Continuing on from our last update
when we were in Toul
We never did alter the rudder and the
boat never came out of the water either!
The winter was very long but not the
coldest one. Only down to -8°C and we have always had -12°C in previous
As soon as we got back to Saint Jean
de Losne in the autumn we made use of the little market garden at Echenon.
Great value vegetables and what quality.
BARGAIN PRICES AT ECHENON
It's always good to get back after
a summer's cruising. You get the best of both worlds really.
Good friends Jean-Pierre and Ilse went
off on a little holiday and we shared pet sitting duties for their little
dog Grenouille. Grenouille makes it very obvious that all she needs is for
you to be kind to her and give her as much love and attention as you have
As you can see in our next photo she
really is a cutie.
Last spring (2012) we asked Catherine
(of Bache et Grommet fame) if she would make us a new canopy for our back
deck. As always, Catherine was very busy and we knew that it would have to
be about a year before she could do it.
Catherine asked whether we had ever
thought of making a solid top for it.
Well I had thought of it, but it was
a job that wouldn't be easy unless I had somewhere under cover to work. I
mentioned the situation to Jean-Pierre and he kindly suggested that I could
use one of his buildings if we made some room in it.
For me, it was a big project. But the
offer from Jean-Pierre was going to make it happen.
We knew that Tim from the old lock
was an expert when it came to fibreglassing and he was happy to do the main
part in finishing off the project.
Re-jigging the storage on Lea Crest
was our next job and reducing the number of boxes on the roof was top priority.
We decided that if we got rid of the
davits that we had made in the UK, our little boat (the tender) could become
our main roof storage box, replacing the 3 that were already up there. Jo
kindly offered to help with that task.
WINTER PROJECT STARTED
Before the weather got too cold, we
decided to nip up to Pont d'Ouche and look at a friend's boat.
He had a few woodworking jobs that needed some attention and I said I would
look at them. Only being a stones
throw away, we also visited Vandenesse and had lunch at one of our favourite
little restaurants "La Lucotte". It was a Wednesday which was great
as that's the day they usually do steak and frites. It really is a cracking
menu for about 13 euros.
We couldn't help but notice this photo
he had in a frame on the wall.
STANDING ROOM ONLY
The TV that we brought over with us
in 2004 was still working but, as in life generally, the older it got, the
uglier it seemed to become. So, as a treat to us both, we took a trip to Dijon
for a new TV.
Whilst in town, a gourmet café
was called for. It was really good and we may have to treat ourselves to one
of these the next time we hit Dijon.
BREAKFAST IN DIJON
It was soon the Saint Nicolas parade
when everyone is welcome to join in. Luckily all the liveabords usually make
an effort and escort Saint Nicolas from one side of the river to the other
and then through the streets. Murray and Cate were no exception and their
dog Bramble was quite happy to be dressed up and become the star of the parade
(Saint Nicolas excepted of course).
BRAMBLE, ALL TRIMMED UP
One little job that I helped Jean-Pierre
with this year was cladding the underside of the terrace roof on his summer
house, OK Corral. We used a type of clean white plastic boarding that we had
used many winters ago to make some outside window shutters on LEA CREST. The
terrace now looks very clean and bright and it gave us the idea for our new
back deck roof.
CLADDING THE OK CORRAL
It was Chistmas before we knew it and
Nathalie (Brasserie de la Navigation) had, as in other winters, let us use
her back room for lots of different events. These included quiz nights, games
nights and, once again, our Chrismas party. Sometimes we have a special meal
that the brasserie supply and other times we supply the food. This Chistmas
everyone brought something along and a great night was had by all.
We even had a special guest appearance of Santa himself!
For this a very special thanks goes
to Paul and Mal on LAZY HERON and Jo and Janna on VROUW
JOHANNA, who went the extra mile to
make a good night really great.
Whilst tripping about between villages,
we spotted the fella in our next photo hiding in a tree.
He didn't seem too impressed with the season of good will.
YOU'D MUCH PREFER A TURKEY WOULDN'T
As we mentioned in a previous update,
a chap called Jean-Paul turned up with his video camera in the winter of 2011.
Well last year he finished his film, edited it in Nancy and then, after a
premiere for us in St. Jean de Losne, it was broadcast on French TV in February
and March of this year (2013).
