September 2004 Migennes Boatyard France
1st September (Calais)
We woke to a really wonderful sun rise had breakfast then set off at 9am map in hand to travel and find our way through France... what a joy, almost every person we past, either in cars or walking did a double take as we passed... seeing their mouths open and stand still will remain with me for along time to come... people just stopped what they where doing and waved to us and wished us luck... it was some sight our boat on the truck navigating such small roads and villages.
No one was annoyed or stressed about being held up, and lots of people took delight in seeing us travel down the roads... we pulled up outside this French cottage to go for a walk and sit outside this little cafe for a drink and review the map... The owners of the cottage where in the cafe too... they offered to swap our boat for their home, we said sorry we had let our home go for this, they said they where envious and wished us good luck.
All our next stops for a coffee break we climbed the ladder to aboard the Moet... not so easy pulling up and parking just any where with a 70 foot truck ,we got some great view's too up in the heavens. We did a total of 550 miles Newark to Migennes some of the bigger villages we went around or through where...
Omer, Therouanne, Bethune, Cambrai, Peronne, St Quentin, Chauny, Soissons, Chateau-Thierry, Sezanne, Provins, Sens, Villenuvesur-Yonne, Joigny.
Arrival at Chantier Fluvial De Migennes boatyard in France about 25km North from Auxerre.
We arrived at 8.30 pm in Migennes just as the sun was setting. Gabour could not get into the gate as it was too small, so with great skill he reversed his wagon into the boatyard. Joe Parfit his son Herbie and other boaters came to help guide him in and we all helped to stop the traffic. Joe said "Gabour well done", another wagon had tried for hours to get into the yard and failed, in the end they had to bring the crane to the road and lift the boat off in the lane, Gabour did a fab job using his skill's yet again. We had had enough for today and retired to the boat for a shower and some supper and a drink we had a good couple of hours chatting before Gabour left and we fell into the bed, though we got one or two bites and a mosquito joined us buzzing about we soon zapped the little bugger. What a wonderful nights sleep we had, we would have stayed in bed for ever, it was so peace full.
Chantier Naval de Migennes
Evans Marine International
Gare d'Eau - Route de Charmoy
89400 Migennes - France
2nd September our driver and the lift into the River Yonne
Gabour woke us when he started taking the chains off the boat... which were attaching us to the truck, we where to be craned into the River Yonne Migennes at 9am... Everyone arrived to see us being lifted in and to help... again it was a very worrying time, very different lift to Newark... you could tell Joe and the boatyard staff had done it many times before... only inches to spare between boats when it went in the water... again lots of care was taken, though we did have some damage to the paint work from the chains.
We had a little wobble when it was first lifted off the truck... what a moment it was, being in the French waterways system we had arrived. Gabour got his truck ready for the next pick up, some machines in Holland, I gave Gabour a CD of all the photo's I had taken of our journey (many) for his collection, we had a full English breakfast on board the Moet before we parted company... a good friendship too we gained... he thanked us for a wonderful time, he will never forget was his words... Thanks to CPL transport Services (UK) for a wonderful job well done... all you boaters who want moving just give Dave a ring. CPL Transport Colin Lumsden -Kent 01233 758126
We set too unpacking our many boxes and started to make our boat look like our home again... we then started to find our feet, we where befriended straight away by other couples living on their boats... we all have one think in common... the love for our boat and of the water. We where driven around Migennes shown the shops taken for our French gas connector's by a couple from Pennsylvania,called Dorothy and Hal, who offered to take us any time we need a lift to just ask, what ever we needed, they are full of knowledge, they retired in 1984 to live on their boat in France 6 months of the year then they go home for 6 months, they are still enjoying every moment of boating life, he's building himself a better boat to go live in Paris.
We met a couple from London, a couple from New Zealand, and Macy from Australia, and the couple next to us come from Paris, what a community to arrive in, we could not have ask for more, all English speaking to. Joe and his son where most helpful too. We feel part of a community already.
