Barging from Loire to Burgundy 17
The journey begins . . . . here.
Tuesday 26th June 2018
Paray-le-Monial to Genelard
We were woken from a peaceful slumber by a grass cutting machine making it’s way past our boat along the canal at 06.40am. There I was thinking the French strictly observe working hours. Yet more grass to toss into the canal. Grrrr. A grass cutter was waiting for us as we entered our first lock of the day and began cutting grass right next to us in the lock. Another bloke with a Weed Eater was on the opposite side helping him. Grass cuttings and dust was raining down on us – and our poor boat – trapped in the lock. My eyes were full of grit and all I could think was – how were we ever going to clean this fine dust and grass shavings permeating our boat.
And if that wasn’t enough, we had not one, not two, but three different types of grass cutting tractors at it while we were in the fourth lock. Same avalanche of grass cuttings and grit flying everywhere. A plethora of similar machines were cutting grass the entire day. One can only assume all the local towns, the VNF and whoever else manages grass on the waterways pick a grass cutting date and they all work together. And by God they get it right.
Since we had an enforced early start, we were making great progress toward Genelard. Saw a family of storks aloft a tree, passed the beautiful Chateaux Digoin. A friendly lock keeper came to check on us. He said it had been a quiet day, but the previous day was busy. We mentioned we weren’t stopping for lunch and hoping to make Genelard around lunch time. The next lock had no light on but was set for us. So we went in, tied up, and pulled the blue cord and – nothing. Tried pulling the cord for longer. Nada. Tried lots of quick pulls. No luck. Tried an extra hard pull. Nope. Nothing at all. It was 11.57am. Lunch time. So we settled down to a nice long lunch and waited. As you do in France.
After lunch we phoned the VNF offices and they told us to back out the lock and try again. This time the lights were on. Maybe the automatic locks take a lunch break too. We tied up with stakes in Genelard. It’s a lovely place. They have a mini Vival supermarket in the town and a bigger one about 1 kilometre out of town. My other half made a BBQ supper on the banks of the marina and we ate on the back deck. My favourite type of evening.
The journey continues . . . . . . here.