We have been travelling with Jürgen and Ele for long enough now to understand their innermost workings.
The fact that they are not French does make this a little easier it must be said. For instance when Jürgen wandered off from the lock mid-cycle, through the bushes and into the paddock opposite leaving the aft end of his boat unattended, we could be fairly certain it wasn’t to answer a call of nature. Instead, having no doubt calculated the precise factor of the failure rate anticipated in the sunflower crop opposite, he would have known that the farmer would willingly spare two specimens. Who knows, perhaps he'd phoned through first to ask permission. In any case he wandered down the front row of the things until he found two of the flawless variety and promptly removed them, presumably for research purposes, no doubt to be inspected in the same laboratory that researches Minky whale flesh.
The number of samples obtained was apparently carefully calculated. One was presented to Ele who instantly forgot her concern of only seconds earlier when she noticed his absence on the after lines and called rather loudly with just the merest hint of panic: “Jürgen, DO YOUR JOB” a reference no doubt to her observation that the rear of their boat was at this point banging helplessly agains the side of the lock.
The other in a swoop of gallantry, surely not bribery, found its way into the hands of our own good Captain, who immediately swooned, placed it in a vase, and confided that it probably wasn’t really stealing if we just took one.
Unimpressed, and not at all wishing that it was me who had thought of it first, I could only imagine how much more beautiful this photograph would have been had it not been sullied by the absence of those flowers.