Cruise 2019 pt I

And so we’re off cruising again, finally. What with my work load this year, (three months constant with barely a day off apart from a few rainy daze), my refusal to leave on a cruise without finishing Adventurer’s paint job and Vanessa’s trips back to the UK to visit her mum, we’re quite late leaving this year. Adventurer looks stunning, even if I do say so myself but man! that was hard work made harder by weather – first rain and then a debilitating heat wave – and always the ever present possibility of one of the cats deciding that I’m not working hard enough so a carefully placed paw print means I have to do a particular patch again. I found several paw prints fading away on the deck, but still haven’t found where the offender actually put her paw to make that trail, so one of the kids, (my money is on Squeaky), has signed my work. 

  • There’s a few moments in time that I’d like to share before I get to this year’s cruise. Our family of kitties is now two, Heidi reached the clearing at the end of her path in – after the relative trauma of the last few cats – a most beautiful manner last October. Heidi took herself off for a little walk, came back onboard, jumped on Vanessa’s lap, something  not really in her character, she was never a lap cat. Allowed me to pick her up and give her a little fussing, then took herself to bed to sleep and half an hour later poor Heidi had passed on. She’d been with us for over 14 years, leaving lots of happy memories, (and a few scars). Many months later and my eyes still tear up, but oh, what a beautiful way to go.
  • After spending the winter playing guitar for about six hours a day, (winter in St Jean de Losne is quite boring), I now haven’t picked up the guitar in two weeks because of time constraints and the fact that my hands hurt to bugger after all that hard work. I did fret (pun intended), that all the new stuff I’d learned was slipping away, but muscle memory is a great thing.
  • I helped build a Zen Garden in March, the work is hard, really just humping pebbles around in a wheelbarrow, but the result is wonderful, though unfortunately there isn’t a photo to share here.
  • Once upon a time I bullshitted my way into a job as a photographer, this is before the internet and the awesome tutorials on YouTube, I simply bought a book and crammed. I did alright too, had a magazine cover and several photos published. I used to have a Canon A-1 SLR and learned to use it on full manual, (I worked in a photographic minilab, so getting film developed was easy and, ahem, cheap, free really but don’t tell my boss from all those years ago). Recently I’ve acquired a “big boys” Canon EOS digital SLR with four lenses and a handful of accompanying gadgets, whereas once the A-1 was an extension of my hand, I could take great shots with barely a thought, but this new camera, I’m clueless, it does so much except make the tea, time to hit the books again I guess but you know, learning this technical stuff seems so much harder now, is it age or is it because things are so much more… technicallor?¿!
  • Before we set off on this year’s cruise, Adventurer needed an oil change, easy says I, I’ve changed the oil on a car, no worries. Only, the fuel pump on a boat engine is very similar to a car oil filter, so had I gone ahead, well, it doesn’t matter because I got someone in to do it for me, Vanessa’s suggestion and I’m jolly glad. Listen, I have no engineering capabilities, as far as I’m concerned an engine block is full of pixies that work treadmills when we start the engine, I can’t grasp the fundamental basics of a diesel engine, I only marginally understand a petrol engine, I’m guessing the pixies have little boxes of matches in a diesel engine, that would account for the lack of spark plugs?¿! I’ve always been a little embarrassed about this, but I was talking to a friend over a beer after having someone change the oil filter for me, (I did the actual oil change because I’m tight, and we had a spare filter, so the invoice from this particular company to do the work should be negligible, oh how we laughed), he said simply, “you can’t be expected to know everything, you do stuff that I have no idea how to, but I bet you can’t operate a crane barge anywhere near as well as I can”,  in other words, chill man, you can’t expect to be able to do everything. I feel better about my engine ineptitude now.

