Delightful Dole 

We are now spending a few days in Dole. The town moorings are against a sloping concrete bank with steps, thank goodness for our mega board which means we can all get to land.  Dole itself is beautiful with an amazing church and pretty streets.  I found enough shops to keep me happy. No shoes this time just a couple of dresses and some ahem undies.  Oh and a gorgeous bracelet I’ve been after for ages.  The floating pizza takeaway was very handy being just 100m down the riverfront.

Today we took a drive out and ended up in Osselle where we visited the grotto.  It was amazing. 

We came across some bears … fake and real …

Apparently there were bats but they were hiding!  The whole experience was surreal and took nearly two hours, definitely worth €8 each.  

Helping others and a bully (amongst other things)

Going backwards on this blog as my phone has placed the photos back to front.  Today we set off in tandem with Moondance.  We were locking together all the way until we noticed they were staying in one lock.  Turns out something had happened to their engine so we turned around and towed them to the next lock while they sorted the problem out.  Avalon coped admirably and pretty soon normality resumed.

There was a lot of floating greenery today!

While we were in Velars sur Ouche we spied a statue high up a mountain.  In the motor home we tried to find it but gave up.  Later Kev and Herbie took a different route and found it.  They came back several hours later, both exhausted but with photographic proof of their excursion.

It was interesting when we arrived in Dijon.  We spied Mary from Aquarius and moored in front of her.  Seconds later a hotel boat called out could we move.  They had watched us tie off so why couldn’t they have asked beforehand?  As Mary had already been moved on twice by hotel boats we said no to which the captain called Kevin an extremely obscene word and moored up in front of us.  I hate this sort of thing and went to talk to the captain, telling get him that his language wasn’t appreciated and wasn’t very professional.  To be fair he did apologise but it left a nasty feeling and was so unnecessary.  The captain of the sister hotel boat got chatting to us later that day (picture below with Alan, his cute dog) and we told him the tale.  Turned out he was the boss of the swearing captain and would be having words so all was well.

Dijon is a lovely city. Our mooring was alongside a park area which Herbie and Teddy loved.  The centre was a fair walk away but it was worth it with the lovely shops and sights.  We found the Tourist Information centre and it had a row of Segways outside.  Kev quickly booked himself in for a tour the next day!

We found a rarity … an Indian restaurant and so we ate there one evening.  Mine was a bit salty but otherwise fine.
I discovered a LaFayette in the centre and managed to buy two jackets on sale which was excellent.  Half price and one made of suede so soft I had to check the label to see what it was made of.

So now we are moored up in St Jean de Losne in the H2O marina.  I hate walking on floating pontoons but will see how it goes.  We have electricity so the air conditioning can go on and we can fill up with water.

A lovely castle and good times

We opted to moor outside of the town moorings despite the lure of Mary and Joy.  Instead we carried on for a while and moored up at the foot of the hill with the Chateauneuf up above us.  A perfect setting albeit with no Internet or TV.

The following morning we took the journey up the hill towards the castle.  A hot day, the thought of a cool beer at the top kept us going.

After our beer and some ice cream we wandered about the village and decided to have an early lunch before entering the castle.  There were a lovely Australian family sitting close by who were happy to chat while we ate.   I bravely decided to try my first snail.  Hmm I don’t know if I’ll try it again.

I opted for a more British main course of ham, eggs and chips … delicious!

Afterwards we went to see the castle which I found stunning. 

I loved the original wall painting peeking through the broken plaster.

An ancient toilet!

The beds were tiny.

And the tapestrys were wonderful.

An interesting bath.

Here is a perfect example of (in my opinion) over-restoration.

The walk back down felt a lot easier!

Next day we made off in the motor home and headed to Briare to join Graham and Jill for the Dutch Barge Association meet.

We arrived just in time to join in the barbecue and Teddy made a few new friends.

Then a few of us trundled back to Françoise for a few drinks to round the evening off.  A fun evening with more than just a few boaters squeezed onto the stern.

Today has been full of fun.  There have been Newfoundland dogs displaying their expertise in rescuing.

Next we had a canoe race with Graham and Jill opting to stay with the beer canoe!

After the race me and Jill got up to some high jinks with Gulliver who has had a bottle of rose hanging of their bunting.  We decided to swap it for a bottle of mouth wash he he!

It took some effort but the audience we amassed seemed to enjoy it. How naughty are we?!!

This morning we bumped into Peter (Bargemaster) and had a good chat before making our way back to Avalon having met some wonderful people and sharing some great times.

