Monday, 22 May 2017

Boating on the Bourgogne (Or Mike's New Toy!)




This could be Perthshire! Except there's no canal in Perthshire......
Mike has a new toy!  It’s a Ninebot!  Which is like a single-wheel Segway and is incredibly hard to get your balance on but once we get the hang of it will be great for getting around.  It could take some time……….

Boy with toy :)
As well as playing with that, we’ve started on our fifth French waterway of the season, the Canal du Bourgogne, which will take us northwards again, completing a full circle from where we set off at Auxerre.  We left St-Jean-de-Losne on Tuesday morning after a big shop at the Casino supermarket there and getting fuel for both the domestic tank and propulsion tank at the cheapest waterside supplier we’d seen.
Our friend Liz had told us about a lonesome goat bleating on the island at St-Jean-de-Losne marina, but as we left, we saw there were actually four!! It's okay Liz, he has friends :)
Leaving the marina and the singing frogs!
Fuelling up.


We were glad it was a sunny day as the first stretch of the Bourgogne is notoriously dull.  It’s a long straight cut through agricultural land with nothing much to see along the way, so we were glad of the rape seed brightening the way as we plugged along.  There’s also a weed problem on this section and at times it was like wading through treacle having to stop and clear the propeller several times.
Following Red Fern along the straight and narrow
Spot the frog!
After lunch we could see a boat ahead and it transpired that Red Fern with Janet and Dave on board had been asked to wait for us to catch up so they could put us through together.  They’ve not had the boat long and have spent most of their time so far on the Soane, so were finding the locks pretty tough going, even moreso once they had to nudge up to the front to let us squeeze in behind.  We’d all hoped to get to Dijon today, but were told we wouldn’t, and at 3.30pm we were told we were to stop now.  This was odd as the locks are open until 7pm, but none of our French was good enough to question this and it could be that they were going elsewhere to put boats through.  Anyway, we spent a quiet evening after the granary stopped operating and were ready to set off sharp the next day.

Feisty locks on the Bourgogne - this was us coming into the port at Dijon with Red Fern bouncing around behind us.
We were all aiming for Plombiers de Dijon, which is just beyond Dijon and marks the end of the boring bit of the canal and the start of the picturesque.  I was glad we’d gone in to explore Dijon for the day from St-Jean-de-Losne as we now wouldn’t be stopping there.  It was on this stretch that we encountered our second female lock-keeper since starting out, and like the previous one (Sindy, on the Nivernais), she sashayed up and down the lock exuding confidence, her self-assured swagger leaving her male counterparts in her wake.  I wouldn’t mess with her.

At the last lock into Dijon, Janet and Dave had had enough and decided to pull in for the night.  Although the pontoons of the port were jammed, as we’d been told they would be, there were plenty of spaces to moor around the edges and on the off side, so we bid farewell to them, knowing they’d probably catch us up again in a couple of days.

We told the lock keeper we wanted to go on to Plombiers if possible and he said that yes, it was possible but he didn’t think there was any space there – he’d check.  He phoned a friend and said the port was full, but we could pull in below the lock for the night.  We said that would be fine, which I don’t think he was expecting as most of the cruisers want power and water for the night.  We have a huge water tank which only needs filled weekly and our solar is keeping us well topped up on the battery front.  So on we went, and the lock keeper chatted away to Mike in English as his dad was an English teacher and had only spoken to him in English all through his childhood – how I wish my dad had been a French teacher……..  At the next lock, he said there was probably space for us in the port at Plombiers – strange how things change…..

It turns out there wasn’t really – well there were two spaces but both too small for us!  We pulled in in front of a barge being refurbished and the chap kindly let us use the pin he already had in and we put our own in the other end.  Plombiers proved to be a lovely wee town with a very good baker.  So good, in fact, we went back on Thursday morning before we headed off to buy some more strawberry tarts.  This didn’t bode well for Saturday’s weigh in.
Lots of big hotel barges on this stretch, charging on average 8000USD for a week!!!

Fake Gnome!
The rain arrived on Thursday and we went from shorts to jeans to waterproofs within an hour or so of leaving – it was really miserable.  It was also really annoying as we were going through some of the most beautiful countryside with forested hills rising away from the canals and the weather just spoiled it.  We had a hail storm at one point followed by hot sun, then more rain…… quatre saisons/un jour – just like home.