So, this year’s cruise is a short affair, only 4/5 weeks, which after last year (14 weeks), seems incredibly short and we say to people so until we realised that this is more than most people get off from their salaried work, and then we started laughing our socks off. There was no real plan before we left, up the Saône a ways, then back down, hook a left onto the Canal du Rhône au Rhin for twenty odd klicks to Dole, sample some of the many bars n beers, oh, and some sightseeing of course, that was about it. I’ll put a pin in that thought/plan for a bit.
Getting under way is, at least for me, a little stressful, there seems so much to remember,  and, having been static for a whole nine months and a bit, we felt more than a little rusty. We have a friend who’s going through a bad patch at the moment with lots of things going on in his life and how this brexit fuckery, (that’s the only time I’ll mention that tomfoolery so please excuse the colourful language), will affect him, he’s not sure how to plan ahead at his time of life, needless to say a huge depression has hit him. Having suffered from this myself I kinda wanna help him as best I can, but there’s a time and a place, and minutes before setting off on a cruise is not the time to be having a deep conversation about this, that and how are you not worried about the future concerning the “B” word? (We are, but being good ducks we look serene and blissful on the outside, while we’re shitting underneath the surface). While we’re talking, Lara managed to get out and take herself off to her day time sleepy place in the hedgerow, where she normally stays until late afternoon, not good when one wanted to get away to catch the first lock at 9am and it’s now half past. Do I sound callous? Bless him he does have some serious issues, but come 10am, he’s still there, there’s now nowhere to sit as the cockpit cushions are inside along with us to keep the doors shut, we’re both holding cats to stop them escaping again, (Vee has a clever trick to get Lara back home), and we’ve come full circle conversation-wise. I actually started to wonder if he was sent as a guardian to stall us to avoid something we could be involved in on the river, it’s happened before. So, the whole point of telling you this is… We’re on the river, (having finally cleared the first lock at 10:40), we get hit a little hard by another boat’s wake and Vee asks if the bikes are alright, oh! well they should be says I, they’re nicely locked to the tree we keep them by because I forgot to put them on board. I can see trouble ahead, cruising without bikes is like… Hmm, I dunno but I do know it’s gonna make life a little difficult for the next few weeks. Go back for them?? Well that would’ve been the sensible thing to do but hey, look at who’s blog you’re reading, sensible??? Yeah right!

Here we go.

12 July

1216.1 BC (Before Cruise).

1220.3 engine hours

4.2 trip hours

2 locks 10km

PK 233 Auxonne
So after finally getting out of St Jean de Losne, and realising the bikes were quite safe, thank you, we were just on a short hop with the intention of stopping well before Auxonne, we’re rusty, the kids need to remember this is what it’s all about and, well, there’s no rush. Except we’d forgotten about river cruising from last year, there’s not a lot of places to stop, either the banks are too shallow, or overgrown. So we ended up in Auxonne after all. Here’s the thing, we thought the cats would be a pain until they got used to cruising again, but they settled straight in like they’d just finished last year’s cruise a few daze ago, and it was us that fluffed the first lock, me by changing my mind while attempting to moor on the waiting pontoon, and Vee a little by a tad of over compensation with the rudder, no biggie. They fell asleep and apart from a little whinge during the turbulence from that boat’s wake, they slept all the way. And then, we moored on a floating pontoon which they refuse to step onto, we have no idea why, the movement? And still no fuss, we are blessed with canal/river cruising cats. After 9 months of being able to step off whenever they want, they didn’t bat an eyelid at being kept onboard for over 24 hours, I was truly grateful last year, but this year doubly so because they just took to cruising again with nary a second thought, thanks kids.
There’re some people we know at the Port Royal marina in Auxonne that maybe have a bike we could borrow, they did but I was a bit concerned when it was referred to as the “clown” bike, it doesn’t matter says I, beggars cannot be choosers. However, I am gonna wish we’d left it behind. Anything I write now is going to make me appear to be ungrateful, so, I’ll leave it here for the now knowing that this bike is going to have lots of column space for the next while, oh yes! 
With dinner done, the kids down for the night and us in excellent spirits being back on the water, while we’re staying in a much livelier town than St Jean, at 11pm I suggested that we “hit the town” and maybe paint it a vague shade of red, I was kinda expecting to be shot down in flames, but, Vanessa said yes and off we go, only thing is, all the bars were shut, (not that much livelier then), and only the cafés open so, we had a beer each, imagined a cocktail or three and went home. It was a good idea but maybe shoulda been executed three or four hours earlier. So much for continental opening hours, if you want them then go back to the UK, hah, they should revert the pub opening times before the “B” word occurs, it’d be thrown out’ve the window before you could say “who’s stupid idea was this” !
13 July

1222.2 engine hours.

