Villeneuve -sur-Yonne and a screaming banshee

We have meandered gently onwards after basking in the glorious heat of Sunday (31° no less) and have stopped here in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne.  A quite unremarkable town with of course a fabulous church.  The church is under major restoration and partial rebuild which I doubt you would seen very often in England.

Lunch was successful.  There was little choice in venues however and we ate at a small tabac with low expectations.  When served we were both pleased to see that our expectations had been surpassed.

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There was entertainment while we ate.  Unintentional entertainment in the form of a woman whose card had been eaten by the nearby atm machine.  I think she spent around 1 hour shouting at the bank in the hope that it would open just for her.  Everyone knows that nothing happens between 12.00 and 2.00!  The noise she was making resembled a wailing banshee and her words were undeciferable.  Then she started smiling at us and so we decided to leave. 

Since Sunday the weather has been a little … wet.  See the clouds bearing down on us?  Yep, we got that a few minutes later!

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There is a lovely rampart at either end of the town.

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With a small but very lovely garden to walk through.

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Yesterday we needed to take Teddy to the vet.  He’s had a wart on his tail for years and between him and Herbie it has been chewed off and is now badly infected.  Once I investigated and saw the extent of damage off we went to the lovely vet who shaved his tail and cleaned then dressed it.  He sent us on our way armed with bandages and iodine and antibiotics.  Poor Teddy is thoroughly fed up with people fiddling with his tail and I think he’s more than a little embarrassed by the bandage!  Poor lad!

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Now though, Kevin can’t keep still so we are on the move heading towards the next big town, Sens, with the rain torrenting down.

We went through a few locks with this beast … We haven’t seen one of these for a while!

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Auxerre

It’s been a few days since my last post so sorry about that but I’ve been enjoying myself in Auxerre.  First we moored up on the free moorings slightly out of town but opposite a lovely park.

Nice and convenient for the supermarket but with no satellite connection.  Never mind.  We stayed here a couple of days while I caught up on some essay prep and Kev tinkered with Avalon.  After a couple of days we moved onto the (quite pricy) town moorings.

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We got a good spot before the hoards of hire boats arrived slap bang outside a bar.  Not intentional you understand. 

I was keen to have a good look around so we wee’ed the boys and set off up the never ending slope to the centre of town.  Not that it was a hardship, Kev’s new knee proved it’s worth and the streets were charming.

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Lots of medieval buildings and cobbled streets.  Once in the centre we found the famous clock.

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Plus another example of a ‘staircase bulge’.

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There are oodles of bars and eateries but as usual if you don’t sit by 12.00 there’s no food!  We have long learned this lesson.

Of course we had to visit the cathedral, an excellent example of Gothic architecture.

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A very impressive building!

I partook in some retail therapy of course and discovered a branch of my favourite French store and even Kevin bought some shoes.  It was delightful to sit by a fountain outside a café drinking coffee (and beer) in the sunshine so we did this alot, even taking Herbie with us (Teddy can’t walk that far these days).  He proved very popular and was told many times that he was handsome, but it all went to his head and he began showing off (as all brats tend to do) by barking at the resident dogs.  He met his match yesterday when we mistakenly sat next to the town drunks one of whom insisted on petting and cuddling him, and kept shaking Kev’s hand “Mon amie Anglais”.  We soon left.

So now we are back on the water having left Auxarre.  I think we’ll probably wild moor tonight.

Another sort of dog fight

Leaving Clamecy, Kev drove while I wrote my essay (very interesting subject, apartheid) in the warm.

We arrived after many locks (I gave up counting) which we shared with Gwen, a plastic cruiser who favoured rushing to the next lock then waiting about for us to dawdle along.  Mr Lockie wanted to put us through together to save him time so hard cheese Gwen!

We spent the night in a beautiful spot at Merry-sur-Yonne, dwarfed by the fantastic scenery.

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We even met some fellow Brits!

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The pontoon was the perfect size too.

 Next morning was a bit rainy so again i stayed down below with my work while Kev drove.  Gwen was still with us and still dashing ahead.  We moored up in Cravant for the night.  Nothing much to say about it except I finally managed to get rid of my rubbish there.  No Internet but TV reception was good so I got to watch Casualty.

This morning we moved along to the next lock.  The lockie had asked us what time did we want to go through this morning which was a bit strange as it’s a bank holiday and other people told us the locks wouldn’t be open.  Well, they were right but it worked out for the best as the mooring is much better for Teddy (our priority with his wobbly legs and cataracts).  Plus there was a big treat for us.

Fighter planes of all sorts were swooping and spinning, dancing about the sky.  The acrobatics were amazing and it took a good while before I realised they were models.  When I say models, they were pretty big!  I sent Kev and Herbie along to the gathering to find out more.

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I suggested Kev take his drone to play with them but he thought they’d laugh at it …

Normally at home when I’m studying I have Herbie snuggled up with me on the sofa.  On the boat it seems that Teddy has decided to take on the role of study buddy.

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But Herbie still loves me …

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Here’s our mooring for tonight …

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Thank goodness – we bought the new mallet just in time!

Charming Clamecy

Clamecy is a charming town.  The town moorings are lovely and level for Teddy with his limited jumping ability and close enough to the centre for us to bar hop.

The buildings are extremely old in places … old in a good way.

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If you forgot to make room for the staircase don’t worry …

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… just add a bit on!

