For reasons that are completely inexplicable, the bit of canal between Charmes whose very name is full of promise but which in the eyes of the writer at least fails entirely to deliver, (except it must be said when it comes to first class pastries and bread,) and Thaon-sur-Vosges is little more than a bit to be got through in the most efficient manner. This isn’t always easy, as it is the last bastion of full time working gravel barges, a fact which in practice quite possibly detracts even further from it’s potential as a desirable place of relaxation.
When the call came therefore that Thaon-sur-Vosges was exactly on Warwick and Julie’s trajectory and they would be there for lunch and could we stop and perhaps Julie could make dinner as well, the offer was more than an incentive to get going before the frost had thawed from the roof of the boat. The necessary walk to the bakery to find sufficient armaments to see us through what we were hoping would be a long day was ‘bracing’ to say the least, tempered substantially on our return by the discovery that baking a cake first thing is a perfect means of raising the apparent cabin temperature to levels adequately sub-tropical.
We’ve never met Warwick and Julie at home in Australia, we generally live in opposite hemispheres and return to our respective nests in opposing seasons, they to use winter in Australia to travel within, and to plot and plan excursions further afield, while we are here escaping it's cold. (One day all will be revealed I am sure!)
Fortunately for us they think nothing of driving their little campervan laden with Julie’s cooking and whatever produce they’ve picked up along the way, across a continent or two just to ply us with food and conversation for endless hours without regard to sleep or even the world outside, then they send us home with strawberries in case we get hungry mid twenty-yard wobble back to the boat.
Now they are on their way, and we will no doubt have to wait another year for Meals on Wheels.