It only takes a few hours to reach the huge lock No 34B which leads us on the Canal du Centre. We first experienced it last year and still find it quite daunting at 10.76 meters but the lock is operated mechanically and is very gentle.
As always we wonder if there will be a mooring space for us and are surprised to find the quay at Fragnes (pronounced Frajnee) sparse of boats so we can pick the best spot near to the restaurant and book in for two nights only to extend it to six nights when we learn that the locks are closed on Tuesday the 14th July for Bastille Day. The Capitainne is a lovely young lady who speaks excellent English which she has perfected from looking after the quay for 8 years and chatting to the English speaking boaters. She is also very helpful and informative.
Maybe it isn’t such a good spot to moor as around 11pm we hear raised voices and singing from a large group of youths and dread a re-occurance of Briare when youths climbed onto the wheelhouse. It quietens down and we go to bed only to be woken up around 2.45 in the morning by presumable the same group who are drunker now and much louder but they leave our boat alone and around 3.30 it quietens down again. In the morning we turn the boat around and moor further down the quay away from the restaurant and benches. We spend the next few days taking long cycle rides and visiting Chalon sur Saone. Charles surpasses himself by circumnavigating the centre thus avoiding any of the shops.
Sunday morning, we dust off the picnic basket, fill it with cooler blocks, food and a bottle of rosé wine and take a long cycle ride along the canal to Le Bas Santenay where we find a perfect spot to enjoy our picnic.
Monday night we are treated to a firework display at Fragnes – its clearly a popular event with lots of people attending. Many of the young people have fire crackers which they throw into the canal and along the tow path but fortunately leave the boats alone – we think fire crackers are banned in the UK and once again this is an example of France not having the same level of health and safety as us but nobody gets hurt so you could wonder who has it right. There is music and dancing but we prefer to watch the activities from our deck with some wine and we can keep an eye on our boat at the same time.
Tuesday – yes a bank holiday so once again all the shops are closed so once again I don’t get any opportunity to replenish my wardrobe but I guess with this weather I don’t really need anything more than a couple of pairs of shorts and T shirts.
So instead we find a little Moroccan restaurant with a lovely friendly waiter who assures me he can provide vegetarian meals. He presents a lovely salad as my entrée and then places a dish down saying ‘ici votre vegetarien plat’. I did enjoy it until I found a large piece of meat under all the veg – I can only presume that he thought if he just took the meat out of a meal then he could call it vegetarian – well that’s the end of my meal but Charles enjoys it. Meat eaters not respecting vegetarians is actually one of the things that makes me cross, some people think its okay to lie to me and tell me there is no meat products in a meal or contaminates a veggie meal by using utensils that have been used for meat – I know it won’t kill me but its my choice to be a veggie – so would appreciate the respect – Rant over………
The locks re open on Wednesday so we have a long day travelling from Fragnes back to St Jean de Losne.