Well we started the month with a storm... a big one, it rained and hailed golf balls we had invited David and Pam around for dinner, well it never stopped raining, some of it found it's way into the boat as John tried to shut the hatch he snapped the lock on the catch what a start, new locks called for...
Well we got on with our dinner, we started with rained on prawns, we could of done with sitting under an umbrella really, as the hatch was above our heads, didn't spoil our fun though, we watch the storm come and go with a nice bottle of red, and a nice bottle of white for Pam, we were starting David's birthday celebrations early, always nice to start the month with a birthday, we also had a good meal out on David's big day. We enjoyed a great Sunday roast on board Lea Crest saying our farewell's... though I flagged today, so much to do before we leave.
David & Pam bid us fare well the following morning, sending us off with one of his famous banana & walnut cakes and a home made card filled with love... lots of lovely memories...
We moved slowly from our winter birth, thanks for a great winter and a lot of help and support over our first winter in France, see ya... we made many friends here and learnt so much too.
As you can see not bad weather for setting off map to hand thanks to our new map box David made.
River Saone seemed quiet high, not running too fast, we enjoyed a good cruise to Verdun sur le Doubs, we were a little rusty we noticed in the locks, not as supple as we should be, but we choose a short trip around 4-5 hours. We arrived to a very fast flowing Doubs as we turned off the Saone, the quay mooring was flooded, so we had to moor along the width of the floating quays due to the flow, thank goodness plenty of room. English speaking helpful Capitainerie on hand to help us into place. The cost is to be 10 euros a night including electric and water. Great village, plenty of shops and sites to see, we met a couple from California doing a 12 week cycle ride around France, we shared stories and they enjoyed a visit on the "Moet".
The river was still up next afternoon as we set off for Chalon sur Saone... when we arrived the marina was closed and they refused to let us stop, not open for another two weeks!!!.
We had no where to moor... we then had a scary moment coming back out onto the very fast flowing river Saone, a boat towing another boat came the wrong way into the marina and almost hit us... we decided lets head for the canal and safe water's and give this city a miss... so we headed for the Canal du Centre not too far away.
Phew we thought as we passed through the river lock onto quite waters, we got to grips with the locks, every lock different and we had a good system going between John & I.
We moored in a nice village called Fragnes, free of charge, great sun set and a nice roast dinner to finish off the day... phew lets get to bed, just great being on the move again.
We set off again along this very peaceful canal, nice to be on the move again... 11 locks later we passed Mary & Steve in their peniche from Saint Symphorien sur Saone they were moored here in Chagny for a friends birthday, "come and join us", we just fitted nicely in between another couple Janet & Malcolm whom we also know, they have a 30 meter hotel peniche, we all met on "Monday morning walks" over our winter months. Moet just fitted in between the two peniches (barge)... what a week we had... breakfast on Janet's boat, lunch on another, many hours of computer lessons, lots of web lessons freely given again, gosh my angel's did hear me "please send me someone to help me put my 6 months work on the web with a land line"... I so do want to master how to do our web site a teacher appeared Willem, he works in the program I use "Dream Weaver", he lives on his boat and has a land line, and he wants to help all he can, "just stay till after my birthday he said", I can give you some time & training... bless his cotton socks.
Willem teaching Ray Davies's songs to John, from the album "Mushwell Hill".
Steve & John shared many a beer Steve is a welder and he has a work shop on his boat, Steve so happened to have a spare bollard in his work shop, a gift he said, it would help me hold the centre rope better in the locks. So on our boat it went... all newly painted and it looks like it's always been there. John spent many an hour working on our diesel fire a problem we were having needed attention... hopefully it's all fixed, up and running again, still some cold nights yet, and we need it.
We met another couple Mike & Kay who knew Pam & David, they invited us for a drink, we ended up staying for dinner on board their boat "Water magic", many cans of beer and cups of tea drank, we watched the sun go down on the deck and talked long into the night, many late nights this week. We met some local villagers at Willem's 50th birthday BBQ. Mary and I made flags to decorate Willem's boat, we cooked some dishes for the BBQ Mary & I had lots of long chats many cups of tea together, it was so nice, we shopped and shared stories, Mary has been boating in France more than 25 years so had much to share with us, she has also done many years boating in England.
Get a few kilo's of pork-fillet (if you can afford it, well he could), chop it into cubes, put it in a bowl, add ketchup, soya sauce, salt, pepper, cumin and a bit of water, mix altogether and marinate over night.
Place the meat on skewers with some red and green peppers in between, then put it on the BBQ and cook.
While the meat is cooking, drink a few bottles of wine, that will make you hungry.
Sunday morning we spent shopping in Chagny market with Mary & Steve, three streets long the market, well worth a visit should you be in this area, when we finished our shopping we all sat outside in a coffee bar in the sunshine.
Chagny is a rural tourist holiday center and celebrated food and wine stopovers prices vary (even an American grill), it lies between the slopes of the Cote de Beaune and the Cote Chalonnaise in the Burgundy vineyards. Wished we had the car here to go off exploring especially up into the mountains, not yet ventured out on the bike, still feeling a little lazy, but lots of time.
