The journey begins . . . here.
Wednesday 4th July 2018
For such a big place Chalon-sur-Saone marina is remarkably quiet at night. You can hear frogs croaking, fish leaping and the odd train in the distance. I hoped to get news of my mother so went on-line soonest. Not bad Wi-Fi but it drops every now and again. Might be all the people trying to use it at once. My mother had contracted viral pneumonia and was staying in hospital for a while but was feeling a lot better. Next we checked for train tickets to Paris. The dates we wanted to go to Paris were strike days. The French rail workers had been on strike for months now. A few days on, followed by a few days off. Finding out about that Flixbus was very useful so we booked tickets with them.
There’s always a list of things to do on the boat and Chalon-sur-Saone has a nice Bricolage (hardware shop). I went up to the Capitainerie to get a load of washing going as Chalon-sur-Saone has laundry facilities. Some Americans were before me in the queue for the washing machine and we got chatting. They had planned a 5 week trip on a hire boat and were two weeks in. The mother commented on how hot it had been. A pair of local youngsters were saying someone had measured over 50’C on their boat last year. And that the south is usually the hottest part of France but average temperatures last summer had put central France as the hottest place. So much for global warming being a myth.
I bought an amazing intensely flavoured tomato puree from Carrefour to which I added a bunch of veggies sauteed in vegan butter and some cooked wholewheat pasta. Then topped it with shredded vegan cheese in big pasta bowls. Good on Carrefour for having so many plant-based options. It was a tasty evening meal. With a glass or two of red wine of course. The rain started around 18.00pm and it rained throughout the night until morning. Love the sound of raindrops on the upper deck. I got to sleep under the duvet covers for a change.
Thursday 5th July 2018
We had a lovely day wandering around looking at architecture, window shopping, buying the odd thing and having lunch at La Pierre Vie. Clocked 14 281 steps. The Bio shop behind the marina, La Vie Saine is brilliant. They have organic everything from dish washing liquid, to fresh produce, to skin care, make-up and lovely wines. It’s a bit pricier to shop there but we feel worth it. I went a bit mad there topping up our food.
Back at the boat there were a bunch of missed calls for my husband from the Dutch boat agent. Yet another possible buyer. This time a Swiss chap. He wanted to come past on Monday afternoon but we would be in Paris. The marina were happy to keep the keys and let him show himself around so that was helpful. My better half started cleaning up the leaking water in the hull from when the hot water pipe came loose and I wanted to sort out what food we still had on board and do a re-organise.
Every day since we arrived in Chalon-sur-Saone a bunch of elderly French blokes and one woman would come down late afternoon to sit on a titchy tiny little boat next to us, drink wine, smoke cigarettes and natter. Same group every day. They never went out on this boat. They didn’t sleep on the boat. Around 16.00pm until about 20.00pm, rain or shine, this lot would sit in deck chairs on the quay next to the boat or on this boat and talk. Then go home or where ever they came from.
I’ve learned two things from being on the waterways in France. Well actually more than that, but here are two handy ones. Thing One. When you do get decent WiFi – don’t sit inside the boat. Either go up to the marina or sit on an open deck to ensure you have access to the best signal. Thing Two. Learn to say words and place names like French people do. Fragnes in English sounds like Frag-nes. In French it’s Frun-yay. How about Chagny? Pronounced Shan-nye. Digoin is Dee-gwone. We’ve got to the point where we ask ahead how to say a place name. For years we called wine vin – varn, but it’s actually van. Like in the vehicle. It makes life so much easier when you say a word and people know what you’re trying to say.
The journey continues . . . . . . by clicking here.