1.9 hours today.

6.1 trip hours.

1 lock 10 km.

Total 3 locks 28 km

pk 243 in the middle of nowhere!
The idea today was to just do a short hop, it’s Bastille day, basically French firework night and we’re in the centre of it all, so we thought to go upstream a couple of klicks so we can see the fireworks but not hear them enough to terrorise the kids. Except there’s not a lot of places to moor up, fishermen had taken the best and the rest were overgrown, Bastille day isn’t that interesting anyway, we pushed on. And on. Having pushed on enough that there was little chance that we’d see the fireworks over the curvature of the Earth, we found a beautiful spot, doesn’t it always happen this way.
So just in case you’re missing the grumpy old dude part of this blog, at “home” our local Intermarche are selling red onions that have travelled a galaxy spanning distance of 16 kilometres from Auxonne, (where we are right now), for 2€29, yet in Auxonne those same red onions are 0€69. Grrrrr!
Sunday, Bastille day is a rest day, we thought the locks were closed but it seems not, but who cares, we have a lovely spot, the kids are super happy, I walked up to the next village for croissants so we’re happy and the fridge has beer, yay!
Sitting in the sun and happily chilling our Sunday away, we counted around 25 boats pass up or down the river, that’s more boats than we saw in the first two weeks of last year’s trip, although I guess that’s not a correct comparison as we are so much later leaving this year.I
15 July

1228.8 engine hours.

6.6 hours today.

12.7 trip hours.

2 locks 33 km.

Totals 5 locks 61 km

pk 276 Mantoche
That was a beautiful day’s cruise, but, we have to remember to get where we’re going before midday or be prepared to carry on through lunch which could last hours, hey, this is France, the whole country shuts down for lunch at midday, including holiday cruisers who moor up taking the best places. We passed one particular boat that had situated itself under a canopy of trees with barely a whisker of space between the trees they were moored to bow and stern. Vanessa suspected certainly a bow thruster and possibly one at the stern too.
After over six hours cruising, shock horror, we managed to grab the last mooring on the  quay at Mantoche. 
Remember that pin I put in our plan earlier? after a little conflab along the lines of why go a ittle way up, only to do it again at a later date, every one says the Petite Saône is beautiful, so rather than do a little we’ve decided to go all the up to Corre where the Saône becomes un-navigable and turns onto the Canal de Vosges (? I think), only a 370 km trip +/-. We’ll see if we get to Dole this year, maybe a little hop in September, or next year, who knows.
16 July

1230.4 engine hours.

1.6 hours today.

14.3 trip hours.

1 lock 8 km.

