Nadine

DSC09199

Nadine came to join us for a week on board – second visitor who has joined us without the boat going anywhere! But at least we were in the water this time!!

Nadine had come to France after teaching for a month in Spain and was sorely in need of some R & R! So we did our best to provide this…… we went to markets at Pont de Vaux and Tournus; we visited the town of Bourg en Bresse; walked; went swimming; ate some super meals, including a return visit to Aux Terrasses to celebrate Nadine’s birthday; bought some nice wine and then all went down to Lyon to return her to Sophie and Hubert before she had to fly off to Brisbane to see her brother.

We also stayed for a couple of days in Lyon and thoroughly enjoyed the break. We met Sophie and Hubert and all had dinner together. We have each heard a lot about the other from Nadine over the years so it was nice to meet properly. We went to a restaurant called Le Sud which was excellent.

We visited the Musee des Beaux Arts with Nadine and then Adrian and I walked around le Vieux Lyon enjoying the quaint old streets, traboules (passageways between the streets that were used as short cuts by the silk weavers in times gone by), and little shops. The whole area is becoming increasingly focused on tourists so that many shops sell rather overpriced touristy-type-tat but I did find an interesting photography shop ina traboule selling compilation photos of old Lyon – so I bought one of shop fronts which is now adorning the back cabin – overpriced no doubt but rather nice.

We then met Nadine and Sophie for lunch at the newly opened Musee des Confluences. We managed to drive to the vicinity pretty easily but finding the car park for this huge new attraction was a different matter! On the third attempt and about 20 minutes later we finally got there. After another good lunch we all wanted to go to the newly opened musee – but so did half of Lyon and their kids! Half term hols we think. The queue was horrendous and we all decided that this was not the time to go ……. if it was this noisy outside what would it be like inside!!!

So we took our leave of Nadine and Sophie and went to visit the new port and the chandlery. We saw the berth that we had been offered at Lyon – beside the shopping centre, under the rail bridge and both agreed that we were much happier at Pont de Vaux with places like Lyon, Tournus, Macon and Lechatelet within driving distance.

 20151019_161001 20151020_10312420151019_160839

 

20151020_145350

 

 

 

Pont de Vaux

A pleasant little sojourn in Chalon sur Saone – a bit of visiting, a bit of shopping and a bit of eating. I have mentioned the Rue de Strasbourg on the Ile St Laurant before – it is one long eatery! Lots of varied restaurants to choose from! We have still never found the fish restaurant open but we went back to the Braseirio this time. You order a variety of meat or fish, with veg or salad and coo it yourself on the little BBQ that is brought to your table! It was quite a cool evening so the BBQ did 2 jobs – warmed us and cooked our food – I had duck, pork and kangaroo!!!! Didn’t know kangaroo was a well known french delicacy…..

We drove down to check on our winter mooring at Pont de Vaux, left the car at a nearby station and got the train back to Chalon. Then on Saturday 3rd Oct we headed off, in glorious sunshine, on the final leg of our cruising this year.

DSCF0787

Adrian opened up the throttle again and we had spray splashing over the bows a few times when other boats went past! Only one large lock and then the smaller one at the entrance to the short canal (shortest one in France, allegedly) that leads to Pont de Vaux. We moored up in our berth and were almost immediately challenged by another boater about coming onto the pontoon. we explained that we were not visiting but were here for the winter and had been given the mooring by the Capitaine.

It certainly seems that there is some dissatisfaction on the pontoons here! Phillippe, Capitaine, seems to do as little as possible and is somewhat difficult to understand, he is rather taciturn & he mumbles! Adrian has had to go over to see him several times in order to get things organised. Basically he only answers questons; doesn’t ask questions or volunteer information.

Luckily we do not have a deep draft and so didn’t have any problems getting in here but apparently quite a few boats have had damaged propellers because of the state of the access canal. Now they tell us!!! We were told yesterday that there is a petition being put together by the local business people and the boaters to try and get improvements carried out. There’s to be a meeting soon, but not sure if we’ll go.

