mercredi 11 décembre 2013

11.12.13. AUXERRE

So sorry not to have updated for a couple of months but time has flown by, and here we are ready to return to the UK for our individual family Christmases...!!!
Our return to Auxerre was not without problems as the current of the Yonne was very strong and we were going against it. We had had so much rain that the water was very high, bordering on the spring levels and a little bit scarey.....

The water was calm and still in the Burgundy canal of course, this was taken as we left Montbard.
This is some sort of dredger that went into the lock before us at Tonnere despite the fact that we had booked our time slot and meant we had to wait 45 mins while it locked through in the middle of the canal and in the pouring rain.......

 This is the top of a double lock near the end of the canal, with pretty and well cared for gardens.
 This is my view from the front of the boat near the bottom of the lock.
My view looking towards the wheelhouse and John.
At last the lock door opened and we passed through another unused lock joined to the last lock!
 John was wearing his new veggie hat which I knitted for him after making several baby hats in this style for a friend who was having twins...he requested one like them so he got it!!
 Beautiful sunset at Migennes
 Fungus exhibition at Migennes, we had no idea there were so many different varieties, and available locally too! They were all fresh specimens!
 And of course in true French style made to look so delicious, even if the contents were inedible!!

Two examples of topiary at Migennes.
We stayed at Migennes for five nights and then moved onto the Yonne with its fearsome current.
 The current is pouring through the sluice gates making our entry into the lock rather hazardous.
 The autumnal colours were quite breathtaking.
 Back in our winter moorings, we had the usual nightly funfair for little children each evening until 8pm behind us
 Our normal winter place with four stares of wood installed neatly on our roof.
 Nigel and Patrice ( he's sporting his new bandanna harness!)
We spent a lovely sunday with our old friends from last winter who decided to moor at Briare...we miss them in Auxerre but we had a lovely day and Patrice met his old friend Tashi again. They really get on very well together.
Our excitement at the coming festival season was marred somewhat by a young man jumping into the river from the pedestrian bridge at the port here last Saturday. He was seen to be swimming towards the hotel boat when he disappeared, and has not yet been recovered. The police frogmen have been out on a daily basis but they haven't found his body, the Yonne can be a very viscious river and is not to be taken lightly.....
However on a more cheerful note, Happy Christmas  and a Prosperous New Year to All, and here's Patrice in his seasonal hat to bring you good cheer.....we will be back next year!!!

jeudi 3 octobre 2013

03.10.13 Pont Royal, Burgundy

I cant believe how quickly the time has gone since our last entry but here's a resume of what we've been up to!! We left Besancon and went to Abergemont-la-Ronce where we stayed for 2 nights. We found an abandoned bicycle in the bushes, which John has now repaired, so we are now a 3 bicycle boat!! John has named it "Little Blue".


Patrice made a new friend here, but we were amazed at the size of this dog!!! We then moved on to Auxonne which I really wanted to visit as it had a Napoleon museum.... however just my luck it was closed for refurbishment!!!

Our first glimpse of Auxonne.

The fantastic Medieval Market place.

Napoleon (My Hero) with me nestling below.....

The twisted spire of the church!

Triathlon runners

 Triathlon swimmers

 Triathlon cyclists
Our last weekend there, they held a triathlon, 20Km run, 1.5Km swim and 40Km cycle.. we felt quite worn out watching them.....!! It was a nice town but spoilt by the horrid people on speed boats and jetskis who went so fast that they knocked everything off our walls with the huge waves they set up. They even managed to break the glass on one of our pictures! We left there in the company of our new friends on Connemara on 9th September and returned to St Jean de Losne.
Connemara entering the lock at Auxonne behind us.
We spent one night moored under the bridge in a hotel boat space and then went to Blanquarts where we moored along side of our old friend from last winter, Gesina. Nigel was away in the south of France but Maggie was there. John went back to the UK leaving Patrice and me on the boat. I had Maggie's company for 4 nights but then Nigel reclaimed her so I had to say goodbye to them and brave it on my own!

Nigel and Maggie leaving on their way to Canal de Centre.
Waving goodbye to Gesina.

Patrice's new friend "Scoobidoo"
Eventually John returned, with a dreadful cold , so we spent the weekend at Blanquarts and set off on our return journey to Auxerre on 23rd September. We settled our bill after some haggling as they had overcharged their quote for the stay by 40 euros... but it got sorted in the end. Still not sure how they could charge us the same for our 13 nights as they did for Maggie's month!!!
We spent 2 nights in Dijon, where we had hoped to see our friend Elodie again but she wasnt available. we journeyed up the canal and after a few nights found ourselves at Pouilly, having come through the long 3KM tunnel, where the lights were broken for the last Km...!!
We spent 2 nights at Pouilly and left there this morning, and now we are at Pont Royal. Tomorrow we tackle the staircase locks, there are 37 locks in 12Km so an early night is called for tonight!!
Red Kites soaring in the sky above us this afternoon!

