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Monday, May 30, 2016

Still Here

Saint Jean de Losne

Yup, we’re still here.  We had one and a half nice days and then the rain came back with thunder storms and now our outlook is this: IMG_2448_edited-1

On top of that Terry came down with a nasty cough and flu so we have been cooped up here.  It looks like we MIGHT leave Wednesday and head south.

In the mean time here are some pictures from around Saint Jean de Losne, a town we regard as a little down at  heel given all the boaters that are here and which, with a little TLC, could be charming. Click on the pictures to make them larger.

IMG_2479_edited-1The church is interesting with the Burgundy style roof. The traffic on the main highway through town and across the bridge hems it in.







The old hospital in one of the smaller “places”.






This commercial side street may have been thriving once but now one entire side is empty.




The Hotel de Ville (town hall). Perhaps part of the reason for the decline is that there are really three (small) towns together,  Saint Jean de Losne, Saint Usage and Losne across the bridge each with their own town hall, Mayor and staff.  Not terribly efficient.


IMG_2491_edited-1The main water features here are the river Saone, the Burgundy Canal above us  Canal and the Gare d’eau (water station) where the marinas are. In the middle of the Gare d’eau are two overgrown islands. They have installed a family of goats on one of them to keep the undergrowth down; we have been hearing their bleats from our boat.  On one of the rare sunny days they came out in the open so we and the blue heron could check them out.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Plans ?

Saint Jean de Losne

Terry and Rosie are here and all is good, the bits of the boat are working, cleaning is progressing and even the weather has improved; time to make cruising plans. The key to planning is flexibility as anything can change, including our minds. 

Our rough plan is to set off south on the river Saone about mid week in with the end goal of Lyon. Along the way are the interesting towns of Chalon sur Saone, Tournus and Macon.  It will probably take us about 10 days to get there. Lyon will be our big city experience for this year as we are unlikely to get to Paris.  After an unspecified time there we will turn around and head back up the Saone and keep going north into the Canal de Vosges which goes all the way to Nancy and is supposed to be a lovely rural Canal.  And that is as far as we have got in planning. We will see how far north we get before we have to return to Saint Jean de Losne in order to fly home in mid-September. 

Some time in there we hope to go to the UK for a week or two to catch up with old friends, if we can figure out how to deal  with the dogs and the hassles involved getting them across the channel.

Lilou has reviewed this post and given it approval to publish.  More pictures next time.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Feeling like a home

Saint Jean de Losne

When the major projects get ticked off and the mess begins to clear the boat starts to feel more like a home and less like a workshop.  Since going in the water things have progressed in fits and starts as I did the beginning of seasons things as well as some upgrades that have been on the list for a while, new fuel filter, main fuse holders, new and better toilet and miscellaneous other things.  Learning more of those new skills I hope never to have to use again..

As the season picks up more boaters begin to arrive and activity picks up, as well as the social scene.  Old friends are welcomed, some new ones are made and others missed.  Lilou is making lots of new friends of both human and canine species. I need to learn French doggie talk as she gets fussed over by locals and I have no more idea of what they are saying than she doe.

BlogIMG_20160510_150928After a couple of days on the quay by the canal we moved around to the marina with the help of friends, Pete and  Allison, (and Brian in the background)  after doing a  test drive up the river – all good. 

That was during a short patch of good weather ( about 4 hours), otherwise it has been pretty gloomy  and grey, cool with a lot of rain.  I’m done with this stuff, where is summer, or even spring?  Some perspective thnough:  I had complained to English friends about the crummy weather here and they just laughed at me – spoiled Californian/Australian.

A little bit of sunshine does change the whole feeling of the place.








Something is happening in the water as the last couple of days have seen lots of fishermen (and their companions) floating around the marina.  I haven’t watched long enough to see them catch anything.


A couple more  days of projects and cleaning then Terry and Rosie will arrive and Armida will be much more than a home, she will be our home.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Armida Emerges

Saint Jean de Losne. France

2016-05_0175She has been snugly tucked away under her cover in a forgotten corner of the boatyard for two and a half years now.. When Lilou and I got here after driving through the rain and hail from Charles de Gaul we were a bit foggy (well I was).We searched around the yard for a ladder to get up to the swim platform, unzipped the back of the cover then crawled across the deck to get to the door. Down the stairs and all was just as we left it.  The same comfortable salon and snug galley and banquette, not even dusty – except it was damn cold.  After rescuing the electric heater and coaxing it back to life (it is still reluctant) the eventual warmth returned cozy to the description. 

I don’t remember much of the first night other than having to crawl out2016-04 162 for various bathroom duties and sleeping well. But the first item for the next day was to get the back section of the cover off so we could get in and out in a more civilized way.

The last week has been spent getting the systems back to life: electricity, gas water and hot water – all good.  And of course my favorite, laying on my back in the gravel scraping, sanding and antifouling the bottom and the bow thruster tube and motor. 

Life wouldn’t go on without the French bureaucracy.  “Yes we can get you a new code so you can access your account via the internet we will send you an SMS”, Guess I’d better get a SIM card for the phone first.  One Orange (Mobile Phone Co) store tells me they don’t have prepaid SIM cards, go to Dijon.  “On no we don’t sell prepaid SIM cards anymore  -you buy them from the Tabac”  Duh.  So buy a SIM card from the Tabac but they will cancel your number unless you fill out the detailed personal information form and send it with a copy of your identification via the mail!. An so it goes.  But now I do have one bank card (Terry’s of course), a phone that works but I can’t recharge on line, and our internet hot spot.  Progress the French way.

Yesterday was big day - we are in the water!  Armida was released from her hiding place after they removed the palette of batteries, the fuel drums and the other boat that were hemming her in.  Then she was towed out on the trailer with some very tight turns and lifted with millimetric precision into the water. 


I still have to get the engine going and lots of cleaning to do but it feels like we are on boat again.  Also we don’t need to clamber up and down two ladders to get on and off. 

Terry and Rosie arrive in 10 days and I am saving some cleaning and organizing task for them – don’t want them to miss out on all the fun.  They were smart to come later as we have had some pretty crummy days, cold windy and rainy.  Now it is sunny, I am wearing shorts and all is forgiven.