Sunday, 30 November 2014

Last Paris visitors for 2014

It was great to see Marius again, and this time with his good friends.  They enjoyed our little trip in the Arsenal Marina, moving from the third rank to a place nearer the bank and easier to board:
We're actually backing here, very slowly and carefully due to the cost of impact ! As you can see@
You're right, that's a boat leaving, but we don't get to be alongside the bank, it's the inside one leaving.
Can't think of a caption for this one, but my expression must mean something!

Maytime visitors 3 & 4

We saw some lovely artwork when Tony's cousin came visited, starting with a bit of Nature's artwork:
One of the galleries has a super restaurant too, allowing one to take the weight off one's feet:
The Pompidou centre had some aquatic artwork, some of which was still working:
Our next visitor was Nik's cousin
Then we didn't go up the Eiffel Tower, in fact we never shall again!
And we also didn't go for a meal at the Orient Express, however tempting it was.  I wonder why?
I hope you can read the prices, the 'cheap one is 120 Euros, the proper one is 160 ! Oh dear!

May in Paris & second visitation

Our great friend Liz coped with the journey from Kent to us very well, and the weather rewarded us all:
I think you've guessed that this is Montmartre, what with Sacre Coeur in the background.  Lots of cafes, free music and artists all over this hill of Paris, most offering to do your picture really cheap !
Then that evening we saw some frogmen swimming past Archangel - we think they're training
The next day Liz seemed to be in demand by local wildlife
Then we had lunch on the balcony, no relative of the above avians
Later on we went on the bateau bus up to the Louvre and the gardens around it, some arch got in the way of the picture:
All over very much too soon, but you can't have fun all the time (er, why?)

Friday, 21 November 2014

May 2014 -first visitation, Paris

If you're looking here for info on Paris, there may be a bit.  If seeking info on navigating the waterways, then this month we were stationary;  so this will just be a tiny extract of a very busy and much photographed month in this fabulous city.
Although we'd 'booked' a mooring, many months before, we wound up being the only boat set out at Third Position in the entire marina !  Good view tho':
This was May 1st - ring a bell, well, we're still surprised at all the 'days off' the French enjoy;  they take May Day far more seriously than us, and the police vehicles just lined all the approach roads, a hundred or so:
Lots of food stalls, lots of prams and crowds, no violence that we saw, but felt a wee bit dangerous!
The a piano player on Gare du Nord, entertaining us while waiting for sons 1 & 3 to arrive by Eurostar for their mother's birthday:
Now he was good, really wonderful.  The resident paino and captive stool are there for anyone who feels up to it, and he was concert standard;  not always true sadly.  So in no time we were greeting the boys:
That evening we went to a nearby jazz club - it was a British band, just okay, but entry was free:
And next morning we went just over the river to catch the excellent (and free) view from the Arab Building: 
And then a kind of old fashioned Selfie, of all 4 of us:
That's right, nice weather ! The building is amazing, and we went there often for the view, the bookshop and the amazing camera shutter style windows:
The next day we walked a lot;  I've sussed this chap out, he creates the same cartoon image every day:
And then we watched the energetic street performers that work the crowd well, just behind him.  The next one is pretty impressive, but I think their fixed expressions tell of great boredom just 'hanging about':
Then we did a visit to the well lit sights, this one seemed to be swaying in the breeze:
And then back on the bateau bus:
Yes, you're right, I didn't use flash !  Sadly, someone found the yukulele:
So to work off any Uke urge, we needed to walk it off.  First the Pantheon, sadly in cling film:
Then a familiar monument, you'll know:
In the evening we tried and failed to persuade Firstborn not to ascend the Eiffel Tower. It was nothing but disasterous queues due to the major works on it.  Still, it gave us this pic:
Sorry about the red faces guys, a trick of the light ! The next day we all used our sketch books to the full:
Then someone else found the Uke:
So we broke out the electronic barbeque to get over the strain, with a very colouful meal:
Which was worth a few texts it seems:
I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but this was just 1-5 May, there's lots more yet.  Next entry

