Now we have water and electric, the new posh batteries are working well. So we decided it was time for little a R & R before working to get all up and running before we return to UK for a week for Adrian to assist William with some issues.
So we headed back to St Jean de Losne to meet up with Tony & Sue and, hopefully, Michelle and John before they headed off cruising. What a great time we had! First we called in at Cascarot to see Elizabeth (had key in case we needed bed for the night) As we walked along the pontoons looking for Tony & Sue we kept meeting people – there was Georges, David, John & Michelle, then Veronica and then when we got to Tony & Sue’s boat they had invited Mandy and Bill over. Great evening had by all – luckily, even though their boat had only been put into the water the day before Tony & Sue had prepared for us to stay over so that we could have a drink or two together.
On Saturday we had some jobs to do (making good use of the chandlers at both H2O & Blanquarts) before taking Tony & Sue down to Cascarot to meet Elizabeth and to enjoy a stunning lunch. They both loved the setting & were very impressed by all she has achieved – and by lunch!!!
Later we went over to Le Gannet to catch up with John & Michelle & to meet Ian, Cynthia and Keith (more kiwis) on Wine Down. I have seen their boat on the waterways previously but never met them before. Once again different names came up in the conversation & it really is amazing how small a community this french boating one is. Lots of people in common.
We returned to Port aux Cerises today ready to start on the solar panels installation in earnest. Adrian was able to pick Phillippe’s (electrician at Blancquart) brain on this and we bought various little bits and pieces so that he should be all set.
What is amazing here is the real sense of community within the Port. Several people have referred to life here as being like a village. Everyone knows each other, there is a ‘residents’ association’ and everyone tries to help each other. So many people ask us how we are progressing, we have been lent equipment (notably battery chargers!) and had offers of help. There is also a striking difference in that most of the boats here are live aboards. Predominantly French people, singletons, couples, families living here (Hervé told us that their 2 year old son was born on the boat) and going off to work in the mornings. Two families we see frequently share childcare. Interesting to see how sure footed and confident a 3 year old can be playing on the roof of his ‘boat home’!
There also appears to be quite a musical community here – apparently there are several musicians living here and sometimes all get together for an evening’s entertainment. We haven’t seen that yet (we live in hope) but our neighbour is a renowned french jazz flutist and we sometimes hear him practising in his boat, lovely to hear!
Here’s a youtube link – shows him practsisng in his boat! Do try the other links to Magic Malik, he’s a delightful and very talented young man.
In contrast, at Blancquarts in St Jean, it seems to be almost an ex-pat type English speaking community, that includes Kiwis and Australians of course. In fact at the weekend several people in St Jean were saying that they have little contact with french people & therefore less opportunity to practice their french. We certainly get to speak french here at Port aux Cerises, borrowing chargers & comparing varnishing options for example! We enjoy both types of community!