Tunnels and locks

Yesterday we moored up at the end of a run of locks and prepared ourselves for an early start. The lock keeper had told us “9.00am”. No choice so the alarm was set.  If you know us you’ll know that we (especially moi) like to wake up naturally which is usually around 9.00am so I was not best pleased but sometimes it has to be done.

I was thankful to be leaving that mooring as I spied a rat casually wandering past Avalon and did not want to see any more!  So we were all up and ready to get going on the dot at 9.00am this morning ready to face the three tunnels and sixteen locks ahead of us.  Thankfully the sun joined us and made it all quite pleasurable.

image

image

image

I did begin to wonder if we had entered a Tombraider video game as the leafy scenery got higher and higher with long tendrils hanging down … It all felt quite ethereal.

The locks were all close set and we had a friendly bunch of lock keepers to keep us company as we progressed.  One lock did give me cause for concern though when I saw this …

image

and I wonder who these belonged to?

image

We stopped off for lunch in a lock which had a pottery shop.  Naturally I hopped off to have a look (any form of shopping is better than nothing) and found that Teddy had made himself at home on the cool stone floor.  Meanwhile Herbie had taken himself off for a wander on the search for critters.  This is what happens when I turn my head for one second!  Even though I found a beautiful teapot I managed to resist (when I saw the price) and Herbie decided to join me jumping up to see what I was looking at o I decided to gather my dogs before anything got broken and leave.

Herbie was puzzled when Kevin decided to lend a hand …

image

he hates to be left out.

The scenery is so beautiful and lush …

image

image

it’s almost worth the bad wifi connection but fingers crossed I can get a satellite reception … although apparently there is a fair here (Champ du Chene) tonight with fireworks so we won’t struggle for entertainment.

P.S. Look what mother nature gave us tonight … a wonderful blood moon!

image

Advertisements

A nice fisherman

Firstly … There are some beautiful sights mother nature offers us in the Autumn …

image

Saying farewell to Cercy la-Tour we had a very pleasant trip with no dogs falling in and no motorhome incidents but a lovely lock where we bought homemade preserves and liqueurs from a lady lock keeper who took me ’round the back’ to a very dilapidated shed which held many wonders.  I have tried the apricot jam and it’s wonderful so I’m looking forward to sampling the rest.

image

Kevin spotted a rather eerie tree …

image

which seemed to be keeping it’s eye (s) on us!

We finally stopped off at a very quiet mooring at Fleury.

image

We were greeted in the morning by the baker’s van offering pain and pain au chocolat which I bought of course.  Absolutely delicious with the newfound taste for espresso we have both developed.

This is the journey we took today …

image

Kevin says it looks like a colon!  It was certainly very windy and with plenty of locks to keep us occupied.

Now we are moored up in Chatillon-en-Bazois where our mooring was being occupied by a fisherman.  Unbelievably (this would not happen in the UK I’m sure) he saw us and began tidying up his rods to make way for us, even taking my rope!  Then he offered us a fish which was gratefully received so we gave him a beer and he stopped for a quick look over Avalon.  He has to be the friendliest fisherman I have ever met!  I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him again tomorrow!

A nice fisherman

Firstly … There are some beautiful sights mother nature offers us in three Autumn …

image

Saying farewell to Cercy la-Tour we had a very pleasant trip with no dogs falling in and no motorhome incidents but a lovely lock where we bought homemade preserves and liqueurs from a lady lock keeper who took me ’round the back’ to a very dilapidated shed which held many wonders.  I have tried the apricot jam and it’s wonderful so I’m looking forward to sampling the rest.

image

Kevin spotted a rather eerie tree …

image

which seemed to be keeping it’s eye (s) on us!

We finally stopped off at a very quiet mooring at Fleury.

image

We were greeted in the morning by the baker’s van offering pain and pain au chocolat which I bought of course.  Absolutely delicious with the newfound taste for esspresso we have both developed.

This is the journey we took today …

image

Kevin says it looks like a colon!  It was certainly very windy and with plenty of locks to keep us occupied.

Now we are moored up in Chatillon-en-Bazois where our mooring was being occupied by a fisherman.  Unbelievably (this would not happen in the UK I’m sure) he saw us and began tidying up his rods to make way for us, even taking my rope!  Then he offered us a fish which was gratefully received so we gave him a beer and he stopped for a quick look over Avalon.  He has to be the friendliest fisherman I have ever met!  I have a feeling we’ll be seeing him again tomorrow!

Splash splash

Once we had said our goodbyes we wandered over to a nearby market.  It was massive and Kev was busy grumbling until we found this!

image

We have been looking for a trunk since we brought the boat over from England and this is just perfect don’t you agree?  Somehow we managed to carry it back to Avalon but one of my arms is now considerably longer than it was.

Now Herbie has put his glasses on to write about something that happened to himself and Teddy …

image

Hi everyone, this is Herbie reporting a serious occurrence.