Migennes 5th September - Mike, Ursula and I BBQ time magic moments
We enjoy wonderful long French lunches on the river..with good cheap wine from the supermarkets.(80 pence )... nice long walks into the villages, along the River Yonne or the Canal de Bourgogne they both meet at Migennes... the weather has been so wonderful since we arrived we are getting some colour in our cheeks as we rest... we have been shopping for bikes but not yet found the right one's for us, but we will soon... we have enjoyed meeting new people, and hearing all about their adventures, we have been exploring the town of Migennes, trying out our French in the post office and finding our way about... John even went for a hair cut yesterday (shortest cut he's ever had... looks really cool, he feels sixteen again).
While I was waiting for John to finish in the hairdressers I went to a bar and in very broken French ordered myself a drink and sat down on my own it was great... we have a lot of learning, and tons of books to go at... but the wonderful thing is we are in our own home surrounded by all our belongings that gives us a strange feeling of contentment... no matter where we go... no more packing unpacking to be done we are here to take off when ever we want too. We have received lots of helpful and sound advice while here too.
We have given ourselves a week at least to rest and recover from all the stress of the move, and the traveling over these last few weeks, we have come so far in these last months to get here. We deserve to rest and recover and recharge our body batteries we are learning to pace ourselves a little better now though it will take time... we are also awaiting our French license to be delivered here at the boatyard.
We are looking forward to getting in touch with our friends Pam and David on "Lea crest" and see what they are up to with a view to meeting up soon. We have a winter mooring too, thanks to Pam and David on The canal de Bourgogne in Saint Jean de Losne which also joins the river Saone it's a busy port... looking forward to our journey to meet them.
9th September... Migennes (River Yonne)
We have been getting to know people and enjoyed wonderful hospitality,some great BBQ's with all the crowd at Migennes... weather has helped, we have eaten outside every night since arriving. We meet Ursula (my soul mate) and Mike and have enjoyed their company very much, we have all shared in the cooking clearing and buying of the food too, just wonderful having the time to spend time looking and exploring. Ursula has been a great help running us about in her car... she speaks great French which helps. They are busy working on their wonderful boat (Bon Adventure).
John was able to help them by putting up a new shower screen, and a new water filter (not that he's missing plumbing). They are looking forward to starting on their journey through France too next year now, they have been boaters in England for 24 years. We have become firm friends, I am sure we will see each other much over the coming years... They bought their boat here in France 2 years ago and have been working on her since, but they moved out permanently this summer, we have much in common, Ursula was also a nurse, and we are the same age.
Our French gas and connections are all up and running, you cannot buy English gas here, it's all different connections too, and many different bottles to get your head around. We have all our new French electrical equipment and the correct plugs also many different ones... it's not like going to BBQ you have to go to many different places in France... Ursula bless her drove us around, also to the supermarkets and introduced me to lots of different produce and taught me some good cookery tips... they even took us for our first French meal in Joigny another village,(we drove through with the truck) we had a wonderful evening.
Diesel (we were told) is not easy to get hold of on the canals or rivers in France, it's also getting harder to find in the north of England... we know of three local suppliers on the canal have closed down... we filled all our six spare five gallon containers with white diesel (not red like in England). Ursula and Mike also filled their spare containers too... we went back and forth a few times to a local garage. We will have to see how we do for diesel wishing now we had a 150 gallon tank not 60 gallons but we have space to carry 25 gallons spare too. You are allowed to use red diesel for heating and our diesel fire, which we do have a small tank for that but it's fed from the main tank... must be white for your engine, and they dip your tanks to check, boat hire companies sell die sal but twice the price... We will let you know how we go on. We have invested in a set of trolley wheels for getting diesel at local garages should we need to you never know...
We visited our first out side local produce market today, and bought lots of produce from local farmers, all organic, I also bought a fab hat, you will no doubt see me in it, a few photos to come yet, I am still getting to grips with downsizing them for the web site.....we strolled around the market then had breakfast in a little cafe by the post office in Migennes read the papers and just chatted... We all went back to the boat and John and I cooked Ursula and Mike a good old Sunday lunch today with Yorkshire puds and a glass of Bordeaux before we set off on our own, it will be hard to leave this wonderful community where we feel safe and looked after... but this is what boating is about moving on meeting different people too...