After Clamecy we headed to Chatel Censoir, arriving fairly late and Adrian having to do a rather difficult stern mooring after a rather hectic & hot day. Initially we were on our own but then we were joined by the hire-boat-family-from-hell! We think they were Austrian.
Basically the guy at the helm didn’t like being behind us because we slow down to go through low, narrow bridges and to go into the locks. He kept hooting at us and when I went to see what the matter was he indicated his watch and motioned for us to move aside. Perhaps that would work with cars on a motorway but not with boats on a narrow canal with frequent obstacles to negotiate ie those locks and bridges. There wasn’t really room for him to overtake &, even if he did, he would have to wait for us at the next lock because the eclusier would not work the lock twice when 2 boats could fit in together. So we carried on regardless. He followed us into Chatel Censoir but did not want to moor properly, just kept demanding where the showers were. All 6 people aboard then used the showers, he refused to pay the 11 euro mooring charge, they all returned to the boat & left! But at least they had gone!
The next day we locked through with a delightful English family on a hire boat who were going even slower than us!
Talk about chalk & cheese!
We stopped at Mailly le Chateau – a beautiful rural mooring which we enjoyed last year. But we didn’t get to sleep on the top deck this time because after Adrian had collected the car we drove off to meet Martin, Jacqui on Akaroa & Tony, Sue on Waimanu at Vermenton for the evening. It was so hot that we all went for a swim at the ‘beach’ before dinner.
We stayed over on Wainmanu and then went back to Piedaleau and got away promptly in order not to get held up by the hotel peniche that was due to leave after lunch.
On our way past the Vermenton canal we were hailed in the lock by the 4 kiwis on their bikes – they had been off to catch fish at the trout farm. They had caught several before they realised that they had to buy their catch. We were presented with a huge, very delicious trout!
During that evening we discovered that it was soon to be Martin’s birthday (fri) and then Tony’s birthday (tues) and of course I had already had mine. So we planned a 3-way celebration on Friday. We arrived in Auxerre on Thurs & then we drove back to Vermenton for the birthday bash! And a very fine joint birthday bash it was, complete with Champagne, Cremant, a gorgeous cake & a chocolate escargot for the birthday boy!
Back to the boat in Auxerre on Saturday morning, checked the boat, parked the car up (so that we could progress faster as we have decided we could get to Port aux Cerises in time to meet up with Lea and then Lisa) and we were off onto the river Yonne. This is a wide river in comparison to the canals we have been on, with wooded hillside all around. Harvest time has arrived so we saw combine harvesters at work and bright fields of sunflowers.
We aimed to moor at Laroche St Cydroine (just past Migennes) but were nearly thwarted by a hire boat coming in the opposite direction which started to aim for the same pontoon. No more ‘Mr Nice guy’ Adrian went for it and beat him to the mooring!
Onwards early next morning to Sens. We had time to walk up into the Cathedral Square for a bit of culture – Birmingham festival Choral Society were giving concert in the Cathedrale St Etienne – and a beer in the sunshine in the Cathedrale square. We did 45 kms (only 9 locks) in the day, more distance, less obstacles, so we were clocking it! And we could have the canopy up to protect us from the sun – can’t do that on the canals.
The locks changed from here – some had one sloping side, some 2 sloping sides with a floating pontoon to moor to and then 3 locks with 2 sloping sides but no pontoon to moor to! Quite a learning curve for Piedaleau & Adrian – much more difficult than when I did it with little Misty Morning!
We all survived and then had great difficulty finding a mooring space at Montereau faut Yonne. Eventually a Dutch couple moved forward a little so that we could squeeze in against a wall.
A little later there was a knock on our roof and a lady from the boat behind told us that they had been seriously interested in buying Piedaleau about 2 yrs ago. Asked if we’d changed the name and what she was called previously. They were the bods in Jersey that Larry-the-Lamb kept talking about! He described one as ‘the lady consultant from Jersey’ and used their ‘interest’ to try and force our hand. We joined them for a drink and were given a guided tour of their new boat – Puddle Duck. They commissioned it from new from a boat builder in UK and seemed to have had a hellish time getting what they wanted. Such a shame as it ‘taints’ what should be such a fun and exciting project. Is there ever an easy way to buy a boat? Makes the service and support Tom & I had from Sheerline seem really exceptional.
Anyway they are now here, living on their boat and heading for Roanne for the winter. Good luck!
Tomorrow we join the river Seine…..