Firstly, just a brief word about
Jacquie Lawson e-cards/e-mails/greetings cards.
We have had to put a block on them
as they simply take up too much of our dongle allowance.
The last one that came through was
blank (no message) just a blank memo, probably for us to write a message to
someone. But if we want to write a message, then we will, by bog standard
Being on an automated birthday list actually means that we haven't really
been remembered at all and sorry, but we do find them a bit naff!
So, on with the update proper
We are now on our way back from the
summer cruise and still have about 100 running hours to go.
It doesn't sound much but it will take us about a month. We don't do rushing
Unfortunately, I've taken so many photos
that I am finding it hard to pick our normal 20 to 25.
So we are going to type less and include more photos, probably around 55 altogether.
Some I have managed to link together to make one picture and that helped a
It has been a really great season for
us and lots of thing have happened, generally good. Friends visiting from
Mirfield and others calling by in transit between St. Jean de Losne and the
So less type and more
Going back to February, this is one
photo I am pleased with. It is of a young Coypu that was reasonably happy
to be photographed. I did enter it into a local wildlife competition but didn't
Whilst house sitting for our friends
Paddy and Liz in March, Jo, Janna and their little dog Tache paid us a visit.
As you can see, Tache seems to have much more energy than Pamela who prefers
We had some really nice sunsets whilst
we were at Paddy's and this next photo shows the sun dropping into the hazy
Meanwhile, back in St. Jean, there
was a big problem in the dry dock as a barge caught fire.
Welding and fire watching is something everyone must dread but it has to be
done from time to time. There but for the grace of God as they say.
I spotted this little fellow this winter
and can only assume that it is an albino sparrow.
It was eating from a bird table with other sparrows and seemed to be accepted.
Now for 3 foody pictures.
In the first one, I've joined 2 photos
together and both were taken through the window of a patisserie. The penguins
were in Switzerland and the canooists were in France.
Quite comical I thought.
I got this next idea from an advert
for a pizza with a cheese stuffed crust. We soak the raisins/sultanas in port
to make them really juicy.
We saw this T bone in an indoor market
and said "if it's still there tomorrow, we'll have it"
The month of May meant that Pamela's
sister Pat and myself were about to reach the grand old age of 65. Jean-Pierre
and Ilse offered to let us use their garden for a barbecue to celebrate and
they suggested that 30 would be a sensible number to cater for. They also
offered to supply the wine. How really kind!
Over the years, we have made many friends and we knew that we couldn't invite
So we picked 30 and had a list of reserves for backup. Fortunately some people
had already set off cruising and others couldn't make it. So, all in all,
it worked out well.
These next 3 photos don't do the day
justice but a great time was had by all
As you can see from this photo, our
friend Ulrike has really captured the spirit of little Grenouille (Jean-Pierre
and Ilse's dog). She really is a bundle of energy and we are looking forward
to seeing her when we get back.
Pamela's younger brother Philip generously
paid for the 3 of us to go into Dijon for a nice lunch.
That was where I spotted this T shirt in a shop window.
After a lovely lunch, we bumped into
our favourite Dijon guide and very good friend, Sylvie. Here she is pointing
out where she used to live in the centre of Dijon.
Another trip out for the 3 of us was
to visit Steve's friend Mark and the vineyard he manages, just down the road
from the very famous village of Pommard. He makes fantastic wines both in
Bourgogne and down in his southern vinyeard and luckily he had a stock of
his southern wine up here in Bourgogne. It's a perfect wine to stock your
cellar/boat with at a sensible price.
In this next picture Michele, the boss, was just visiting and he gave Patricia
a couple of bottles as a gift.
It was soon time for Lea Crest to leave
St. Jean and head up the Sâone on our trip to Strasbourg.
As we mentioned before, a group of
us have been involved in some filming over the winter and
Jean-Paul, the film-maker wanted to film us leaving the quay. He stayed on
board until we got to a place called Les Maillys, where Danielle, Jean-Paul's
main contact, picked him up and took him back to St. Jean. Not before we had
a little lunch though.
Next stop for us was Auxonne for a
few nights and a great welcome from Roy and Carol who run the port. Although
the port is only 12 months old, it can only go from strength to strength in
this location. A great stopover!
