Monday, 28 October 2013

25th September 2013, Return to Sully-sur-Loire Chateau and Moret-sur-Loing

I did promise you some views of this place, tho' after Pierrefonds it may seem a bit of a let down, but we do have a couple of interiors from this, our second visit there.  First the outside views:
This is actually only the right hand bit of it, but I liked the reflections off the moat!  Then:
Which gives you the scale, and as you can see the day is not so good as yesterday's visit to Pierrefonds, so it made perfect sense to 'do the tour'.  Lots of walking, views from high up along the covered-in walkways, but without sun they were a bit lacklustre, so here's and inside:
Many other nice rooms, but this was our favourite;  at the top of the castle is a huge hall, bare but with a very impressive roof:
This runs most of the length of one side of the castle, look back at the outside pictures.  Then there's the inside courtyard.
That great hall is top left!  We walked along the outside edge of that crenelated edge to reach it, all covered but with a clear view between the stones on our right, down to the moat.  Doesn't photograph well tho'!
One was okay:
In chronological order, that is, the order in which they came to us on the map, the above was the afternoon, and the morning was spent near the boatyard where we were twice lifted for prop' replacement, this place was Moret-sur-Loing, a very beautiful place, and best visited out of holidays, as we did here:
We parked just about here, and walked about the town most of the morning:
Then Nik pointed out to me the house I'm apparently going to buy her:
I don't think I've much choice, better start saving now.  You can see how she made me walk the plank:
That water looks cold, I remember saying;  and the can is my last request drink, before the drink...
After a few promises of down payments, we were allowed to settle down at a cafe (the one who'd offered us a free drink and cake had shut up for the season, it's "Behind Me!":
So we went for a walk, this floral offering is just in front of the town loos, nice eh?
You can just see the sense of triumph there!  Anyway, it was a lovely end-of-summer time.  That evening we were back to Montargis for a rest.

24th September 2013 - A grand day out at Pierrefonds

I know Pierre means 'Peter' and fond means the base or bottom of something, but that's as much translation of this lovely place that I'm giving!  We had wanted to go there when we were moored at Compiegne, but it was a long cycle ride and the weather was uncertain.  So we did this separately, at the end of our September UK car hire.  We love the town and the castle, even tho' we couldn't see it when we arrived until we turned the corner (following the SatNav faithfully) and suddenly, there it was above us like Laputa:
Actually I don't have the right picture to give the impression we had, as our approach was from the left of this pic, and from low down, so it seemed to float and rise above us.  The weather was so good, so hot, we didn't want to go inside and we could see school parties going in & out so thought we'd come again out of school vacation.  To spin out this lovely day we decided to treat ourselves to lunch, with a view of the chateau of course:
The village has lots of special houses and views, as you can see:
That strange person is in the way again, sorry, but the view is still nice.  We did walk up to the chateau entry:

But eventually we had to say goodbye to Pierrefonds (not sure how many bottoms he has), but we'll be back to inspect the inside, on what is bound to be a cooler day tho'

10-23rd September 2013, extended UK visit

I had to return once again to UK for my new teeth to be added ! My first implant and its neighbouring and supporting crown - a bit tricky, this to be the final stage.  I was apprehensive.  Now I barely think about it, so natural does it feel.  Excellent dentist!  So the return should have been a week, but I thought I'd make the car hire much longer as it's handy having it locally, and it's much cheaper to hire it for longer at the start!
We visited a chateau at Sully-sur-Loire, but as it usual, despite what the publicity said, it was closed.  So you'll see a few pix of that later, as we visited it again after our return!  The UK trip included a nice visit to Nik's friend Liz at Rochester, it was a lovely day.  A fellow diner clearly had never seen a camera before:
Nicola also pictured her cats, who are very pretty, some rather shy of the camera, others not:
Francis and Mumtaz came down for the day, which was good of them, so we had a family reunion:
The stay was meant to be a week, but became two due to a rather urgent need to help son Marius procure a replacement car for his clanky Honda Jazz, and it seemed that an Audi A3 with the current big grill was the only one that would do!  This we did, and it meant we could stay on to see our many with similar boats, at the now annual gathering organised by the makers;  we arrived for the Saturday party, and Tony had enough drink to think he could dance!
There are many other pictures I'd love to show you of us visiting other dear friends around Bampton, but I'm always apprehensive of publishing faces of our friends from private gatherings (I know Liz won't mind the above).  So sorry, that's all I have for this entry, covering nearly 2 very busy weeks!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