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Had lunch in a lovely Moroccan restaurant that was so large with so few people inside it that I can only think its a front for something  … either that or it gets very busy in the evenings!

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Having realised that both of us had forgotten the dog’s tick collars we had to search out a vets which we did … then discovered a garden centre selling the exact same collars for €10 apiece cheaper!  I won’t forget that next time.

Kev bought a mega mallet for striking pins home as the last one fell to pieces.  I think he bought the largest one in the shop – it’s massive!

I managed to drop Herbie’s lead in a lock, sorry Herbie I promise I’ll buy you a new one (oops).

Now.  Have you ever bought a pair of tights in France? The sizing is in weight and not height so according to the chart written in tiny writing I am a number 2.  Let’s hope so when I put them on.  Pop socks seem to be a favourite if you judge by the shop display … hmm.

The supermarket in Clamecy has a new thing (to me).  Shopping trolleys usually have space for a child to sit do you agree?  Here there is space … wait for it … to put your petit chien with even a special cushion.  I kid you not.  Wish I’d taken a photo.

Talking of strange things; Jill from Françoise had a strange tale she shared with me.  Coming up to a lock she was taking photos when the lock keeper arrived to ring a bell and put up a flag … strange enough but even stranger is the fact he did this while wearing a pair of ladies tights with very little else!  The things you see!

Sorry the photos are a bit fuzzy ..  I think Jill’s hand must have been shaking!

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On the move to Tannay

A bit of a chilly day but we decided to get going through several locks and a couple of bridges.

Every day is started with the coffee machine being exercised …

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You do have to keep the captain happy!

It all got a bit monotonous for me so I mostly stayed in the warm doing house-wifey stuff like playing with my new washer/dryer (fab) and dishwasher (super fab). 

Attempted to start my next essay although Herbie had other ideas and sat squarely on my lap! The lack of wifi is getting to me a bit … I often need to do bits of research or refer to the OU site as I’m writing so am feeling like I have a hand missing at the moment.  At the next large town we can sort it all out and normality will resume thank goodness!

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Sometimes you find a lock keepers cottage has turned into a bar … We didn’t stop this time though!

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Kevin lifted one bridge and I did the other.  Kind of fun to do.

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So anyway,  here we are moored up in Tannay where there is little of anything except lovely peace and quiet and thankfully no rain!

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Plus the dogs are worn out!  Ying and yang style too.

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Back in France!

So … packed up in the motorhome we set off back on our travels.  We arrived without incident a few days ago and unpacked swiftly before spending our first evening aboard Avalon, the dogs sleeping soundly on their posh new beds. 
I now have a dishwasher (yippee) and the washing machine has been replaced with a new washer/dryer which is snug in the corner of the bedroom.  Next day (yesterday) we walked the boys along the towpath before stocking up the food cupboards.  Not a big task as we are both on diets and determined not to gain weight in the coming month … We shall see!  After the shopping we set off in the motorhome to visit Graham and Jill in Beaulon on their new boat, Françoise.  The new boat is lovely and spacious which was a delight for the dogs.

After a boozy night and a good sleep today we decided to walk into town for lunch.  Stopping at a like place we were all welcomed warmly and placed our order for lunch.  Several drinks later and still no food.  1.5 hours later and Graham asked if we were to be fed.  Oops, they were waiting for us to go into the dining room! As our stomachs were thinking our throats had been cut we rushed in and our starters were immediately served.  Thank goodness!

The owner had a new puppy which I demanded to meet …

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How I managed to leave him there I’ll never know!  Adorable!

Meanwhile Herbie and Teddy had a great time meeting Mutley and Baxter again …

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Kev brought his now toy to show his playmate.  I think Graham was suitable impressed …

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It was great meeting up with Graham and Jill.  The normal laughs were still there and Graham cooked us a delicious roast beef dinner on  Sunday.

And so back to England

We packed up and put Avalon to bed in Chitry-les-Mines and have taken a leisurely drive back to Dunkirk – stopping off to visit Matilda Rose en route.  Matilda Rose were pretty much as we left them … gloriously content.  Herbie led the way and greeted them with much enthusiasm and a great deal of play ensued between the canine boys.

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Mutley and Herbie being particularly pleased to be reunited.  Herbie was also thrilled to see Graham after such a long time.

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Jill cooked us a really delicious meal which, considering the tiny supermarket with limited supplies, was no mean feat!  Dinner was finished off with Graham ‘ s banana bread which was equally delightful.  Next day we visited the local restaurant for lunch.  A good meal with wonderful desserts.

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Our time together was all too short but watch this space for the next reunion.

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We reached the port at Dunkirk in plenty of time but we’re stopped by Herbie’s passport which had been incorrectly filled by the vet.  We had to go to another vet to get it filled in correctly which meant we missed our ferry.  I was furious!  A stern letter to the vet in question will be sent!!

Four hours later – which Kevin took advantage of with a rewarding snooze – and we were finally aboard and on our way.  We spend last night at Dover and then diverted to Kent to visit my brother before heading home. 

So that’s it for this blog until April when our journey will continue. 

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.

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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 …

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and I wonder who these belonged to?

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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 …

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he hates to be left out.

The scenery is so beautiful and lush …

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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!

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A nice fisherman

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

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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.

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Kevin spotted a rather eerie tree …

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

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

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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 …

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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 …

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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.

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Kevin spotted a rather eerie tree …

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

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

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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 …

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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!