July 1st, 2004

knitting sketch

Dompierre to Beaulon

The promised storm happened at about midnight last night. As the hail hit the windows in the front cabin, I sat up to watch the display. It was most disappointing, just lightening a long way off and no thunder so I was back to sleep in minutes.

Dompierre's shops didn't disappoint. I stocked up with essentials at the supermarket, planned a cold lunch in case Friday is hot and we can't close up the boat and leave the dogs while we lunch with Lesley, filled with water and headed off for Garnat-sur-Engievre. We never arrived. As we went through the lock at Beaulon, MWNN told me that the Capitaine at Dompierre said there wasn't a decent restaurant at Gannay where we'd planned to meet Lesley. There IS one at Beaulon, so we decided to check it out. We were the only ones at the Halt Nautique and MWNN discovered electricity and water is here, free of charge. The Capitaine told porkies when he said that the Restaurant Vielle Maison was closer to the mooring than the supermarket was to the mooring in Dompierre. We've just come back from walking the route, it's at least twice as far and along a road with no pavement. It takes about 15 minutes to walk there. The only problem about staying here will be that MWNN is adamant he will NOT walk that far to get the bread in the mornings.

Now - must give Lesley a ring and see if she will come over tomorrow for lunch.

MWNN has just haired off to help a hire boat moor, to prevent it bashing into us. He has returned with horror-stories about the 'crew' not knowing where reverse is and thinking the throttle is the stop button. The family are from England. They have a house in Wiltshire and another in Essex, and the husband is DESPERATE to own a boat. Madame is unimpressed with conditions aboard the hire boat, which at 15 years old is showing its age, condensation is a big problem (plastic boat, plastic interior): Have just given the family a tour of the narrowboat. Both parents are impressed and may well start looking for one on their return to Angleterre.

Ended the day by taking a bottle of Chartreuse and the unopened bottle of Jameson aboard the Brits hire boat. They'd biked the 1.5km to the restaurant (told you the Capitaine had told porkies) only to find it and the other restaurants closed, it being Wednesday. All they had on board was eggs, so they had to make do wih omelettes for dinner. Chris had a fascinating family history to tell, as well as an interesting career with the BBC (he was Head of BBC World, and, briefly, BBC Radio Scotland, before moving on to work for the Guinness Book of Records and, latterly, various quangos to do with railways in Europe.)
knitting sketch

Beulon stopover

Another wonderful day! Phoned Lesley this morning and she COULD make lunch today at La Vielle Maison (built 1513). The Brits turned down our request to join us for lunch because Chris is suffering from toothache and needs to return to UK to visit his dentist. What a meal they missed.

Lesley arrived early at 11.45 and we had champagne aperitifs aboard while MWNN finished washing and dressing for lunch. Lesley had arrived bearing gifts; MWNN's pilot's licence with its corrected expiry date, and the CDs from bogwitch. I LOVE you Bogwitch. Did I tell you that after my accident MWNN found my secret stash of special Nougat de Montellimar that I got for you down south and ate it all? He said he needed a sugar boost after the trauma. He has been severely punished and promises to replace it with some more plus some speical Belgian chocolate.

The meal at La Vielle Maison was STUNNING. The combinatiion of flavours and textures was very innovative - fresh fruit with the salad of pate de fois and smoked duck breast, a raspberry sauce with the roast goose breast, and the biggest gambas (king prawns) MWNN had ever seen. Conversation with Lesley was, as always, most entertaining. She had us in kinks as she described her reaction to the Roman guards appearance in the Mel Gibson film ' Passion '. She immediately thought of Klingons and dissolved into helpless giggles as the lyrics from the Star Trek song burst into her head.

"There's Klingons on the starboard bow. It's life Jim, but not as we know it. He's dead Jim, dead Jim, dead Jim, dead." And the final clincher "We come in peace - shoot to kill."

We returned to the boat and sat in the shade of a tree as we drank tea well into the evening. MWNN disappeared for an hour to sleep off his lunch, and Lesley and I had a good long conversation about the class she's teaching French and drawing. She's got some bookings for the gite for July and things are looking a little better than when I last spoke to her on the phone. She promised to try and meet us at Nevers, if we ever get there.
knitting sketch


Irishnoodles here - terrible - terrible - I forgot to write the last paragraph under the heading "Beulon stopover" - very sorry about that. So here we go.

The end to this perfect day came with 2 episodes of Angel - Time Bomb and the Girl in Question. I'm sure the Ozzies who had pulled in behind us on a hire boat while we were at lunch thought I'd gone mad. I watched with my earphones in so that MWNN didn't have to suffer the sound. (He was on the bank talking to a Brit caravaner whose husband was indoors listening to the England 2004 European quarter finals game on the radio. He's tried all day to find a bar that was showing the game on TV, but "pah les Anglais? Non! Les Bleus (France) are not playing tonight so no TV in any bars in the locality. Anyhow, I laughted my way through most of The Girl in Question, particularly Angel's reprise of the cookie dough speech.