It was another longish day, with a stop for lunch at the pretty town of Fleurey-sur-Ouche for lunch before continuing on to our mooring at Moulin Banet – a rural mooring above a lock, which I have absolutely no recollection of and no pictures to remind me, sadly.  (After telling Mike I couldn’t remember, he couldn’t either and had to look up our log, so we both now remember it – we were moored near a hotel boat!).

On Friday, with various changes of lock keepers along the way, we arrived at our mooring at Le Bussiere-sur-Ouche mid-afternoon.  We’d planned to go up one more lock but the lock keeper said these were much nicer moorings and he was right.  Brand new quayside with water and electricity, and some pontoon moorings for shorter boats, and we had the whole place to ourselves.  We filled with water, then did a pump out, then washed the boat.  Then, because that hadn’t tired us out enough (and with dread I realised I didn’t have any bacon for the weekend’s bacon butties, to accompany our newly-aquired HP Sauce) we walked 4km to the shop at the next village.  They had no bacon, but we bought some milk, potatoes and rewarded ourselves with an ice cream for the 4km walk back.  By now shattered, we made dinner and had an early night, as there was no internet, so no tv.
Nice view on our walk
Lovely mooring all to ourselves
Another short day was planned for Saturday and tho’ sunny, it wasn’t quite shorts weather.  The day got off to a poor start on two accounts; the Saturday morning weigh-in saw the second week of an upward trajectory for both of us (I blame the strawberry tarts from Plombiers), and we had no bacon for the breakfast so had to make do with an omelette.  Today’s target was Pont d’Ouche and Le Bistrot du Pont for lunch.  We arrived at 12 noon and got onto a pontoon and were welcomed by the capitaine, Sonia, who also runs the bistrot.  We had a lovely lunch, some wine and then caught up with some tasks before heading into the late afternoon sun to do some more Ninebot-ting.  We also had a visitor!  Kevin from WB Avalon that we’d met in St-Jean-de-Losne had changed his plan to head south and had come up the Bourgogne and although ahead of us, had been out for a cycle and seen us moored up.  It was nice to see a familiar face again, although there is no shortage of English boaters to chat with here!
Lovely evening at Bussiere
Despite the close vicinity of the motorway, our mooring was lovely and peaceful
With no bacon I improvised breakfast again on Sunday and we had poached eggs with taragon on toast, sprinkled with lardons, almost a kind of Masterchef Bacon & Eggs really, before we moved off following Millie, a dutch barge, with John and Jill on board.  Today would take us to Vandeness en Auxois, from where we could go up the hill to Chateauneuf.  Not THAT Chateauneuf unfortunately, the one of ‘du Pape’ fame, but a small hilltop village with a beautiful ancient, tiny chateau and views across burgundy.  We got so far up the hill on the bikes, but had to walk the rest of the way, and after a walk round the village and a visit to the chateau, we rewarded ourselves with an ice cream before racing back down the hill.   After dinner, we had our second session on the ninebot.

Not a bad view from the lock

Time to walk!



My favourite room in the Chateau

Monday saw us blessed with another scorcher and leaving Millie to enjoy another day at Chateauneuf, we headed off in second place up the locks to the summit of the Bourgogne, where we waited at the port for our passage through the tunnel to Pouilly-en-Auxois.   
Getting ready to leave Chateauneuf
Cute canalside museum of farming machinery
The VNF take this tunnel (or as the French say, “Toon-elle”), very seriously and we were asked several times on the way up if we were going through today, which was then radioed in.  The controllers must have been expecting at least three Quaintrelles to come through, but I’m sure they weren’t disappointed to see just our one gorgeous one!  At the top lock, we were issued with a radio, to keep contact with control going through the toon-elle, had to show our life-jackets which would be worn, and show them our toon-elle light working.  Our passage would be at 1400hrs, and we should set off into the toon-elle when the boat coming the other way had passed us.  We nodded and , ‘Je comprend’ –ed all this, and it was all radioed to the controllers again.  We then moored up for a couple of hours to have lunch and take a walk to the toon-elle entrance.

