Monday, 28 February 2011

Winter 2010

Oct 10 -  18 Mar 11

The first month in Montceau passed quite quickly - there was still some traffic on the Canal, both commercial and plaisanciers hurrying for their winter moorings. It was great getting a good flow of mail, Angela found a good hairdresser (Peter offered to cut her hair for half the savings) and Kes (and Peter) started to put on weight as it got colder. Peter serviced the diesels - Perkins and Betamarine (generator) - degunged the Kabola central heating and generally looked busy.

We also saw our first fresh water jellyfish.

Fresh water jellyfish.
In November, Angela went off by rail to Siegeburg near Bonn to spend a week with her sister - some advantage in ageing as the rail clerk readily gave her a 50% 'senior' discount.  All trains go via Paris though, so despite it being on TGV/ICE trains it still took 7 hours door to door.  She returned with loads of marzipan and other strange German delicacies and Kes pretended he hadn't been properly cared for by Peter in her absence.

Late November and first the snow.

Kes waiting for Terry to catch up
and in December the ice. The lowest temp to date  -12 degC but it seems the UK is worse.

Canal du Centre

The Barretts had kindly offered to dogsit Kes for Xmas so, after a Solstice drinks party with Les Girls from the Capitainerie, off we went to Bristol through the snow for a Xmas with daughter and son.  Too much food and shopping and a week later we drove back with the hirecar sagging under the weight of us, solar panels, additional batteries for the domestic bank, a dehumidifier and wodges of presents and shopping from M and S, Sainsburys etc.  Kes had been spoilt rotten in our absence!

More Xmas pud please
A pleasant surprise, our son and fiancee called in on the way to Chamonix - sorted out the wedding arrangements for next July. New Year was a totally damp squib - a few token fireworks and Jools Holland on the TV - which had better not be a portent for 2011 - Anyway Welcome 2011!

Mid Jan and 'Mantra' (Paul and Kathy) - refugees from Digoin crept in to the mooring - with much hauling as the Canal level was low - not sure how they will cope with Peter and Terry's winter pastime of disagreeing on everything from the colour of the sky to wine tasting!

A day trip to St John de Losne in mid Jan included a wander through the barges for sale at Bourgogne Marine/H20/Blanquarts (looking for a barge for someone else) - a bit staggered at the poor presentation/maintenance of the barges and the high prices (given the recession).

The girls from the Capitainerie showed us how a 'proper' soiree should be held - a good band and fun all round.

la soirée du 27 janvier
Not that funny!
then Angie joined in  mais bien sûr

At the end of Jan the first commercials for a few months went through - serious noise levels and turmoil as they smashed up the ice (which is thicker than we realised) - roll on the cruising season. A few fine days later it was like rush hour.

In February, Angie went to the Kiev Ballet doing 'La Belle au Bois Dormant' aka Sleeping Beauty. The French tutor also took the group to the Barge Museum at Ecuisses which is spread between the old eclusier's cottage and a 350 tonne peniche (on dry land since 1991) - the box beds and living area on the peniche were very 'narrowboat-ish'.

Trois Anglais et trois Francais - guess which
To counter the cultural activities, February was also up-scaling the domestic battery bank and fitting a solar panel installation - where did Angie put the multimeter?

Our final trip ashore for the Winter was to Roanne a popular and cheap overwintering stop.  It seemed a bit bleak and dead and may be more so if the rumours about an imminent doubling of mooring fees is correct!

Roanne Bassin
Well almost the last trip - our neighbours the Barrett's initiated a trip afloat for the Marina staff culminating in lunch at Blanzy.

Followed by the LAST trip to Chateau Verrerie at La Cruseot - originally built as a crystal glass works then purchased by the Schneider 'Iron Masters' as a residence and a site for new iron forging plants.

A lovely little theatre built inside one of the original glass kilns

Off tomorrow down the Canal du Centre towards Decize - hooray!

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