Legends from our own lunchtimes

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sorry! - Monday 9th October
on to Metz

It was a bit hard to imagine that the day would turn out to be anything more than tolerable when we left “early” just after nine, in cold and haze and with the navigation lights burning their way over where the horizon might be. To confirm that feeling, at the first lock we timed our arrival to coincide exactly with an announcement that the appearance of almost two hundred metres and many thousand tonnes of coal carrier was imminent.  We didn’t need to be asked to wait a bit.    Things went quiet well after he’d gone, that is until we announced our presence at the second lock and were happily instructed to “take the small lock please”.

Since our Joyeux is almost four metres wide, and our chart suggested that the small lock was three point four in the same dimension, one would have thought that making a small public fuss with some professional lock keepers in charge of a large commercial lock would have been entirely appropriate.   Having conducted something close to a shouting match with them in their lofty control tower perch, with neither side giving an inch, one of them finally condescended to come down from on high to where we were waiting and patiently explained that the small lock was indeed a few metres wider than we had supposed, and would we terribly mind ever so much just going where they told us to and getting on our way.   One cannot be sure when one grovels in the language of another, when said grovelling is adequate, but at least at the end of it there were smiles on both sides.  Perhaps one would be wise to use one’s spectacles when reading the chart in future.

That seemed to create a turning point in the weather too, and from the top of that lock on with each kilometre beyond our indiscretion, the river and the day itself just became more glorious.

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