Winter, Beer and Bikes

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Here we are in our mooring for the winter, it wasn’t quite the summer that we were expecting, by a long chalk. We had ideas that we were going to be cruising around St-Jean de Losne area for a while to get used to the boat, and then going south to get across to the Canal Du Midi, and moor up in Carcassonne area for the winter, ha ha, oh how that went by the by. We’ve learned many things this summer, the learning curve has been incredibly steep, but I think the most important lesson is that if you have a boat, never make plans (especially if those plans are to be somewhere at a certain time), or you will be sorely disappointed. Having said that we have made one plan for next year. I’ll be doing some work for Jimmy (the Scottish Sparky) over the winter on his boat, he’s just had a complete new super structure fitted (long story, one I probably will tell here), and by next May he is hoping to take it out for a shake-down, so the one plan made is to cruise the 25 klicks up to Dijon alongside Jimmy and Monica’s “Tante Hanni”. I was in Dijon briefly last year when I came up to view some boats, I stayed in an Airbnb and, (honestly guv, this is the truth), I had to pick the keys up from a bar, not just any bar, this was a micro brewery. I felt it would be rude to just pick up the keys, so I had a beer (or three), oh man these guys really knew what they were doing, wonderful beer! I have promised to take Vee there, and mentioned it to Jimmy who instantly said that we should go, plan made. Did you see that? That’s one of the things I love about the boating life, in an instant we made a plan to go to a bar, EIGHT MONTHS in the future, no rush, we’ll get there.

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One of the many confusing things about French rules and regs is that if you buy a boat, you need a licence to cruise the waterways, which is fair enough. But, if you hire a boat for a holiday, you don’t need a licence, the hire company will give you a crash course (what a strange expression) and you are free to go where you will. I thought the quick course would involve being taken out for a jaunt on a boat and definitely taken through a lock, just to see how everything works and what to expect. While I was searching for some broken fenders to protect the Adventurer last week I was in one of the hire places as a young couple were talked through all the aspects of safety and how to operate a lock. Apparently these companies actually lose four or six boats a year due to stupidity/incompetence?¿! Maybe I’m different, but between telling me how to do something and showing me how to do it, I would choose being shown every time, (I’m a big fan of YouTube).

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  • I ordered my guitar yesterday, woo hoo!
  • We went for a bike ride this last Sunday. Vanessa did very well considering she only has one gear on her bike, (I will get around to fixing that… eventually). There are some photos scattered around this post of stuff we saw.

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  • Every evening flocks of ducks fly down the canal, very low to the water but, for some reason they will not fly under the bridge, they leave it until the last possible moment before climbing in an almost vertical climb to clear the bridge?¿!
  • We did have a lovely view all the way down the canal to the lock, but on Sunday someone moored their boat in front of us and have apparently (according to JP), left it there for the winter. Hey ho, but once it starts getting cold and the cover is on the front, we’ll have no forward view anyway.

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  • Now that we are getting acclimatised to the (often ridiculous) prices in France, we’ve started to try the vast array of French beers. Unfortunately only cans from the local supermarket, but good enough. There are so many to choose from, red, brown, blonde?
  • It is truly amazing what some people throw away, the other day while wombling I found a big bundle of insulation for boat windows, and then Vee brought back a couple of big sheets of tarpaulin, we’ve not got around to measuring them yet, but everything helps. You remember Vee found me some Turkish leather sandals a while ago in July? I didn’t tell you that a few weeks later our Jolly Fat French Friend Christian saw them on my feet and said that he was the one who’d thrown them away.

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