To read from the beginning use this link – Barging in Burgundy
Middle of nowhere
This particular canal seemed to have very young lock-keepers. One tiny young lady was a bit of a Goth in Dr Marten boots and black clothing. She was charging around winding locks and paddles in the heat. Did a great job. Almost all younger French people speak good English. They’re proud of it too. Which is helpful for us. We’ve noticed that people from different countries use English as a default lanuguage in France. We heard Dutch, Eastern block and German people speaking in English at the Tourism offices.
This was our last chance to experience total peace and quiet for some time. And it was pure heaven. We took our time to get up and walked back along the tow path into Roanne. My husband and I had a few things to get in place such as locating the Capitainerie and ascertaining our berth spot. We also had to find someone to talk to about wintering our boat and a few minor repairs. Also needed to get a feel for the layout of the place so we could check train times and find a laundromat.
We encountered a friendly French family cycling along the path and they pointed us in the right direction. They exchanged details with us. Who knows, they could be new friends? This time of the year everyone seems to be on holiday (les vacances). Including the port captain. A helpful young lady at the marina was, for the most part, able to understand us. And us her. For such a big and popular marina, there are surprisingly few services available. No lanudry, no mechanic or wintering services. And no boat or nautical shops.
Next we located the Tourism Office and they gave us heaps of info about bicycle hire, bus timetables, train times, health shops and supermarkets. We just made it back to the boat before the rain came down. It’s so soothing to hear the rain falling on the deck and be snug inside our boat. How lucky are we to experience these moments.
My husband had been wanting to make Crêpes Suzettes. It had been fun making vegan versions of traditional French foods. He did a great job. Served them complete with flames. It was a lovely and cool spot. The occasional runner or cyclist came past. Leaves fell. Not much more.
Day Forty-Two – 8th August 2017
Middle of nowhere to Roanne
It was still raining in the morning so we decided to delay coming through the last lock into the port until after lunch. Not fun tying up while it’s wet. Luckily the sun came out after lunch. A hire boat nearly pinched our parking spot. They don’t realise that the marina allocates space to log term boats.
Turns out there’s a South African family living in Roanne who appeared to be offering services. We wanted to meet them as soon as possible as we hadn’t expected to do everything ourselves. It would also be nice to meet fellow Saffas. They live on a lovely old Dutch barge that they’re busy restoring. Their daughter and her partner live a few boats further along the quay. We met and made plans to chat more. They offer a huge range of services including repairs, wintering and organising spares. They also offer boat cleaning, collection by car from the station and stocking your boat with provisions before you arrive. Much as that would be helpful, one of the things we like doing is immersing ourselves in a place and living like locals. We particularly enjoy walking about.
They mentioned that young kids prank boats by untying their ropes, causing the boats to drift into the marina. A trip to the nearest hardware shop (bricolage) was defo on the cards. We needed chain and locks, anti-freeze and dehumidifying salts. The water sources on the quay were few and far between so an extra length of hose would be required.
The brico is a fair walk but we got to see quite a bit more of Roanne. Plus a quick detour into MacDonalds so we could catch up on wi-fi. I already liked Roanne. That evening I made us green pea falafels with a mustard potato puree. We ate on the back deck.
See more – here.