Bourgogne Magazine came around to do
a small interview to advertise the programme and we made a double page spread
in that month's issue. Our 15 minutes of fame!
Just a funny thought that I keep having
We are all encouraged to eat healthily
so, why doesn't one of the big manufacturers of butter or vegetable spreads,
come up with a new healthy product called
wait for it
"MIDDLE AGE SPREAD" !
The thought of it always makes me laugh
and I for one, would go out and buy it.
NB: this update proves ownership of this product name (be warned)
Moving on, snow eventually arrived.
But the timing of it wasn't too good for our neighbour across the canal. He
was just starting to have the old roof removed from one of his buildings,
in readiness for a new one. A bit of bad timing!
NOT A GOOD DAY FOR ROOFERS
In late January, and on our way to
Uschi's birthday lunch, we spotted the tragic sight in our next photo.
Frank's boat was well alight, the fire apparently being caused by a leaking
diesel heater. It was definitely not one that could be extinguished quickly.
Thankfully, Frank was stood away from the boat with all his gas bottles so
he was safe.
Unfortunately however, in the spring of this year he passed away as a result
of a long illness.
So R.I.P. Frank.
A BAD DAY FOR FRANK
We did eventually get to Uschi's, although
we were a little late, and, as in previous years, it was wonderful. It must
have been very hard work for Uschi and Steve, so many thanks to them both.
USCHI'S BIRTHDAY LUNCH
It was then my turn to organise something
for Pamela's special birthday.
I had a few ideas but finally decided
to arrange an overnight in a very special 3 Michelin starred restaurant/hotel
near Dole. Some good friends, David and Buff had taken us there about 4 years
ago. The food was fabulous so I thought a re-run was in order, with an overnight
stay in the hotel too.
As you will see from our next photo,
even though the light fitting in the bedroom just seemed to be made of plastic
or Perspex, the results were a brilliant display of colours on the ceiling.
We both thought it was absolutely wonderful,
especially as we had a bath (we only have a shower on LEA CREST). So, after
a wonderful dinner, a wonderful sleep and 4 baths, it was time to check out.
We can highly recommend the place.
Another beautiful display we saw was
the ice that had gathered around the tall grass stalks next to LEA CREST.
Our friend Vivienne Waterer took some photos like these before I did so, all
credit to Vivienne's observations.
A night out at Nathalie's is always
worth going to and the locals definitely know how to enjoy themselves. Fancy
dress!! They do it so well. It's not something I would normally do but I love
to see the efforts of others and, as you can see, Nathalie always looks great.
Not sure who this lady is but she certainly
brightened the place up
I seem to have found a new hobby over
the last couple of winters making pies!
It all began when I found a good recipe for pastry. Normally my pastry is
quite poor but this one is really nice and can be adapted for sweet or savoury
This rather large pie was a mixture
of chicken, ham and cranberry and as Pamela is not a fan of jelly, I use a
stuffing mix from Delia Smith's recipe book.
THE PIES HAVE IT
I have since made a duck, rabbit and
prune pie which was meant to have chilli and chocolate in it.
But I forgot the chocolate (stupid boy!!).
As I said before, Jean-Pierre and Ilse
have a little summer house and last year it had a makeover.
The frontage only had a door and it needed a little something to set it off.
Jean-Pierre had the idea of a "Trompe l'Oeil" (a trick of the eye)
and found a lady in Gray who did this kind of work. So one day we all four
went out to Gray to have a preview of the work in progress.
Jerry Yell is a French entertainer
who puts on a great one man show. We have seen him many times at Nathalie's
and this year the evening came with an enormous portion of cassoulet. The
funny thing was that we had forgotten that we had made a reservation for it
and had already eaten out at lunchtime!
It reminded me of the "Vicar of Dibley" sketch where Dawn French
ended up eating lots of Chrismas dinners. But we did it justice and just at
the end of the evening, Nathalie's waitress and niece Pauline,
got up and sang a very popular song. She was brilliant too
PAULINE DOES A NUMBER
We had an invite to our friend Robert
Bond's birthday bash and that became a karaoke evening.
Not one for that either, I was quite happy watching everyone else having a
go. But I've got to say, the ABBA tribute band were brilliant. Mama Mia
Another much more relaxing evening
was on Pete and Jan's barge "Rook".
