Sunday in many countries is a day of rest, just the way it was for us in times gone by.
We like to respect the traditions of any country we are visiting, particularly those that involve doing very little and that’s exactly how our day unfolded.
Admittedly there was a short interlude in all that resting while we waved away the “timber train”, the commencement of a reenactment voyage of firewood rafts that for half a millenium floated fuel to Paris down the river.
Clamecy was a transition point for the firewood “floaters”, upstream the flitches were marked by the timber cutters and simply tossed into the river where it would form a massive floe, over a kilometre long and the full width of the river. In Clamecy, some sort of order was given to it all, it was stacked and then bundled into pallets which were in turn lashed into “trains” a few hundred metres long and five wide, and poled to Paris.
The modern replica differed from the original only in that it was made in two lengths that would each fit in a forty metre lock and would no doubt be lashed together once it got to the river proper, and perhaps no one would notice that it was mostly constructed of thinly disguised timber pallets rather than firewood, but the most glaring slight historical inaccuracy of all given that these things were operating from the 1500’s: the twenty horsepower outboards hidden in little tents in each end of the structure.
There was a little fair of course, to help farewell the merry band aboard, and a band ashore that didn’t seem all that merry despite the delightful music they were producing, and dancers and demonstration of traditional timber crafts and rope making and everyone had a truly lovely time of it.
Except perhaps for the accordionist. Perhaps she was wondering how we, and those that follow us during the week will find the means to overtake the floating log jam, err… historical reenactment!.