Our moorings in the evening sun at Pont Royal.

lundi 26 août 2013

26.08.13 Return to Dole for family visit!

We finally left Ranchot and waved goodbye to our new friends on "Picton", Hilary and Keith, and headed back to Dole. Excitement was in the air as my daughter and family were coming out for a visit!!  Picton is on its way to the South of France, to where we hope to travel next year so we are very interested in their progress!

It took us about 5 hours to return to Dole but we went very slowly as it was such a baking hot day. We were pleased to finally enter this beautiful avenue of trees as we knew that Dole was just around the corner!

We were able to moor back in the port, where we had been before and started to clean up the boat ready for the visit from Dominy, Ross, and the two girlies.... We were sitting eating our supper last Thursday night when this appeared over the trees.......
I don't think I have ever been so close to hot air balloons before, we could see the people very clearly.

 Very very slowly they drifted away into the sunset, but it was a really wonderful sight. Mind you I have always fancied a balloon flight until I saw the programme on the TV about the Egyptian holiday one which burst into flames and dropped to the ground...... now I'm not so sure!!

Eventually the boat was spick and span and our much anticipated visit was under way. It was lovely to have them all to stay and we had a superb meal out together, which was supposed to be my treat but Ross beat me to the payment of the bill.... I owe them a meal when we go over at Christmas......

The girlies ate their meal without any fuss thank goodness and we had clean plates all round, nothing was left at all! Patrice enjoyed having the girls here so it was a very successful visit which ended all too soon. John and I are on a diet, we are following the 5:2 diet but thankfully the meal occurred on one of our eating days!! John has lost nearly a stone and I have lost 10lbs so it IS working, today is a diet day though and we are both starving!!

We are now preparing to move off, stocking up with food and fuel, as we know that there are not many opportunities for either on the canal ahead. We are hoping to head towards Auxonne and see the Napoleon museum there before John's return to the UK for his Dad's 90th birthday in the middle of September.

I hope the weather improves soon, it has become a little overcast and today it has had the temerity to rain!! the forecast is quite good for the end of the week though.

And finally, a cutie of Patrice, who had made himself very comfortable on our bed!!!!

lundi 19 août 2013

19.08.13 Aveney to Besancon and back.....

Well, I have been unable to write the blog since our last entry as we have been out of internet contact for the past month. We have been able to connect for brief periods of time but not long enough to catch up on our news! We also found that our phone didn't work either, but it was kind of good to be out of contact totally for a while!

We explored the town Avanne which was  close to Aveney by bike and found this monolith showing the height of the water in periods of flooding over the last 100 years or so, it was quite a sobering thought!
 Avanne is nestled into the mountainside with houses in very unusual places.
We finally moved on towards Besancon, as our fresh water was getting low in our tank . The scenery became quite dramatic with deep valleys and wide stretches of The Doubs river.

 Our first view of Besancon, high above us the walled city came into view.
This is the tunnel entrance to Besancon, with a lock first. We were really looking forward to exploring the city. We moored at the Port de Plaissance but only stayed for two nights as it cost us nearly 20 euros per night, for what were really mediocre moorings. The crazies and yobbos came out at night and got drunk there every night sometimes until 4am so it wasn't very good there! We moved back to the other side of the tunnel where we found free moorings, without facilities, and stayed there for a week.
 We were amused to see this canoe with so many people on it.......
 but it all came to grief and capsized.......
 once they had got back on there was a lot of baling to be done before they could set off again!!
 Patrice remembered his summer transport arrangements and happily settled down each evening on the back of John's bike for his evening walk in the park.
 This is the park we took him too with the fortifications in the background which were floodlit every night.
 Some local entrepreneurs, practising their tight rope walking, this chap was very good.
We have done some yo-yo-ing between Aveney and Besancon for about three weeks but then we finally started our return journey to Dole where we are meeting up with Dominy and family.
Patrice is steering the boat from the front and licking his lips at the fishes and birds....!!

Im very proud of this photo of a Heron in flight, I even managed to catch the water dripping off his feet!
 We returned to the weir for another week where the weather was fab and we were the only boat for most of the time. This photo shows our idyllic mooring from above up on the old lock walls
 This one is down by the weir, the beach is to the left of the picture down the sloping wall.
 We discovered a load of fossils and beautiful mineral crystals inside some of the rocks on the beach.
 The colours were really something.! But all good things must end so we carried on, on our journey towards Dole and stayed at Oselles for a night.
 This is Oselles high street....!!! The church has the typical roof to be found in this part of France, they are really quite beautiful.
Our moorings in the wild at Oselles. We cycled in to their 'Plage' that evening as it was a Saint's day in France and they put on a wonderful firework display which cost us 1 euro each to get in! Money very well spent!
We are at present at Ranchot where we've spent the last four nights. The moorings are great and Ive managed to catch up with all the washing. We met a very nice couple on their barge 'Picton' and they kindly took us by car into St Vit for supplies today. So, now we are up to date with our happenings. The weather is still very very hot but we have had rain today. The thermometer on the outside of the wheelhouse registered 42 degrees yesterday!

As usual a cute picture of Patrice to finish....