If we’d known they were going to have to be up at six in order to get away on time, we may well have reconsidered our invitation to have Graham and Iris stay! It’s close enough to an hour before sunrise at that time, but as the true friends we are, we pretended to enjoy our last hour with them as much as we had enjoyed the all too few days they had spent with us.
Too late to go back to bed, we watched them disappear into the dark grey fog, then watched the dark grey turn lighter as the sun dropped a few broad hints that it was going to stay in bed for a few more hours even if we weren’t.
The obvious symptoms of the changing seasons are upon us, the morning fog, the shortening days, and the trees, much earlier than we think is usual are changing colour and losing leaves. The less obvious one to those who live more sedentary lives, but arguably the most disruptive, is that all the cruising boats are returning to their winter ports. We are just a few days travel from Lagarde, others are already safely ensconced in their berths here in Toul, fiddling, painting and generally preparing for the winter that is to come.
Life becomes a constant blur of reunions, so constant that there is little time for much other than endless coffee, or food or chat. A simple walk of a few hundred metres to the Port Captain’s office to return a key on behalf of friends who had departed earlier in the day, took four hours, and that was just until we’d popped our head in to Graham and Jill’s narrowboat on the way back and were forced to eat half of their dinner.
We did manage to eventually escape the clutches of the harbour, but it is with the knowledge that all the farewells were in vain, as we will be back within the week and we will be suitably prepared!