There was something amiss on the quay at Saint-Jean-de-Losne when we arrived. We couldn’t put our finger on it, but all the boats were too glamorous, they were all beautiful newly built barges and there were none of the usual rag-tag collection with which we are so familiar. The place looked strangely almost abandoned. “It’s early in the season” I said as I pulled ever so carefully into the only vacant spot on the wall, oblivious to the “Marine Festival” that was underway, presuming that the band was simply there to welcome us as often it is.
Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, Jim and Monika, whose meeting we had chronicled on these very pages several years ago, and who have recently taken a vow of poverty, or as others would put it: bought a boat, had driven from Germany to spend a little cleaning time with their "new" hundred year old baby.
Jim had in a moment of driving inattentiveness and quite coincidentally had seen our “Joyeux” from the bridge as they drove into town. Standing out as we did among all the glittering prizes on the quay, he immediately felt concerned for the Piper Organisation whose product the others were, presumably fearing that we would lure their away their customers. Simon Piper as it turns out is a lovely bloke, who apparently immediately recognised the potential synergy and kindly allowed us to stay in his last reserved spot, assuring us he’d keep an eye out while we went off for a walk and promised not to sell our boat in our absence.
So there we sat, attracting the crowds like the classic convertible in the town square, with Simon no doubt guiding the hoards towards bigger and better things.
As the sun slowly sank in the west, Simon held court on his wondrous vessel, we did the same on ours, Monika shared their excitement about the changes they are about to make in their lives, and Jim learned to eat green vegetables.