Wednesday, 30 April 2014

to Nevers plus a bit

1 May 14

We couldn't wait for the carpenter (in France getting an agreed date for a job depends on the weather, the hangover from the weekend and whether the moon is waning) so we cast off on 7 Apr.  Pottered off through Briennon to Artaix a nice little green bank mooring in an inlet half way down the Roanne canal.

First proper ecluse of 2014
Two nights later we were in Beaulon where we met up with Terry and Terry off Renaissance.  It was good weather so off with the wheelhouse roof, a loan of tarpaulins from Terry B and three days later the roof was back on looking immaculate.  A few evening BBQs for social life and Terry (female) made a cake each time to ruin the waistline further. Gladys the pointer added some hilarity by going walkabout each morning sans Terry (ever seen the 'Fenton' You Tube clip)?

Hard labour
Off to Entente Marine in Gannay sur Loire for some minor jobs (?) - the carpentry was done in quick time by Mark, but the rudder indicator problem turned into a right pain. Trying to trace wires/'in line' fuses etc through the conduits and in the dogs breakfast under the control panels. In the end we found Peter had purchased the wrong 'bit' over winter (a £200 mistake to go in the spares box) and so back off to Beaulon for a week waiting for the right bit to get posted from UK (half the price of French Vetus suppliers).

Gannay sunrise
Back to Gannay and the work finally sorted in a few hours, On our last night 'Unique' (Tony and Heidi) pulled in with a suspect starter motor, which led loan of a workshop manual, battery charger and spares tracking on our internet. A new Perkins Starter was £500 plus carriage so to soften the shock we all ended up in the village bar till very late (the best turnover the barman had had since New Year). The next morning off towards the West, first a major supermarket shop at DecizĂ© then we stopped at a nice little feudal village (Chateau, manor farm and church) called Avril sur Loire for the night. The next morning a short run into Nevers down the embranchement..

Very lucky in Nevers as we got the only barge sized mooring (and the Capitainerie was on holiday).  We spent a morning doing the usual sights, but the Palace was shut and the Cathedral had been bombed out in 1944 (some nice new stained glass though).

Ducal Palace


The canal from the Nevers bassin to the Loire had been filled with a (now derelict) swimming pool - - rip it out and reinstate the canal we say!

Modified canal
Ecluse to Loire (only a little silt)
We passed over the Guetin aqueduct and through the deep Guetin double lock and tied up at the new mooring - a few nice restaurants in the village but we were being good!.

The weather was turning miserable so a short run to the pretty Cours les Barre mooring where there were 3 other barges squabbling over the 16A electricity supply! Then the next day on to Beffes still in the rain, not so pretty but all mod cons to sit out 1 May when all the canals close to celebrate labour Day. Roll on some better May weather (please).

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