Anyway we have found a really good swimming pool within easy walking distance and the local market on a Wednesday morning is excellent. So not all bad. And we have started doing the jobs & tidying up of the boat. We managed to pick up some scratches on out new paintwork (!) so Adrian spent the afternoon lying on the pontoon, scrubbing, sanding etc. When we have done this bit we will pull the boat over to the other side of the mooring (luckily empty at present) so we can do the other side then turn her around and start all over again for the bow end! The joys! It has caused our french pontoon neighbours some amusement that we keep turning the boat around. Hopefully that is done with now.

I have been busy at my sewing machine making sun shields / insulating covers for the wheelhouse windows. What fun – but I am really pleased with the result. Time will tell how effective they are. My next sewing job will be external covers for the windscreen and side doors. Adrian will need to drill and tap securing clasps onto the hull to hold these in place. The aim is to protect the wood from the weather as far as possible particularly when we are away during the winter.

One of our new neighbours showed us the external covers he puts over all his windows to protect the boat, improve insulation and reduce condensation. Sounds almost too good to be true! We had a good look, try and swiftly got the details of the firm in Tournus that made his covers. The amazing thing is that they are held in place with magnets! no screwing into the hull! and successfully road tested by them over 2 winters! So after some careful plotting and planning we have changed our plans for the wheelhouse and all cabin windows – we’re having some of them! Well, I shall be making them with my trusty sewing machine just as soon as we get what we need.

Today there was a Grande Foire Braderie in Pont de Vaux. I thought it would be a cross between a market and a brocante (bric a brac) but it turned out to be an absolutely huge market – went right through the whole town – right on our doorstep, so to speak. Loads of different stalls, including one with only onions and garlic, a very busy cheese stall and lots selling food from huge pans! Several bargains bought!

Onwards….

We returned to Montceau-les-Mines to continue down the Canal du Centre to get to the Saone. The weather is beautiful – chilly at night and in the mornings but sunny, bright a nd really quite warm as the day progresses. It makes cruising a pleasure and so we have been able to press on. We stopped over at St Julian sur Dheune and then Santenay.

DSCF0768 DSCF0764

The moorings at Santenay are basic, but usually full as it is such a pretty village with many wine producers selling directly to the public. We were the only boat there! So we nipped up to the Chateau de Santenay to buy some wine (ready for Christmas) before we left on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately we have decided to take our waistlines back in control and so we did not revisit the restaurant that we went to with Andries and Corrie last year. Shame! But we got the wine!!!

Quite a few of the locks on the Canal Centre are 5m+ deep and have rising bollards which actually makes the operation easier. For those who haven’t seen such things basically you tie up to the bollard and it goes either up or down as the water level rises or falls. Simple – but a couple of times we thought they were not going to budge, which would have been interesting!

DSCF0755DSCF0756

Our final stopover on the Canal du Centre was at Fragnes – which was full to bursting – not least because much of the mooring area is out of use awaiting contractors to redo work wrongly specified by the VNF. The lass in the Capitainerie told us that it has been like this since Christmas! I bought more of their postcards which feature Misty Morning!

Then today (30th Sept) we went through the last lock on the Centre – its deep, over 11m – and onto the river Saone. Adrian opened the throttle & we got up to the giddy heights of 10.7kph! We cruised down the Saone to Chalon sur Saone in glorious sunshine. As always I enjoy coming into a city on the river and the sunshine really made it beautiful. We are moored bow  into the first line of boats and so have a stunning view from our stern windows.

DSCF0783 DSCF0785 DSCF0786

We are stopping here for a few days before the final leg to Pont de Vaux for our winter mooring.

 

Beaune & Cascarot

After Mary and Hywel left we headed for Montceau-les-Mines and had to run the gauntlet of the lifting bridges coming into town. Virtually have to be touching the first one for it to ‘see’ you and start the operation. By the time it did we had another boat behind us and one coming towards us so the road traffic had to wait ages while all the boats went through – don’t suppose we were very popular!

