We left the last update in late March with a major project still to do before
de-wintering Lea Crest (getting rid of winter clutter that is!). Lea Crest
is totally different in the cruising season and we do envy those who have
alternative accommodation during the winter months as they can leave their
boats in readiness for cruising. Having said that, there are jobs to do when
leaving a boat unattended. Still, we wouldn't change it for a proper job,
as we often say.
Someone told us about an incident that happened over the river in Losne
with regard to an over-enthusiastic tarmac layer. So I couldn't resist getting
UP THERE FOR THINKING, DOWN THERE FOR DANCING
Presumably this boat will need a little extra work by the local authority
(digging up the tarmac perhaps?) before he can get under way.
April 17th and 18th saw an open day weekend in St. Jean de Losne. This wasn't
the best spectacular we have ever attended bearing in mind what is described
for boating tourism as "the biggest and most important canal port in
France". One French lady asked at our stall "is this it?" How
Last year, the stalls went all around the port and according to our winter
jogger Richard that is about a mile. It was unfortunately a bit of a non-event
and yet another embarrassment for the town as also this winter the town's
tourist office was temporarily shut down. There were money problems apparently
involving a rumoured bankruptcy of 40.000 euros. The ladies who worked there
were working for no pay over the Christmas period.
COME ON ST. JEAN DE LOSNE! GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!
THE ST. JEAN DE LOSNE SPECTACULAR (NOT)
It was soon time for our friends John and Pat to have their boat HODDY DOD's
bottom looked at. They used the dry dock at Atelier Fluvial for the job and
all went well. Atelier Fluvial seem to be very professional and have a good
reputation. As always, Philippe, who works there, checks the underwater situation
before any boat is left high and dry in the dry dock. Its like a scene from
the 50s film "The Cockleshell Heroes" when Philippe gets into his
rubber suit, as you can see in the next photo.
NO LIMPIT MINES ON HODDY DOD PLEASE.
Late April brought us a long awaited trip to Meursault and a visit to the
vines. Organised by our good friend, Steve Pajak, it was a really great day
out. We had beautiful weather in a wonderful part of the world, tasting some
of the best wines. We felt very privileged to be invited. Of course it was
something of a learning curve for us all but maybe, after some time, we will
know it all, like the winegrowers in the colonies seem to think they do!
AN EDUCATION AT MEURSAULT
EXAM AT MEURSAULT
Well, with John's bottom freshly blacked, we were invited on board HODDY
DOD with our mutual friends Tony and Gaye (of NOMADE) to celebrate. It didn't
seem to take too much giggle juice before Gaye thought that John needed feeding
up. We are not sure if it was laughing or food that was getting the better
of everyone but, as always, a good night was had by all.
DINNER ON HODDY DOD
Finally, with all projects finished, it was time to start our cruise.
Unfortunately we simply don't have the power to go South to the Canal du
Midi and get back up the Rhone again, although we do have friends down there
who love it. But we have met people who have come away from the Midi saying
that it is too hot, too expensive and too busy. And this year we hear that
the boat hirers are sending lots of their boats South. Lets just hope that
there will be room for us if/when we do decide to bite the bullet and go down.
So where to go this year? Well in 2005 we cruised the Bourgogne canals and
rivers and both felt that it was time to re-visit them. But this time we will
travel in the opposite direction (clockwise).
CRUISE PLAN 2010
One little place we knew of downriver, not on the beaten track, is Lechatelet.
We had arranged to take Sylvie and Gérard for a little trip as they
hadn't ever gone through a lock and we thought it a good idea to let Sylvie
try boat piloting. So Lechatelet was an ideal first port of call.
NOUVEAU PILOT - SYLVIE
It's quite funny really as from St. Jean de Losne to Lechatelet by car is
about 15 minutes, whereas by Lea Crest it takes 6 1/2 hours!!
OFF TO LECHATELET
Lechatelet is a sleepy backwater heading back up the Sâone from Seurre
towards the barrage (dam). The pontoons are a little rundown, but it's a lovely
relaxing port and eventually we stayed for 3 nights to unwind, as it were.
Sylviane, our friend from Charrey sur Saone had also arranged to call and
see us whilst at this little port. She knows the area well and takes her dog
out there regularly for a walk..
SYLVIANE AND PAMELA
It wasn't long before we arrived at one of our favourite places, Fragnes,
the first stop on the Canal du Centre. The halte there really is a credit
to such a small village. The amenities, designed to be used by all, are really
first class, well maintained and very reasonably priced.
