lundi 24 juin 2013

Blessing of the boats 15.06.13. -16.06.13. and beginning of the Canal Rhone au Rhin

Eventually we left Dijon and continued down the Burgundy canal to St Jean de Losne, the boating capital of France... We needed to buy a new lifebelt as someone in Dijon thought it was OK to steal ours and John doesn't swim very well..... They also felt obliged to steal one of our trays of flowers from the top of the boat and John also lost two pairs of glasses there, all in all Dijon was an expensive place!
 They seem to love these reclining bikes over here!
The weather was so very hot these three days it took us to get to St Jean de Losne. It had reached 38 degrees today but this ominous black cloud turned out to be a torrential hail and thunder storm which we moored in, I got literally soaked to the skin!!

 John walking Patrice and trying to avoid the puddles!
This was the view through the fence where we moored, but John fortunately saw the Alsatians before they saw him.......!
We moored on the steps at St jean on the banks of the River Saone. This river had been closed to navigation in May as it has risen by 8 metres..!!
There were many stalls along the riverside but these two were very good, he didn't fall from his ball!

Along with another bargee we were the judges in the 'Dog Competition'

 This dog won first prize and her elderly owner was absolutely delighted!
Sunday morning 'Mass' was held and the priest then boarded a boat and blessed each boat, ours was blessed twice!!
 We were moored stern out to the river and all rafted together- it was a rather strange sensation!
 The bows of the priest's boat, we chuckled at the name...!!
The pries at the back of the boat with the altar boy and girl.
 All afternoon, water jousting took place in the river. We had superb views as it all took place at the end of our boat. We were fascinated by their medieval posturing, it was all taken very seriously!!

This young lady was very good and often demolished the men!
The festival finished off with all the boats parading up and down the river in a huge circle. There are no pictures as I was too busy helping John to keep us alive to take photos!! It was manic and really dangerous, most of the French drivers were really drunk!! We were awarded two bottles of special wine with the labels printed with the date and the festival, and John and I were also given medals for judging the dogs!! We left St Jean de Losne on the 20th June and headed down  the Soane and turned right into a lovely old canal the 'Rhone au Rhin Canal' we went past the most enormous factory spread over miles in which area we were not allowed to stop.

 The huge factory buildings!
We spent a night at Abergemont-la-Ronce and then set off the next day for Dole. The locks are very slow but that day worse than usual, one german boat going up and down in the lock for 40 minutes without the doors opening......Eventually we moored at a lovely pontoon at Choisey where we still are. There are no electricity or water but the view is lovely and we have good neighbours! We cycled in to Dole (5 Km each way) for music weekend (Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd June) and saw some excellent bands. Music night happens on Mid Summers day in france where the government fund loads of different types of music to play in public on the streets of the towns. It can be  very noisy but we have heard some gems here!
 Beautiful gardens on the riverside near Dole.
Our favourite group at Music night.
Well it is 24.06.13 and that is all our news for now so I shall leave you with a lovely sunset from St Jean de Losne and a cute photo of Patrice. We are still at Choisey but will move on soon.


Dijon Rally 06.06.13 - 09.06.13

We were pleased to be taking part in the Rally at Dijon at the beginning of June. It was lovely to see the Quai full of magnificent barges although the inhabitants were sometimes not as welcoming.......!! However we had a good time and were pleased to meet up with our friends on their barges, and we made new friends too!
 Puddle Stone nestled up with other much bigger barges on the quayside.

This little lad turned up most days and was rewarded with a lollipop!

Maggie and Nigel and (of course Tashi the dog) from Gesina joined us for a BBQ one evening.
 We took part in a Boules competition
 There was a rowing race around the island in the harbour.
And the Pompiers gave us a demo on how to rescue a drowning person, I do however, have my doubts that she would have lived as in true French style they took her clothes off before doing anything else.....!!
This barge's name caused much merriment though I think perhaps 'Daryl' didn't find it so funny...!!
Our good friends from Tesserae won the Boules competition, though someone was heard to say that they tried to swing it for one of the regulars to win...!!
We all had sunday lunch together which reminded me of the noise and looks of a school dining room but the food was good and plentiful. After lunch some of the barges started to leave and by Tuesday everyone had gone....
The barges on the right were all part of the rally 18 out of the expected 27 barges arrived but due to the awful weather the others were stranded elsewhere.

mardi 4 juin 2013

Tuesday 04.06.13

We finally made it to Dijon last Friday, five days before we were due to arrive for the Dutch Barge Association Summer Rally, but the journey did have its problems......

We left Pouilly in light drizzle which became heavier when we got out the other side...
The 2 above pictures are the entrance to the 3Km tunnel.

These 3 pictures are roughly from the beginning of the tunnel, the middle and the end of the tunnel in sight!!

The canal is certainly very peaceful and beautiful but the water levels were very high indeed!
 One of the locks.

The view from our moorings at Pont d'Ouche. Unfortunately our journey then took a turn for the worse. We moored in the turning circle at Gissey sur Ouche but didn't like the atmosphere there, everyone we have spoken to says the same.... so we decided to move through the bridge when John discovered that we had no reverse gear! The followed two day of John working in the engine room in the pouring rain resulting in him breaking the morse cable.
He rigged up a system with bits of string in order to change gear, but had to drive with the wheelhouse floor up and the roof off (because of the fumes)......
One of the very pretty lock cottages on the way to Dijon. These guys obviously don't approve of the Ikea advert.....

This heron wasn't at all phased by our passing him and stood his ground!
We spent nights at Fleurey sur Ouche ( a very pretty mooring but we were plagued by ants there!) the moved on to Velars sur Ouche for fuel and to visit the supermarket. We had a bit of an altercation there with the master race who had moored their tiny cruiser in the middle of the quai meaning we could not fit on at all. At last after much fiddling by John with the strings we managed to moor, and despite the unfriendliness we had not got the energy to move again that night! The next day we completed our trip and arrived at the Port in Dijon.
Dijon had a "Port weekend" last weekend with bouncy castles and stalls with interesting demonstrations like lacemaking, I think I might try this next winter.
A little boy operating his "horsey trike".

The above 2 pictures show a demonstration by life saver dogs, this was quite impressive but very noisy!

We were not sure what this sign meant outside the resident "Pub Barge"....
This has to win the prize for most hideous paintwork!

Two geese proudly showing off their baby.

An interesting sculpture we found in the middle of Dijon yesterday.
 So that is our story up until today, although we found a boat repair van yesterday here in the port who had morse cables so we have bought one and hope to get it mended in the next couple of days. So we await our first barge rally, and will let you know about that in the next posting. These photos look as though we have had fabulous weather but this is a lie. We have now had three weeks plus of torrential rain with resultant flooding and river and canal closures so I hope the sun shines for the festival!!
As usual a cute picture of Patrice who made this nest in the grass at Pont d'Ouche.