Followers of my little blog may remember that last time we had just set off on the first cruise of the year to get into position to pick up our first guests.
Well, it was a pretty interesting day on the river. Firstly our neighbour lock keeper Edith had asked us if we would mind taking her sister and young nephew downstream with us for a few locks. The wee lad’s face was a picture as we descended deep into his aunt’s lock as the water emptied.
Then we also had along for the ride our great mate Louis who used to work for the canal authority. What a character; his larger than life exuberant personality brings out the best in everyone he meets. Just this week we had been to his retirement party which started at mid day with Oysters and Cremaux D’alsace (champagne method wine from the East of France). A rotisserie van then turned up and around 150 people all got a freshly roasted quarter chicken , salad and roasted potatos. The festivities continued all through the day and night. There were traditional games outside the hall, accordion music and ballads inside. The evening saw another large tub of oysters unveiled. Then it was party games which were doubly hilarious when Jane joined in knowing neither the rules or the words! Louis finally got home at 5am. These old guys know how to party!
We reached Josselin at mid day where 15 members of the choir that Jane sings in came down to see Libje after church. We think many of them had pre-conceived notions about what life on board was like but were totally wowed by the experience. I have never heard so many ‘Ooh La La’s’ !
After lunch we headed off again and just downstream of one lock we came across a small yacht stuck on a mudbank. A bit of careful manoevering and we were able to pull him off without damage.
Thirty minutes later below the pretty little village of Montertelot we passed a small hire boat who politely pulled over to let us past. The lady on deck looked at us and said,
“Are you American?” Why, we have no idea. Jane said that we were Scottish which completely floored her as she obviously tried to work out what language we spoke. She then said
Err, yes, we thought, but so what? To our amazement she then said in a plaintive voice;
“Everybody here speaks French”
We refrained from stating the obvious, wished her a ‘Bon Voyage’ and carried on to a peaceful mooring by Chateau Crevy where we sat down to a great meal courtesy of Janes skill with duck and then turned in for an early night.
A fun and interesting first day on the river.
Ian & Jane Slade run Libje Cruises and offer week long informal cruises through the heart of Brittany, France on their Dutch barge Libje. They live in Brittany on the barge all year round and enjoy showing visitors this ‘celtic corner’ of France that is well known to the French but less so elsewhere.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.