The journey begins . . . here.
Since we only had two days – and some of the repairs were still not complete – we opted to take a day trip to Auxonne, and back. The previous hell hot weather had caused a few of the canals to close in France. The Saone was still navigable. Weather in September was just perfect. Nowhere near as hot as before. Definitely not cold, despite leaves on the trees beginning to turn yellow. Kids had gone back to school – so it was quieter. It was however, very windy. When we got back to St-Jean-de-Losne my other half battled to park our boat. Or “bring it alongside” as he likes to call it in boating parlance. The weed in the H2O marina was jamming the bow thruster which didn’t help. Luckily a friendly chap we’ve encountered before helped us with our ropes.
Our friends left us to go back to their new home in Holland. The engineers came back. Floorboards were up again. They came. They went. They came again. Engines on. Engines off. They fiddled – and fiddled more. Had no idea what they were doing. Just hoped they were fixing and not causing more problems. It has happened that repairs have created problems for us. Of course the boatyard will deny it, but it absolutley has happened to us. Something that worked perfectly before has been opened or moved and then it doesn’t work anymore or develops problems. But what can a person do but pay? The alternative is to be stuck in a small town with a boat that won’t move.
The “For Sale” board at the back of our boat suddenly changed to “Vendu” (Sold) without us even noticing. Was this it? Like really, over? A million thoughts pop up. We had to pack. What do we leave? Was everything fixed on the boat? My other half has fixed so many things over the years, but boats are boats. Shangri La is not new. More stress.
Three days later we hoped all was well and left for our very last journey on Shangri La together. We almost felt too scared to travel far for fear we incur an accident or something new went wrong. My other half was determined to hand the boat over in the best condition possible. He was checking the workings as we travelled. Sadly, it wasn’t looking good. There was still oil dripping into the hull. It became a dark cloud hanging over our heads that dominated our last days on our beautiful boat. How serious was it? Why could H2O not fix it? Should we even be driving the boat?
We passed through two locks and spent our first night in Pontailler-sur-Saone. Shangri La had been through Pontailler-sur-Saone when we made our epic journey from the Netherlands to France in 2015. It’s a quaint little place. Nothing had changed. Nothing ever does in small towns. And that’s the charm. We chatted to the same staff at the marina and decided to stay two nights. My other half and I wandered about the town and took a walk to the local beach to have a drink. It’s not quite a beach but rather tranquil somewhat sandy section on the banks of the river. A beer and a glass of wine cost €5.50. Not exactly expensive. Locals were playing petanq. Or boules as we know it. Much amicable rivalry and teasing went on. Back at the boat we ate and had an early night.
The journey continues . . . . . .