Avalon was going up in lock 33 at Champvert on the Nivernais canal and we levelled with land so I decided to jump off for a runabout (Kev loves to chase me you see).  Normally I am very sure footed but again I misjudged it and landed … splash … in the lock!  Kev was quick to haul me out and it really didn’t bother me but then silly Teddy decided to copy me.  He always copies me (sigh).  In he went … splash … and Kev tried to rescue him but Teddy is heavier (fatter) than me so he needed a hand.  Debbie is weaker than a c.a.t. so he asked the lock keeper if he could help.  Well he wasn’t a very nice man because he just babbled at us in French (strange as he spoke perfect English before) and waved his hands around.  Kev found some super human strength and managed to get the old boy out but when we got to the next lock the horrible man was there again so he got a good telling off and I had a good bark at him too. 

image

It took lots of towels and cuddles to get Teddy back to normal!

End of report 🐾

I’m going to have alot of grey hairs by the time I get back to England!

Further along the canal I spied a herd of sheep on the tow path.  They soon ran back to their field once Herbie sounded the alarm.

image

It really is a charming canal.

image

We have stopped for a couple of days in Cercy la-Tour to restock the fridge and catch our breath.  Next to us was a salty sea dog until this morning when he left and yesterday we wandered along and got chatting with some fellow Brits who live aboard their narrow boats.  There are quite a few narrow boats around this region which makes a pleasant change although I haven’t seen many on the move.

Last night Kev introduced our new motorhome to a French one (oopsie).  Not much harm done but the Frenchman got very excited and called the Gendarmerie who couldn’t work out why they had been called.  The price of a rear light for his motorhome went up from €500 to €2800 in a matter of minutes so I put on my Mrs Efficient voice and quietened him down, thrust the appropriate paperwork at him and walked away.  He wanted to keep screaming and gesticulating … I learned how ill he’s been, how much his motorhome cost, how poor he is, blah blah blah.  Kev has got to stop meeting people like this.

Today we decided to take the motorhome to visit our winter moorings at Chitry-les-Mines.  It’s a lovely little marina with space for our motorhome and a small shop so I’m happy … no pontoons for me to wobble along.  We stopped off for lunch at a pizzeria.  So we walked in and sat down and waited.  A man opened a door and said a lot of French to us and disappeared again.  I guessed we were not going to be served so we moved to the second part of the restaurant.  Everyone looked up as we entered (I’m sure I heard a banjo in the distance) and we sat down.  The same man we saw before appeared and said alot more but thankfully another diner translated for us and we ate our pizzas in peace.  It was certainly a restaurant for local people and not tourists!

Getting back into the motorhome a woman with hair the colour of candy floss approached me wanting a lift to Nevers.  I felt sorry for her as she was very tearful but we weren’t going in that direction.  I hope she found a safe lift.

Fun times

Since my last post we have been busy busy busy.

image

image

Sancerre was charming although the weather was damp. We made the most of it and took in some sights and a yummy dessert.

Cuffy was our next stop where we met up with our very lovely friends Sarah and Jack and their two doggies, handsome Hudson and lovely Lila … Both of whom I tried to dognap!

image

image

I am now hell bent on convincing Kev that I need a small dog to cuddle.

We moved on to Nevers where of course Sarah and I went shopping and we both did ourselves proud and also surpassed ourselves with these beauties …

image

Sarah and I reverted to giggly schoolgirls … Jack thought we sounded like hens!  Both men gave up and left us to it (probably very wise).

It took Lila a little while to befriend Herbie as she is very little and he is very bouncy but the bond with Hudson was instant and they were as thick as thieves.  There was a sticky moment when Hudson and Herbie were watching out as we cruised and Herbie lost his footing … SPLASH!!! We quickly moved to the bank and the hero was Kevin who leapt out and rescued the poor lad.  Shaken but not stirred Herbie quickly recovered and has returned to his habit of standing on the edge.

image

Teddy is far more sensible and only rests his chin on the gunnel.

Sadly the time has come for Teddy’s walks to be more restricted as he ‘lost his legs’ while out with me on a walk.  The poor boy seemed so tired so I led him to a shaded spot for some recovery time before heading boat wards.  I knew this time would come and am hoping Kevin will make a trolley so he can still join us … watch this space!

Sarah, Jack, Hudson and Lila have left us today to go touring further north (missing them akready) and both boys are sleeping soundly having been completely worn out.   Me and Kev are off to the market to look for a bread bin.

The aqueduct

We waited a day or so while we got some mending done on the pram hood.  This happens regularly as the stupid man who made it used inferior thread which has been weakened by the sun.  The capitanaire, Dor, very kindly put us in touch with a local man who took the whole lot away and got busy mending. However it did mean we spent a further day in Braire. 

We had to move Avalon to another mooring for the extra day, in the commercial port which was fine except that we had to moor up alongside a barge which caused a few problems for Teddy.  Herbie the gazelle had no problem leaping upwards and balancing with a front leg against the boat side like an arm (you had to see it) but Teddy had a bit of a job with his aging joints and poor sight.  Luckily the pram hood was returned at tea time and we moved off straight away to find a better mooring for the night.

All things happen for a reason though and we entered the aqueduct at dusk with that wonderful golden light that makes everything seem magical.

image

image

image

image

image

This aqueduct is known as the Henry IV canal or Loyne en Seine canal and was built in 1642 which I think is incredible.  It’s the longest in Europe at 663m long and was amazing to travel along.

