We have stayed for several days in St Leger sur Dheune in order for my back / hip to repair. It was sore!
We were asked to moor at the end of the little inlet beside ‘Steinbourg’ – an ex hire penichette belonging to Robert & Jette, a Danish couple we met some years ago on the Canal des Vosges. We both well remember the restaurant where we ate that night – there was a’little problem of communication’ which meant we didn’t even start eating before Robert & Jette had virtually finished. And it was scorchingly hot – not like we ‘ve had this year so far!
Entering and leaving this mooring place was a master-class in boat manoeuvring by Captain Adrian (don’t tell him I called him that!)
On about day 3 Adrian gave the decks a thorough doing with the pressure washer whilst I did housewifely (!) type laundry duties. Anyway, all of a sudden, the cover for the vent from the shower pinged off! Literally!! (Adrian had removed some rusted screws from it when we were painting last year and these had never been replaced so it suddenly decided to go ping).
Pinged right off and into the drink! I heard the ping and the splash.
So later that afternoon Adrian donned his ‘budgie-smugglers’ and got into the water to try and locate said cover. He slowly walked up and down feeling around the stones and the mud for sometime but without success on the cover front. He declined to be photographed.
It did, however, provoke interest and comment from passers-by, as you can well imagine. Several (french, dutch) stopped for a chat.
One couple turned out to be English & were living a few hundred yards away. They had originally come to France on their 100yr old Dutch tjalk ‘Owlpen’.
I have seen this boat here along the waterways since 2009 (or perhaps 2010). The name always stuck in my mind because Tom and I spent a cold, wet weekend in Owlpen in the Cotswolds one November (2003 I think). I have very fond memories of the place – a rather querky studio flat above the Cider Press restaurant; tramping across muddy fields trying to locate the footpath; country pubs & open fires and it was the first time we watched Strictly Come Dancing! Such memories.
I remembered speaking to the couple on ‘Owlpen’ in 2009 – they called the boat after the village of Owlpen where they lived for sometime. Jill had a vague recollection of a lady speaking to them about Owlpen some years ago. She thought Misty Morning was an Irish name.
So we met again – coincidence – and they also lived for many years in Putney – coincidence.
David & Jill have had to hang up their boating shoes due to health issues and are living here at St Leger sur Dheune, on the canal side. Their boat is moored outside and is up for sale. They enjoy meeting boaty types and reminiscing about their 12 years living on their boat. And they have some stories!
Later that evening there was a knock on the boat and a Dutch guy, Jo, came to find out what Adrian had been doing & how we’d managed to get into our mooring place. Jo lives in Wimbledon – coincidence – and goes to the Italian bakers just along from where my sister lives – coincidence – he was married in St Mary’s church in Wimbledon where we used to go as kids – coincidence – and he also lived in Putney for sometime – coincidence!!
So we had a very jovial little get together with Jo, Jill & David, on our top deck the next evening where a lot of these coincidences came to light & many memories were shared.
Jill was an editor in her previous life and has become involved with a village project. Les Amis de St Leger compiled a book in 2003 collecting together information from memories of people living in the village – their memories of their lives with old photos as illustrations. Jill, in conjunction with a friend has translated the book into english and now Jill has produced a shortened version that will hopefully soon go into print aimed at visitors to the area. For those who have an historical bent, my next blog will provide some local info from that publication.
Kiwi Sue added a further coincidence to the above – apparently we had all met Jo last year at St Florentin!