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 !

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