We found a beautiful and peaceful spot just on the other side with only one other boat (all French and who took far too long to tie up than is professional).  We moored in a jiffy and were sitting on the stern with drinks while they were still faffing about!  Herbie had (almost) free rein and had a great time wandering about all evening.

We have spent the day moving and are now moored up in Sancerre for a few days.

You do meet some people!

Now I’ll do my utmost to put places in the right order but please forgive me if I get it wrong … its been a few days!

We went through the most attractive lock in France  (awarded for several years running).  There were certainly alot of beautiful plants so someone has got green fingers …

image

image

image

But there was a better sight to see!

As we approached Rogny we were confronted with a remarkable 7 lock staircase built during the reign of Henry IV.  Thankfully it is no longer used (breathes a massive sigh of relief).

image

It now appears to be a tourist attraction.  Talking of which, Avalon has been creating a stir as we’ve been going along.  At one lock we had gongoozelers en mass.

image

They were taking photos of us so I took one of them!

We moored up for the night in Rogny.  A very basic village with just a bar and a pizza place nearby.  We moored next to an English couple who were a little odd.  He told me how to rope off first, then he told me where to eat, before finally telling me where to walk the dogs … obviously I couldn’t work these things out for myself! My feeling is he was a retired teacher.  It’s his dog I felt sorry  for (and his wife but then she was a little strange too).  It takes all sorts!

One night with no TV or wifi and the odd couple for neighbours was enough so next morning we headed off to Braire which is where we are now.  Braire is delightful … found these marvellous sculptures outside the capitanaire’s office.

image

Our capitanaire rushed out to greet us … then rushed back in again to visit the loo before re emerging to welcome us.  Gillian B was already in situ and we were to moor up alongside as there was nowhere else to go.  It’s a popular place! 

image

Here we are squeezed in at the end.  Kevin did a marvellous job getting us in our slot. 

Yesterday Kevin travelled back via train/bike to Ponthierry to reclaim our motorhome and we ate at a local restaurant which had things such as calves head, horse and kidneys on the menu.  I opted for the pork (safest bet) and it was delicious.

We had some good news yesterday … Our goddaughter finally gave birth so we are now great uncle and auntie.  That makes me feel very old!

Today we joined Peter from Gillian B for a lovely walk along the old canel and under an aqueduct.  The dogs had a wonderful time, with Herbie and Monty reunited once more and Teddy being surprisingly active.

image

image

Tomorrow we’re on the move again and apparently going on the aqueduct which will be a first.

Lastly I couldn’t resist taken a photo of this poor broken cottage.  I think there’s something quite lovely about it.

image

Chatillon-Coligny

Yesterday was spent in Montargis shopping seeing the sights of which there was very few but I managed to spend some Euros and eat lunch out.  Kevin’s lunch looked delicious – a montage of seafood.  Mine was, ahem, rather salty, ravioli with ham … even the green salad had a salty dressing on it.  Can you overdose on salt I wonder?!

Today we moved on down the canel – stopping on the way to wait for our lock keeper and for Teddy to enjoy the local grass.  He can’t resist it!

image

We have ended up in Chatillon-Colingny where we have had the pleasure of a visit from a chap called Peter from the Canel World forum.  Him and Kevin have spent a few hours chewing the cud and putting the water world to rights.

Then another surprise …. Gillian B turned up with its owner, another Peter with his guest, yet another Peter (I’m outnumbered here) and of course, Monty the dog.  How pleased was Herbie to see his old Parisian pal?  Take a look …

image

Happy boys!

Changing the subject, when I shop for fish I really have no idea.  The other day I bought three types, I think one was cod, the other I had no idea but it was tasty.  Tonight I’m cooking another one so wish me luck! It could be anything!

Reading a magazine I brought with me I spied a recipe for a fruity drink and I’m attempting it.  It’s an old Victorian recipe for a ‘shrub’ which is a mixture of crushed fruit, sugar, herbs and vinegar.  You allow this to steep for a few weeks before mixing with spring water.  I’m curious to know what it’s going to taste like … I’ll let you know when it’s ready and I’ve tried it.  The version I’ve made is pear with strawberry vinegar and tyme.  Here’s what it looks like at the moment …

image

A curious concoction I think you’ll agree!

Little Venice

We have now moved on to a delightful town called Montargis which is also known as Little Venice.  It is very attractive and our mooring is excellent … as it should be for €15 a night!

As we have been bereft of shops over the last few days we cycled to the nearest one using our bikes as carriers for all the shopping bags on the return journey.  I have to say I was getting a little concerned as the fridge was clearing out fast and the lovely rural moorings we’ve stayed at have no supermarkets.  Now its fully stocked the fridge is looking alot happier.

There have been a good few locks on the way, all with this strange building alongside …

image

I’m sure there is a perfectly good reason for its ugliness!

Hauling the shopping back to Avalon I took the opportunity to take some photos and here’s my favourite …

image

You can see why it’s called Little Venice!

Tomorrow I plan to do some proper shopping sightseeing so hopefully there will be lots of photos added in due course.