Legends from our own lunchtimes

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Moret-sur-Loing to Bordeau

Having almost, but not quite broken ourselves during our marathon yesterday, we wandered around Moret-sur-Loire for a time, had a coffee, conferred with the Swiss guys who had decided quite wisely that they had done three days work yesterday and weren't going to move again for at least that long, then quietly resumed our journey.

Quietly except that the wind began to make its presence felt and if we were to feel displeasure at travelling on the river while tired, that would surely have added to those feelings.

Despite the strike being abandoned, the locks seemed busier than yesterday, and we had delay upon delay when we left the Seine.  The locks on the River Yonne are horrible things for us, with sloping sides which took just a little more from the pleasure of being where we were. 

We were on the verge of trying to decide if the day was becoming unpleasant, or whether it was just less pleasant than usual when it happened.  We'd heard of it a few times, a couple of our friends have experienced it, and now so have we.

Half way through the day, having been delayed by more than two hours on the first three locks, we arrived at one which was ready and waiting for us with a green light  and we thought our luck had changed.  The green turned red as soon as we called on the radio, and a rather blunt message barked to the effect that we were to wait.

We did, for ten minutes or so, until a ship came from nowhere and filled the lock.   Puttering around in the water below the barrage was fortunately not too difficult, as we heard the eclusier tell another ship that he would wait for his arrival with the lock filled.   So for thirty minutes, almost forty we sat puttering into the rapids, until eventually that ship arrived, and taking all the time in the world, eventually departed and we were waved in.

The lock keeper was profuse in his mock-apology, but seemed taken aback a little when I responded without a sign of frustration, that we understand completely, the ships have to make a living, and we are after all, on holidays.    I then apologised for my terrible French and thanked him for instructing me to enter with a clear "OK", which shocked him even more.

When I responded to his question (prompted by my language-apology) about where we were from, his demeanour changed to one of horror and humility all at once.   He apologised more profusely than ever, so profusely that I actually started to believe him, and when he explained that he had thought we were English, things became very clear indeed!

So we talked about Koalas and sunshine for a bit, wished him well, and for the rest of the day by some miracle which may or may not have had anything to do with a phone call or two having preceded us, every lock was prepared, gates open, green light on, and hugs and kisses all round on our arrival.

Bah to the English I say!


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