Total 6 locks 69 km

pk 284 Gray.
We normally try to stay well clear of marinas and the like, cause I’m tight! As we cruised passed the haute nautique Waterlelie, a boat owned by some Kiwi friends, Tony & Chris a was sitting by the quay. All stop and make sure there’s plenty of beer in the fridge. It turns out this stopping place is free if you don’t plug in or use any water, result. Although, early in the morning we did fill our water tank the 30 or 40 litres we were short, experience says fill the water whenever one can, Spike says do it for free wherever possible.
Last year I was really good at keeping this blog up to date, but ya know it’s really not easy for me to write, if I can type as fast as I speak I’d be laughing, but I can’t and ideas tend to drift away, sometimes at the expense of the paragraph I’m writing. Despite the header saying it’s the 16th of July, it’s actually the 24th and we passed a WiFi hotspot yesterday, guess what, I couldn’t post this blog because it wasn’t written, and, as super as the new camera is I don’t have the necessary lead or gadget to get images out of the camera, so when, when this does get posted, just  the standard photos from Vee’s point and shoot camera unfortunately. Just saying.
We thought this mooring would be super for the kids being next to an expanse of green with picnic tables, but alas no, maybe I’m selfish but if we moor near facilities like this they’re for our use, not the tax paying citizens who paid for them to be there, lots of people, and children hurtling around, the kids stayed onboard, disgruntled.
We were moored quite nicely with another private boat about 12 metres away on the other side of the  area, think an “n” with us on the left vertical and the other on the right vertical. Then a hire boat came in and wanted the horizontal  top part of the “n”, with all the bells and whistles these hire boats come with, for the first two days the hirers are clueless and dangerous to the paintwork of private boats, especially when they try to get a 16 metre boat into a 12 metre gap unless they moor stern (arse) in. I’m not going into the full story, it’s too much, it’s enough to say that the other private boat to get out of this idiots way. Do you know when they hire these boats out, instead of giving the person a quick course, (please, it’s never a crash course), they tell them if you hit someone else, they’re insured, don’t worry about it, in other words don’t give out your details, if something happens let the other party chase the situation.

The return of the cat-tent, 🎶 cool for cats 🎶

17 July

1233.4 engine hours.

3 hours today.

17.3 trip hours.

2 locks 15 km.

Total 8 locks 84 km

pk 299 in the middle of nowhere.
This last winter was worryingly dry, with a lack of water the VNF have no choice but to lower the water levels in some canals, pleasure boats are okay to use them, though they may have to use the locks in a convoy of two or three boats to save water. Hotel barges have quite a deep water draft, they can’t pass. In mid June the Canal du Centre was closed to Hotels, this was early in the season. It’s a business, the hotel barge companies aren’t exactly going to email all the booked clients and say, “hey, ya know that holiday you booked with us, yeah, that’s it, the one where you’re paying 5000 €uros per person per week, well, here’s your money back because they closed the canal you were going on”. No, they email the client and say that they’re changing the route to a better, more beautiful canal, and probably finish by writing that the client is very lucky to not be paying a little extra for such a treat. Vanessa was checking the VNF website yesterday to see if we can go to Dole on the Canal du Rhône au Rhin, (because that’s low on water too), when she spotted that the canal de Bourgogne will be closing next week. Domino effect, the Centre closes so the hotels go on the Bourgogne. Bear in mind there are heaps of these big boats going up n down the waterways, it’s not a big deal, I’m not getting on my high horse, heavens no, just sharing why we’re now concerned about if we can get to Dole or not this year, the domino effect could fall onto the Canal du Rhône au Rhin next. 
Any hoo, we’ve been carrying two inflatable kayaks given by mum for two years, we’ve never used them yet and we said if they don’t get used this trip, they would have to go to make room for stuff that does get used. Minimalist living is exactly that, if its not used, it don’t belong. So, today was the day when one of the kayaks was inflated, not much thought was used, (as usual), I’m not the strongest of swimmers but couldn’t be arsed to find my life jacket, hmm wait, let me share the back story of said life jacket. I bought this before last year’s cruise, it’s an actual jacket rather than a vest, (or bib), the idea being that I’d… actually, I have no idea now, I am not the strongest of swimmers, and considering that we live on a boat, I’m not that much of a lover of being in the water, so I thought the life jacket would be better, and it was a nice grey colour because I hate drawing attention to myself in loud colours, irony? Whatever! Any hoo, when it arrived, despite all the description online, the actual fact is that it’s not a life jacket per se, and twas too late to send back and besides says I, it’ll be alright to use when we finally get the kayaks out. So the loud orange vest, (bib), is back out of the cupboard, and the grey jacket… well it went somewhere, in a boat as small as ours there are many hidey holes. So in actual fact, it was a total waste of money, being as that’s now two uses it missed out on, bugger it.

18 July

1238.0 engine hours.

4.6 hours today.

21.9 trip hours.