Lesson's continued as we stayed 10 days in total, we were having such a good time. I learnt much about Fireworks, Dreamweaver programs also French lessons, I understand more about web sites and designs now. John delivered sandwiches to us , as we worked many hours forgetting time... we enjoyed meals out too with Willem.
After one hours travel we stopped to taste some wine at the cave at Santenay, we passed another boater who said it's a must. We enjoyed the visit very much and set off, the rain came and joined our journey for almost 48 hours, it was hard going for two days solid, no fun doing locks in rain, but we must press on and reached the summit at Montchanin.
Set off again from Montchanin and the wind caught us as we were turning around and pushed us onto some rocks, we were well and truly grounded. Lucky enough it was opposite VNF office (sending thunder bird 12 to us), six lock keepers joined us, between them they came up with a plan, see following photos. VNF brought in a rowing boat, tied a metal coil to our boat, rowed to the other side of this wide canal and tied it to the van on the opposite side, and pulled us off the rocks, the wind settled and we were on our way again.
It was a shame the weather was so bad the views at the summit would of been nice to savour, after our hard climb up.
Our next stop Blanzy, free electric and moorings we met up with Water Magic, Mike and Kay here, we arranged to meet up again at Genelard, also a good mooring with free moorings & electric. A good place for our Friends Peter and Moira to join us, they were heading back to Leeds from South of France. We had chance to fettle the boat and get some washing done too. The weather was wonderful.
We had a wonderful time we ate and ate and drank a little too also some bottles of champaign, they had just returned from Monte Carlo... they brought us 2 of the biggest bottles of fresh Lavender oil you have ever seen, I am in heaven. We did not get chance to enjoy a cruise with them this time but they will join us in September hopefully. Safe journey home... to you both.
John received some bites that night, only snake bites!! not really sure what bite him on his ankles, oh dear he suffered for days, as you can see in next photo.
Willem joined us again following us down the canal by car... enjoyed some time and a meal together, some more lessons on the web, just cannot stay connected long enough to down load my site, net weaver keeps locking me out, and the connections not so good, but I wont give up, were there is a way always the will.
The weather got hotter and hotter, think we are in one of those pocket micro valley's they have here in France, 34 degrees inside and outside the boat, but we managed to keep going and enjoyed the weather, taking lots of showers. We need to sort out air conditioning for the boat at some point, though we are not as bad as some boats here.
Next stop was Paray le Monial it's a little town in the Saone et Loire country which owes it's worldwide fame to the facts that occurred in it's walls in the XV11th century. We cycled and visited the splendid Romanesque basilica dating back to the 11th & 12th centuries, this village attracts many tourists and crowds in the summer, this is the preferred destination of the pilgrims, I would love to be here in the summer, this village is very spiritual indeed, and I experience a wonderful sense of peace here, especially in the Chapel of the Monastery of the Visitation.
Willem joined us again, it was so hot we decided to eat out, we had some wonderful local fish, of which I forget the name... how can I order it again, my memory gets worse.
Kay and Mike were here too, we have been following one another for a few days now, had some lessons on our GPRS from Mike, we have shared some meals on our travels from Chagny and enjoyed getting to know each other.
We headed for the town Digoin were the Canal du Centre ends and becomes Canal Lateral a la Loire after crossing the river, via the spectacular aqueduct.
We enjoyed our stop over in Digoin, though only for three hours, time to walk and cycle around village, met another boater from Saint Jean de Losne here, Randal on Randal, we had a drink with him before moving off. We met so many people we know now, so different to our first weeks weeks traveling on the Canal de Bourgogne only last September.
Next stop was Pierrefitte sur Loire, this magic little town, with a big lake you can go swimming, has a man made beach. We moored under two huge Cherry tree's for shade and managed to get tons of cherry's just ripe, how lucky are we, my favourite fruit.
Wonderful place to moor, I ventured off with my camera as I do. The local villages came to pick the Cherries and the following morning we had the local children, so we all joined in gathering the cherries we climbed on the boat and leant out our hooks for the children to pull the branches closer, fun.
I later walked around the lake, John rested his legs & feet still not quite right but on the mend now.
John was up early, we both had a restless night due to the weather being so hot.John knocked the chimney into the canal, when cleaning the boat, don't ask!!!
I gave John a good hose down at 8am when he got back on the boat, I think he enjoyed his self really.
We had a good breakfast, then we set off at 10am heading for Decize, but we later decided it would be too a long day, so we decided to stop over at a local farm south of Galloux lock (PK49) Farmer has moorings out side his farm, (beware of the nettles)
We tasted the fresh goats cheese it was wonderful we also bought some fresh farm eggs, the owner's son was so helpful and spoke good English, he showed us around the farm. We nearly bought a new car, but which one!!! Goats cheese on toast anyone. Two nights of bliss in the last two moorings, bird song & us.
We did not travel far the next day 40 minutes and we came across a delightful mooring and decided day off today, to chill and read. I wanted a day out of the sun, so read & wrote for our web site, with our fans going.
Gannay sur Loire welcomes boaters with free mooring, electric for three days, longer if you ask it was a nice resting stop over.