Great food and excellent company.
DINNER AT PETE AND JAN'S
Friends from Mirfield, Pete and Betty,
called by on their way home from Spain.
We had a good few days together and one was lunch at the L'Ecu restaurant
which is always good food and great value. Even the local Gendarmes go there
for an annual get together and lunch.
Here, we are just exchanging pleasantaries
and not trying to leave without paying (honest guvner!).
CAUGHT OUTSIDE NUMBER 10
At the end of March it was time for
the roof project to start proper.
Tim, the master of all things in glass
fibre, had taken me to where he buys his wood so that we had enough to start
and finish the job.
Initially the roof was going to be
3.4 metres by 2.2 metres.But luckily I spotted that the headroom in the workshop
was only 2.1 metres so a slight reduction was called for.
BACK DECK HARDTOP PROJECT
The other part of this project was
to make 2 large cupboards for the back deck to contain/hide all the bits and
pieces that you need on a day to day basis. Ropes, boat hooks, brushes, mops,
spare chairs and some wet weather gear. Of course, other things are bound
to end up living in them as time goes by so I thought, the bigger the better.
The cupboards will go into the corners (where the davits used to be) so won't
encroach on the useable area of the back deck.
NEW CUPBOARDS PROJECT
The top of the roof was to be 3 sheets
of 10 mm exterior ply glued and screwed to one another.
This needed to be performed at speed as there were plenty of screws to screw
before the glue started to go off. So after a site meeting and demo, it was
all systems go.
PAMELA WORKING ON THE HARDTOP PROJECT
As you can see in our next photo, the
headroom in the workshop was tight. So reducing the size of the project allowed
us to keep it inside the building and reduce the risk of extra humidity in
the wood. As Tim quite often said, "we don't want any extra humidity
in the wood or in the air when we start fibre-glassing".
A TIGHT FIT
Luckily, we always had someone on hand
when the roof needed to be turned over. Early on in the project, Pamela and
I managed. But it did start to become too heavy and awkward.
The next photo shows us adding the
insulation and before that, the wiring for anything we might need 12
volt, 220 volt, and some coaxial cable.
Whether we use it or not, it was better to be in there before we started to
clad the underside.
ELECTRICS AND INSULATION GOING IN
The roof was then ready for Tim to
do his handywork. This was in my opinion, the icing on the cake and it was
this that would make the whole project totally weatherproof.
TIM DOING A GREAT JOB
Eventually, it was the day of reckoning.
Was it going to fit onto the stainless steel frame?
The frame was put together 10 years ago in Huddersfield. It wasn't square
(by design) so lots of measuring went on in the workshop, on the boat and
in my head in bed. Everything was like a mirror image and drove me mad at
Well, Radio Gare d'Eau was always the
best jungle telegraph in Saint Jean and this was the time to put it to the
test. So on Thursday morning, 16th of May, I asked for about 6 volunteers
to help lift and move the roof. They all turned up on time and it was time
to find out.
WILL IT FIT?
YES IT DID!
As we said earlier, just over a year
ago we booked Catherine (Bache et Grommet) to make us a new canopy. In 2004,
Catherine had made our original cover/canopy which served us very well and
we knew the the timing was quite tight for Catherine and for us leaving port.
Our next photo shows Catherine fine
tuning and fitting clips to hold everything in the right place
BACHE AND GROMMET AT WORK
Our friends Sylvie and Gérard
had been waiting for the right moment (time and weather) so that we could
have a barbecue. It did eventually happen and the wisteria not only bloomed
but actually matched Pamela's scarf too!
BBQ AT LES CHARMILLES
The solid roof was on and the hard
work now behind us. So all we needed to do was to check and service the engine
(oil and filter), fill up with fuel in both tanks and then give the boat a
good scrub down.
JUST ABOUT FINISHED
In the next photo one of our neighbours
had just popped around for a bite to eat whilst I had a well earned rest.
TIME FOR A BREAK
The roof is looking quite smart now
that it is underclad and 2 DVD's that didn't copy properly found a new use
as LED lighting on the back deck cupboards. It really was a good idea, putting
that wiring in the roof space !!
READY FOR ACTION
Here is a link to a Cote d'Or video for the next update. Showing off the area
where we live