Well it's Easter so we thought you might like to know what we have been
up to since our last update in November.
We made an early return back to our winter base as we had an appointment
with some good friends who were having a boat dropped in at St. Jean de Losne.
But we didn't stop in Dijon this time because, as you can see in our first
photo, it is currently being pulled apart for the new tram system.
DIJON'S NEW TRAMWAY
Some people wonder why they got rid of the old trams, a comment that we
are sure has been said in many cities around the world!
We went to Besançon in the car last autumn and there they have an
office for registering your vote against building a new tram system.
Our friends Renate and Jim arrived together with the boat they were having
delivered. We had a great week together and staying with us gave them the
chance to winterise their boat.
ANOTHER HAPPY OWNER
Our good friend Jean-Pierre mentioned last autumn that he wanted to demolish
an old barn and possibly have a car port in its place. So that was to be one
of our major projects for early spring.
Jo from the barge Vrouw Johanna offered to give us a hand so it didn't take
too long to get rid of the old barn. Especially with the aid of Jean-Pierre's
new car and a piece of rope.
As you can see in the last picture of this next set, the space really does
look much better. But perhaps the house wall could do with a lick of paint
to match the rest of the house? In the words of the famous Corrie character
Hilda Ogden "a Muriel would look nice here".
READY, STEADY, GONE AND DONE
Another autumn job involved taking a train ride up to East Sussex to drive
David and Buff back down to St. Jean de Losne.
Although it wasn't a very long visit, it was a very nice trip with great
company too. As we have often said, we haven't really done England justice.
There are some beautiful places that we never had the time (or the money)
DAVID AND BUFF
Meanwhile, back on board and dabbling with food .
I always have trouble weighing out tiny amounts of spices. Then it dawned
on me that we had some quite fine and delicate letter scales. So all we needed
was some small weights. A selection of euros and cents seemed to do the trick
(once we found out what they weighed).
THE SPICE TRADE
It is a long time since I threw out my little brulée lamp, which
always seemed to be out of gas. I think it had a leak. Now its a good plumbers
blowlamp that you really need to use.
A PROPER BRULÉE LAMP
It was soon Saint Nicolas time again and, as always, torch bearers were
required to escort Saint Nicolas through the town. I really do push the boaters
into this activity as it wasn't many years ago that we had a terrible turn
The general idea is that the little children shouldn't recognise the torch
bearers and that adds to the magical event for them. It's just not the same
when the children recognise daddy (pere) or auntie Maguy.
Pierre Noir (Black Peter) always accompanies Saint Nicolas (really its Gaby
who lives near the quay). The children are meant to fear this chap, especially
if they have been naughty and you can actually see fear in some of their faces.
But not our Mike! He was obviously good all year !!!
PETE AND MIKE
Looking at the turn out, perhaps we should start an escort agency
THE REST OF THE CLAN
Since the middle of November, we have had a film maker in town. He is making
a programme regarding life on the waterways. We hope it makes good television
but, who knows?
It should be finished and in the can as they say by late summer. It is then
due to be broadcast on France 3 in the Autumn. More anon ..
15 MINUTES OF FAME
Our next photo shows Jean-Paul asking Pamela about her good fortune of being
married to such a wonderful husband !! (guess who wrote that!)
Christmas day and we all went round to Ann and Lawrence's for a lunchtime
aperitif. Always a good start to the Christmas festivities.
ANN AND LAWRENCE'S
We ended the year in great style with dinner at Sylvie and Gérard's.
It was a family meal and we felt very honoured to be invited. Who would have
thought that we would end up in a Burgundian wine cellar celebrating the start
HAPPY NEW YEAR
This crate was lurking in a corner of the cellar and I reckon that some
of these will be just ready for tasting by now.
THE OLD ONES ARE THE BEST
As usual, at one point during the winter, the Sâone river level came
Right at the side of the river there had been a little house for sale and
although it is on a raised level, above it's own grounds, it wasn't far from
being completely cut off by road.
FLOOD - JANUARY 2012
Since we lost our cat Gromit, we knew that we would have a little more freedom
this winter and house sitting had always been something that we had considered.
We have done some in the past but generally for friends in and around where
we are moored.
But in January this year we had the chance to look after a property in Switzerland.
Just about a 3 hour drive from the boat and right at the side of lake Neuchatel.
The property was very comfortable and the animals to look after were 2 black
Labradors, a cat and an aquarium full of fish. Definitely the friendliest
of pets. Those Labradors just loved walking and although the weather was mixed
it was rarely wet.
But the prices in the Swiss shops were absolutely amazing! Meat is so expensive
it is priced per 100 grams.
Overall it was a very pleasant stay and we just managed to get back on board
Lea Crest before the really bad cold spell arrived.
Our next photo shows Pamela with Jade and Daisy who both walk a lot calmer
on the way home.
Looking after Bailey the cat was easy. Pamela took it in her stride.
HARD WORK THIS !
The largest local shopping mall was quite new and well worth a good window
shop. Quite tiring work though and here we had a well earned coffee with a
muffin. Luckily, they were on special offer !!!!!!
HOW MUCH ?
In this photo, you can see the snowline and we knew that this was our way
home. We kept a close eye on the forecast and also found the best/lowest route
home by Google Earth.
The rusty ironwork you can see in the picture is a new water feature. It isn't
finished yet but will, when the water is connected, turn the 3 water wheels.
I don't think the intention is to paint it though.
The white house on the right of this next photo is where we stayed. You
couldn't really get much nearer the lake.
On a walk around Neuchatel, we spotted this lovely house. So different from
There was a good-sized Barbecue in the back yard and though the meat was
very expensive we decided, as a special treat, to get a couple of sirloin
The price per kilo was about €72 (roughly £65) and the 2 steaks
(not the biggest I've ever eaten) weighed a total of 320grams. That worked
out at €23 euros for two 5.5 oz steaks. The butcher promised us that
they were going to be tender.
THEY WERE...... Lucky butcher!
We gathered some small pieces of driftwood and soon had a lovely little
Once the embers were glowing, on went the steaks.
Barbecued steak, mushrooms, carrots, green beans and gratin dauphinois.
What a treat!
Well that's it for this update.
Those last few paragraphs have set my taste buds going.
Tonight, it's Poulet Gaston Gérard, roast potatoes, cabbage rolls
with fennel, cauliflower cheese and homemade bread. Who needs a pudding? Not
To finish, a last look at our old friend Gromit.
You won't have seen this photo of him (on the right) before with his sister