The journey begins . . . here.
Barging from Loire to Burgundy 18
Wednesday 27th June 2018
Genelard to Blanzy
We shared the locks with a couple from Germany. Fortunately the bollards are easy to see. And to reach. The first lock from Genelard went fine but the next few locks are set so the water flows in really fast. Not exactly expecting that, the couple in the other boat and ourselves were a bit unprepared and our boats lurched violently. It was a decidedly breezy day which wasn’t helping one bit. We had to keep the radar arch and back awning down due to the low bridges but resolved to drop the front awning in the locks as it was behaving like a sail, catching the wind and pushing our boat about. I would have preferred us to keep the radar arch in storage while we boated in France as taking the thing up and down every day and then stepping over it while juggling ropes was a right pain. But I’m not the captain.
As luck would have it a new type of grass cutter was busy at the third lock of the day, grinding away at growth next to the canal. I’ve never seen so many different contraptions and devices to remove grass as I had the last few days.
The wind was also welcome as temperatures were above 30’C – peaking at 35’C in the forthcoming days. There are three lift bridges just before the marina at Montceau-les-Mines which don’t operate during lunch time. Straight after lunch we passed through them. They must have cameras or sensors as you don’t do anything to trigger them. And then we saw a newly renovated marina. It looked amazing. All the forsaken boats were gone! Lovely new jettys. Probably had WiFi. We briefly considered changing our plans and stopping there but decided to stick with our original plan.
We arrived in Blanzy and realised where the dead beat boats had gone. Blanzy! I will never understand why these boats that are rusted, covered in black mould, rotten wood trimmings and curtains, have not seen an owner in yonks and not paid their licenses in decades – are allowed to hog prime mooring places marked on the maps for visitors of the waterways. It makes no sense.
They are costing potential income as they don’t bring visitors, they detract from a place as they are an eyesore and they don’t pay toward the waterways. Proper moorings designed for visitors should have a maximum 3-day stay and then boats must move on. Or go where boats go when they are no longer useful or loved. If it’s a renovation project, it belongs in a boatyard and not on the waterways. If a boat is not being used, it must be scrapped. Simple.
And while I’m at it. Another thing that irks us is huge big barges that tie up permanently in these places. Blanzy had a barge that took up 40% of the available space. Naturally they put the usual A4 paper “hand-made notice” ordering the rest of us boaters not to go anywhere near “their” plug point or boat. I’ve seen boats put up chevron tape between bollards or paint the quay with their boat name so visitors can’t tie up. If people want to live on the waterways I can completely understand that. But then they must invest in bollards and an electricity point for their boat further along. Not take over what precious little space there is for visitors. Rant over.
There’s a plethora of shops about a half an hour walk back in the direction of Montceau-les-Mines including a huge E Le Clerc supermarket. We took our trusty wheeler and did yet another shop up at ALDI. How does a couple get through so much food? Then we took a gander into Blanzy to see what it had to offer. On the same side at the mooring was a pizza place and a couple of bars. We went all the way to the top and no-one knew of a place where we could get WiFi. My better half suggested we try the bar on the other side of the canal. Yes they could help us out with WiFi. And for free.
I asked for a glass of red wine and the woman serving us said this region had particularly good white wines and she would like me to try one. She was right. My better half and I had a different white after that, this time a Chablis. Also excellent. We feared 3 wines and 1 beer off-the-menu might be a bit expensive but it came to €9.50. This lady was so helpful. She gave us tourist info leaflets in English and loads of tips.
The journey continues . . . . . .