A pleasant little sojourn in Chalon sur Saone – a bit of visiting, a bit of shopping and a bit of eating. I have mentioned the Rue de Strasbourg on the Ile St Laurant before – it is one long eatery! Lots of varied restaurants to choose from! We have still never found the fish restaurant open but we went back to the Braseirio this time. You order a variety of meat or fish, with veg or salad and coo it yourself on the little BBQ that is brought to your table! It was quite a cool evening so the BBQ did 2 jobs – warmed us and cooked our food – I had duck, pork and kangaroo!!!! Didn’t know kangaroo was a well known french delicacy…..
We drove down to check on our winter mooring at Pont de Vaux, left the car at a nearby station and got the train back to Chalon. Then on Saturday 3rd Oct we headed off, in glorious sunshine, on the final leg of our cruising this year.
Adrian opened up the throttle again and we had spray splashing over the bows a few times when other boats went past! Only one large lock and then the smaller one at the entrance to the short canal (shortest one in France, allegedly) that leads to Pont de Vaux. We moored up in our berth and were almost immediately challenged by another boater about coming onto the pontoon. we explained that we were not visiting but were here for the winter and had been given the mooring by the Capitaine.
It certainly seems that there is some dissatisfaction on the pontoons here! Phillippe, Capitaine, seems to do as little as possible and is somewhat difficult to understand, he is rather taciturn & he mumbles! Adrian has had to go over to see him several times in order to get things organised. Basically he only answers questons; doesn’t ask questions or volunteer information.
Luckily we do not have a deep draft and so didn’t have any problems getting in here but apparently quite a few boats have had damaged propellers because of the state of the access canal. Now they tell us!!! We were told yesterday that there is a petition being put together by the local business people and the boaters to try and get improvements carried out. There’s to be a meeting soon, but not sure if we’ll go.
Anyway we have found a really good swimming pool within easy walking distance and the local market on a Wednesday morning is excellent. So not all bad. And we have started doing the jobs & tidying up of the boat. We managed to pick up some scratches on out new paintwork (!) so Adrian spent the afternoon lying on the pontoon, scrubbing, sanding etc. When we have done this bit we will pull the boat over to the other side of the mooring (luckily empty at present) so we can do the other side then turn her around and start all over again for the bow end! The joys! It has caused our french pontoon neighbours some amusement that we keep turning the boat around. Hopefully that is done with now.
I have been busy at my sewing machine making sun shields / insulating covers for the wheelhouse windows. What fun – but I am really pleased with the result. Time will tell how effective they are. My next sewing job will be external covers for the windscreen and side doors. Adrian will need to drill and tap securing clasps onto the hull to hold these in place. The aim is to protect the wood from the weather as far as possible particularly when we are away during the winter.
One of our new neighbours showed us the external covers he puts over all his windows to protect the boat, improve insulation and reduce condensation. Sounds almost too good to be true! We had a good look, try and swiftly got the details of the firm in Tournus that made his covers. The amazing thing is that they are held in place with magnets! no screwing into the hull! and successfully road tested by them over 2 winters! So after some careful plotting and planning we have changed our plans for the wheelhouse and all cabin windows – we’re having some of them! Well, I shall be making them with my trusty sewing machine just as soon as we get what we need.
Today there was a Grande Foire Braderie in Pont de Vaux. I thought it would be a cross between a market and a brocante (bric a brac) but it turned out to be an absolutely huge market – went right through the whole town – right on our doorstep, so to speak. Loads of different stalls, including one with only onions and garlic, a very busy cheese stall and lots selling food from huge pans! Several bargains bought!