October 2014 - last few weeks of cruising, 'home' to Briare, and UK visit
You've seen one view of our stopover at Cours les Barres, here is another showing the fairly gruesome fountain head, part of the stream (which must be pumped as it went off at night!) down from the village above:
We stayed here a week with our friends until they left (the other way), relaxing in the sunny days, which were many, before setting off on the 6th. We had already cycled up to Chantier Evezard at Maseilles-les-Aubigny to find if they could replace our bow thruster gearbox, so today we moored up against one of their boats to meet the boss again, as arranged, to show him the job. Then we moved on to La Chapelle-Montlinard- a horrid mooring, all sloping sides, nothing proper to moor to, dreadful silo outlook. En route there we saw a sign that looked interesting:
We moved on as soon as possible the next day to a spot we knew by car, Menetreol-sous-Sancerre. Mooring here was not free but not expensive, and the local restaurant was the main draw. Talking of drawing, I had a go at drawing this interesing and clearly old building. Sorry it's a bit dark!
Naturally we took the opportunity to do the tour advertised above, and here is Nik & our guide going into the vines, and it's at least as steep as it looks. This is Pouilly Fume terroir, so mixtures of 3 key minerals that make the various versions of this lovely wine:
After two nights here, having filled up with wine and 4 course meal at the local restaurant, we had to move on, this time to Bellville-sur-Loire. It's a small village, one power socket, but had the best view:
Being the local nuclear power station, called Belleville (beautiful town). I was hoping to visit the station as we were told it was fascinating, but you need to book well in advance. So we went past it on our cycle into Neuvy-sur-Loire, which was quite a long way to go for a coffee!:
The Belleville mooring had free services, using a special adaptor from the Tourist Office, and quite a few hotels. It also had some huge and unusual colour Lantana bushes that I coveted:
They were also showing something like fruit berries. I've had no luck with my little Lantanas, three gone now, and am beginning to think it needs a huge tub to keep it moist. They are expensive and don't look that healthy on the rare occasions we find them. Come next year there might just be a little gap in this display!
Home at last! Feels really odd to be back after all the travelling. We really have three lives, winter mooring among locals and other boating friends, travelling the waterways, and back in UK, each one so different. Live a lot I say! Here we are:
Now I won't continue with this blog for the rest of 2014, but as I've started October I'll put a few more pix from our visit back to UK from 17th onwards. First Chastleton House with Marius (using our Life Membership of the National Trust (rarer these days!):
Then from our trip "Oop North" where we spent a night at Ian (cousin) and Mary's, shown here beside their lovely roses (who don't seem to know it's winter!):
Then of course to grandson, who is clearly having a joke with his father (field left) about my silly hairstyle:
Then Nik takes a turn, but looks much more like a mum than a granny to me:
The last pic is to seek your sympathy (not that we deserve it generally) as I show a picture of the 'Local' where we booked for our Christmas Day feast - are you imagining it yet? - it was worse than this, not only the ambiance but some (not all) of the food was about literally the dog's dinner ! Never again.
Actually it looks pretty good in this pic, you can't see the gambling machines, and this corner is nicer than the place we were put (not where we'd booked to be). But it had space. Next time I book it a year ahead. For another £10/head we could have been in a much nicer place, but it would have meant a drive rather than a 3 minute walk, so you takes your choice. So, I say farewell for 2014, and a NYear resolution has to be that I'll make the blog more current, less historic ! But it won't be in garbled English like Hilary Mantel's trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, but then I'm not trying to be literary ! Barely literate will do. Happy New Year !