2 locks 30 km

Total 10 locks  114 km

pk 329 nr Soing (opp lock 10)
When we were on the Yonne last year, it was very difficult for us to moor, being as we prefer wild “camping” to staying in a marina, (we didn’t buy a boat to live in an apartment block). The Yonne is shallow toward the banks, La Saône is deep, it gets kinda shallow at the bank, but within half a metre it drops off, if there’s a space in the trees, we can moor up and be happy campers tied to a tree. Today was a bit of an exception though, there was barely a gap in the trees, some stuff on our (over 20 year old) maps, campsites, moorings, boulangeries have gone, disappeared never to be seen again, while three marinas have popped into existence since the book was published. At one place we went around a corner toward a barrage because the map said there’s a campsite there, nope, not a sign of it, I know, I know, Spike, update your maps, but the previous owners have written notes, and these are priceless. Any hoo, around another corner we came and saw the most wonderful spot, actually private property but the sign was not facing the river, so we couldn’t see it until we were already trespassing and it’s not like it was a military testing zone. So we stayed, for two nights and the kids were happy, so we were happy too, because it’s all about the cats.
I said earlier that the clown bike would have lots of column space, erm no! I looked at the two flat tyres, then at the sad state of the tyres themselves, speculated about the inner tubes and stopped there, we have brought a decrepit bike on holiday with us, hopefully it’ll have a nice time before shuffling itself off to the great tour de France in the sky.

Two weeks a year, this is their home, wherever they want so long as they can tow it there.

We’ve been playing hopscotch with a few recognisable boats, no “pink people” this year, but a pink flamingo boat, a huge inflatable pink effigy that takes up the entire front deck of a hire boat. A super wide boat called Arizona, driven by two retired couples that we spent two days hopscotching on Friday and Saturday, and then Arizona turned up on Sunday with a German couple with twin boys (about 10 years old) AND twin girls (about 8 years old) aboard, who then turned up on Tuesday with a huge pink Flamingo, did they rescue it, was it given to them by the other family, or is it an entirely different huge pink flamingo, who knows (or cares)? A German couple that own a diddy little boat, barely three metres long, they spend two weeks a year on it, but, because she’s so diddy they can trailer it with their car, they’ve been all over France, Germany, spent time in Sweden and The Netherlands. No hopscotch, but another English couple who’ve spent a month a year for the last 27 years travelling around France on their boat,  Bonadventure, this is their last year they’re cruising down to St Jean de Losne to sell her, being in their 80’s now they feel it’s time to call it a day. And a thirtysomething German man, learned and clever but was on the verge of a collapse, so, much to the “wtf” of his friends packed his motor cycle saddle bags and hammock and is currently riding through France and Spain for an “unspecified time”. The first thing his friends asked is, “where will you sleep, how will you go to the toilet, mein gott man, how will you make coffee?” And then there’s the couple with their two children from Liechtenstein, we shared their first lock and was impressed, remember we missed the entrance to our first one. Whilst they were going incredibly slow, we thought they were just being careful, it was after they told us it was their first, and asked for any advice we could give them, we jokingly said throw the kids overboard and enjoy your holiday, it was a joke but he had a very thoughtful air about him when we left them. Two days later, they confidently moored near us, kids still onboard, phew! Just popping back to the German motor cyclist again, he said a lot of people in his circle fear “screwing up”, and so they’re not realising their potential, because to do so would be to step out of their comfort zone. They’re horrified at what he is doing right now, and after a brief explanation he said they would have no concept of the way Vanessa and I live, he said it’s turning into a big problem. 

While enjoying someone else’s property, we received a colourful text from Tony & Chris, their boat had a screw loose and decided reverse was infinitely more fun than going forward and smashed into some rocks, ouch! The cause was literally a screw loose, the result is a bent rudder shaft mounting, which is supposed to be water tight but currently isn’t. Luckily, and in this region of the river it is pure luck, right opposite where the event occurred is a boat yard. At the time of writing, all is good, they texted yesterday to say there is a good chance all repairs will be completed by today, (Weds 24th July). While the whole thing is bad luck, the silver lining is that had this happened in St Jean, a, Tony n Chris would be winging their way back to New Zealand mid August before any one had even looked at what needs to be done, and b, purely speculative but I feel the price is going to be heaps cheaper in Scey sur Saône than anyone in SJdL.

