Well hello again and, as usual, sorry for the delay in bringing you this
In August we were still in Pont d'Ouche and hoping to stay there for quite
some time. It is such a relaxing place with a fabulous backdrop of colours
all around you.
Two of our visitors remarked on the fact that you never see any rubbish
floating in the canals over here. Yes, empty plastic bottles and beer cans
don't seem to play a part on these canals. I have however read other peoples
blogs and I don't think it is the same in all parts of the French canal system.
Even the local horses and carts don't seem to make too much noise in these
It is a bit O.T.T. but better than the garden gnomes which seem ever popular
As we set off down to Dijon to collect Pamela's sister Pat from the station,
we were spotted by Bill and Sylvia who were going in the opposite direction.
Now we hadn't seen them for at least 3 years so it was a great chance meeting.
They had a visitor on board, their niece Sylvia (it's a good job I'm spoken
SYLVIA AND SYLVIA
Our bread machine has been playing up of late but we still manage to get
good results by using a combination of machine and oven .
OUR DAILY BREAD
Whilst in Dijon, we saw some of these 2 wheeled wonders.
You can tour the centre of Dijon on them at walking pace (about 6 kph) and
to finish, they take you into a park, take the speed governer off, and let
you travel at up to 25 kph!
During the summer we read that the owner of the company that makes these things
was killed when the one he was riding careered off a cliff in the north of
England. So maybe 6kph is a better idea.
Well, Pat arrived and on our way back up to Pont d'Ouche we had a look around
the grounds of L'Abbaye de La Bussiere, a very famous hotel and restaurant.
Of course we couldn't afford to eat there but found the pigeonary where, in
the days when the place actually was an Abbey, they would keep up to 1000
pigeons in this small building (we counted the nesting holes).
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
The next photo is of a little spot just one lock before Pont d'Ouche and
as you can see it was a lovely sunny evening.
NEAR PONT d'OUCHE
Just by the port at Pont d'Ouche there is an old factory which has since
ceased to work. The factory had it's own canal access, which is now closed
and part of a private garden. But you can look over and into this arm from
a bridge to see all the different ducks that this man has. He also breeds
carp and as you can see in this photo, they are truly a magnificent size.
One of Pont d'Ouche's summer visitors is Phillippe who doesn't like to be
too hot but doesn't like the cold either. So he arrives in April to spend
his summer in Burgundy and moors his boat COCOON in the shade of the trees.
Then around October time he goes south to spend the winter near St. Tropez
Note: The rear seating area in Phillipe's car is reserved for Phillippe's
motor cycle, on which he covers hundreds of kilometres exploring the region.
Whenever we are on mains electric we try to make use of our slow cooker.
It is generally in our " basement " area so doesn't warm the boat
up and we brown the meat initially on a barbeque. This gives the meat a good
start and a wonderful flavour .
It would have been a shame to come to this region and not spend another
half day cruising towards Vandenesse with its views of Chateauneuf en Auxois.
Chateauneuf is a world heritage site and there is a lovely little stop just
before Vandenesse called La Repe, with no facilities except for a picnic table.
But that's just the kind of spot that we like.
We had arranged to meet Bill and Sylvia at La Repe and we could feel a Sunday
lunch coming on. So an opportunity for the slow cooker to come into it's own
with bags of flavour and plenty to go around. Bill and Sylvia had some friends
calling by and it made a fabulous afternoon.
Of course good food, good wine and before you know where you are, you are
in the land of nod. Bill seemed to be quite happy joining in with the snoring
competition. But it doesn't look like Gromit was amused !
As you can see in our next photo, its not a bad backdrop at La Repe (with
Chateauneuf in the distance) and its a very safe place for Gromit. There really
is nothing here but peace and tranquility. But we had a full store cupboard
and enough solar power to help us keep the peace for a few days
A DISTANT CHATEAUNEUF
Of course there are other vessels travelling on this canal in a much grander
style than us and this one called TIGRE D'OR is no exception.
Not everyone has access to a boat, but that needn't stop you enjoying the
canal du Bourgogne. You could always borrow one of
the machines in our next photo. They take multiple people but alas, no passengers.
You all have to pull your weight - or is that peddle your own weight ?
Eventually, and after a lovely trip up and down the Ouche valley, we arrived
back in Dijon. Pat was due to leave us and head off to Blighty a few days
later so we all felt a lunch coming on. We had been to this quarter before
and these 2 restaurants just seemed to stand out. This time, we chose La Mere
Folle and we weren't disappointed.
Feeling the need to walk off the lunch, we meandered towards another busy
eating area called Place Emile Zola. Here we spotted a great example of the
famous D type Jaguar. I can remember (oh yes I can) that in the sixties, one
of the mill owners had one just like this. Rumour had it that the D type at
the mill used to belong to Malcolm Campbell, Donald Campbells father (I just
felt the need to name drop at that point).
Well, guess where we decided to go after Pat left us? Thats right, Pont
d'Ouche again and this time for a month or so.
The idea was to get away from it all and do some work on secondary double
glazing the boat while we still had good weather. We trialed a window last
winter and found a remarkable difference against all the others.
We had already bought some exotic hardwood for the frames (at a great price!)
before setting off on our cruise and it was time to get the job under way.
All 21 of our windows needed to be finished before the onset of winter. Last
winter just went on and on and even the boaters in the south of France had
problems with the cold weather.
We met some good friends in Dijon, John and Pat on HODDY DOD, and then some
new aquaintances, Michael and Rosemary on MABEL ROSE. They were all making
their way up to our Shangri La (Pont d'Ouche) and, as luck would have it,
we could all fit into the same lock as between them, the other 2 boats measured
just less than 5 metres wide (the lock width)
WE'RE OFF TO SHANGRI LA
Of course we did stop working on the windows when friends arrived in port
as it would have been rude not to. But if none arrived, then we stopped anyway
at tea time (or beer time as we now call it).
Even big boats like the one in our next photo stay over at Pont d'Ouche
Just to give you an idea of the window project, we have included some photos.
We decided that the 3 front wheelhouse windows should not be sliders. So
these are hinged at the top and can be swung upwards and fastened open when
we are cruising.
SPOT ON ?
All too soon it was time to be thinking of heading back down the valley
towards Dijon and then on to St Jean de Losne.
Having spent a lot of time in the area, we had become known by the lock keepers
and had many a joke with them everytime we crossed paths. They are so incredibly
helpful in this part of France and have even been known to deliver bread to
our boat in the morning when there wasn't a bread shop nearby.
AT YOUR SERVICE
Our timing was deliberate for the return back to St. Jean de Losne as the
French were striking in protest against the goverment's plans for retirement
and pension reform. So we made sure we didn't want to move on a strike day.
Even a visit into town could get you legged up in one of the marches.
GENERAL STRIKE IN DIJON
We have sympathy with them, being told to work longer and get their pensions
Maybe it's time for us all to sit back and think what we actually need in
life? You know, on the lines of "must have" as against "nice
to have" as there is a big difference in the cost of living between the
Personally, we don't have much so we don't spend much. But we do have our
health, our friends, we eat well and have been known to have the odd glass
of wine! Please let us know if we are missing out on something?
We were once burgled back in England and we noticed then that generally,
they only took the nice to haves - the things we could live without but that
probably cost the most.
On that happy note, that's it for now.
But just before we go
We woke up to a cold zero degree last night. But the boat was warm and the
windows were clear. Now that's what we call "nice to have".