Waiting for Toon-elle passage
The cutting leading to the toon-elle
It's quite a long way down!
Just in case you can't see it, here's Mike pointing out the entrance.
At 1400hrs, the boat coming the other way passed and we donned our lifejackets and made ready to leave our mooring.  The eclusier who had checked us in arrived and said we could go now and when we reached the red light at the start of the cutting to the tunnel should radio control, “Quaintrelle, Quaintrelle – entrĂ©e le toon-elle” – How cool that our name made a rhyme with the announcement.  All this was explained in French so there was opportunity abound for error, but I repeated it all back to him in my French and it seemed all was understood correctly.  With all the severity of preparation, we were expecting a ‘Standedge Tunnel’-type experience, but instead were met with a huge straight tunnel that had fluorescent lighting leading you all the way through!!

Bizzarely, red lights are go here!
The flourescent lights causing the Doctor Who effect - ooooo-oooooooooooo-eeeeeeeee-ooooooooo...

The French considerately put the vents in the side of the tunnel so you don't get dripped on

Ooooooo-ooooooooooooooooooo-eeeeeee-oooooooooooooo....
Safe out the other end.
At the other end we reached Pouilly-en-Auxois for the evening, a pretty town we had visited in March 2016 by car, so it was nice to now be here in the port on Quaintrelle.  The afternoon got hotter and hotter and we made use of the nearby Super U supermarket stocking up on diesel and then food and water for the next few days.  After our first bar-b –que of the season, we had another few shots on Ninebot – hoping to be good enough to have one of us able to take a photo, but we’re not quite there yet!  The spare arms are still required for hingin’ onto.  Tomorrow, Tuesday 23rd, we’ll follow Kevin and Michelle on Kendra Erin down the first dozen locks to Pont Royal.
Moored across from the Dijon Cereales Granary - lovely to see these canalside buildings still in use.


Does anyone actually have any idea who lives here???

Monday, 15 May 2017

A Diversion to a Different Kind of Boat


George the Skipper not shouting at anyone (L-R Ali, Suzanne, me)

A smooth journey on Monday 8th May got us back to the UK leaving the dark rain of Paris behind and arriving in glorious Scottish sunshine.  We had a few tasks to do that week before heading to the West Coast for a different kind of boating.  Our tenants in Edinburgh were off on new adventures meaning I had a flat to advertise.  Thankfully one evening on gumtree resulted in over 40 enquiries and I had arranged viewings for Tuesday evening.  Before heading over to Edinburgh though, we had some urgent shopping to do – brown sauce! - and I took the opportunity for a leg wax and lunch with my buddy Susan. 
 
Should last a month or two....
In Edinburgh Mike spent some time in the Apple store trying to sort out some problems with his laptop (which the ‘geniuses’ have drawn a blank on!) and I left him there and headed to the flat.  One viewer had called off but the two that turned up both wanted it, which is nice, but makes me feel really bad for the one that doesn’t get it……..  So we have a lovely tenant lined up to move in next month – phew!

Mike then had a few days’ work, so I had lunch with mum and my aunties Nancy and Bertha – noticeably missing Aunty Eleanor and Cousin Cath, got my hair done and various other tasks that I needed to catch up on.

On Friday, Mike did a morning’s work then after lunch we returned our hire car to Edinburgh Airport and took our first tram ride into Haymarket to catch a train to Glasgow.  Mike’s always been very excited about the tram, whereas I see them as a complete waste of time and money that put businesses out of work on Leith Walk for nothing, but I’ll not go there just now.  The tram was very slow, very busy (first one we’d seen with people on it) and quite frankly I’d have rather have got the bus!  Anyway, one tram and two trains later and we were in sunny Largs on the West Coast waiting to check in with Scotsail for our weekend.  The weekend had been organised by Simon, who organises our group skiing holiday in January, mainly for Ali’s significant birthday but so they could work towards their qualifications too.  Mike’s always fancied sailing and I haven’t, so when asked if we’d like to join them it seemed a good idea as it would allow us to try it out to see if it was indeed something we’d like to do in the future.

Things didn’t get off to a good start when, after being introduced to our skipper for the weekend, George, he asked if we needed waterproofs or wellies.  I asked him if my jacket would be okay and he said maybe for a sunny day, but not for tomorrow – I would need one of theirs – at an extra cost.  I hummed and hawed, crossed eyes at Mike and decided I’d be okay with mine.  George however was already looking through the rack and when he passed me one and I said no, it was okay, he had a slight hissy fit and launched into how horrible it is to see someone with hypothermia……..  I could feel the tension building so asked, “Are you and I going to fall out about this?”  “Yes.”  “Right, fine, I’ll take your jacket.”  After which Ali piped up and said she thought she might be better with one of their jackets, shortly followed by Mike….. So, signed in and kitted up we headed off to the boat, unpacked, learned how to work the lavvie, got told the rules and headed off for dinner. 