20 July

1241.5 engine hours.

3.5 hours today.

25.4 trip hours.

3 locks 28 km

Total 13 locks  142 km

pk 356 Scey sur Saône
I wrote earlier that Adventurer came with several map books complete with previous owners notations about stopping places and possible moorings. Adventurer stopped here in Scey on the 9th July 2000, then again on 15th September, 2011, and now on the 20th July, 2019.
The locks on this river are open from 6:30, with this current heatwave we’ve started cruising as early as we can get to where we’re going before the hottest heat of the day happens. The kids are a lot more relaxed on this trip, but more than three hours and things might get loud.
Cheer up beer and sangria with Tony & Chris on the jetty outside the campsite, and, considering how much work it is to make, I decided it would be fun to make a paella from scratch, including the stock, imbecile! 
22 July

1246.3 engine hours.

4.8 hours today.

30.2 trip hours.

3 locks 24 km

Total 16 locks  166 km

pk 380 Bauley
After leaving Scey sur Saône we seem to have shifted out of the normal hire boat routes, it’s wonderfully quiet on the river now. The speed on the river is 15 km, that’s super fast and more than double our average speed, and I am not whingeing, the river is deep and wide, I do wish that people would slow down a tad when passing moored boats though, one time we were thrown, quite violently, onto the bank by a passing boat’s wake. Whingeing again Spike?
There’s a beautifully decrepit wooden jetty in Bauley, and some picnic tables and a herd of noisy  kids used the jetty as a swim platform within an hour of our arrival, you’re probably thinking that I’ll whinge, no, no, it was fascinating stuff, especially when the jetty wasn’t enough so they started jumping off the  seven or so metre high bridge, but, each went home all in one piece, so I feel I wasted the afternoon. I’m kidding!

23 July

1250.6 engine hours.

4.2 hours today.

34.4 trip hours.

3 locks 26 km

Total 19 locks  192 km

pk 406 Corre marina
Here we are, where the Petite Saône turns onto the canal and our trip upriver comes to an end, and there’s a restaurant in the expensive marina so we can celebrate with a meal out, yay, except it’s closed on Monday and Tuesday, well after the extortionate €13 for the night, maybe just as well. As soon as we saw the jetty we knew the kids would hate us, they don’t like floating jetties, but thus one had an added bonus of a wirework walkway. In the evening Lara must gave been desperate to get off the boat because she went for it, it was excruciating watch her walking on this animal unfriendly stuff, a boat further down had dogs onboard and the owner carried them off the pontoon when it was walkies time. I promised Lara & Squeaks we’d never moor any where this stuff again, I can’t promise no floating pontoons again, but this stuff is a definite no. On the way into Corre we spotted a tree near the river bank in an open field, this is where we are currently moored and I’m catching up on writing this blog thingy. We had to stop where we were yesterday though, if today is a writing day, yesterday was a domestic day, with power and water, four washes were done & dried while the kids looked enviously at the nearby but unreachable shady grass and Vee & I melted in the 44° heat. Why didn’t we carry the cats to the shaded grass? because they hate being carried where they can’t go, they need to be able to scurry quick as a flash onboard, which is fair enough.

Horrible, horrible anti animal pontoon, an un catwalk.

There was internet access here too, good job as if I don’t get “Spotify Kindle” online once a month all the music disappears, and guess what happened the day before? Life without music is quite intolerable. I should say, “Spotify Kindle” is the first Kindle Fire I owned, nearly 10 years old now and thanks to an Amazon update a few years ago that seemed to take away more than enhance, is next to useless, but she can run Spotify, even with her deteriorating processor and broken screen, long may she carry on playing music.
24 July

1252.3 engine hours.