DSCF0700 DSCF0698

We moored at Montceau and took a few days out. Henk & Bernadette and their neighbours Annie & Tony were arriving at Lechatelet to stay at Cascarot whilst they winterised The Bernadette. Shame we couldn’t get the two boats to meet up this year but we were not going to miss a get together at Cascarot! Eli zabeth and David had obviously been busy – more improvements – and the place is becoming busier as word gets around. Elizabeth cooked  up a storm on Thursday night and we all went to La Garaudiere the Friday to celebrate Tony’s birthday. Henk and Adrian went into competition over who would have, and finish, the biggest ‘jarret de porc’ (hock of porc). A very close run thing…..DSCF0704

DSCF0750 DSCF0751

Whilst Henk and Bernadette were slaving away at their winterising we went to Beaune with Annie and Tony and visited the Hotel-Dieu des Hospices de Beaune – founded in 1443 for the care of the poor-sick, it was used as a hospital until 1955. Externally the roof line is magnificent with turrets and burgundian tiles in intricate patterns. The grande salle is imposing, had beds lining both walls and was linked to the chapel. There was a strong belief that healing went hand in hand with religion and so the Hotels de Dieu incorporated chapels. And likewise the pharmacies are superb – the one at Beaune has an area for the manufacture of medicines and rows of bottles and urns which contained all kinds of weird and wonderful oils, unguents, elixirs and powders.

The polyptych of the Last Judgement is on display in a special room.

DSCF0743

So all in all we had a super few days at Cascarot and it was great to see Henk, Bernadette, Annie and Tony again….. and, of course, Elizabeth and David!

 

Mary & Hywel

Mary and Hywel came to visit. Well, Mary invited themselves en route home from her sister’s place near Nice. I’m sure it was more than a slight detour but what’s a few kms between friends. We just love it when friends come aboard – love showing off Piedaleau and enjoying a glass or so…..

Mary and Hywel met us at Digoin to stay a couple of nights so we planned a short onward cruise to Paray le Monial – only 11kms and 3 locks – but didn’t take them far off their route.

This weekend was Le weekend due Patrimoine, which means that lots of places are open to the public free of charge. Mary and I walked up to the aqueduct at Digoin and watched a local fun run going over the aqueduct and back the other side – luckily I don’t think anyone slipped or tripped – and then visited the Ceramics Museums. Michel acted as our guide and tried to ‘do it in English’ for us! We had quite a laugh and were able to correct some of the english in the info sheets they provide eg you fire, not cook, a pot. He was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, if a little unaware of ‘personal space’ at times!!! I say no more.

On a misty Sunday morning we set off for Paray le Monial – we kept thinking the mist was lifting, and that the sun would make an appearance – it took it’s time but we did manage appertifs on the top deck in the evening.

The mooring at Paray was nearly full – several big barges – but we managed to sqeeze in on the end and another boater kindly lent us a 50m cable so that we could reach the electrics. Never seem to have quite the right stuff!

We visited th Basilica, the Church of the Apparition, the Hotel de Ville and the Museum – all free this weekend.

 

Adrian hunted on Trip Advisor again and we dined at the Hostellerie des Trois Pigeons. Another find! Nicely appointed restaurant although seemed a little formal (especially after Raboliot) but it is renowned for its dessert and cheese trollies. The waitress was able to list all 15 items of the dessert trolley and ?items on the cheese trolley without hesitation or repetition……. A short round of applause and we made our selections!

 

 

Dawdling around Decize

DSCF0661 DSCF0658

Well we arrived in Decize on 9th Sept & spent a couple of nights on the river mooring by the old town in glorious sunshine and then moved into the recently done up port when the weather was due to change for the worst. I washed everything in sight on Friday before the rains came over the weekend.

We stayed in the new port last year and were impressed with the high tech security. This year they seemed to have lowered their prices so as to encourage more boaters so it really is very reasonable now – 9 euros a day inc water & electric.

On Wednesday Adrian decided we should go out to dinner and hunted on Trip Advisor for a suitable establishment. He found a little place just outside of town that seemed to have great reviews. He booked it and orf we jolly well went. Took a while to find the place but eventually we drove down a little track off the road and found Collette’s house cum restaurant. And what a find it was!