The next morning dawned dull and wet, the plus point being that this meant it was dead calm on the water.  I was shitting myself and not really looking forward to it, but once I’d had a shot at the helm, I started to relax a little.  I remember that moment fondly as within an hour the wind had picked up and we were heeling over at a horrendous angle that I felt sure we could never recover from.  I was absolutely terrified, hated it, wanted my mum.  But I had to stick it out.  We started to head for our mooring for the night at Ardrossan, but as I got used to the movement, George got me back on the helm and I actually smiled when riding a couple of largish waves, and feeling a bit more at ease, we decided to tack around a bit and stay out for a bit longer.  It then seemed to take ages to get to the port and we got a bollocking for not securing the washing up liquid which had spilled over all the worktops in the galley.  Well, they looked like they needed a good clean to me……..  We got a few bollockings from George that weekend, some out loud, some you could just see happening in his head, but he was a good skipper, giving very clear and concise instructions and you felt you were in good hands, even tho’ he sometimes looked like he wanted to kill you.
All calm with Captain Queenie at the helm
If I was a bloke, my balls would've been in my throat at this point!
Simon doing well not giving alternative instruction to the skipper :)
A meal and bed in Ardrossan for more of the same the next day, but this time the sun was out.  It was still a bit rough though, and as we left the safe haven of the harbour I wasn’t the only one who popped a Kwell just in case.  We moored at Millport for lunch and all too soon (or not soon enough if you were me) were heading back to Largs to empty the boat, pack the car and head to Ali’s for the night.  The biggest bollocking of the day came when some charts and a book got wet.  You’d have thought the world had ended.  It hadn’t but it was an extra cost for someone to replace them…….  I was glad to get off the boat, glad to get somewhere dry and not to get thrown around whilst trying to work out what rope exactly that it is out of the multitude of them that the skipper wants me to do something with, whilst being thrown around in the swell.   
 
Suzanne completing the 'Handling a tender' part of her certificate
Despite being certified as having passed ‘Starting Sailing’, I think I’m probably finished with it.  I didn’t not enjoy the weekend, the company was great and Ali and her friend Suzanne had done a sterling job with the shopping and we had all sorts of tasty snacks that we’re normally not allowed.  We ended the weekend with a night at Ali’s and got to meet her gorgeous dog Bentley – he really is lovely and much less bouncy than I thought he’d be.  We had a lovely meal with her and Simon and on Monday morning Simon, Mike and I headed homewards and Ali went to work.

One car, three trains, one plane and one Jon Le Taxi later we were back at St-Jean-de-Losne on board Quaintrelle and I’d have hugged her if my arms were long enough.  It felt good to be back on board in our safe little port and looking forward to tomorrow’s new navigation – the Canal Du Bourgogne!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The River Soane: Fragnes - Saint-Jean-de-Losne (Or, Mike Doesn't Like Dogs)



"Where's Uncle Mikey?.....They're saying he doesn't like dogs??!"
A relapse into the world of wine drinking in the evening of the bank holiday last Monday changed our plans.  We’d planned to spend the day at Fragnes, then late afternoon head to the next little mooring at a large Leclerc to spend the night, then top up with fuel, both for the engine and us, before heading off early on Tuesday morning on to the Soane and to Chalon-sur-Soane.  However, our flotilla decided that there should be a small gathering for drinks in the evening and us and The Puzzler decided to stay on for that and just move off early next morning.  Knowing we had an early start, I did well nursing a couple of small glasses of wine for the whole evening, but disaster struck as the party broke up around 11pm and as we headed back towards Quaintrelle, Mike casually said, ‘Jake’s asked us in for beers at his if we want….’  How could we refuse?  We finally got home one wine box later at 3.15am………  We love Jake and Rachel, but my liver’s not so keen on them……

Next morning, I leapt out of bed at 8am, made some tea and in the pouring rain cast off for a half hour cruise to the Leclerc.  The crew stayed in bed nursing his head.  The Puzzler had already left and at Leclerc we pulled up alongside them then battened down the hatches against the rain to have some breakfast.  Once human again, we headed off of fill our cans with diesel, then back to the supermarket for some supplies for us.  Back on board we decided to wait for an hour to see if the rain would ease off before moving on.  It didn’t so while The Puzzler decided to stay put for a bit longer, we headed off towards the deepest lock we’ve ever done.
Last little bit of Canal du Centre
Attached to the floating bollard
Down, down, down.....
11 metres later we are at the bottom and the guillotine gate lifts to let us out of the tomb.