1.8 hours today.

36.2 trip hours.

1 lock 9 km

Total 20 locks  201 km

pk 397 in the middle of nowhere.

So here we sit, the sun has chased us around our lovely shadey tree, the kids have been in heaven without once being picked up  and moved closer to the boat. In fact, Squeaky has been utterly confused by the lack of commands aimed in her general direction for her to ignore. That was until Vee remembered last year when there was a loud commotion on the roof when an eagle thought Squeaks would make a jolly good meal and attempted to snatch her up, good job she’s a dirty fighter, now while I write this, Vee is watching the skies for hungry eagles, and I have the camera ready.
It has been a great day, a few beers, loads of writing, we’ve just had dinner al fresco. Super!

Our beautiful shady tree.

We’ve decided to stay another day here in the middle of nowhere, it’s so perfect for the kids and it’s all about them isn’t it! I woke at dawn to see a fisherman setting up his kit, he didn’t seem to pleased to see me and the boat under what I assume is his shadey tree and within half hour he’d buggered off, his correct assessment being that we weren’t going to.

The thing about this year’s cruise is that we’re going there, turning around and coming back again, last year’s was a huge circle. If we miss something we can catch it on the way back, there’s internet at the Tourist office in Scey sur Saône, (I was too lazy when we were there last weekend, I couldn’t face the beeps and blips of my Kindle as a couple of weeks of notifications and updates came through), so I should be posting this there. There’s also a huge charity shop/troc that Vee wants to check out, only being open Wednesday and Saturday arvo it’s a narrow window. Also, five klicks downstream in Rupt sur Saône there’s a fete at the chateau this Sunday, (28th), free to enter too, cool! We’re kinda hoping that Tony & Chris will be still there, but that would mean their boat isn’t fixed yet, which is kinda selfish of us, but this is France so there is quite a high chance?¿!

We had such a lovely time in this spot, we spent another day slowly circling the tree keeping in the shade, the kids just lolloped wherever they wanted, it was one of those perfect spots. I really don’t know what goes through people’s minds, but I’ll have a guess at the driver of a hire boat on board with his wife and his three pre-ten year olds, “oh look, there’s a happy hippy child free couple, reading their books and enjoying the silence of this lovely little spot in the middle of nowhere, they have obviously chosen it because they prefer the quiet life, let me and my unruly children totally fuck that up for them”. And they proceeded to moor not five metres in front of us and spend the next two hours gaily making as much noise as possible. How. Very. Rude!

26 July

1256.7 engine hours.

4.4 hours today.

40.6 trip hours.

2 locks 22 km

Total 22 locks  223 km

pk 369 in the middle of nowhere.

We left very early in the morning, we were very good, as much as we wanted to, we left very quietly, not a noise, can you believe we even whispered when talking to each other or the cats, ridiculousness. We can always tell when we leave a particularly good spot, the kids cry, when we left the wire work floating pontoon they were silent, (but giving meaningful stares, as if to say the next place had better be better), this morning the mournful howling of loss was a nightmare.
So that’s it for the now, if you’ve read all this to here without skipping any bits, congratulations, you’ve won the Watching Paint Dry award for 2019. Just a couple of house keeping bits, some people know this, some don’t, if you put your email address in the “subscribe” box that’s somewhere on this page, you can get these blog posts delivered right to your inbox as soon as I post them, it’s all stress free too, WordPress promise they won’t sell your email address or anything nefarious like that. Also, our laptop has totally died now so getting these posts all pretty & formatted is not possible until I can part with the necessary to get a new one, so excuse me if the posts look like crap, this kindle is all well and good but it lacks the refinement.

A Quiche

​So, there was going to be another post before Christmas, but time has run away and things have happened, I’ll get back to it after the silly season. In the meantime, here’s a very relevant image, (cause they’re called that now, apparently they’re not pictures anymore?¿!) and a YouTube clip of yours truly attempting a wonderful song by Neil Young.

Best wishes for the silly season.