These young lads had obviously been
given binoculars for their boating holiday. A great funny photo with lots
This next photo is out of sequence
and was actually much nearer to Strasbourg. But I've put it in here because
it fits in with the other strange boat in the 2nd photo.
One of the best stops we have ever
had was Epinal this year. The harbour was full of boats due to a stoppage
(lock wall collapse) and also full of very friendly people of all nationalities.
It was a time of great soirees/barbecues/entertainment and company.
The wife of one of the guitarists described their younger life as "hippies"
and the necklace she wore was made by her husband, in a style that was reminiscent
of those early years in the 60s.
On our way North and heading to our
meeting with friends Pete and Betty, we took photos of all sorts and here
are some of them
The trust that you can leave something
for sale on a window ledge.
and the massive floral displays that
aren't spoilt by vandals.
And how's this for a menu of the day!
Cooked meat and salad buffet to start.
Chopped pieces of pork in a mushroom sauce, with vegetables and chips.
A slice of apple pie to finish.
All for the princely sum of 8.5 euros
(about £7). What a bargain!
Thanks for this tip off Bob and Jacquie
on the bateau Tara
Tile making seemed to be a main activity
in this area. The old factories are now closed but this kiln is going to be
covered by a glass building to protect it.
The tiles on the roof of this new house
look as if they might have been made across the road in the old tile factory.
Now closed down. The tiles themselves are really beautifully glazed and this
amusing feature on the ridge of a little boy sleep walking is probably made
of the same material.
This next chap did tell me what kind
of dog he had but I've forgotten. I do know that it wasn't hungry though.
3 photos in one next and all taken
Swiftly moving on. We had arranged
to meet Pete and Betty at the top of the Arzviller Boat Lift.
They had booked onto a camp site just below the lift and were able to get
through all the security and meet us as planned. So all aboard for the journey
down bypassing the 17 disused locks.
That must have been a massive time saving for the commercial traffic.
It was just about a 40 minute walk
from the camp site into a little port called Lutzelbourg. This was where we
were based and on more than one occasion Pete and Betty came along the towpath
to visit us.
We did eventually take the boat and
moored outside their campsite.
There were a couple of Perigrine falcons
trying to coax their offspring into taking the big leap. Out of the nest and
off the edge of the cliff. The young one wasn't overly impressed with that
idea and had spent many hours teetering on the edge, as you might say. In
the next photo, you can see all the teeter (white stuff) up on the cliffs.
Well, it was time to move again and
head out towards Strasbourg and our next meeting with Richard, who is also
from Mirfield. Just time for the obligatory tripod shot (notice.. more teeter
above Betty's head).
So, our first visit to Strasbourg and
thanks to Roger, Jennie, Bob and Jacquie, we managed to get into a lovely
little private marina. Just between an area called La Petite France and the
It was a very hot period and the tree cover was just what we needed.
Our first walk into town found us being
entertained by a very German looking band. Of course Germany is just a walk
across the Rhine and Strasbourg, and this part of France, has belonged to
both countries on and off over the years.
We always like a Brocante (flea market/antiques)
and this one was selling some quite splendid items. Never enough space on
our boat though.
Every evening there was a spectacular
music and light show at the cathedral.
I think everyone's favourite shop in
France is likely to be the Boulangerie.
Even though we make our own bread, we still have to succumb to the breakfast
Although we spent 10 days in Strasbourg
it did seem to fly by and it was soon time to get back to Saverne as this
was where we had arranged to meet up with our friend Richard. We had a great
mooring spot on a hammerhead, right opposite the chateau.
Anyone who has walked around Dijon
and visited the sights, will have come across the stone owl.
It is set into the wall of the church near the market place. When you see
it, traditionally you should touch it with your left hand and that is meant
to bring you good luck.
In Saverne they have something similar but this is a bronze statue and it
looks to me as if doesn't matter which hand you use! You might even be allowed
to use both hands!!
It does appear to be getting a bit
of a sheen on it now.
Some of these next photos might not
be quite in the right order, but that's not too important.
Richard turned up on time and thanks
to Google Earth and Sat Nav had no trouble finding us.
