It is amazing what happens, how things develop of their own accord, when you stop long enough to smell the roses…
We have remained at Chatillon-en-Bazois, allowing my back to recover. Been moored here a fortnight! Unbelievable …. but we have become quite settled and have found some ‘little gems’ to visit.
The first was Hello-Velo. A cafe / chambres d’hote / table d’hote as recommended by both the GP I visited and the local bicycle repair guy. Have to take your hat off to people like Jo and Greg who buy an old barn in the middle of very rural France, set about doing it up and then move here lock, stock & barrel + 4 year old to live their dream of living in France and bringing their son up in the country. Basically they now have 3 chambres d’hotes and a cafe / restaurant serving ‘plats et specialites du conte du Yorkshire’. We went there for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed meeting them and 7 yr old, Solomon. The lunch menu was built around crumpets – yep crumpets – with different accompaniments. I had ‘le Chevre’ – crumpets with goats cheese and salad. Adrian had ‘le Full Monty’ – basically full English breakfast with crumpets. We liked the description of ‘le Oui ou Non’ which was basically Marmite on crumpets, complete with a french explanation – you either like Marmite or you don’t!
Jo told us about a couple of places nearby and so on Saturday we went to La Grangee for dinner. Another delightful restaurant with a good reputation in a tiny village which would be difficult to find without personal recommendation. Run by a french guy and his Japanese wife, who is the patisserie chef. Again straight forward menu – choice of 2 set menus and a good wine selection. A delightful evening, early birthday dinner for me and shared with some new friends.
Rosemary and John arrived on Petronella a few days ago. We were both warned to look out for each other by Gail and Muzz. How could we risk Gail’s rath by not going out to dinner together? And we found that we know a lot of people together – mainly kiwis but also Georges and Elizabeth and David! I think we invented a new game – ‘do you know who we know?’ You remember the story of Misty Morning and her alternator (replaced by Georges with tractor alternator) apparently Georges tells that story, just as I do. I wonder if Misty still turns towards the bank on the Thames if she sees cows in the field?
Really shows what a select club this boating in France lark is. In fact Rosemary and John are co-ordinators of the NZ french boaters club! Lovely to extend our network and contacts.
So we all went out to dinner at La Grangee together and then on Sunday we went to the local ‘fete’ at Chatillon, complete with stalls, folk dancing and a salad competition. Jo from Hello-Velo had told me this would be worth attending and sampling, and it certainly was. Salads of all descriptions: basic, fancy, sweet, savoury, spicy, naked (a lettuce straight from the garden) and even one for your pets! There was a ‘TV celebrity chef’, a judging panel, prizes and lots of speeches from one and all, as only the french can do. Then the ‘repas’ with a tray costing 10euros which you could fill with all those delicious salads. And buy a local potter’s ceramic bowl for an extra 5 euros. Lunch saw us all through to the evening!
So we thoroughly enjoyed these last few days. Rosemary and I decided that Muzz and Gail really need to visit Elizabeth at Lechatelet. I rang her with this instruction. Hope they get there as we all think they’ll get on great with Elizabeth and David.
And then as we waved goodbye to Rosemary and John at the lock we said ‘bonjour’ to a guy returning to his boat with his baguette, ‘Hello are you kiwis?’ he replied! Can’t get away from them!!! After a little natter he asked us to pass his details onto to Rosemary and John re the kiwi french boaters group! I’m even acting as their recruitment secretary now!!!!