We left for St Jean quite late on Thurs having been trying to sort out stuff and we have tried charging one of the batteries to see if rescue is possible. We arrived at Cascarot and had a lovely boozy dinner with Elizabeth and David. Just what the doctor ordered. Because of her other bookings this weekend we were given the ‘petit gite’ so I have now slept in all the bedrooms at Cascarot over the years. What a claim to fame…….
On Saturday (after a lovely long soak in the bath) we headed off to St Jean. As Adrian went into the chandlery at Blancquarts, Jacqui was just coming out and promptly threw herself at him! I sidled up to Martin, who was waiting patiently outside, to say a casual hello followed by a huge hug! Going onto the pontoon to their boat we immediately bumped into Larry (geezer wot we bought Piedaleau from), so Adrian shook his hand and asked some questions about the boat which should, of course, have been covered in the ‘boat manual’, but weren’t! I suggested he should do a better job of the boat manual for the next boat he sells. He was able to help in this case.
I managed to make contact with Voirrey and Andy on Bella Fortuna who were waiting on Blancquart’s visitors’ pontoon. Unfortunately Jacqui & Martin were busy that afternoon so the 4 of us went for lunch at Ecu, a well renowned routiers’ lunch spot nearby. As always, we ate extremely well – 4 courses + wine + coffee for 13 euros each – before spending the afternoon wandering around the port. There have been some changes. Most notably Piper Boats have bought and are doing up an old house in the Basin of the Burgundy Canal which will become their French base. They had organised for several Piper boats to be brought down for display over the weekend of the Salon Fluvial. This includes Bella Fortuna but she had to wait for some other old hulks to be moved before she could be brought around. Voirrey managed to bring her into a bank side mooring with no more than inches both for and aft. And with a few spectators / advisers, no doubt. Impressive!!!!
Other changes include: new shop at H2O with clubhouse for boaters; an extended capacity for Le Boat’s hire boats operation & the amount of weed throughout the basin – some boats look as if they are surrounded by a very deep pile, lush green carpet. No good for weed filters as Sue Parker and I know only too well…
Meanwhile Henk had arrived at Cascarot in order to spend time doing jobs on the boat on his own. So we got together that evening at Cascarot – just missed Bernadette’s presence but she is doing important Grandmotherly type duties back in Oz.
On Saturday we were able to wander around the salon Fluvial which was fun as there were lots of stalls and open areas. One of the most impressive boats on the sales pontoon was used as a wedding photo opportunity…..
I bought a nifty handwritten slate sign for Elizabeth’s cuisine:
‘Les épices sont a cuisiner, comme la ponctuation est a la litérature’
(spices are to cooking, as punctuation is to literature)
We met up with Georges & Lucy on Martin’s boat. Georges is renowned throughout the boating fraternity. He is a real gentleman and a wondrous boat mechanic. If he can’t do it, no one can. Apparently he has been christened ‘Saint Georges of St Jean’. And well deserved too. He came to my rescue with Misty Morning back in 2011 when my alternator casing broke – found me a new one from the local tractor repair shop, got it adjusted and fitted it. As I said at the time the only problem was that she was attracted to tractors in the fields as we cruised by…. But I digress…..
Georges spent literally hours discussing the problems on board Piedaleau with Adrian, making suggestions and offering back up if we need. So reassuring to have such support. Love him!
On Sunday morning there was a ‘vide grenier’ beside the Port so I spent a lovely morning fossicking (good NZ term) with Jacqui and Lucy. Got some real finds at wonderful prices including a cake stand for Elizabeth, a water jug and some funky coffee cups for us!
We visited the Piper boats as Lucy is considering their future ( and we all wanted a jolly good nose around). Whilst we were being shown around one Piper Lucy suddenly shrieked that we were moving – we weren’t – but a raft of 4 hulks was, straight towards the lined up Piper boats! Scary! Simon Piper and another guy jumped into action with 2 boats and tried to literally push this rusting raft away. Demonstrated how manoeuvrable they are and saved several boats, & their pristine paintwork, from a nasty bump. Eventually a tug boat was brought in to get the rafted boats back in position. Excitement. Needed to taste a restorative red wine at the stall nearby afterwards….
Then we all headed back to Cascarot for lunch – Jacqui, Martin, Georges, Lucy + Veronica and Bill (the new owners of Waga Nui Tony & Sue’s old boat) + Henk + David and Elizabeth. Special guests to dinner were Rupert (Martin’s Vide Grenier 1 euro bear) & Esmerelda (Elizabeth’s sister’s creation). We had a wonderful afternoon and Elizabeth put her new Cake Stand to good use with one of her upside-down-plum-cake creations!
Then, on Monday, after a truly loverly weekend, back to Port aux Cerises, to Piedaleau and the walk of shame…..
You will be pleased to know that 2 batteries have now charged up (fingers crossed they maintain it) and 2 more are charging. Even managed to borrow another charger so we have 2 on the go at once. Adrian is finalising the order for the solar panels and necessary fitments and the dishwasher is about to be delivered.