A few minutes cruise out of the lock and we reached the wide open expanse of the River Soane, with little flow and thankfully little traffic as we headed downstream towards Chalon-sur-Soane for the night.



Rather large hotel barge makes us feel tiny!
We checked into the marina (our most expensive yet – 24euros, and if we’d wanted electricity it would have been another 2.50!!), but it was secure and quiet despite being in the centre of the town – or within spitting distance of it.  We dodged the stormy showers to explore the nearby shops and whilst unsuccessful on our mission for HP Sauce, Mike managed to get a replacement electric pump for the one that had melted in the engine bay at Decize – so it was a 50/50 success rate.  We then settled in for an early night with no wine.

Before heading off the next day we had a quick walk around Chalon, which is a really pretty town.  We’d visited it very briefly last March in a hire car, but hadn’t had time for a good look and we were glad we did this time as it is really rather nice and somewhere we will visit again.
Mooring at Chalon




Then it was a short hop up to Gergy where we managed a quick walk round the village, looking for the station shown on Google maps, which no longer exists and the line is unused, to print some tickets (which I’d forgotten to print at the station in Chalon), before the heavens opened and we shut up shop for the evening.

Just before we went to bed, and the rain had stopped briefly, we heard an engine and we looked out to see a monster commercial boat pass us by – obviously having waited for all the pleasure boats to go to bed!  We rocked for a good 20 minutes afterwards.

Rain meant a slow start the next day, so slow that we weren’t actually going to move at all, but the mooring at Gergy was a bit soulless and as we saw a few more boats on the move as the rain lightened up and off, we made a quick decision to cruise for a few hours up to Seurre.  It was overcast and a bit cool, but the rain stayed away and only the giant lock with badly-placed (for us) ladder-bollards (they don’t float, you have to move your rope off one and up onto the next one as the water rises) spoiled it for me.  It was terrifying.  We were too short to have a front and back rope on, but didn’t realise this until both ropes were on and I was left standing holding the front rope which stretched out about 10 metres to reach the bollard - the stepped-bollard that I was supposed to unhook my rope off and put it on the next one up as the water rose.  The lock wasn’t too deep, 3metres+ but it was quite feisty for a big automatic one being operated by two lock keepers high in their warm, cosy tower.  As the water rose I shouted to Mike that he’d need to move forward to I could unhook the rope and put it on the next bollard.  He edged forward trying to keep a hold of his rope, leaving me about 8 feet away from the bollard, with the water almost up and over the rope now.  I completely panicked having visions of the rope being caught on the bollard and holding the boat down as the water rose and started having a hissy-fit, so Mike ordered me to the back so he could deal with the front.  At the back, I was ordered to move the boat forward, which proved easy as the stern rope had now been submerged on its bollard, but as it’s a floating rope, it just floated off and I could pull it in and move forward enough for Mike to reach the front rope, which was now under water on the bollard.  After a couple of minutes, he managed to unhook it and move it up to the next bollard but I was really, shaken and had had a big scare.  So Mike did the best thing at that point and tried to take my photo!!
I don't like the look of this....
It's very far to the bollard....
That was scary.  Stop looking at me!
Goodbye and good riddance!
As we continued on to Seurre we discussed how we could manage the next lock better, which thankfully wasn’t until the next day.  At Seurre the sun popped out a few times and we had a walk around the town and bought some coffee eclairs to reward ourselves for not sinking in the lock.
Wobbly water
Mooring at Seurre
A thick fog greeted us the next morning but as it started clearing and the hire boat next to us pulled out to go up the lock, we followed so we could share.
Okay Bee-Man - let's nail this lock!
Up smoothly, safe and sound.
This time we only put the front rope on, tied it off and put the boat in gear to hold her steady, then as it came time to move the front rope up a bollard, I went into neutral to allow Mike to move the rope.  This worked perfectly and we were once again at peace with the French locks.  The next section of the Soane is a canalised diversion off the river and if you’ve ever done the Middle Levels, it would have looked familiar; a long straight ditch with little to see either side and a cold wind coming down the channel.  We were very happy to reach the beautiful little town and port of Saint-Jean-de-Losne, and even happier to see Lazybones, Puddle Duck, The Puzzler and Catherine Clark moored up in the sun, although my liver wept……… 
Fully loaded.

