a squished thumb!
We finally left Clamecy on Sunday 19th – somehow we had stayed a week. But time to move on again if we are to fulfil our pressing schedule.
We stopped at Villiers sur Yonne, Tannay then Chitry les Mines. Adrian is still doing his daily cycle ride to bring the car along with us so we are a bit limited regarding distance travelled each day. But also the heat continues, it gets well over 30*c most days, making lots of locks exhausting. And now we have a new obstacle to negotiate in the form of lifting bridges. These are dotted long the canal & are self operated – mostly electrified, so you just have to press buttons, but some manual, so you have to wind or turn a wheel. We were warned that some do not go vertical which makes getting through with this wide boat with high sides interesting, particularly when the wind decides to get up at just the wrong moment. But we did, of course, attach a side rail height marker pole in preparation for this little blighters. Unfortunately everyone of these bridges have lifted on the opposite side, so a fat lot of good that has been!
Not that we think the fates are having a good laugh at our expense or anything – we’re not paranoid at all!
Yesterday Adrian fitted another kiddie’s fishing rod as a starboard rail marker. Now, surely, we are fully covered.
We went to visit the Chateau here at Chitry which, although not usually open to the public, can be arranged privately. We went with Chris, Caroline, David and Glenda on board ‘Bon Viveur’ and another couple of brits also in port. It was a lovely visit, we were shown around by the housekeeper as the family still use the chateau as their summer residence. Monsieur et Madame ‘Knobbe’ took themselves out when we arrived.
The chateau has been in existence for hundreds of years, sitting on a sheer rock above the river Yonne. As often happens there is an eclectic mix of old and new. 17Th and 18th century tapestries and furniture interspersed with modern sofas and tv controls. Very much an occupied, living chateau and home.
In the evening we drove up to Baye where Steven and Truss had arrived with their new boat. We met them in St Jean when they first came over boat-hunting earlier this year. They have had a bit of a run around finding the right boat but are now very pleased with their ex-Nichols hire boat. It suits them well for their new phase of boating having had sail boats and a catamaran for many years. They regaled us with fascinating stories of their years sailing round the world. Really admire them.
The local village annual get-together was taking place right in front of their boat at the port in Baye. It seemed to consist of food, more food and music. Truus and I bought jams and macarons; Adrian and Steven bought beer, dinner ….. and more beer!
This morning we waved goodbye to Bon Viveur – that crew certainly has good taste as Caroline seems to have fallen for Piedaleau big time. So much so that she googled ‘Piedaleau’ and found my blog! As has Muriel, french lady on ‘Chimuda’ who greeted me with ‘…. you put a picture of my boat on your blog!’ (they were the boat that was moved along a bit at Clamecy when the hotel peniche was doing a u-turn!) I didn’t realise others could access my blog in this way – I may have to take care about what I say in future……. nah! Truus reckons that would be a shame, so I won’t!
So what happened to your thumb, I hear you all ask.
Well ……. after Bon Viveur left this morning we were waiting for a couple of boats to come down before the lock would be ready for us and generally getting everything ready for the orf. We have to lower the canopy and I was just thinking that we finally had it off pat – looking professional to the coffee drinking group at the cafe – when squish – the framework got my thumb! Bloody sore I can tell you.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we took a little trip up to the hospital at Clamecy to have it checked ‘cos it is soooo sore and swollen. But its ok, nothing broken, just well squished. So it is bandaged up to support and protect it and the doctor said I should keep this on for 6 months ….. so that Adrian can do the washing up! Not really but it will make the 28 locks we have to do over the next few days even more challenging.
And, before you ask, no damage to the bimini…………
Previously I have painted word pictures of people we have met along the way. I must do one now of a German guy at Chitry. Adrian nicknamed him ‘The Blond Giant’. Never did find out his name.
He is living there whilst he works on his old and very immobile & leaky wooden tub.
I asked if he was called Noah – its that sort of tub – and he said no but his cousin is.
The tub lets in water big time and you frequently hear the bilge pump kick in and eject water +++.
He seems to spend most of the day talking about what he should do next and then only starts to actually do anything at about 8pm. He had a farmer come by with his tractor the other day to haul the tub further up the slipway so that he can reach the biggest hole in the hull and try to fill it better than the rags he stuffed into it sometime ago. Apparently he was told that adding cow hair to his mix for the hole would be good – he couldn’t find an accommodating cow so he shaved his beard off instead.
He has appropriated a corner of the car park and erected an awning for his kitchen and eating area; he sleeps in the back of his beaten up van. It seems that passing boaters offer him odd bits and pieces – a chair, a table – which he checks over carefully before accepting.
He told us that he has had the boat for over 8 years and was working on it near Sens where he tried to set up a sort of boaters’ commune – somewhere boaters could take their boats to work on themselves and camp beside it. He talked about being set upon physically by some people there and that his boat was burnt. So he has had to start all over again. Another boat towed the tub up to Chitry. He has a friend with him who thinks he should just forget the tub!
A gentle giant if ever there was one – he was so concerned about my accident with my thumb – said he saw it happen but couldn’t get to us to help in time.
I wonder if he will ever get the tub to float again…….