Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's gas Spock, but not as we know it!
Saint-Jean-de-Losne to Choissey

The river Doubs is by all accounts a wonderfully picturesque cruising ground, one that we have been looking forward to returning to it ever since our brief visit with Graham and Iris five years ago.

Its western gateway is something of a contrast to our expectations though.   The guide book talks in wonder at the Solvay chemical plant that turns over billions of Euros per year manufacturing just about everything that is noxious, toxic or generally useful for mankind while at the same time offering a distinct possibility of ending man's reign on earth should there be even the slightest mishap somewhere in the process.

At the first lock we were handed a brochure with a rather attractive coloured photograph of the factory reflecting in the water, although it was somewhat disconcertingly filled with of instructions of exactly what to do in the event of warning sirens sounding while mid enjoyment of our transit.   The gist of this advice is that in the event of a sudden loss of any kind of material from the plant, not breathing any of it would be particularly helpful, as indeed would actually not being anywhere in the vicinity at that time.

In the absence of any alternative route, and presuming that the thousands of others that pass by and live within the surrounding area have continued to do so happily for a couple of centuries, we bravely ventured forth, sensibly ending our journey beyond the danger zone in the village of Choissey where we fed the swans and listened to the frogs and remained oblivious to whatever ecological disasters may have been underway a few kilometres downstream.

We were possibly fortunate that our Mr Perkins's adjustments had gone so well.  As he bore us invisibly through the danger zone, we, not yet quite accustomed to his new smoke-free mode,  couldn't help but wonder at what alarms we may have set off had we ventured here but a few days ago.


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