jeudi 7 août 2014

Ouzouer-sur-Trezee, Canal de Briare.

We left Cours-les-Barres after the weekend and moved on down the canal. We were going to stay at Marigny-les-Aubigny but it was really depressing, looking more like a boat graveyard so we moved on to Beffes where there were reportedly new moorings.. These had apparently been constructed for the bumper boats with finger pontoons so we moored "greenbank" style alongside a lovely ornamental park. We had some bad thunder storms that night but got on our way again the next day and ended up at La Chapelle-Montlinard, mooring quite close to a silo. We just managed to moor before the heavens opened and we had a torrential thunderstorm!!!  We decided to stay a few days as the facilities were good and apparently free and we wanted to stock up with food from the supermarkets in La Charite, a nearby town.

We thought that this Butchers shop was really charming, but they didn't stock sausages for the BBQ!

 The town had a huge brocante and market on the wekend after our arrival so we stayed at La Chapelle in order to attend both. The weather alternated between downpours and really hot days so I managed to get all the washing done before we moved on again.

We moved on as soon as we had a reasonable morning and moored at Champalay where John went for a walk with Patrice and returned excitedly to the boat saying he'd found a Pub!

This was the "Pub" at Champalay, but we were the only customers! We sat outside and had a bottled beer which was at least cold!

Patrice was disappointed that they didn't do "Mouse flavoured crisps" but sat up to the table with us!! The owner asked us if she could borrow him as they were troubled by mice, suddenly we didn't mind that they only served bottled beer.....!!

Some of the locks are really pretty.

This was meant to be of Sancerre at the top of the hill, but by the time I found the camera we had gone past it.....

Our peaceful mooring at Boulleret, the closest we could get to Cosne Cours-sur-Loire.

We spent a night at Boulleret so we could go into the town as I had found that they had a Phildar wool shop there, and I wanted to post a parcel of loom band bracelets to my grandaughters which I had made for them. The cycle trip into town was really horrid and rather dangerous, and a long way from the canal. We topped up with ice cream and moved on during the evening and ended up at Lere who kindly supplied us with free water and electricity! We moored in front of a Dutch boat who had been really rude to us at Cours-les-Barres and despite staying last weekend there, we didn't see anyone from that boat, could they have been hiding from us..??!!

The church is kept locked at Lere but we managed to get on an escorted tour which took us into the crypt first. It is said that St Martin's body was kept here before he was buried at Orleans cathedral.

The interior was beautiful with magnificent stained glass windows.

We both agreed we would love to live in this house! There was a free concert last saturday night, which we went to. It was well attended  with an excellent turnout, here is John buying our beer!

The concert was delivered by this duo, but we decided that he was performing with his Mum! She really was too mature to be doing raunchy songs (with actions!), but most of them were sung in English. The equipment broke at 22.30hrs so we returned to the boat, having had a very interesting time! We continued on our way last Monday and stopped at Belleville, a town which is famous for its nuclear power station which allowed visits!

Our moorings, the nuclear power station can be seen in the background.

We cycled there (that's John on his bike) and spent an interesting time in their visitors centre, but no photos were allowed.

We were a little disconcerted to see the Gendarmes behind us back at the mooring but they were just on a "jolly" with their families.

Tuesday was supposed to be market day, but disappointingly nobody turned up so we set off after lunch and moored for the night "greenbank" style just before Chatillon-sur-Loire. Yesterday we set off to complete our trip on the Canal Lateral a Loire and joined up with the Canal de Briare passing over the impressive aqueduct.

There were alot of people walking over the aquaduct and it made us feel as though we were animals in the zoo as everyone stopped and stared at us, taking photos etc.. They could not have seen many boats passing this way for a while! The weather was not kind to us though and it just poured down. We were pulled out of our moorings by a tripper boat so we decided to move on even though it was raining hard. After a couple more locks we arrived at Ouzouer-sur-Trezee where we found the port was full but just managed to squinge onto the grass verge before the port.

Our moorings at Ouzouer-sur-Trezee

Our view from the boat here.

Patrice was glad to get off the boat and celebrated his freedom by catching a poor unsuspecting mouse! So that is where we are tonight, once more the town is providing free facilities, but there is very little here for us to pay them back.

vendredi 18 juillet 2014


We moved on from Nevers last Tuesday, and made our way up the branch towards the Lateral a Loire Canal.
The port at Nevers

This duckling, and its siblings, was floating on the piece of plastic but by the time I had geared up my camera they had all jumped off!!

We had similar trouble with the last lock before the canal it decided not to work for us. This time a very nice man (lovely looking too...!) came and operated the lock for us but I had to get off the barge and then get on again without their being a proper mooring place, but eventually we got through.
 We moored in the wild for the night and Patrice took this photo opportunity to look really cool with his beer and guitar!!

 Wednesday we moved on and went over the spectacular aquaduct over the River Loire. It was 32 degrees and people were paddling on the man made beach below us. We entered a massive double lock which dropped us over 9 metres, my rope ran out in the second lock!

Looking over the viaduct before we reached the Loire.

The beach on the Loire

Looking in the opposite direction, the Loire is a really massive river.

Inside the double lock.

At last we leave and moor at Guetin, a lovely quayside but it was boiling hot and although trees have been planted they are not really big enough to give us shade. They are building a Capitainerie here but at the moment the only facilities here are dustbins and bollards! We wanted to see the famous round lock on the disused Lorrans Canal but it was too hot for the six kilometre cycle, so waited for the evening for this. We left the boat at 8.30pm when it was beginning to cool from the 34 degrees of the day.

