samedi 20 avril 2013

Saturday 20.04.13

First of all I must apologise to all our readers who like to drop in and see whats happening on the Puddle Stone.  We just havent had time to write over the winter as we had such a busy social life!! Seriously though we had a great winter with several other english speakers in port. This included a movie night every wednesday where we have seen some unusual and interesting films... and some bad ones too!! we had a great New Years Eve party with a wandering dinner party, having each course on a different boat so no one had to do all the cooking. We finished up on our boat for coffee, champagne and cake to welcome in the New Year, with of course, a firework display!

We had several friends to dinner including two different french families who reciprocated and taught us how to eat 'french style'. We made a discovery of " Raclette ", so we got ourselves one and we've had several Raclette parties since.

 Our friends Marie-Jo, Michel, and their children Gabriel, Max, and Johanna have visited us three times during winter.
A 'blast from the past' Elio came to see us, he is the owner of the 'Cave Vagabond' a barge who sells wines from the Yonne area and travels between Paris and Auxerre. We first met him in 2010 when we were very new to this way of life.
We also visited the annual Chablis festival which was held on a bitterly cold weekend at the beginning of February. It was held in 'Prehy' and they decorate the village with thousands of paper flowers giving the impression of spring if you can forget about the freezing temperature!
This picture was made out of hundreds of paper flowers, sorry you have to put your head on the side I cant get it to go the right way up!
The hunting band were very good.
Sadly for John this was NOT a chocolate egg......
Beautiful wisteria, but all paper!
Ben and me making friends with a haystack.......
 But all was not wonderful with our winter when we discovered in February that our battery bank had exploded in the engine room covering everything with acid! We eventually ordered new and much much bigger ones from UK which John put in with some difficulty and some help from our friends.
We left our winter moorings on the 8th April, feeling a little sad to say goodbye to our winter friends but hopefully they will over winter at Auxerre with us next winter too.

 Jolie Coeur

 We headed towards Migennes, with one night at Gurgy, but it was cold and wet. We stayed in Migennes Port for a few days stocking up the boat with food and catching up with english friends who live near there.

On 16.04.13 we set off up the Burgundy canal towards Dijon where we are attending a DBA Rally at the beginning of June. Crazy to think that a journey which would take an hour and a bit in the car will take us through 189 locks, a 3Km tunnel, and about 6 weeks!!!

We spent a night at Brienon where we had our first BBQ of the season, but had a narrow escape from staying in the port there. It would have cost us 29 euros for one night with water and electricity and just where we had moored a load of old wineoes spent the night until the small hours drinking strong beer and peeing on the boats....!!?!! We moored on the other side and had a peaceful night.

We spent a couple of nights in the wild, miles away from civilisation (and TV connection). Our second night we went to talk to a nearbye lock keeper who was advertising mushrooms for sale. We bought a small bag for 6 euros !! but they were the tastiest mushrooms I have ever eaten 'Tetes noir'. Mind you they  cost about 30 euros a kilo at his prices!!!

Yesterday we left our idyllic surroundings and moved on. The lockeepers little boy 'Baptiste' wanted a ride so we gave him a lift for an hour whilst his Dad did the next four locks for us. He was quite charming and gabbled away in french non-stop, including a lecture from him telling me that Coke is bad for you and makes you sick!!!!
 Baptist and John with Patrice
 The lockeeper's cottage where Baptiste lives with his Dad
Baptiste helped us fill up the boat with water during his ride with us.

Now we are at Tonnere where we will stay a few days as we have discovered a large area of rust in the bows which John wants to treat and paint. We are not in the port as that costs 8.80 euros per night, once more we are at the opposite bank, our new batteries keeping us well supplied with electricity.

Patrice is loving our wandering lifestyle once more and has settled down well, sleeping in the wheelhouse whilst we move and exploring a different garden and wildlife every evening!




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