‘Raboliot’ – Poacher – is named after the novel of the same name by Maurice Genevoix a local author. It fronts onto the Canal Laterale a la Loire so it is possible to moor up and dine out!

The menu is simple – no choices to make – just whatever she is cooking that evening! For us it was charcuterie, omelette, cheese followed by pineapple upside down cake! We started off out under the trees but moved indoors as the evening cooled.

There we got talking to a french couple – M & Mme Robert – delightful couple and he has a very drole sense of hunour! They are regulars at Raboliot eating there at least once most weeks.

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening and were delighted to learn that Collette was hosting a jazz duo on the Friday. We contacted Bruce at Gannay and booked up for the Friday night extranvaganza…… When we arrived Sharon and Alan from Drumsara were also there so we had an extremely jolly evening – Adrian said ours was the noisiest table! There were about 40 people at the do and the weather held out so that everyone was outside enjoying the music, Collette’s buffet & chatting with all around. Beatrice and Gilbert spent quite a lot of time at our table as Beatrice just loved Chilley (Sharon and Alan’s dog. M & Mme Robert were there for a while too and so we had a glass of wine with them! M Robert showed me the large box of figs from his trees that he had brought for Collette – and I asked why he hadn’t brought us any! So, a couple of days later we had a call from M Robert and we arranged an afternoon trip back to Raboliot to collect some figs!

Another lovely sunny day so we were able to sit outside and enjoy freshly made gauffres with home made jam – fig of course!

Sharon and Alan also had a visit from Beatrice and Gilbert – so that was another very boozy event. I wasn’t too well the next day and so we didn’t go with Sharon & Alan to visit Beatrice and Gilbert’s beautiful house. Sharon brought back little peaches from their garden!

DSCF0659

So then, on Weds 16th we had a ‘eat up’ on Bruce’s boat as he is returning to the States at the weekend. A huge paella followed by barbecued figs and plums and peaches poached in amerretto.

 

The whole week has been superb and the catalyst was Collette & Raboliot – the atmosphere at her little restaurant is such that connections and friendships are formed. Thanks Collette!

And Bon Voyage to Bruce and Sharon & Alan!

DSCF0665 DSCF0664

Gently down the Nivernais….

It’s lovely to be able to take our time down the Nivernais – a beautiful, rural canal with with changing scenery – from wooded hillsides to rolling arable fields to built up towns .

We had a bit of a delay leaving Chatillon en Bazois but then we were paired with a hire boat – having grabbed ‘our’ lock they had to wait for us at the next, and the next… We do have to approach locks rather sowly and carefully. The ecluusiers are now having to pair bots when possible because of diminishing water supplies.

We stopped at a little place called Fleury for the night – lovely little place which has certainly gone up in the world since 2009, with the old lock keeper’s cottage turned into a simple little restaurant. We believe in supporting the local economy so we ate there and then had the most wonderful starlit sky and the sound of owls.

We have seen many raptors – red kites certainly but also a buzzard and a young raptor still with fluffy feathers sitting on a fence post.

We also saw a red squirrel come to drink at the canal side then turn tail and scurry back up a tree when he saw us……… and a pair of kingfishers dart across the water at Pannecot.

Another first was a Philippines flag! Had to check that one out in my eye spy book of flags!!

Pannecot had come down in the world – the water was very silted up and weedy. Not an easy place to get in and out of especially as there were two right angled bends with the pull of the nearby weir to contend with. Amazing how easily Piedaleau is pulled off course!

But we met up with a great Aus couple on a hireboat – David and Jennie – and cruised with them for a couple of days. Cercy la Tour was a very pleasant stopover and I walked up to Our Lady of the Nivernais which dominates the skyline of the small town.

And finally we got to the end of the Nivernais and arrived at Decize – what a relief! We have managed the twists and turns, the narrow locks, narrow and low bridges and the lifting bridges that didn’t quite lift…… What’s interesting is that the low bridges marked were not really the most difficult – others that were really, really low had no warning at all! Still we got through this beautiful canal……

DSCF0640DSCF0641  DSCF0639

 

 

We  moored on the Loire at the foot of the old town with a couple of other barges – made Piedaleau look small! And if we thought we had difficulty getting through some of those locks and bridges then this 20m peniche was severely challenged – they had to fully dismantle her wheelhouse and  she left quite a lot of paint on the lock walls as she could hardly squeeze through (5.03m wide). This morning Adrian and Alan ( from another barge) helped to lift her side panel back into position – took ages for them to put her back together gain !