But before we set off on the boat with him, Richard took us over the Rhine
into Germany and we had a day's visit to Baden Baden. A lovely old town and
a nice lunch whilst we were there.
Next day we left our mooring to start
our trip from Saverne to Nancy to include the Arzviller boat lift and the
2 tunnels straight after.
Just before one of the locks, we were
asked to wait whilst a commercial peniche came through.
They, of course, have priority .Who's arguing?
The large boat lift at Arzviller replaced
17 locks as we said earlier and the towpath up past these locks has become
a sort of country walk. As you get higher up the towpath, the lock houses
start to look lived in. It will only be a matter of time before all the houses
will be brought back to life.
Near the bottom of the staircase of locks, the authorities have even put a
walkway up through the centre of the empty canal and right through one of
In this next picture Richard was, as
he decribed it, "like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dam".
The water was coming out of the lock wall sideways like a tap.
This particular lock at 15 metres deep, replaced 7 older ones and again saved
lots of time.
This looks like another alfresco evening.
Although we have had a mixed summer, Richard always seems to catch a good
Always lots of flowers in France but
Richard did spot this "misuse of Fire Station property"
Surely they have some more up to date gear by now?
We all went back to Saverne to pick
up Richard's car by train. It wasn't TGV but only took about an hour. I still
can't get used to the welded tracks. It just shows how often I go on a train
Once we had Richard's car here again,
he took us to Metz for the day. A lovely place and a nice lunch sat opposite
the church. Thanks Richard!
As we arrived in Nancy, Richard's 2
week visit was coming to a close. So we decided to visit the evening light
show in Place Stanislas before he left. It was quite brilliant and much better
than when we were last here in 2008.
Soon after leaving Nancy, about 6 kilometres
and right at the side of the canal, we found a large Leroy Merlin shop (like
B & Q without the customers).
We knew it was going to stay hot and someone had told us about a mobile Aircon
unit for 199 euros. So we found the said item and the price was just 179 euros!
Once it was on board I unpacked it, plugged it in and checked it worked ok.
Then took all the packaging and the trolley back to the shop. They looked
a little shocked but accepted it without a problem.
It's wonderful !!
35 degrees outside and 22 indoors and
it's only 730 watts. Of course it is only to be used whilst on the move or
on shore power though.
Spotted this chap on his 4 wheeled
bike. I think he must have made it himself. It looked quite heavy too.
On the same stopover I caught this
little fellow hitching a ride. It took a few shots to get this photo but he/she
did keep quite still.
In the summer, and when you fancy a
tipple, you can't always wait for the sun being over the yard arm (what ever
that is). So even though it's still sunny, I do like to relax with a large
one now and again.
John and Pat (Hoddy Dod) and our friend
Richard have, on their last visits, brought us some well hung British steaks.
Sirloin for me and fillet for Pamela. Thanks to both of you.
As you can see, they are magnificent. "If only someone would invent smellyvision"
We soon arrived in Toul, another of
our favourite places, and it had been years since we were last there. We know
where everything is and the port has had a revamp, brilliant. So off to the
shops and passing the apartment of Michelle, a lady who befriended us 4 years
ago. Easy to spot Michelle's flat, its the one with all the flowers outside.
50 metres further along the road and
who should be walking towards us but Michelle! To be quite honest, she makes
friends very easily but her memory isn't what it used to be. So we said that
she should pop around to the port for coffee and cake the next day. In the
meantime Michelle popped around to just check where we were in the port. She
saw the boat name then went back home to her filing system.
The next day, Michelle turned up at 11 am and had photos and correspondance
from 4 years ago.
All in an A5 envelope. As she says this system is her memory now.
Next day, it was around to Michelle's
for a light lunch ("light" must mean something different in France)!
This included a home made Quiche Lorraine which was fantastic and you don't
get small portions at Michelle's (even better)
On our way back to the port, we spotted
this posh looking boat coming down the street. Registered in Panama.
So after our "light" lunch
it was back to work and I felt the need to take some measurements of our rudder.
Lea crest is due out of the water next year and, if the mood takes me, I might
modify the rudder a little.
Well, so much for less typing!
That'll teach me to take so many photos or leave it too long between updates
Just checked over 3000 photos since I took the one of the little Coypu!!