Conflicting information caused an additional night’s stay here. The ‘tax collector’ who took our 4 euros for mooring, water and electricity, assured us that that Toul locks would NOT be on strike, and so we set off on the 2km to the lock at 8.30 this morning. Madame lock-keeper at lock 46 phoned ahead and discovered that the Toul locks ‘ne marche pas’, so we about-turned and pootled back to the mooring. It promising another day of ‘eggs could be fried on the boat’s roof’, I climbed the north face of the Eiger to the supermarket with the trusty shopping trolley I’d sensibly purchased at Epinal. The woman in the supermarket was very sympathetic and having sold me the last of the rillette de porc, presented me with the bowl saying it would be useful as a bread basket or salad bowl. It’s these little acts of individual kindness that have us returning to France each year. Yesterday’s journey down the long flight COULD have been very difficult, but the eclusier was experienced, knew how narrowboat behaves in a lock and gave us a very easy ride through each one; he was, no doubt, grateful for the fact that her needed to open only one gate of each lock as we are narrow enough to move in and out using ‘une porte monsieur’.
And so, here we sit; the mini meteo station on the boat has just recorded an outdoor temperature of 45 degrees C. and inside the boat, it is 36 degrees. The poor dogs are really suffering badly; to add insult to injury, we have just been passed by a German boat who told us that they came past Toul this morning; so who is telling porkies then eh?