But a funny thing happened whilst we were there
We met a lady who was obviously new to boating. She had just pulled in on
a hire boat that moored up next to us and came over looking rather puzzled
at the water and electric box. "Is the tap with the red handle the hot
water?" she asked!!!!!
I explained that it wasn't and held back a suggestion that it could be for
the vin rouge.
EXCUSE ME, BUT...
Further along the canal, at Montceau les Mines, we moored outside the old
power station instead of in the port. Surprisingly, it is a very pretty spot
and much better for Gromit. But we did spot some friends moored at the port,
John and Sue on MARCO POLO. As we passed, John followed on his bicycle armed
very kindly with a packet of chocolate Hobnobs. Now, that is what we call
a treat! Many thanks John and Sue. Hope your birthday bash went well.
A GREAT SPOT FOR GROMIT
The French national pastime seems to be fishing and with the set-up in our
next photo, it's an all weather activity. Personally we think an armchair
would be even better and surely there is room for a small coffee table under
READY FOR ACTION
By the beginning of June, we reached Decize and with fine weather we decided
to stay for 3 nights. For the first time we took our new laptop and 3G key
into the middle of town, just to see what we might pick up. But there was
too much choice really and although we got broadband internet, we weren't
sure exactly where it was coming from. Still .. who cares!
The 3G key has worked really well on this trip. Even perfect Skyping without
sounding like Norman Collier. Brilliant!
Our next picture is of a hire boat we spotted coming off the river Loire to
join the canal Lateral a la Loire. As you can see, it's a very technical operation,
until you have learned the ropes that is!
COMING OFF THE LOIRE
I spoke to a friend in England the other day who complained about internet
shopping (not that he does any himself I might add). He said he had seen the
staff at a large supermarket chain shopping for on-line customers. "How
do they know which cauliflower to pick? I like ones with plenty of greenery.
I've seen them picking ones with very little greenery", he said.
Well look at this one I picked myself Roy. I just happen to like the greenery
BEST OF BOTH
For a few days we moored where we wouldn't annoy anyone whilst working on
our summer project of secondary double-glazing throughout the boat. Although
wood is very expensive over here we did stumble upon a bargain in the winter.
At the time it was so cold that the woodpile was frozen and we had difficulty
separating the planks. But the wood is good and hopefully, the finished article
will be acceptable. It will take most of the summer to complete but we will
gain the benefits in the winter months. And we think it looks pretty good!
Well we can't possibly do an update without giving this fellow a mention.
He's 14 years young and apart from a little stiffness in his elbows, he is
ANOTHER GOOD SPOT
It's a pity that we left our afternoon walk a little late to see these roses
in the sunshine. They were so brilliant, even in the shade. This is at the
port we are in now, Panneçot. (Just for info, the squiggle under the
C in Panneçot makes it sound like an S).
ROSES IN PANNEÇOT
Once again we were the only boat in the harbour. There is water and electricity,
no shops or bars and, although it is the 8th of June, the adjacent campsite
doesn't open for another week. It's quite surprising how many mooring spots
are free in this part of the cruise, even if they don't offer "hot"
water. We are not sure when the parties will start but there isn't any rush
as we are enjoying the peace tranquillity.
After our walk it was time to eat, with a new meal for us. It is a cross
between "Poulet Gaston Gérard" and "Lapin a la Moutarde",
both classic Burgundian dishes. So we would probably have to call it "Lapin
Gaston Gérard". Would this count as fusion food perhaps? And would
you believe it, Pamela eating rabbit!!! When you are out in the wilds of Burgundy
the freezer we bought 2 summers ago is worth its weight in gold.
TIRED BUT HUNGRY
Sorry about that picture, we hadn't even combed our hair.
To finish our update off, here are some of the things we got up to in the
For Sylvie and Gérard's B&B, a sign to replace the piece of A4
paper on their door.
ART CLASS PROJECT
They really liked it so next was a computer generated montage of parts of
the house to make a sign for the rear of the property.
For Jean-Pierre and Ilse, the fitting of a new kitchen in their small house
across the river in Losne.
Last, but certainly not least, for Jean-Pierre and Ilse's boat SAUCONNA
(the Roman name for the river Sâone) a new platform, to carry their
motor scooter and generator.
Unfortunately we didn't get any photos of Janna's finished project of 4
paintings for Sylvie and Gérard. Gérard is going to get frames
for them and give them pride of place in his Salle d'Été (summer
kitchen). So we will get pictures of them on our return to St. Jean de Losne.
This coming winter we hope will be more relaxing with far less large projects.