3rd May 2015
It has been raining for several days now.
May 1st is a French Bank Holiday and, just as in the UK, it rained ALL day! Since navigation is closed for the day anyway we weren’t concerned – just stayed put in Veneray les Laumes in a little port with water and electricity available so ‘no worries!’
Yesterday we set orf again with a hire boat with 4 really nice french people on board. Their first boating experience and it hasn’t stopped raining yet.
We got as far as La Forge de Buffon yesterday and carried onto Ravieres today, in full rain gear!
We are now seeing roads impassable – warning signs saying ‘Inondation’ – reminiscent of home really when the Buckden road is closed.
At the last lock today the eclusier was obviously a bit worried. The water in the pound was over the lock gates so he had to release water from the pound before he could fill the lock for us. He was rushing backwards and forwards and even left us to complete the opening of the lock gates ourselves so he could focus on the waters.
Fields and roads are flooded by the river Brenne running alongside the canl.
Yesterday we saw a couple of farmers rescuing cattle from flooded fields and trying to herd them into trailers alongside the lock. Poor things were very spooked – didn’t like a car coming nearby or the sound of Adrian flexing his thrusters! The eclusier left the farmers to it once both boats were out of the lock, saying he would return to reset it after they’d finished.
And we have just spoken to our NZ mates who are quite a way ahead of us. The canal has been closed to navigation around them – apparently the water is level in the canal is so high that it is overflowing the banks. And the kiwi response? ‘open another bottle!’
We wait to see if we are able to continue tomorrow or have to wait here for a few days to let the water subside.
We were able to proceed – so onto Ancy le Franc this morning in the company of 2 hire boats. The second of these has 2 Australian couples on board…….. and they have reinforced our view of Ozzies this year. Fancy overtaking 2 boats which were waiting to go into a lock, causing problems for all!
We only had to go 10kms and through 5 locks but it took quite a time because the eclusiers were ‘juggling’ the water levels to enable them to open the lock gates and to lower the levels so that the hotel peniche following us could get under the bridges. ‘C’est La Vie’, with a crew of 6, takes up to 8 passengers along this stretch of canal, visiting sites such as the Chateaux at Ancy le Franc and Tanlay. Often see guests walking along the towpath to ‘work off’ breakfast or lunch. An english lady today was amazed at how hard it seemed to push the lock gates open – said she had thought to have a go herself but had changed her mind. I said I thought it was extremely good for the glutes, so she thought she might have a go after all!
Tried to wangle dinner on board last night, without success!