Wednesday the 15th July we leave Fragnes and our very short visit on the Canal du Centre to head back onto the now familiar River Saone spending one night at St Jean de Losne before heading up to Auxonne. On the 17th we moor up at the Port in Auxonne and are treated to a flash hailstorm where we feared the force may break the windows but suspect the noise inside our steel boat exacerbated the sound of the hailstones hitting the windows but the stones were huge!!!
Charles has collected the hire car from Dijon and is chuffed to bits to have been upgraded to a Renault Megan with lots of extra’s – he did wonder why the salesman tried to get him to rent a sat-nav when the car had one fitted!!!
We leave Bluegum and head off to Saint-Germain-de-Coulamer near Le Mans to spend four days with Simon, Joanne, Angus, April, Louie-Jack and Amelie. We arrive to find they have adopted a little kitten who makes itself right at home. Later during their two week holiday they get a knock at the door by a lady and young daughter asking for their kitten back – she returned to them minus the fleas and much healthier. Although the weather is rather disappointing we enjoy bbq’s and visits to the nearby swimming lake.
On Wednesday Charles drives me to Le Mans where I start my long journey by various trains back to the UK to spend a hectic week catching up with family, friends and the obligatory dentist, hair appointments and a new one for me a physiotherapy appointment to try and find out what’s going on with my right hip. My screams helped Jonathan the physio locate the problem – good to know its not serious though and I just need to sit on a tennis ball and do some exercises to release the tension – the things I will do to ensure I can run this marathon!!!
The main purpose of the visit is Emma’s hen party at Centre Parcs in Nottingham. The exclusive group consists of Emma of course and her mother who arrive fashionably late, Julia (Emma’s soon to be sister-in-law), Becky and her mum Pat, Laura and me. I was a little perturbed by the fact that I am the oldest member of the group and probably equally competitive as Heather much to the amusement of the younger members of our little party. Laura has been planning the weekend for sometime and we enjoy a well organised party including alcohol, a quiz night, badminton, cocktail making, tennis, more alcohol, tenpin bowling, crazy golf and of course more alcohol – think it is time to go back to France for a rest…..
I spend a day or two with Paul and Shirley and Matthew but time has run out so Laura and I catch a train down to London where we stay overnight with Daniel and Jonathan enjoying a meal out and a catch up hearing all about their recent American trip.
In the meantime Charles has been home alone on Bluegum and enjoys catching up on some odd jobs and taking cycle rides. Thursday is a busy day though for him as he has to return Bluegum to how it looked when I left so lots of cleaning, washing and ironing for him and to be fair I am impressed with his efforts.