Immediately across the road from the mooring, on the corner of the street leading to the town centre, is a new bar called 'Lesbigays' (I kid you not). At the top of the hill that runs at right angles to the quay is the impressive Reims Cathedral. Modelled on Notre Dame in Paris, its gothic facade dominates the skyline - though it was shrouded in fog early yesterday morning. Beside it, the Palais de Tau quietly conceals the pomp and ceremony belonging to a age when the Dauphin of France would reside there prior to his coronation.
I walked to the Carousel Square to retrieve my specs that I'd left in the restaurant on Tuesday night. I walked back stopping for fresh milk and fruit in the Spa that is about half way up the Cathedral hill. After the previous day, when we were stuck between the locks and couldn't do anything for fear of depleting the batteries and emptying the water tank, I decided on a mammoth washing session after lunch, using the pressure barrel and hot water boiled in the electric kettle. Then we vacuumed and cleaned the boat and filled the bath with more hot water and washed ourselves.
An early tea was followed by a long Tai Chi session beside the canal. The mooring at Reims is between three major roads; th mootorway, the quay dual carriageway and a flyover. I decided tp practice beneath the flyover where I posed no threat to passing traffic. The canal was busy with rowers - 4s, pairs and singles and as I stood in the 'barrel' Chi Kung position, I put many of them off their stroke as they turned and stared in amazement. MWNN was timing me and gestured that I'd pushed the Chi Kung exercise to 7 minutes, feeling only slight strain in the upper arms and none at all in the legs. Then I performed the first part of The Form twice. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the local tramps leave his bench and come quite close to me during the Chi Kung and the Form but he wasa back on his bench before I picked up my sword. It was the first time in about 2 weeks I'd run through the first section of the Sword Form and I have definitely forgotten some of the postures and moves.
When I returned to the boat, MWNN told me that Loony GSD was concentrating on me the whole time and when the tramp moved closer to me, she stood up and stared at him. It was the dog's action that had him scurrying back to his bench rather than any fear of my prowess with the sword. Then there was the incident of the cyclist who almost collided with one of the flyover supports so curious was he about what I was doing. It was definitely a wise move to practice out of sight of vehicles hurtling along at 80mph.
We are still without an alternator and it is coming up to 11 am on day three. The promised phone call from the mechanic didn't materialise yesterday, so at 6pm MWNN rang to see where he was up to. We THINK he said that he would get the alternator back from 'the repair shop' this morning and then would be over to fit it. We await his arrival impatiently.
Bogwitch - thanks for the phone call. I'll let you know as soon as I am able if I'm not going to be able to attend the minimeet. Fingers crossed that nothing else intervenes (like a flotilla of peniches going ahead of us through the locks - they get priority and we are heading to the M25 of the linking canals to the clommercial north, Germany and Belgium ) to slow our progress to St Quentin and that we will be back in the UK by the 12th.