Now it wouldn't be one of our updates without some sort of apology at the
sorry for the lack of photos and continuity with this update. Why? Well it's
I accidentally knocked a full cup of tea over the keyboard of our new laptop
and didn't manage to get all the current photos off and on to discs before
it became unusable. The fact that Gromit was walking over the keyboard at
the time, in no way played a part in this accident (or so I'm told) and I
mustn't blame the cat!! There you are then, so on with the update
As we were leaving Digoin, and just thinking of stopping at a little port,
we saw some Canadian friends (David and Liz) coming towards us. We first met
them 5 years ago when we were doing this same cruise in the other direction.
They are always good company and, as luck would have it, we managed a nice
lunch with them and caught up with all the latest news. Particularly Liz's
beautiful artworks, which just get better and better.
Moving on we eventually got to the summit of the Nivernais canal at Lac
Baye. We moored here overnight and barbequed then, as Liz and David would
have done, we sat around the campfire and just relaxed. It was a very nice
end to the day.
SUNSET at BAYE
As we had a major woodworking project this year, we tried to moor where
we wouldn't make a nuisance of ourselves and where Gromit might find safe
places to walk away from the laptop perhaps!
Our next photo is of such a place where the path didn't really go anywhere.
In fact in the 3 days we were there just 1 tractor passed and never came back
whilst we were there. Of course boats pass but their numbers can be counted
on one hand in this part of France.
Our next stop was at Chatillon en Bazois, well known as the place where
Chris Matthew used to look after the port. Chris's father is the famous British
DJ Brian Matthew who still has a Saturday slot on BBC Radio 2. What a wonderful
speaking voice Brian Matthew has, in the same vein as James Mason and Alistair
All the woodworking we had done in the secluded parts of the canal were
varnished at Chatillon and, of course, you have to find something else to
do whilst waiting for the drying process. It was here that we met David and
Mary of HENDRIKA, a boat we had seen in Saint Jean de Losne. So an aperitif
seemed the perfect solution.
WATCHING VARNISH DRY
It was soon time to leave Chatillon, as we needed to get to Clamecy for
our friend Richard's arrival from England.
LEAVING CHATILLON EN BAZOIS
Just before the port of Clamecy, there is a new port that has never got
off the ground so to speak. It was to be a holiday complex with chalets and
boat hire but nothing has changed here since our first visit in 2005. It seemed
out of place at the time but now we think differently and it does seem a great
shame. We went for a walk around the site and managed to get lost in the large
It was quite unspoilt and we did see a red deer with her youngster (too quick
to photograph). But we did capture these brilliant wild strawberries, which
We arrived at Clamecy just before Midsummer and music practice was in full
swing at the port.
Our friend Richard arrived after a long drive and on a route which took
him quite close to the centre of a manic Paris. A different route home I'm
More friends, Pat and John of HODDY DOD, had been in touch and, travelling
in the opposite direction, we knew Clamecy was to be the meeting place. So
everyone's favourite "Roast Lamb" was the order of the day. A barmy
evening meal on the quay was the venue and went on until well into the night.
We even had a complaint from some boater across the quay that we were very
loud!! (joking we hope) Was he annoyed that he didn't get an invite? Or do
we still know how to party? Maybe both.
REUNION IN CLAMECY
You can't miss the indoor food markets in France, if they are open that
is. There is lots of wonderful fresh food and a new discovery for us of salted
lemons. I had read of them and seen them on Saturday Kitchen. I think they
are of Italian origin, but certainly Mediterranean. We have tried them on
salads, in casseroles and when cooking potatoes - excellent! Maybe we will
have to salt our own this winter, as we haven't seen them anywhere else.
HUNTING AND GATHERING
All that shopping phew! It calls for something to quench your
thirst as you can imagine.
Whilst in Clamecy, Richard kindly offered to take us away from the canal
to visit another village called Vezelay. It was a place we really wanted to
see and it was only about 25 minutes by car.
Vezelay is set high upon a hill and, without sounding as though we have
just swallowed a travel guide, it is very famous throughout the land. Its
most famous claim to fame is that the 2nd Crusade started here and we all
know what trouble that caused!
We have of course moved on a little since those days, what with the industrial
revolution and all the modern technology. But just think . if
things hadn't changed, we might still be wearing biblical garb, chopping off
heads, stoning people, starving and wanting handouts.
Anyway, as we walked up to the top of the village to see the famous Basilica,
we spotted 2 different shops on 2 different streets, with a very similar window
display. Very strange!!!!!
The chap in the next picture seems to be getting a little overheated with
nowhere to hide.