2nd - 10th September at Montargis

We spent 2 nights at our free, brico & cinema, mooring that did not merit a picture! Other things did tho', the symbol of civic pride first, followed by their great show of flowers:
They even put them in boats anchored in their many streams:
But every now and then someone gets right in the way of a really good picture:
Then on the morning of the 4 we set off on our second, and much longer cycle ride (we bought the route plans from the local tourist office) :
That's an old mill (no, not millstone, it's behind her);  we did this trip again a few times, once on foot with some lovely friends we made at Montargis, because there's a very good and economical restaurant at the destination.  Along the way we kept seeing strange black patterns in the canal, everywhere, just that day;  we assumed they were tadpoles, but no, they had a full set of fins.  Any ideas?
It was on the way back that we met our to-become friends, and they encouraged us to whizz back and take up the newly vacated space on this sought-after spot, right in the heart of the lovely town of Montagis.  So we  dashed back, but there was a catch.  We'd an appointment with another vet because Bollinger had also picked up a nasty, compuslive sneezy thing;  It was a very hot day, and the vet was a long, long, long way off.  We considered a taxi, but time was now more important.  So this time it was my turn to do the stupid transport, carrying him in his basket while cycling.  In theory I was just going to rest his basket on the centre bar, but that was too slow for the appointment.  So I cycled it - fast - Nik couldn't keep up.  My right arm ached like fury after, but we were at the vets quite early in the end, and she saw Bolly; gave him pills for his cold, wouldn't give him any other vaccine because of his infection, and told us he had to have a booster from one of the vaccines done at Champagne sur Seine!  More complications.  Anyhow, we made it back, quickly left the mooring for the short trip but 2 locks, hoping the space would still be there! :
See, a floating garden centre and herb garden:
See, no hands!  Oh, we're in a lock that's why.
So we reached the mooring we were to be at (or Archangel anyway) for over a month, until we left on 8th October!  The mooring looked like this:
The mooring was pretty secure since it was not only looked after by the local police, who visited every day at least once, but they also managed it and took the money!  So now we had become residents, we began to explore the prettiest parts of the centre:
Sorry about the tramp blocking in the shorts.  Behind us is the Pecherie restaurant, who do a really good 3 course meal, fishy of course, but excellent quality and presentation, and good value.  Nik was there:
Well, to be honest, we both were - this one (rarely) taken by the camera - not good at composition tho':
Near the museum (which we didn't visit this time as we were saving it for a rainy day, that never came) there were some ruins (out of pure self-interest, I'll try to curb my comments to the facts only):
Now, in case you think this existence is easy, just look at what we have to face, day in, day out, such torment!:
Not quite sure whether to eat it or frame it!  There were lots of shops making these works of pop art fantasy which, allegedly, are wonderfully edible.  To be honest, we never got past the patisserie's and a few tarts (watch it!). Then Saturday is Market Day, and this, our first here, was invaded (I mean, really it was) by a dominant and drum banging mob of circus artists:
I've never seen stilt walkers so tall, nor dancing wildly, nor trying to pull one another over;  they were truly astonishing!  So the next day we felt the need to visit their circus (our trusty bikes, it was quite a cycle) and see what they were publicising;  it was a kind of festival of circus skills, plus musical and poetry performers, food, drink, etc.  here was one amazing performer - you had to be there!
This lady was a very capable acrobat and on the ropes, rings, etc., but made amazing facial expressions as she got herself into all sorts of (planned) fixes, and made as tho' she didn't know how to get out of them.  I think the children were a bit bemused - I think it suited the adults more!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

1st & 2nd September 2013, Cepoy bye bye

These first pix are just to show Bollinger regaining his confiidence (and weight) quite quickly (despite the insult done him by the cattery) the sturdy old cat we knew, and who has become so important on Archangel;  however he still needed us to 'walk' him, and didn't stray many yards from where we took him:
Now I look, I can see he's still pretty thin (versus now and before), rather a delicate cat for a while;  we spoilt him from here on, so he has permanent access to our bedroom.  Then Nik took him for a walk:
Then back on board for the off;  there was a super market in the square which we shopped at, small but perfect and very friendly.  First Bolly comes back aboard (yes it's a bit obsessive about him just now!):
Then we sail off inimpeded by closures, well, that's what we thought anyway!
So confident now that I was able to get off and take pix in the lock, as follows:
This was one of the last locks before our scoot to Montargis, where our mooring was very convenient, but not too impressive, so we didn't even take a picture (next to the Bricolage (DIY) and cinema.