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

April 2014 boating

We were very late leaving Briare because we were in UK up to 7th April and then watched some good friends leave before we were ready, feeling a bit lazy and inadequate!
They left on 8th and we stayed on to welcome overnight guests, Nik's cousin, husband and their very philosophical dog (our cat Bollinger is pretty blase about such visitors!):
Our next guests on board also came caninely equipped, with Tashi (more on her much later) who's by now a Friend to Bolly on the Frequent Sniff network:
So now it was our turn to leave, on 12th, actually without incident, which was quite reassuring as it's a bit nerve-racking after the "long winter's nap" from any practice:
In fact we caught up with the friends who left on 8th, as they move their car in bursts that are cyclable, and to be fair they were enjoying the slow pace.  Mike then showed me a super place to obtain mature (really dead) bamboo from a huge nearby stand of it (which I'd failed to even notice) and loaned me a saw, then gave me a boat hook end to fix on it.  We have it still and it's been a godsend recently.  Here's me sawing it down a bit:
We were also timing our stay to attend a concert by the accordion group led by Nicola's teacher, which took place here in Ouzoeur sur Trezee.  It was amazing, and we had a special mention by her teacher for staying there to hear them:
Ouzoeur is an interesting little place, with a small outdoor 'amphitheatre' (not Roman size!) and some other features around what appears to be an former town wall:
You have to say that architechture, old and new, is much more interesting and imaginative in France than in UK.  Planning seems to be much more open to stylish designs (it could hardly be less so than UK I guess!  So here we are travelling onwards on 14th in glorious sunshine (we had lots in those days!):
The flowers were doing so well, and those in the rear window boxes are still !  These boxes became so waterlogged (yes there was drainage) that they rotted after all the rain we endured when UK was basking in OUR sunshine !  So then we arrived at a favourite town, Montbouy, as it was where we stopped to celebrate 'making it' through the chomages last year (closures !).  So we celebrated again:
The next leg takes us back to another favourite, Montargis, but not without incident (not ours) as we were held up for several hours (enforced lunch) which gave a chance for Nik to call a friend in UK for a catch-up, which call I captured at our wild, enforced stopover, to then email over to said friend;  the wonders of technology!  Yes I know we could've Skyped or Facetimed, but we've 'rinsed' two months worth of Orange credits on doing that !  Anyway, the Call:
Next stop another favourite (we choose them you know), Nemours;  mooring was tricky as so many boats already there on the 'proper' moorings, but we managed.  Then to try out the chinese restaurant with a view that was much better than their food, sadly:
Then we moved on upstream to spend a lovely week at the wonderful Moret-sur-Loing.  We were very lucky to find a mooring at the proper Port.  In town we found that curtain twitching has become a feline passtime (I kid you not, this was deliberate!):
Here's our mooring, looking back to the lock we came through, and up the 'dead-end' to the town itself;  what a lovely spot (even without the added rainbow):
Many days walking into town, an amazing antiques market on one day, and a lovely building (now for sale) where we'd had tea and cake last year:
This is a place long visited by famous impressionist painters, of whom I'd never heard, the main one being Sisley - not bad really.  I liked his haystack.  There's a postcard and prints shop in town.  Thus we had no choice but to attempt a little sketching (pretty sketchy in my case):
Most of my sketching winds up in the eraser when I realise I proportioned it all wrong.  If only I had a portable Camera Obscura.  We drowned our sorrows (what sorrows?) nearby:
During our stay we were very, very pleased to meet up with some Dutch friends we'd made in UK at a barge rally, who happened to be coming up the same route, so we had them moor alongside us for a few nights.  Then we made friends with some lovely Americans who have/had a share in another boat now called Amarok, which used to be called Lagom, with the same layout at us!  It turned out that Marcia was an expert accordionist, and she entertained us all with a mini (and impromptu!) recital.  It was great!:
I hope can see them all again, and maybe Marcia can give Nik a master class!
Our Dutch friends left before us, and we stayed at one of the rare moorings en route to Paris, but our friends from there were still overseas so pretty uneventful and no special pix.  Thus it was that we arrived back in the Arsenal, betwee the Bastille monument and the Seine, and it was good! 
We'd booked in (not that they remembered really!) for all of May and more, so lots more to report on from this visit.  I'm wondering if you're interested, but I'll probably put in a few highlights.  The only picture from April is this one, one of the many street entertainers in Paris, who seems to have quite a troop of hangers-on!:
 By the way, he wasn't blind (I think!) it was just quite sunny!  More later, let's hope this entry works !