September 14th, 2005

cruising log

Out on the river at last

We took off from Pont de Vaux at 1pm on Tuesday 13th and ate a sandwich lunch as we cruised down the 3km of canal towards the lock with the Saone. The sun had burned off the early mist but we were sheltered from the heat by the double avenue of London Plane trees that line the banks of the town's canal.

The trip up the Soane to Tournous was another matter all together. With a feirce wind blowing from the bows, it was impossible to lower the back flap of the canopy for shade as it was acting as a brake and slowing our progress. Even with the flap jup, we were taking 16 minutes to do one kilomteter. MWNN pushed the throttle to max but could do no better than 12 minutes with the engine going flat out. Depspite the slow progress ( 5 hours for a trip that normally takes just over 3 hours 30) it was so lovely to be back on the water. Sightings of herons fishing from the bank were immediately mirrored by fishermen in waders at the following bend. We spotted two egrets and a couple of swan families but little else in the way of water fowl.

Mooring at the very end of the pontoon at Tournous came as a surprise because of our late arrival; all the berths are normally taken by lunchtime at this place which is one of the last offering free electricity and water (for a maximum stay of 2 nights). I fell into bed at just after 10, having had a piping hot shower and used the newly fixed shower pump switch instead of risking electricution with the 'twist the two wires together - with hands still wet from the bath - in the cupboard on the other side of the shower bulkhead). Waking only once for a night time pee, I spent some time gazing at a sky full of bright stars and a large waxing moon, before drifting back off to the gentle sway of the slow running Soane and the sound of the Abbey Church bells striking the quarter hour.

Wednesday 14th - Found a new pair of sandals (Rhoede) for MNNN to replace the ones that are falling to bits; purchased another ring for loony GSD to replace the 'nth' one she's dropped in the drink AND found an optician's that also does hearing aids. Perhaps there will be a replacement earmould in the making for me (I threw the one I had in the rubbish - long story, don't ask, suffice to say the routine of washing the ear mould, leaving it to dry overnight on a tissue, then re-attaching it in a safe environment, went for a burton the morning of our departure from Pont de Vaux). I'd forgotten how tiring it is coping without it, especially with French that comes at high speed and far back in the mouth of the speaker. I CAN manage without it but I've got so used to (what's the hearing equivalent of 20/20 vision?) hearing the full range of sounds.