We are home & it’s ages since I wrote my last blog – I even got told off by Heidi the other day – so I shall have to try and paint a bit of a picture of what (where and when) we’re been up to since my last post.
We seem to have done our fair share of eating, drinking and partying…..
Soon after we arrived in Porte aux Cerises we met up with Alan, Sharon, John & Winnie and all went out for dinner. Whilst looking for an Indian restaurant we stumbled across a local bar which did some basic but nicely prepared fresh food – and had a very good evening amongst the locals, always good fun.
On Monday 1st August we jumped in the car and headed off to Troyes to meet up with Adrian’s ex wife & hubby in order to collect Liam (Adrian’s youngest) and bring him back to the boat for 2 weeks. On the 3rd we headed out of Porte aux Cerises, stopping at Nogent sur Marne and then mooring up at Lagny sur Marne on the Thursday. We had arranged to meet up with Michelle & John (Le Gannet) to have dinner together as we hadn’t seen them or a couple of years.
As often happens when on the waterways Winnie & John (Avesol) were already there and then along came Alan & Sharon (Drumsara) – instant party! In such circumstances ‘apero’ seem to last longer than anticipated. We had a really good evening and were able to spend time with Michelle & John.
Next morning (Fri 5th Aug) we were up and headed for the station to board a local bus for Euro Disney. Yep, my belated birthday treat was a day at Euro Disney! We met up with Lisa, Fred and their friends. They had been there all week (!!!) Fortunately for them the queues hadn’t been bad at all until Friday when we, & the french arrived! Apparently the french schools had just broken up so that day was truly awful with an hour and a half queues for rides & 20 mins for the loo!!!! Not our idea of fun really but Fred & Lisa et al seemed to have had a great time.
We then had to collect all Lisa’s luggage and head back to the boat for a special ‘fish finger gourmet feast’ for Fred! What are Nanas for, I ask???
Next day it was onwards to Meaux with a full crew on board. Freddie – resplendent in his new life jacket (desperate to pull the cord &/or blow the whistle) came up front with me to watch how the big locks work. Lisa and Liam took their responsibilities as rope and waving crew very seriously. Very important job the waving, especially when little kiddies are on the bank. I’ve taught them well. They all got involved in the ‘colouring in’ a market buy of a poster of London!
Meaux turned into another party….. or two!!
Winnie & John were there so they invited everyone else on the quay for ‘aperos’.
And then the next day we heard that Alan & Sharon were due to arrive and that Sharon was planning a ‘surprise BBQ’ for Alan’s birthday. John immediately set about making plans and inviting everyone on the quay to join in. Their arrival required some boat maneuvering so that Drumsara could be against a pontoon to allow Chelley easy access – got to look after the dog.
Freddie was a bit disappointed not to be cruising again but soon got into party mode as everyone involved him in the fun. He helped Alan blow out the candles on his cakes & he proudly showed his Darth Vader mask and Mickey Mouse hands – Alan put the latter to a somewhat dubious use later on in the evening….. We met some new bods – Stella & Simon (Grizzled Skipper) and Amanda & John ( ). Amanda and I both thought we’d met before & eventually she remembered that we’d talked briefly in the Pont de Vaux Tourist Info Centre last spring when we went to check it out! Small world….
Often in august towns set up ‘plages’ along the rivers – there was one in Meaux which Lisa and I visited with Fred. There was also one we visited at La Villette in Paris. After Meaux we retraced our steps to Nogent sur Marne and then headed into the Arsenal in the centre of Paris for 3 days. Had a great time.
Adrian and Liam went off cycling around Paris while Lisa, Fred and I headed for the Eiffel Tower. Freddie very much wanted to go to the top but Lisa is not good heights – she made it to the second level, which was quite an achievement – and then Freddie and I went to the top! Nana duties have no boundaries it seems!
We met up with our American friends Genevieve and Bill (River Pipit) who now have a permanent mooring in the Arsenal (they have both black & grey water storage tanks!) They came for aperos and Lisa proudly showed Genevieve Fred’s art work. She promptly invited him to an art session on her boat next day. Fred absolutely loved it. Not many 9 year olds get an art session, with an American artist, on a boat in the centre of Paris! Brilliant – thanks Genevieve x
We all went to visit a kids hands on science museum up near La Villette which Liam remembered visiting as a kid himself, so a little trip down memory lane & an excuse to have ‘another go’ for Liam.
Our final morning in Paris featured THE CRUISE AROUND – from the Arsenal right along to, and around, the statue of Liberty, passing the Eiffel Tower and the Ile de la Cite. I, of course, did this in 2010, (complete with fly past of the French air force) but it was a FIRST for Adrian. Nothing quite like cruising through Paris on your own boat! MAGIC
Lisa, Liam and Fred had a great time ….. WAVING ….. at everyone. They got it off to a fine art!
Whole boat fulls of tourists waved back;
People on bridges and along the banks waved back;
Police divers waved back;
Passing peniche captains waved back;
One poor guy who had just been having a pee, waved back (after checking his attire, of course);
Bateaux mouches captains and peniche captains tooted their horns ….. and waved back!
Then we headed back to Porte Aux Cerises so that we could make good use of the facilities in the park there. Liam had to return home on the Monday but Lisa and Fred stayed until the Friday so we went to the pool (ugh! – never seen anywhere soooo crowded, you could literally not swim at all, just stood in the water); played mini golf; went kayaking and Fred wanted to do the forest rope course – you know the type of thing: you wear a harness & are attached via cables and you climb, scramble, walk along wires, go down zip wires etc etc. Before you ask – Nana duties do NOT extend this far! I did the translation and made sure Fred understood what he had to do. Poor Lisa had to go with Fred – this was a major thing for her but she did it! Nearly lost her nerve right towards the end but by then it was too late she just had to get on with it. I acted as ground crew – keeping an eye on, and providing encouragement to, both of them! The guy in charge came round frequently and asked every time if Fred and then Lisa were OK! Fred wanted to have another go on his last day, much to Lisa’s dismay, but she was saved by the rain!!! We had had absolutely super weather throughout these 3 weeks so that we really couldn’t complain at one day of rain.
Then last Friday we took the train up to the Gare du Nord to put Lisa and Fred on the EuroStar home. We spent the afternoon in Paris then headed back to Piedaleau for a glass of wine and an early night………. Rather tired but very pleased that all had had a super holiday together on Piedaleau.
We spent Sat and Sunday washing and tidying and then headed home ourselves on Monday. What should have been a shorter journey home than we are used to, didn’t quite work out that way – we had a bit of a wait for our tunnel crossing and then a puncture as soon as we arrived in the UK!
We are now into major planning mode for the house sale, flat purchase & installation of William and Liam in the flat. Be so good when that is completed.