    A dark tunnel and scary moment

    We have spent a few days socialising with Mary and her friend Joy on Aquarius in Pouilly-en-Auxois staying an extra day to catch up with Charles and Marion from Moondance.  We had a good look around the town where we had lunch yesterday.  Kev had a delicious looking pizza while I had a fishy salad. Salmon, prawns and a suspicious smoked fish which I couldn’t identify but the texture was … odd.

    After lunch today we set off to enter the tunnel following the strict orders we were given.  Life jackets to be worn, a fire extinguisher and bucket all required and present.  Once in the tunnel we had a bump and lost a candle over the side … oops!

    The scenery improved immensely and it proved to be a very pleasant journey until …

    In the second from last lock of the day I had my head down busily knitting when I head the ropes straining.  I looked up to see us leaning very oddly and cried out “Kev, we are NOT okay!”  Kev rushed to get a knife and the lockie ran to refill the lock, then the rope broke and we splashed down into the water, rocking and rolling violently.  We have been travelling up lock since May and this is our first day going back down so the error was understandable but boy did it wake us up!  Thankfully no damage was done except to Ken’s pride.

    You just know you’re heading in the eight direction when you see a sign like this …

    We have now stopped just outside Chateauneuf in a stunning spot with no TV or WiFi but I don’t care  … the sun is shining and we are all safe.

    Pont Royal finally

    So many locks over the past few days … so many.  We have travelled 17km with   43 locks taking 9 hours over 3 days.  Thankfully all were boosted by sunshine which made the journey bearable.  

    The last few miles were lock free and I could almost feel Avalon’s relief at being able to flex her muscles again.  

    Kev gave the engine a good run so apologies to the flora!

    The hot weather was causing Teddy some issues. He wanted to be with us on the stern but it was just too hot. Kev came up with a solution … wet towels! Worked a treat.

    We stayed overnight in a very sleepy village.  I really don’t care what it’s name was.  One tiny shop/café with very little to sell and a monument.

    There is always a monument!  

    We are now spending a few days here in Pont Royal as it’s a lovely mooring and we have shopping and vet visits to do.  Herbie has been giving the local chickens a bit of exercise and both dogs are enjoying a bit of freedom and cool grass.


    After a month apart I have finally rejoined Kevin, Teddy and Herbie aboard Avalon.  I spent the month back home mostly with my mother but spent a giddy weekend with my brother and his girlfriend before jumping on the Eurostar and meeting Kevin in Paris.

    I have to say, the boys kept Avalon in tip top condition and I had a wonderful greeting upon my return.

    I rejoined Avalon in Montbard and we moved off to spend a few days in Venarey les Laumes where we met up with Mary from Aquarius.

    We spent a very jolly evening together while I helped her out with some washing and drying and she returned the favour with a delicious Tex Mex dinner the following night … finished off with a wonderful dessert I bought at the local supermarket.  It was meant to serve eight but somehow we managed to get through it!

    This morning we left Mary and have moored up in Pouillenay.  We are heading up a flight of around 40 locks in 17 km.  So far we had done 10. It’s not too bad as they are moving quickly, however there was a slight altercation with a Swiss barge who thought we were jumping the queue.  We had booked and told them so and I suggested for them to squeeze in with us but they felt it was too tight (they could’ve fitted) so they’ve now moored up close by.

    Last night there was more socialising with Rod and Cheryl on Trouvaille from Australia.  They have just bought their boat and are new to France so much information exchanged hands!

    Teddy has been to the vets a few more times.  He had a very upset tummy which was sorted out and then his breathing became laboured.  A quick ecg showed his heart is failing and he was quickly put on medication.  While I was away the meds were increased and we took him for a sonigram the other day.  He is now on further meds which he doesn’t mind as they are always wrapped up in sausage and he is a lot brighter and breathing get better.

    They did shave him though.

    To help him I bought a gel filled cool mat which should help keep him comfy… that and the air conditioning unit recently installed should stop him getting overheated.  Spoilt? Never!!

    He was also given a new haircut which makes him look ancient but must feel cooler.

    Not forgetting Herbie of course!

    Well I guess it was all going far too well

    We have spent several days in Migennes for many reasons.  Firstly the weather has been dreadful. Secondly and more importantly to get the dogs approved to go home.

