Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, June 28, 2014

For want of a drop of rain.
Toul to Lay-St-Rémy

To our amazement and no doubt to those following our travels, we actually moved on today.  I think if we had not, we might have stayed for the duration of the drought.

Droughts in this part of the world are not the sort of things that produce pictures of sheep’s carcasses and hysterical seven year olds seeing rain for the first time,  they are far more subtle than that.

There has been no rain for a month, and already some lawn areas are crunchy underfoot.   The waterways authority is already beginning to close some of the canal system to navigation because of shortages of water, boats are being grouped to minimise lock actions, and the levels of the canal on which we are presently travelling has been dropped by twenty centimetres.   I am unsure of what dropping the water levels does to substantially assist, although I suppose it does save about four thousand litres each time a lock is emptied.   It certainly curtails what little commercial traffic remains.

Between the times the locks are in use though, the water is left to flow over the lock gates uninterrupted, so we don’t feel the sort of guilt we would at home if we’d had a shower that went for a few seconds longer than our allotted four minutes.

We emptied twelve locks today, and each time after saving our little twenty centimetres worth, the system let the other three hundred and ninety-six thousand litres go its merry way towards the Moselle and then presumably to the ocean.      

We are almost ten kilometres and half of Europe away from where we were last night, well away from the bustle of the town port, quite near a small village but between a nature reserve and an organic farm.   

The silence is almost deafening.  I didn’t realise how quietly organic wheat grows.   I am sure that if it rains, the sound of water in the downpipes of the village will only be surpassed in volume by the cheers from users of the waterways.

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