I love travelling in France; I love the food, wine, people, countryside, history and language, everything about it really.
However, our last trip in June…was a test of my devotion. I constantly said to myself – I love France, I love being here! And I really do and did think that. But do not envy me ‘our June’ in France.
It was a disaster from beginning to end!
It was cold and wet, the rain caused flooding and many locks closed inhibiting our journey. We were held up for 5 days waiting for replacement batteries, Michael had 2 days sick and went too hospital, we crashed the barge into a railway bridge under repair, which took the top off our wheelhouse – the bridge was a metre lower than expected and it was too late when we saw what was about to happen; and there were no appropriate signs indicating low clearance!
One morning we found the starter motor had broken down with a big hole in it and no teeth; a replacement took 5 days to arrive; during which time we were hassled to move by other bargees going around us and the VNF man threatened to destroy Michael’s licence and boat registration if we did not move from the mooring. So we had move the 65 tonne barge – I had to pull it quite a few hundred meters, tying it up and slowly moving it along to the side of the canal, where I then had to hammer in massive steel stakes! A feat I was proud of! It was a trip from hell.
So now, this trip? We are looking forward to a very uneventful, relaxing trip going west to Bar-Le-Duc, a lovely place famous for its red currant jam, confiture de groseilles, ‘Lorraine’s caviar’, made in in their time honoured manner of meticulously deseeding the red currants using a goose quill, in the same traditional way, dating back to 1344 more next time…