    So we wait at the vets with Herbie going bananas at all the C.A.T.S and are finally seen to be told that their rabies jabs were out of date.  “No problem we said, just do them now please”.  Which is exactly what she did before telling us that we couldn’t take the boys home for 21 days.  We both gasped.  How were we going to go home to Kevin’s brothers wedding?

    It’s our own fault.  Neither of us had checked the dates of the vaccinations both believing that there was another year to go.

    We shared our sorrows with Marion and Charles on Moondance and sunk a few to ease our stupidness.  Peter joined us which was a nice surprise.

    Next day we moped about a bit and started making plans to stay another 3 weeks when we got a phone call from our saviours … Graham and Jill.  They are taking the boys for a few days while we go back for a whistle stop visit.  I can’t tell you how grateful we both are!

    We decided to get Teddy checked over as he’s been seeming very frail and has been panting alot more than usual.  The vet gave him an ecg and told us his heart isn’t very good.  Well, he is 13.  He’s now on diuretics and heart medication and boy can we see the difference!  My lethargic old man has a spring in his step and the panting has almost all gone!  The only drawback is that he needs to ‘visit the gents’ a little more often.  Who cares, he’s worth it!

    While in Migennes we met a lovely couple, I’m sorry but I can’t remember their names or the boat they have … but I do remember that their lively dog is called Louis.

    Isn’t he a smasher?!


    While shopping in the local Atak supermarket I spied something unusual …


    I haven’t seen this for a while!  I remember it being withdrawn because it was turning kids skin orange!  I have to say it didn’t glow in quite the same way!

    I have just washed the boat from top to bottom.  Why? I hear you ask.  In Migennes the chalky composition of the earth is a nightmare and coupled with the rain it has been trodden and splashed everywhere!

    Now we have moved on to Brienon where Kevin has already had an argument with someone who told us where we couldn’t moor but now we are opposite the Marina wild mooring on a lovely canel bank where the dogs are safe and it’s easy for them to jump off. 

    Here’s some pics of Teddy to show how well he looks.



    Choppy waters and a big ‘un

    We needed to stay in Sens due to the rapid running of the river and very nice it was too. 

    However, we lifted the anchor after 5he first day and found a small addition.


    Plus after the first night we discovered what all the bumps in the night had been caused by … lots of branches!


    We visited the wonderful market and bought some delicious scallops and crab claws.  Herbie had to wait outside which is unusual here in France but he coped pretty well. 


    We met a lovely old dog while having coffee afterwards, he was obviously the local hound and used to his job as the ‘meet and greet’ man of the cafe.


    Finally we needed to move on. The river had slowed a little and so we went on our way.  Peter gave us a wave from his boat, Joy, as we went by.


    Here we are!


    We met a big boy coming out of a lock which seemed to go on forever.




    And Kev needed to do some mountaineering to tie off outside a lock while we waited.


    We did meet a sweet little boat from Nancy with an origional Frenchman aboard.  He reminded me of a 1960s French film actor.


    After a long day we moored up back in Migennes and transferred to the motorhome to take our pram hood for more repairs.  After dropping it off in Braire we drove on to Sancerre to spend some time with Graham and Jill which was delightful.  As we had wheels we took them up to the centre of Sancerre and had lunch.  All very lovely.

    Of course, Herbie was delighted to see his pals and loved the big windows of Françoise … you can watch the world go by in comfort which is perfect for a nosy boy!


    So, now we are back in Braire and hopefully collecting the pram hood tomorrow. The dogs are booked in at the local vets for their check up before we leave for blighty next week.


    At Sens I found a beautiful cathedral and a wonderful shoe shop.  I indulged myself in two pairs of shoes to add to my ever expanding collection, much to the amusement of the salesman, not so much an entertainment for Kevin!

    A few days ago we got on our bikes and cycled out of town to a Buffalo Grill for dinner, then yesterday returned to the same region to visit a great supermarket, Grande Fraiche.  Lots of delicious produce including things I’d never seen before.


    Mini mangoes!



    Then popped in to a pet store to buy Herbie another Kong (indestructible dog toy).  He keeps dropping them in the river which is proving to be costly as they’re around €14 apiece.

    We spent a pleasant evening last night with Peter (Bargemaster) and Marion and Charles from barge Moondance.  Herbie didn’t want them to go.


    Herbie took a liking to Peter ‘ s socks.


    And took possession of Marion.

    Today we went back into town for lunch and to visit the cathedral.




    Tonight Peter popped in again, much to Herbie’s delight.






    I will post another entry with further photos of the cathedral (Internet issues).