on supplies, check the e-mails and move on to the next patch of shade.