Aujourd'hui nous sommes le mercredi 15 novembre 2017. C’est la fête de Saint Albert.


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Back into Fun & Lucky Mode

Cushla & John

We are back into fun mode and lucky mode.On reaching Bar-le-Duc , we were held up a further day by the canals not being operational. The VNF guys blamed a lightning storm during the night but others coming from that direction said that there was almost no water in the canal.   The extended stopover gave us the chance to visit the controversial “Prince of Orange” statue in the upper city.  His widow commissioned this statue of him in the image of ‘as he would look three years after his death’   Crazy, Macabre!  (We don’t think she liked him very much)!

What an interesting trio of boats we were travelling through to Toul. 

Our French friends, (two elderly brothers in a tiny boat – don’t know how they managed), our Aussie friends in a very wide catamaran – (just a few centimetres to spare either side in the locks!) then us squeezed into the back  of each lock because the Aussies ahead told the lock keeper, in typical Aussie/kiwi ‘can do’ bravado, that of course we would all fit, and to let us in!  Normally there are only two in a lock!! - so we managed to squeeze all three boats in and saved ourselves considerable wait time for the locks to refill and return for just us alone.     Well done guys!  Thanks! 

It turns out that the Aussie guy (Peter) is quite an accomplished boat builder, repairer/odd job man and qualified electronics engineer.  He and his wife Dorothy set sail for Europe in their yacht from Australia 15 years ago- taking several years to do the passage.   Retired and still travelling- now doing the inland waterways of Europe!!!   He has already completed several running repairs on Waitui for usJ

See photo of their cat going through the locks!!!  This is the same yacht they sailed from Australia!

So we make it to Toul where there are so many boats heading in the direction we have just come from but they are now having to wait 10 days maybe two weeks for the canals to fill with water.  And luckily, the direction we are heading in – towards Epinal – has been given the all clear for boats with shallow drafts – that’s us, only 85cm. 

For the last few days we hired a car and took a “roadie” down south.   The car’s GPS tested our nerves on the roads.  It would suddenly take us off a motorway and all around villages often doubling back and going in completely the wrong direction.

A one hour nine minutes drive took us over three hours one day!   Of course that day was a Sunday with hardly anything open and the petrol gauge was showing close on empty!  More stress!  Give me canal boating any day compared to driving on French, back country roads.

One highlight of the trip was an overnight stopover at a ‘Chambres D’Hote’, which turned out to be a Burgundian version of “Faulty Towers”.

It was an old mansion house with over the top decorations just everywhere.  We were allotted the Juliette room as in “Romeo and Juliette” .  (Wink, Wink, by the lady showing us the room!)

As well as the room’s many decorations in a red and black theme, there were no less than nine dinner plate sized crimson paper mache hearts hanging everywhere, plus heart shaped boxes, heart shaped pillows, chiffon and drapes, with ribbons tied around handles etc..

However, the food - dinner and breakfast - was excellent,.

There were 3 other families also staying and lots more Faulty Towers’ happenings.   Dinner started at superbly set tables on the terrace until a thunderstorm chased us all inside with guests helping to carry things in.   Though, not before we witnessed one of the many cats – a mother cat, - jump up

And steal a kebab from one of the children’s dinner plates then proceed to share it with one of her 7 kittens, by now ‘demi cats’.  There were cats everywhere!   These cats and kittens joined us inside after the rain and positioned themselves around and under our tables to demonstrate how they lick themselves dry???  Two Belgium families, a Dutch couple, sundry children and us were all sniggering at their antics.  Madame serving us was totally unfazed, just a little flustered and forgetful trying to look after us all following the rain interruption.

Soon we all noticed Madame had an unfortunately positioned rather large hole in the back of her long dress – almost a ‘blow hole’. By now we had also had a couple of drinks and it became very difficult to maintain decorum! 

Next morning she wore a miniskirt, and a filmy blouse with batwing sleeves, which floated over our plates, collecting jams and egg yolks and spreading them from table to table as she walked past.  Every time she bent over someone behind got another eyeful- captured for posterity (or should that be ’posteriority’) on John’s iPhone.

We were somewhat chastened when we heard her story on leaving.  She and her husband had owned a bus company until he had a brain injury, which forced them to sell up.  They then bought this lovely old mansion house which they have done up and she is now the major breadwinner, running it with the absolute best intentions to give a wonderful service.  She certainly succeeds on the quality of the food. J. Her choice of decoration and garments were interesting to say the least - Haute Pays meets Dame Edna !!

 

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