Tuesday, 2 February 2016

April 10th 2015, Le Train de Bateaux

Just a few pix of Archangel in the parade of 26 boats who made a spectacular "Train of boats" crossing of Mr. Gustaff Eiffel's impressive canal bridge over the Loire to launch the year's cruising season.  It made the local papers, and between this and another article on Briare's boat residents in the same journal, meant we were 'recognised' when we were miles away in Chablis, buying wine.  Fame, at last !!
 Here is one of the pages from the regional paper:
The next blog will show our travels, trials and tribulations at the faltering start of this year's touring season!

April 2015, cruising

First of all, a little self-indulgence.  Here is a pic of grandson "Bill" Raffles (we call him). He has proper hair now, and is enormously more mobile ! I didn't take the pic, and to be honest I don't recognise him, so I'm just hoping it really is himself, he's changed so much !
So anyway, here's a property with scope for redevelopment, situated beside the picturesque Briare canal!
The first night we stopped at Ouzouer-sur-Trezee, where I like to 'find' some lengths of dead bamboo, so useful as lightweight barge poles.  Sadly the two I found were later blown off the roof in the storms at Moret-sur-Loing.  I saw it take flight, and would've tried to recover it but the river was tearing past our mooring at a huge rate ! I feel pretty stupid about that, as I lost last year's from the roof during storms in Paris last year!  Next time I'll pin it down properly !   Ouzouer has an extraordinarily tall church spire, itselve set atop a hill inside the old town wall, and it makes a dramatic outline.
We had an unscheduled lunch stop at a nice spote the next day
Well I didn't know there were red squirrels here, but I have proof.  So pleased to catch this one.
There was some precarious repair work going on in Chatillon-Coligny, this appendage was a safety net for bits and/or people falling from the webbing!
Our preferred Hotel restaurant seems to have closed down, permanently (feel unreasonably guilty about that!) so we chose what turned out to be rather literally a high street cafe !
For some reason we'd never been inside the big church in the centre of Montargis despite our many weeks spent there over the past two years, and it is actually very lovely:
We enjoyed a good spell in Montargis, as we do like it there, but eventually we needed to move on.  Not far tho', as we needed (yet more) plants and pots for the travelling season from the big Brico at the second, less pretty and commercial mooring area within barrow-wheeling distance from the Brico.  It was there that we had a Polar Express moment, when a goods train moved in and later out of the adjacent railway line which we'd tended to dismiss as no longer in use, nor a danger.  Gave us a nice porthole shot.
Further along we stopped at a favourite but small mooring spot, near to Neronville, which looked intriguing in the Guide Fluviale. So we made the cycle ride up to the town, uphill of course.  Well, it is well worth the visit, very interesting and recommended.  This view was from a square looking along the escarpment:
So eventually we reached another favourite place, Moret-sur-Loing.  There was no mooring available, but luckily our friend Michael allowed us to moor alongside, so here is a picture of his faithful companion, Daisy, on board his barge, the same make as ours.  In fact it was the first we saw the inside of.
What a lovely dog she is, hard to follow. So just one more pic, of us on our mooring after Michael had moved on;  in fact there were 4 of our make of boat there at one time, this pic just shows two of us.  I'll show you the floods next entry, now that was fun, sort of!

Start of 2015 up to when we really leave Briare

I have one reason why I'm putting in this picture of us celebrating our Wedding Anniversary with a meal at Petit St. Trop in Briare, I liked it!  We did celebrate with our good friends in Briare too, thanks to them.
I'm not going to bore you with all the wonderful social life in Briare, our trips to UK, and so on.  However we did make one extraordinary visit, which took two days driving, to take our clock for repair.  Strange, or what.  Well some lovely Dutch friends from Briare suggested we ought, and what a good idea it turned out to be.  This was our Friessland or Joure Dutch pendulum clock, bought specifically for Archangel, and featured earlier.  Our friends even negotiated a maximum price for us with Joure Klockmakerij !  We stopped the night in Ghent en route, and dined in the restaurant Amadeus:

We recommend it, inexpensive and glorious dining space ! We wound up staying two nights in Joure itself, to give the clockmaker time to fix it.  In fact, he stripped it down and re-built it with all new bearings, and upgraded its appearance as we asked, a super job.  Here he is:
None of these is actually our clock.  But if you wanted a custom-made, handmade clock, then I recommend him.  We're very tempted, but we really like ours and it fits on Archangel perfectly, and the next size up just won't !  Here is the Square outside of the shop, I just like the pic. The next one is a short distance from that, near our hotel:

You'd hardly think it, but it was cold, with quite a lot of snow around, but it was also sunny and the snow yielded quite quickly.  We did some exploring while the clock was being dismantled, chiefly in Sneek:
I told you it was cold, and see, real snow.  Our return to Calais, for a UK visit, was via the magnificent town of Brugges, of which a few views: