June 26th, 2004

knitting sketch

Paray le Monial to Digoin

I’m not very fond of canals, much prefering the ‘living’ water of the river. Paray le Monial has both river and canal, but unfortunately, the navigation is by the latter, the Loire is untamed and full of sandbanks and natural weirs. Nvertheless, I was intrigued by the behaviour of the catfish at Paray mooring. Sprinkle some stale bread on the water and nothing happens for a while. Then, suddenly, from nowhere, a herd of catfish appears at the surface, scooping great mothfuls and gulping without chewing. There can’t be good eating on catfish, they are all head and mouth (that’s probably why you don’t see them on menus). Try feeding the ducks and the catfish are there, biting their bums and feet. The bigger fish could, I’m sure, swallow a chick whole. There was a particularly savage big bugger that attacked everything that came between him and his bread.

The cruise down to Digoin was delightful, just two locks and 14km. A quick bunkering stop at the Intermarche before the first lock replenished our diesel, gas, and provisions.
This final stretch of the Canal du Centre is tree lined and the red kite is particularly active along its borders. What a magnificent bird it is! We pushed one fellow from tree to tree as the noise from our engine flushed small prey along the banks. Finally, the hawk stopped and watched with a regal stare as we slowly passed beneath the overhanging branch on which he was perched.

Into Digoin to the mooring we were shown on our last visit by an old man who has his boat here and lives in the town.

This LJ is brought to you courtesy of irishnoodles, (who is faithfully re-typing what I send her by snail mail or email, in weekly chunks) hesadevil's laptop, and wanadoo.fr