It all happens in the Port de Plaisance de Briare…

14 March

Port de Plaisance, Briare
Port de Plaisance, Briare

The weekend chores are organised around the 5 Nations Rugby matches but Sally is limited to the amount she watches due to her over enthusiastic support and shouting advice even though she has a very limited understanding of the rules – but that does not stop her. It’s a 10k race for Sally on Sunday morning in which she is pleased to have come first but alas also last…. We couldn’t find any races in the vicinity so she went for a run on her own with Charles providing support on his bike. Unfortunately she is suffering a bit with knee problems so has decided to give running a miss during  the following week so there will be more cycling and walking. It’s a lovely sunny day so we invite Maggie and Nigel over for early evening drinks hoping we can sit on the deck but by 6.30pm it has cooled a little too much so we settle down in the wheelhouse.

Nigel, Nicky and Tony ...
Nigel, Tony and Nicky …

As its our last week before heading off we invite Maggie, Nigel, Tony, Nicky together with Peter and Margaret who have a boat wonderfully named Vintage Cru over for drinks – we have a lovely time chatting and will be sad to leave our new set of friends but hope we  meet up again in the future.

... Margaret. Peter and Maggie
… Margaret. Peter and Maggie

We enjoy our French lessons with Colette and Laura on Tuesday and Thursday but Wednesday is the most exciting day of the week for us.

Les pompiers et les gendarmes
Les pompiers et les gendarmes arrivé

We had noticed a bit of diesel spillage on the water and see Dorothé manoeuvre a boom near the weir but are surprised to see a pompier arrive in a van with his blue lights flashing and siren sounding.  Suddenly he dashes off again only to return with a couple of fire engines and a couple of gendarmes. We have blue lights and sirens going off every which way and it would seem it doesn’t matter which country you are in; the fire service need little excuse to make a noise when they travel around. They all congregate near our boat with much heated (heated…get it???) discussion taking place.   We have an afternoon of activity with officials coming and going which includes a small rib with a rather fit looking scuba diver – maybe there’s a body in the canal – Sally waits in anticipation but he doesn’t dive in.

A rib complete with scuba diver
A rib complete with scuba diver
A major emergency? ;-)
A major emergency? 😉

The question is who caused the spillage?? We had noticed our neighbours Tony and Nicky from Archangel leaving early on Wednesday morning heading back to the UK so wonder if they were making their getaway – however they are innocent and the culprit is now travelling along the Canal de Briare in an old boat. I would like to conclude this little tale with an exhilarating ending but the police and fire service leave after about four hours without apparently doing anything and the diesel disappears on its own accord.

Capitainaire Dorothé in the prow of the boat being pushed
Capitainaire Dorothé in the prow of the boat being pushed

Our lives are full of excitement and it isn’t long before the next adventure comes along.  On Thursday a broken down boat is being pushed – not towed from the Port through a number of locks to the canal to undergo repairs.  As it goes past our boat we take a few photos and then Sally says to Charles ‘I don’t think that boat’s going to get under that bridge’ ‘Erm’ says Charles as suddenly the boats go into reverse ‘Nope I think you are right’.

I'm not sure it's going to go under there ...
I’m not sure it’s going to go under there …
.... Nope!!!
…. Nope!!!

Dorothé who is supervising the whole thing suddenly starts waving her hands around and shouting at anyone she can see to get on the broken down boat to try and weigh it down.   As she speaks Dutch, French and English nobody is overlooked and so we all clamber aboard the broken down boat.

Passers by are happy to help - note Sally had to dress for the occasion!
Passers by are happy to help – note Sally had to dress for the occasion!

Sally suggests to no-one in particular that it might be a good idea to undo the screws to the railings to achieve the correct height to pass under the bridge but only receives a raised eyebrow from one of the men with that look that says ‘you don’t know what you are talking about ’.  We go backwards and forwards without success and invite more and more people onto the back of the boat.  All of a sudden a great suggestion is made by one of the men and out comes a screw driver and down comes the railings – wish we’d thought of that earlier!!!! So with centimetres to spare we get through the bridge and into the lock – just glad it wasn’t our boat.

Finally makes in through with centimetres to spare
Finally makes it through with centimetres to spare

Enough excitement for one night – now we must rest in preparation for our departure from the Port and the start of our 2015 cruising in the morning.

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