Saint-Jean-de-Losne - the Braunston of the French Waterways
Lovely 'Thames' style mooring.
Everyone was in t-shirts and once moored up we quickly removed our bodywarmers, hoodies and thermal tops and put on something more seasonal.  Sally and Andy were just about to head up to Auxonne on The Puzzler, making the most of the one day of sunshine forecast for the next week, but the others were all staying on for a few more days, so we’d have company.

As it was Friday and sunny, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at one of the little restaurants on the waterfront and having looked at the menus settled on La Cotiniere, or something.  The menu of the day looked good so we both had that, Mike having terrine to start, me a salad and both chose the ‘Onglet de bouef’ for our main.  We weren’t sure what ‘onglet’ was, but thought you can’t really go wrong with ‘bouef’ in France…..  Mike was to have the first ‘bad’ meal in France.  My meat was fine, it was a cheapish cut, but still tasty and nicely cooked.  There were a few bits of fat that I cut around and scraped but it was fine.  Mike, however, seemed to have a massive piece of fat with a thin covering of meat and barely got anything off it.  Had we been in the UK, we would have complained, but not having a grasp of the language, we both didn’t feel brave enough, and were annoyed at ourselves, cos it really was inedible.  I must look up ‘onglet’……..

Back at the boat, Jake was wandering around with a glass of wine in his hand, but having not long had a glass at lunchtime, we felt it was too early to start.  Jake and Rachel and Trigger hadn’t been on Quaintrelle so they came over for a guided tour, after which the crew of one of the Le Boat holiday boats got talking to Mike (women, young, attractive) and he said they could come for a look as well.  Then Kevin arrived on widebeam Avalon, just in time for the last tour.  I should charge!
Let's get the party started.
The view from our mooring after the party finished.
 Mike did some work for an hour or so and then as we saw everyone gathering along at Lazybones, we took the deck chairs and a bottle of wine and went to join them.  After the bottle of wine was finished, we went back for the wine box, and as the party disbanded at 11pm, we invited Jake, Rachel and Trigger back to ours, where the party continued til 1.15pm.

All I have to say about the next few pics is Mike doesn’t like dogs.
"Whaddya mean he doesn't like dogs!?!  He loves me.  I'm his little bag of sugar and sweetness".
Herby looks fairly attached too - but maybe thought he was resting his head on lumps of cheese...
"I know you love me Uncle Mikey..."
"And I love you too!!!!!!!!"
The previous sunny day had just been a blip on the horizon and the rain was back on Saturday morning, but we weren’t too bothered as we had decided to go into Dijon by train for the day.  After a slight panic at the unmanned station when we couldn’t quite understand the ‘rail works disruption’ poster, we were soon on our way and on reaching Dijon managed to print out the rail tickets I’d forgotten to do at Chalon.  They are for Monday (tomorrow) to get the train to Paris as we’re popping back to Scotland for a couple of days.  Dijon is a lovely city, very pretty and lots of lovely shops.  But it was very, very wet and we were a bit hungover….  We checked in at Tourist Info and then went for some lunch.  After wandering around a bit more looking at the sites, getting new jeans for Mike, we decided to take the tram out to a big mall, where we were completely overwhelmed by the biggest supermarket I’ve ever seen (but it still didn’t have HP sauce!!!).  After a look around there, although it could have been a mall anywhere really, but it was dry, we took the tram back to the station, had a coffee and got the train back.  It was raining quite heavily when we got back and the station is a 20 minute walk from the boat, but as we looked dismayed at the lack of taxis, a local man who’d been on the train and was getting in his car said, “You don’t have a car?” and very kindly gave us a lift back to the town.  He spoke English fluently because he is a diamond dealer and has travelled a lot to London for work.  We were glad to get back on board and get the fire on.
Out token picture of Dijon - it was just to wet for cameras :(
Today it is still raining and we had nothing to do but pack for going away tomorrow and move the boat into the local marina here, where she will stay for the week while we’re away.  It was a bit sad saying goodbye to everyone as they are all going different ways from us, but we might bump into each other round about Paris mid-June, which would be nice.

Meanwhile, we’re looking forward to some sun in Scotland…..now there’s two words you don’t often see in the same sentence – Scotland and sun…..