As we said on our last update, the boat is nice and cozy. But we still need
to get out and socialise.
A good start to the week has always been the Monday morning walk (Lundi
I do like to get a photo each year to see how the group changes with new and
One of our usual projects in the winter is to try and empty our cruising
food store cupboards.This gives us the chance to take stock and eat up before
the "best before dates" are history. It also allows us to live a
little bit cheaper for a month or 2 (in theory!). Of course the cupboards
then need restocking again in the Spring. But all in all, the system works
well and it does allow us to try all the different preserved food that looked
so appetising on the shop shelves.
"I wouldn't buy that again" gets a mention at times but not in the
case of "Uncle Fritz's Coq au Riesling". The meal is Alsatian -
but only with regard to the region!
Back into the winter swing of things and, on Thursdays, helping Gérard
with a few odd jobs around the B & B. The jobs are varied but never major
or too large and only attempted if they are within our capabilities. We always
finish off with a nice lunch, or "Casse Croute" as Gérard
calls it, and the bottle of wine is always a good choice. A couple of weeks
ago we even had a chef looking after us, Sylvie. The main course was roast
shoulder of pork and Sylvie told me that this was, and still is, a firm favourite
of the family.
I also spotted this little chap in the kitchen
Gérard told me that a lady he met makes them from scrap plastic bottles
and other bits that would normally go to the recycling point.
If you want to go further North than St. Jean de Losne, using the rivers
and canals, then your vessel shouldn't be bigger than 39 metres in length
and 5 metres in width. But we do get larger vessels staying here.
Some are cargo - usually grain such as mustard, sunflower or rapeseed.
Then we get the large hotel boats that travel between St. Jean de Losne
Quite often, during the winter, they are here to have work done by a boatyard
called Atelier Fluvial where there are facilities for boats of this size.
I'm never sure which is my favourite St. Jean de Losne view. But the rooftops
do fascinate me. However, I must confess to removing some of the telephone
cables, satalite dishes etc.
This next photo is of the figure on Jo and Janna's boat, VROUWE JOHANNA.
I've done a bit of carving so I suppose that is why this photo is in. However,
our boat isn't of a style that would suit a carving - or is it??
A couple of years back, the powers that be over here decided to knock down
the tourist office building which also housed a launderette, showers and toilets.
All of these facilities were used by the H2O part of the marina. So it was
But to the rescue, our very own toilet and shower block floated into the
Not the perfect solution as it needed to be winterised if the weather dropped
below freezing, though it was better than nothing.
But then - it floated away again!
We don't know why but it did amuse the boaters and many a joke followed.
As it was quite near the offices, it was suggested that the whiffi (wifi)
would be quite strong. Anyway, it has been spotted out of the water, high
and dry (probably having it's own bottom cleaned?).
HIGH and DRY
And now for some very sad news!
Our €100 Ford Escort has gone for recycling to the great scrapyard
in the sky.
We bought it in 2004 and only used it in the winter so our total kilometerage
was only about 35,000 (around 5,000 per year). We didn't try to get it through
another test as we thought it might cost too much and in any case, we had
been offered a Peugeot 306 if we wanted to pay for the test and any repairs
it might need.
So we now have a much younger vehicle - just 17 years old. But it looks
good and if it does half as good a job as the Ford it will be doing very well
First priority of course was to get the petrol out of the Ford before its
Another little job I am doing is to help design a calling card for a friend
who has just passed her exams as a pedicurist. I don't think she is over happy
with my first attempt though. It's a good job she has a sense of humour
When we get back to St. Jean de Losne in the autumn, one of our favourite
homes to visit is just a few villages away.
Our friend Steve, the owner, loves the fact that his house is full of people
enjoying the place as it should be.
LE PETIT VILLAGE
Always good to get back to the boat though, especially when our cat Gromit
is left in charge.
He takes it all in his stride and, as you can see from the next photo, he
keeps a lookout from his position over the boat's control panel.
More social activity and the very popular Quiz Night, held at Natalie's
bar the "Café de la Navigation".