 We cycled along the towpath with some beautiful bridges to look at along the way.
At last we found the lock, an extraordinary site, with a wonderful house overlooking it. sadly they had had a breach with the River Allier so it was all fenced off but we went in anyway after our long cycle ride!

Building works filling the breech with the River Allier
This official turned up whilst we were snooping around, he didnt seem to mind that we were inside the fence, and suggested that we cycled another 4 kilometres to see one of the most beautiful villages in France. So on we cycled!

This village was amazing, like something out of a Harry Potter film, or a Disney film set, we have never seen anything like it!

These photos dont really do it justice as it was getting dark and many of the photos I took didnt come out, but I think you can get the idea!
This was the villagers view from their back gardens, the River Allier.

It was dark when we returned to the boat at 10:45pm but we had a beautiful sunset. Yesterday we moved, quite early in the morning for us as it was another really hot day, too hot to stay at a quay with no shade. we moored up again here at Cours-les-Barres, one of the prettiest we've seen to date. They have given us free water and electricity (although this was well hidden, but we found it!) and even showers......

......and toilets, though not really as we Britishers expect from a toilet! Still it was very clean.

Patrice found a cool leafy bower.......

.......and John found a cooling footspa!

We didnt go much on the face in the fountain though!

John couldnt leave the water alone, mind you cool feet and it cools one down nicely!
So, that is us up to date again! we will stay here a couple more nights the weather is supposed to reach 38 degrees tomorrow, but I'm taking the advantage of getting all my washing done as it was impossible last week with torrential rain everyday>
Patrice is just sleeping through this very hot weather, thank goodness we don't have fur coats!!!

mardi 15 juillet 2014


We have stayed in the port of Nevers for 8 nights now and we are moving on today. It was intentional to stay for this long, as we were committed to going to our friends combined 40th wedding anniversary and 40th birthday in Lindry near Auxerre. We wanted to leave the boat somewhere safe when we hired a car to do this visit and stayed overnight. So we set about exploring the town first. The weather has been appalling with perhaps the wettest weather for the past week that we have ever had in the summer in France. It has not only been wet but cold too, resulting in our lighting the woodburner...!!!
 Our moorings in the port at Nevers

We thought our boat was untidy....??!!

I think going down this water slide would result in an unhappy ending...!!

The streets are quaint but full of necessary one way systems.

The Palais de Justice

Inside Nevers Cathedral.

The cathedral is a magnificent building but was severely damaged by bombs in the Second World War which resulted in its losing all the stained glass windows. They have been replaced but by very modern ones, which although the colours are right the shapes are very wrong.

12th Century frescoes on the ceiling

Beautiful 17th Century sculpture in the crypt.

I just loved this spiral staircase.

Ancient clock and very impressive pulpit.

A fantastic building showing 'La Belle Epoque'

Another quaint street, but no cars...Obviously!!

These buildings originally ran along the side of the canal which has now disappeared and been replaced by a very busy dual carriageway.

I find my favourite Napoleon everywhere I look!

Part of the town's ramparts.
We had heard that you could see the body of St Bernadette in her coffin, so the next day we rubbed our sore feet and set off again to find her. Apparently she was a poor girl who was raised in Lourdes where she witnessed seeing the Virgin Mary no less than 18 times! She was made a saint after they dug up her body (not sure why) to find that she had not decomposed at all. She now lies in a glass coffin inside her own chapel, apparently her face and hands were covered in a thin film of wax but no preserving has been undertaken. She's been like this for about 90 years and still shows no sign of decomposing.... (This is a photo of a postcard as it is forbidden to use cameras inside the chapel)

The shrine built to St Bernadette in the grounds of the huge space devoted to her.

We've had so much rain that the  river is now flowing with great force, when we arrived it was a mere trickle.

On our way to hire the car (another marathon walk, it takes 20 minutes to cross over the Loire and get to the entrance of the town and the industrial centre is the other side of this town..) we saw this car being decorated ready for the owner's wedding later in the day!

having successfully obtained the car on Sunday we set off with some trepidation in our ugly little french car ( a Fiat Panda Hi-back). The journey wasnt too bad but it took us two hours to drive to the party. Sadly the weather was not kind and despite there being beautiful ample grounds we had to stay inside their marquee as the rain oured all day.

We had delicious food and of course copious wine!

We met Marie-Noelle's new daughter in law who will make her a granny again in december.

After the main courses were finished Barbara (left) and Marie-Noelle (right) put on some funny sketches. Of course it was all in french but I managed to understand some of it!

In between the sketches John entertained everyone with some songs whilst the actors got changed.

John sent the youngsters dancing.....

Marie-Noelle told a lovely childrens story about 'who did this poo on my head?' a french story which is similar to the duck story in UK who asks 'Are you my Mummy?'

The children loved it and sat mesmerised!

Salome (Barbara's daughter) did a little sketch too and was not at all embarrased.

The people who the party was all about Marie- Noelle (left), Barbara (centre) and Samuel (right)

We waved goodbye at 7pm after 6 hours of french my brain was frazzled, and I drove us to Auxerre where we stayed the night with our good friends Maggie and Nigel on their boat 'Gesina'. The good people of Auxerre celebrated by putting on a huge firework display for us right by the boat (it was their 14th July celebrations)! The next day we waved goodbye at 11am and drove back to Nevers. Patrice disgraced himself by getting out the night before leaving John and Nigel scrabbling around in the dirt trying to catch him....

 Yesterday we returned the car and then we went to a vide grenier passing by this magnificent war memorial.
The ancient workings left by the canal which used to be here. Our moorings are behind this on what was canal! However time to move on now, no more news to tell you!