I don't suppose France is any different to the rest of the world when it
comes to finding a way to break the rules. Like parking for the disabled for
example. If they park in a disabled bay in the supermarket, the least they
should do is pretend to have a problem with walking. But no, they flaunt the
rules and care not as to who might actually need the parking spot.
I caught the chap in the next picture red handed. The lengths they will
go to simply amaze me! I did however blank out the registration of the car
next to him to protect the innocent . or was he guilty? Who knows?
Leaving Vezelay, we found a nice little roadside café serving a simple
TIME FOR LUNCH
Moving on towards Auxerre, we arrived at the village of Chatel Censoir.
The last lock before we arrived is one of the prettiest. We did however give
the gates a bit of a clonk on the way in and had our details taken. Nothing
heard yet so maybe a little cement sorted it out.
APROACHING CHATEL CENSOIR
Whilst we were at Chatel Censoir we thought it was time to get the lifeboat
down and check it out.
The evacuation drill went as planned so we went for a little trip towards
the last lock.
WOMEN AND CHILDREN LAST
Up in the village all was quiet, so time for another cool beer. Maybe this
chap had more than one?
BUSY DOING NOTHING
After we arrived in Auxerre, Richard and I decided to get the train back
to Clamecy to collect his car. That allowed us to go on another trip, this
time up to the famous wine village of Chablis.
Whilst we were still on the river Yonne, we spotted this Coypu - similar
to a beaver, but without the flat tail. They are vegetarians who normally
forage at night and later that night, a family of them arrived by the boat.
Father, mother and 3 young ones. They didn't seem to mind us getting quite
COYPU AT GURGY
It was soon time to be heading onto the Bourgogne canal so that we could receive
our next visitors.
It had been quite a while since we had seen Renate and our get together was
long overdue. We arrived at Ancy le Franc in good time and that gave us time
to restock and get ready. We planned to take a cruise with them down to Tonnerre
and luckily the weather cooled down so that made the trip much more comfortable
for them. It was great to have some extra matelots on board (not that there
is much to do as the lock keepers do most of the work round here).
Our next picture was taken at Tanlay, another very pretty village.
RENATE AND JIM
Far too quickly we were heading back to where Renate and Jim had joined
us and it was time to say our goodbyes. It was the first time we had met Jim
and he thoroughly enjoyed his time on board. What a genuinely friendly man
- they make a great couple.
A little further along the canal, we just happened to bump into our good
friends Jean-Pierre and Ilse.
They were steaming back to St. Jean de Losne as they had an appointment to
keep. But we did manage to have an evening together and catch up on developments
at their house. Apparently the platform we made during the spring for their
boat was working well and "much admired" by other boaters.
Whilst on a walk around the village of Marigny, we saw this empty wine bottle.
It was too big to go into the bottle bank at 5 litres! (the equivalent of
about 7 normal bottles)
We are not exactly sure of where the fortified farm in our next photo actually
is. But we think it is between Vandenesse and Pont d'Ouche, as we have seen
it many times before.
TOWARD PONT D'OUCHE
Our friends Bryan and Jill came to see us at Pont d'Ouche and brought some
supplies from Blighty.
Again, lots of catching up, gossip etc. best done over a meal at Chez Bryony's.
Bryan and Jill stayed over and we were all lucky enough to catch an annual
Brocante (Antique Fair) at the village of Mont Saint Jean, about 30 minutes
drive away. Almost single track road all the way into the village but well
worth it when we arrived. The village is very old, with lots of history and
an amazing old hospital. A place for us to visit during the winter we think,
on a clear sunny day. This next picture is of a down spout/fall pipe (call
it what you will) in Mont Saint Jean and needed the rain to show it off at
its best (all in copper of course).
MONT SAINT JEAN
Back at Pont d'Ouche and Bryan and Jill tried out their latest purchase
- an inflatable canoe.
On another little trip we stumbled across a hilltop village and decided
to have a coffee.
"4 large white coffees please" we said (in our finest French of
course) only to be told by the owner that she had no milk!
BOUILLAND, NO MILK TODAY
It's been a very busy season for us this year and someone once said to us
"I know too many people".
We say "Yes, we do too, but they do make life much more interesting,
even if it means you have to spread yourselves out a little thinner"
So, we are sorry if we haven't seen you or been in contact for a while.
We're sure we will catch up again soon.
On a final note, and in deference to all in Gromit's fan club, we simply
couldn't do an update without including a photo of the great cat himself!
It was taken when Gromit met this dog from a hotel boat. At first, we weren't
sure how things would go. But when Gromit stood his ground and the dog realised
that Gromit wasn't afraid of him, there was no problem. In fact the dog became
very good at running away!