We moved on from Chtillon en Bazois finally on Tuesday 12th and made our way up to Baye at the top of the Nivernais. Lovely day, beautiful countryside, picturesque mooring overlooking the Etang de Baye, G & T on top deck and then dinner at the little Restaurant de la Marine. Delightful birthday for moi!
Then on through the tunnels on Weds and down the pretty valley 16 lock staircase on Wednesday to moor ‘au rural’ at Sardy les Epiry before continuing the next day to Chitry les Mines near Corbigny. We were a little surprised at being able to do this as we expected the locks to be closed for the 14th, Bastille day. But no we were told that this does not apply on the Nivernais!
This whole section is lovely and the locks are ‘manned’ by a series of temporary eclusiers and eclusieres – holiday jobs for students, and those out of work, through the summer. There are apparently something like 500 applicants for the 50 summer jobs available so they are only given one month’s work each. In that month they have to work 16 x 9 hr days and earn something like 1200 euros for the month. We met and chatted with some lovely young people who all seemed keen to work the locks and talk to the boaters. Not much evidence of the ‘lock keepers walk’ (slow slow and slow again) around the lock with these guys!
One lass was working alongside her dad and told us that they lived in one of the lockside houses along the staircase. Rural & isolated but very beautiful surrounded by wooded hillside. She said it was a bit ‘Shining’ in the winter when the trees are bare, the canal empty and no one passes by. Think it probably would be…
At another lock we had a student who was being helped by his grandfather and grandmother and then also by his cousin. He had 3 locks to deal with, several boats pretty much at the same time and the other student had gone off sick. So they made it into a family affair!
At Chitry we met John and Sue on Blue Moon and shared a drink or two – Laddie their collie insisted on joining us all and on having a quick scout through the boat. We discovered that they live very close to Lisa in Lincoln! In fact in a place I once considered moving to after Tom died. I have walked around the area and drive past it to Lisa’s school when I collect her from work sometimes. Coincidences again!
Then onwards to Tannay and then to Clamecy for a couple of nights so that I could rest the ol’ back for a day and catch up with the washing. As last year, we were moored opposite the hotel boat ‘Luciole’ that was collecting new guests. So we went and checked their schedule before trying to set off today. Needless to say they were leaving at 9am so therefore no point in us setting out much before 11am as we would just get held up behind them all through the day. ‘No point in getting old if you don’t get wise’, as me ol dad would say.
Interestingly a private barge had arrived late last night and moored in the mouth of the lock waiting to come up but then decided this morning that they didn’t want to come through first thing. They had to back up and presented the hotel boat with a bit of a tight squeeze to get out of the lock. As I sit here writing this I see that another hotel boat has arrived and is locking down and there are 3 kiddie holiday boats and two hire boats also waiting. We may not leave til after lunch …….
It is interesting to reflect on the change in Adrian’s handling of Piedaleau from last year to this – so much better – tunnels, low narrow bridges & lifting bridges all undertaken with appropriate skill and little bumping about! I’m now trying to take the helm a little more.
Before I sign off today, I must say how awful the news from Nice – the TV pictures are horrendous, feel so shocked and sorry for all who were there. xxx