Natalie has taken to the boaters and does her best to accommodate our winter
activities. The activities aren't always very French though and we sometimes
see a look of surprise at our strange antics. But Natalie is always happy
that each night is a success.
QUIZ NIGHT AT NATALIE'S
Of course it goes without saying that you can't spend this much time is
Burgundy and not have some involvement in wine growing/drinking activities.
This year we were invited to go to the St. Vincent Tournant wine festival.
This is an annual event that is held in a different Burgundian wine village
each year in January.
This year the village was Corgoloin, which is on the main Route du Grand
Cru between Beaune and Nuits St. Georges and has a population of around 1000
people.Over the weekend it was expected that up to 40,000 people would visit
There were 8 different parts of the village where wine tastings were taking
place, so plenty of walking and tasting to be done.
It was a very cold but sunny day and our friend Sylvie doesn't like the
cold so dressed accordingly.
We're not sure if Sylvie knows that the "Burka" could soon be
banned in France though!
We did notice that Pamela always seemed to get her glass filled first
TESTING, TESTING, 123
All this drinking did give us an appetite and what did we find along the
way a tripe stall!
Can you believe it and we weren't even in the North of England !!
Joking apart, tripe "tripes" as the French call it, is very popular
over here and, like cassoulet, they have tripe societies.
This particular society, or "confrerie", was from the Loire region
With all the splendour of those costumes and encouragement from their customers,
it was difficult to pass by and not try.
It looked a little like a tripe stew and I thought that it was delicious
and just hit the spot.
But Pamela certainly wouldn't agree.
TRIPES A LA LOIRE
Every house in the village had floral displays and we were told that it
takes a whole 12 months to bring it all together.
Even the trees that lined the main road through the village had been adorned
with handmade flowers.
The house in our next photo obviously had some connection with milk and
they wanted everyone to know how good it was.
THE MILK TRADE
But just a few doors down the street, was quite a different view on the
virtues of drinking milk, roughly translated as:
"We will drink milk, when cows eat grapes"
All light-hearted banter we are sure.
THE WINE TRADE
The figures in this next picture reminded us of the old TV show "It's
a Knockout", although they weren't knocking one another over.
Another clever couple were outside the next property too
We all had a great day but, as always, its good to get home and put your
HOME SWEET HOME
A new idea this year, from Jo and Janna was to have a games night.
Generally speaking, any games could be played as long as we had the equipment.
Now I'm not too good with my new camera yet and my action shots are still
a little blurred.
So here we have a blurry Daniel in training for the triple jump and, as he
was the only contestant, he did manage a convincing 2nd place (only joking
As Jo told me the other day,"leave the jokes to the experts"-
who did he mean?
He meant of course, St. Jean de Losne's answer to the Chuckle Brothers,
Daniel and Callum Bailey.
They live down at the old lock with mum and dad and tell some cracking jokes
on Radio Gare d'Eau.
A lorry load of alphabet spaghetti overturned and it was reported that the
police at the scene thought that it could spell disaster.
Why did the scarecrow win so many awards?
Because he was outstanding in his field!
Yet again, a good crowd of people this year, all helping to make it a great
place to winter.
The French have a very funny gesture for indicating that someone is a little
Now no-one in this next picture was "under the influence" but Janna
is doing the gesture.
Who was she describing? I hope it wasn't me!
On a more serious note
We have our regular First Aid class which is held up in Laperriere at John's
It's very fortunate that we have a retired professional who is happy to spend
some of his spare time helping us in this way.
Our social group the "River Rats" this year donated enough money
for John to purchase a CPR dummy.
We have borrowed one from the local fire service in the past but how nice
to have your own.
As John says in this lifestyle, a lot of us are of an age where this
type of training could be crucial
Now that was to be the last picture of this update.
But a happier photo is called for and what could be a better finish than
our first ever entries for the newly formed "Pudding Club" competition.
What a turnout, all on the broad theme of romance for Valentine's day!
The standard was very high and would grace any top quality restaurant's
selection of desserts.
THE PUDDING CLUB
So, what next?
Well there is a treasure hunt coming up and a good barbeque shortly after.