Monday, 14 October 2013

17th - 19th August, Moret-sur-Loing & removing the propellor

I think I mentioned In Seine last time (sorry) well we went on a longish cycle ride and guess what, the French lead in this department, viz.:
Our ride took us to the lovely town, just behind or really joined on to St. Mammes, of Moret-sur-Loing:
Where we were moored, opposite St. Mammes, we had a few canine visitors, here is a regular:
Much friendlier than we'd been led to believe, but look at that grooming!! Not for us
So we had now to prepare ourselves, well the boat really, for what could be a very bumpy experience (e.g. if the slink or crane slipped !!?), and then leave the boat alone from Monday 19th until Wednesday 28th;  inside it just looked a mess of furniture and wire flower hangers, so first was to remove the garden centre, tidy it and place it on the stern deck.  It was quite a sight:
Then the day came, the one we'd been dreading, timed to a millisecond, well, give or take an hour as it turned out.  The plans us mice had made were soon awry.  This may sound boring, but it has a point.  Left mooring at 7.30am, facing down Seine, call lock keeper as a big commercial has just left the huge lock, can we come in?  No, another commercial is coming so he's going to prepare it for him!  But, but, we could just go in to save time, but you don't say that to these tower people, not if you want cooperation later!  So instead of being at the boatyard by 8am, we're not there untiil 8.30, and it takes a whole hour to back Archangel into just the right spot on his ramp for his slidy-up&downy thing to pick us up and drag us up enough for him to get at our propellor.  It was a strange feeling on a slope like that!
Makes you realise that being launched bow first must be pretty exciting!  The removal took only about 20 minutes, with the aid of oxy-acetylene to heat up the prop to loosen it!  Then we were towed (plus bow thruster to point us upstream) to the right above, mooring alongside a great, rusting hulk "5 minutes!" yells Thalamus (the boatyard owner) - we wait, not knowing what for.  I go up onto the rusy hulk;  "Oh Deary Dear!" It's a long jump from here to shore, and a very long way down.  At 10:45am we have squeezed in for a vet to give Bolly some extra jabs, just in case of problems at the cattery, it is now nearly 10am.  It's a long cycle ride from where we were moored!!  The plan had been to take a taxi to collect the hire car, come back to collect Bolly, go to vet, etc.  All out of window, too late to even go by taxi to vet.  Brain into gear, then into In Seine mode, Nik has a Baldrick of an idea.  She'll take Bolly across the Seine (it's very, very wide here!) in the canoe!  Then walk with him the, by now, about 3 km, uphill, to the vet.  Then they'll put her down!!  Mad, I'll say.  What?  Well of course she did it!  Here's the proof:  This picture was taken with Nik's 10x zoom Lumix and then blown up to show the cat, in the cat carrier, sat on the rounded top of the canoe, while Nik tries to canoe "around him" as he wobbles the boat!
He's in that light brown thing with the black gauze see-thru panels.  I was in a state of high panic by now.  Oh Nik was wearing an automatic, seagoing lifejacket, but you just never know...  Then she had a long way to paddle upstream to reach the 1&Only ladder to climb out onto the side - it was even higher there!
This is how Nik looked in my other camera, at max zoom, some time before reaching the ladder.  In my bino's I could see her attempting the climb (it was the spiders she couldn't stand!), several standing, wobbling, sitting tries.  She had to wedge the paddles behind the steel shutters, tie up the canoe, hold the rope attached to Bolly's basket, climb the ladder, lift him off the boat, and make it to land.  Wow!  I was so relieved when she made it.  Then the long walk, and he is heavy.  Still, burns off a few Calories (Ow!).

Meanwhile Thalamus had craned a huge steel bridge across, I dashed over, called my taxi firms, none could help, he found one for me (which I'd dismissed, Casanova Taxis, I mean!) who came in a beautiful black, tinted windows Merc' in double quick time (his name is Casanova!, nice chap, looks like Mafia) and whizzed me to vets and in by 11am.  Nik is with vet, and all is well.  Casanova is puzzled tho', this is an odd trip, we leave with Bolly, where now?, back to the water, is that it? No, leave your wife here to paddle back?  Not the cat?  Oh back to the boatyard?  Is that it?  Okay, I'll wait here.  So we load up, and off to Fontainebleau to hire the car.  Don't let them see we're putting a cat in the car!  All is well, and we're off!  We drop Bollinger at the cattery, a lovely big farm with horse stabling and kennels, cats live in the house, nice chap greets us and Bolly is relaxed, so off to make the Eurotunnel booking.  Hurrah! 

We weren't to know what problems may come,  see next episode.

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