Legends from our own lunchtimes

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Bois Barbey to Selles-Tourpont

After another mind-numbingly similar day to so many we have had of late; a perfect dawn with just a hint of mist, an early start, effortless cruising through scenic wonderland in perfect weather and so forth, we arrived in Selles with barely time to wander around many of its fountains before lunch in full view of the turning bridge.

The turning bridge, or Tourpont at Selles is a thing which lends it's name to anything within line of sight of it, so it goes without further explanation that our lunch venue was the Tourpont Hotel although when making the booking there seemed to be a lot of explanation necessary to ensure that we did not want to be seated by twelve exactly and that half-past the hour would be much better thanks very much.

The bridge itself is a big iron thing full of rivets that was built sometime in the nineteenth century to allow carts and horses and other vehicles to cross the canal.  It's low clearance would have been problematic for the horse and women-drawn barges actually travelling along the canal had it not been for it's ingenious design which pivots it entirely out of the way of river borne things, including boats with crews intent on lunch.

Like it's twin a few kilometres further up stream it balances perfectly on a small set of wheels and the balance is so finely tuned that a smallish young lady who is charged with its operation can pivot it in silence with neither a squeak from its moving parts nor hers, by simply pushing on one end.   A person prone to exaggeration would say that it moves at the touch of her fingers, but since I am not one of those, let me simply say that it actually takes a little body weight as well.

After our lunch at the aforementioned Turning Bridge Hotel, body weight was not in short supply either and since we've read somewhere that a nice afternoon nap is far better for one's health after a meal than strenuous exercise, we retired to the boat for a healthy afternoon.


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