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Aujourd'hui nous sommes le samedi 7 décembre 2019. C'est la fête de Saint Ambroise


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Heat and other waves

Navigating with John & Cushla

So, we have 41 days to go to get back to Paris for the final leg of our holiday where we welcome Tim and Sally on board and head back down to Auxerre which is where we are parking Waitui for the winter this year.  We are a day past Reims at which we didn’t stop at this year because the port was just too noisy for our sensitive ears after the peace and quiet of the countryside and the rural parkings we have enjoyed lately.  Also there were some undesirables hanging around and we would not be happy leaving the boat in the evenings.

We are in completely new territory now on the Canal du L’Oise a L’Aisne and just going with the flow.  Still 38 glorious days of living a nomadic life.  When a lock keeper asks where we are going next we just stab at a place or estimate a distance.  These rivers are considerably superior to the ones we are used to further south, much cleaner and hardly any weed - (that’s ‘weed' in the rivers!!! the stuff that can tangle around the prop and rudder ;-) !!!)

Day One we stopped for lunch at Maizy - according to our canal guide book/map there is mooring and a good restaurant.  A man fishing on the side of the canal came and took our ropes to help us tie up.  No English, so French only, and lots of sign language used to assist.  Anyway, after mooring successfully and learning that the restaurant was closed he offered to drive us to the nearest local 'eating place’ 2 ks away.  On arrival we met a longterm resident, a Welshman and free lance photographer who took over the translation and ended up joining us for lunch, then driving us back to our boat afterwards.

The eating establishment had a Stag Party in full swing happening in the courtyard.  The prospective groom was wearing a blue wig done up in bunches, effeminate clothing and looking decidedly worse for wear - and that was as we went in to have our lunch - on our way out things were much worse .

The welsh photographer guy was at first interesting until slowly our eyes glazed over  - ZZZzzzz Man, could he talk - he didn’t stop talking for about 2 hours - about everything!!! Probably needed to practise his English as he had lived in a very rural part of France for 20-odd years.

We found our way to Pont L’ Eveque (Photo: Guardian of the Port), a hidden gem and nice port to tie up. Locals helped us with advice on where and how to access the power, then after dinner on deck another resident came outside his house to sit on the step for a smoke - A conversation started up and John invited he and his wife on board for a drink. That lasted until 11pm, and next morning we found a bread stick and two croissants on our doorstep.   We ended up staying 3 nights in this lovely friendly village, and they became good friends, spending our last night having a champagne together.

Today it reached 44.2 degrees on deck but we managed to keep inside down to 39 with shade cloths.

To survive we took a taxi to a huge Auchan Supermarket. Who spends over 6 hours at a supermarket?  - WE DO!!!  And a good bit of that time in the frozen goods section!

Now we are home having explored every isle of that damned supermarket and purchased things we didn’t really need.  We are up on deck - same temperatures -  and it’s 6pm, but now with a breeze which “helps". Once we got home and put on the aircon it rapidly reduced the temperature downstairs to a liveable 36 degrees and we hope it continues downwards before bedtime.  We are into drinking beer with ice - it’s a great combination and saves the alcoholic intake when we drink too much. Also I am reliably told  that solid water doesn’t give you water intoxication? Whaaat? 
At left are a couple of items that we didn’t buy, but they made us laugh.  See John holding a peeler that will do both sides of the carrot at once and a pair of scissors that cut herbs pretty quickly. 

 

When big barges travel past at speed they push a huge amount of water into the pathway of oncoming boats.  One can end up bobbing around like a cork!!!   There is a big barge called ‘Tsunami’ and it is very aptly named!!!  We have experienced ‘Tsunami’ Twice now!

A bit of excitement last night!  Could be called canal rage!   We had travelled most of the day to finally find an official jetty to park overnight - room for three boats.  Two yachts from Sweden were there before us and parked down one end.  There was plenty of room for us but for an old man fishing who had planted himself right in the centre of the mooring space and absolutely refused to move. He and his long suffering wife had parked right across the landing space (see photo.)  She is patiently sitting behind him waiting.  He had his fishing equipment trailed into the water which made it almost impossible to jump ashore and tie up to bollards either side of him.  After much waiting around with requests in our best, most polite, french for him to possibly move along only about 5 meters so we could get access, John got angry and decided to tie up 'stern to' and wait until he went home.  A group of teenagers sitting on the park bench watching with interest at the stand off, came rushing up to help me hold ropes and tie up to the one bollard that we could access.  Because of a cross wind the stern-to method also required John to hammer in mooring pegs literally inches from where ‘Monsieur Grumpy' was sitting because he was blocking access to the other bollard. Lots of Big loud hammer bangs and this time ‘cowshed' french!!!     

Still he stubbornly refused to move along!   His wife grimacing uncomfortably and shyly smiling. Unfortunately, the wind got up even more and was blowing us around in that position so one of the yachts offered to move out, let us take his place 'along side', then he would moor up against us (which also gave him better depth under his keel).  We had no sooner achieved this manouvre when the old man finally packed up, tipped his half dozen sprats back into the water, and left!  All six of us celebrated with two bottles of champagne and shared the day's stories - which included the fact that the old man had given the two Swedish couples grief also - they had arrived at the same time as he did and they really wanted the centre space because of water depth issues but had to settle for the very far end in shallower water.

So, with a mix of amazing friendships to grumpy inconsiderate old bastards!!!!   Life here is fun and never boring!  

 

 

Private swimming pool - Mum putting down the ladder for her kids.

 

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