Sunday 3rd September -Pont de Vaux to Tournous
The run up to Tournous was slow and calm - probably due to the chunk of weed wrapped around the prop. No room at the Inn on the pontoons - the Belgians were there double parked, so we moored on the wall where there was electricity at the top of the steps.
Tournous to Chalons - 4th Spetember
Whole stretches of the cruise to Chalons were done without meeting a single boat. We are saying goodbye to the river that has been our home for the past 4 years and I had a feeling that something was missing during the period when MWNN went below to mulloch in the galley. Watching the beautiful river glinting in the sunlight and a kingfisher flashing along ahead of us, it suddenly dawned on me what it was making me feel so down - no little black and tan terrier sitting on my knee with his paws on the gunwales, scanning the bank for pirate rats. This is the first time we have taken the boat out without him and there's a massive hole in our world again.
Chalons sur Saone to Verdun sur les Doubs - 5th September.
The mooring at Verdun has been extended - we no longer have to moor stern on to the pontoon because there is a swanky new quay with facilities in the shade of the Capitainerie. No sooner had Lonny GSD disembarked than she dragged me to the launching ramp and demanded to retrieve a chunk of wood from the river. The water was so clear and clean I was tempted to join her but watched as she struggled against the undertow each time she returned to the ramp, and decided against it. Practicing Tai chi on the bank was a much safer option and it is enhanced by watching the slow silent current moving slowly past as I go through the Form.
We met another narrowboating couple who have just bought a house in the village. They invited us to drinks with their English language group that meet in the house once a week for 'lessons'. We spent a couple of hours in the company of a Florist, an Upholsterer and two Pharmacists on the Rue des Marniniers overlokking the Soane.
Verdun sur les Doubs to Seurre - 6th September.
The weather was threateningly cloudy as we motored the 17 km and 1 lock to Seurre. But the sun appeared just as we docked and we ate a late lunch tied up alogside the brand spankingly new pontoon that replaces the wafer thin planks of wood that went under water when MWNN stepped on them.
I've a few mossie bites that are swelling hugely so I took some piriton just after dinner and crashed on the bunk shortly afterwards. I was bitten again overnight and have a mass of itchy lumps on what feels like every inch of skin - even on my face and tips of ears.
Seurre to St Jean de Losne - 7th September
Uneventful trip up the long stretch of canalised Soane. Anyone used to cruising the Middle Levels in England would disagree that it is a boring 15km, you can see for miles and the colours of autumn are reflected in the steel grey water of the canal.
We got a mooring early and I availed of the good wi-fi signal to update the virus protection in the afternoon before the storm farted its presence and dropped the signal to 1 kbps. The storm never got up to anything substantial and after glowering through the early evening, disappeared without any lightening or heavy rain. I managed to put a wash through at the launderette before 'Madam' arrived to lock up, but the dryer wouldn't work after swallowing the first 50cent piece (thankfully, it gives only 5 mins per 50 cents.)
St Jean de Losne stopover.
The washing dried overnight and the heavier things threatened to blow away when MWNN hung them out in the gale this morning. I'm really glad we're not cruising today, the wind is far too strong to manoeuvre 45ft of steel narrrowboat backwards onto finger pontoons.
I'm in the Capaitainerie now, trying to connect to the wi-fi without success. The Boy Raymond shrugged and said 'it's not reliable' and left me try - without success. I will have to post this as three separate entries by email later today, if I don't manage to get a connection before the battery runs down as it's far too long to post without an LJ cut.