DSCF0642 DSCF0644

2015 – part 2

We spent a rather hectic August back home in Buckden – seeing the kids, grandkid, other family and friends. We did lots of exciting things – theatre, London Eye, museums, farewell party on the meadow (saying bye bye to Trish who is moving away from the Old Flour Mills) to name but a few.

And then suddenly it was time to head back to France, Piedaleau and our ‘other’ life.

So, on Weds 2nd, after a very early start (2.30am to be precise!), followed by a return home 10 mins later to collect our french motorway ‘clicker’ which was in my car but we had decided to take Adrian’s! Senior moments are us! For those of you who don’t know about this little gizmo it really is great – you attach it to your car windscreen, then when you approach the barrier at a toll booth on french motorway it magically raises in front of you! No queuing or having to reach over to the machine, or even sometimes getting out and walking around to the other side of the car cos you’re in a right hand drive car ………the only downside is the monthly bill! But I is so much quicker and easier. So we couldn’t come to France without it……

Luckily our little detour did not cause us to miss our 5.45 chunnel booking.

We took turns driving and zzzzing our way down through France and around the Paris peripherique and arrived at Baye around 3.00pm.

Then we unpacked and looked about……..

And what did I spot? A Sheerline 955 coming towards us!!!!

Got out me binoculars to check I wasn’t seeing things and then said hello to Ilona and her crew!

They were heading towards the tunnels, so going in the opposite direction to us, and invited us to join them for a drink on the other side of the tunnels. So, an hour or so later we drove over to meet Richard and Fiona.

We had actually seen them in April ….. luckily I don’t think they heard what I said at the time…… ‘my other boat’s a Sheerline’! Adrian was mortified at the time! But I can’t say that anymore….

Apparently they had seen photos of Misty Morning on Sheerline’s website and had tried to contact me before they brought their boat over  but without success, as no one would give them my details even though I’d told Gary at Sheerline that I would be pleased to be in contact with other Sheerline owners over here.

We had a most enjoyable drinkie poo and then Adrian and I went to the local restaurant, as we were beyond cooking after our long day.

So we stayed Thurs and Friday at Baye, recovering from the journey and doing various little jobs…. we put up Tom’s clock and barometer from Misty Morning and the water colour that Peter Shipley did of Misty Morning at Chatillon en Bazois. Lovely to have mementos of Misty Morning on Piedaleau.

We left Baye on Saturday 5th September on a calm, if overcast morning and headed down the Canal du Nivernais. One of our early challenges was the very low bridge at PK62 – marked as height restriction of 2.7m. We had driven down to check it out whilst we were in Migennes, so we knew the 2.7m was at the sides and that, provided we kept to the middle we would be alright. We did and we were – a celebratory cheer went up.

DSCF0615DSCF0618

Our second eclusier asked if we would like to hear some music while the lock was emptying……. he picked up his hurdy gurdy machine and played for us. A delightful first!

DSCF0616

And tonight we are moored at Chatillon-en-Bazois and I have taken Piedaleau’s photo in front of the chateau for posterity’s sake.

DSCF0620

 

Bye bye Misty Morning

A brief post just to let you know that Misty Morning has been sold and is now on the Thames. I think she may keep her name, which I am pleased about.

I hope her new owners have as much fun and adventure on her  as I have had. I know many of you have also had good times on her and wish her (and them) well!

Thanks to all my family and friends who joined me over the 6 summers Misty Morning & I spent in France.  We had some challenges …. but it really has been brilliant!

If you see her give her a wave!

 

summer 2010 584France 09 230_PS

Veselay

I never go around to doing a post about Veselay as the wifi connections have been very poor a lot of the time, so I thought I’d just attach some photos as it is such a beautiful place.