Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Fleury (first swallowtail & clouded yellow)

The river Aron running next to our Tuesday night mooring at Fleury
Soon after Karen went off for her early morning run on Monday my phone rang.  It was Karen, she had just passed a van down at the hire boat basin that belonged to a boat engineer.  I wandered down in the off chance he may be able to help me sourcing a new throttle cable.  He was busy getting a boat ready for new hirers but said he would have a look and come and see me in a short while.

I went back to the boat and sure enough, ten minutes later, Philippe appeared with a couple of cables.  One was too small a diameter but the other was just right but 1.5 metres too long.  When I say cable I actually mean the sheath with integrated cable.  He suggested I fit it first before deciding to buy it which was good of him.  In the end he stayed for about 20 minutes helping fit the new one.  We got it to the point where it would work in principle before he had to leave as he had another boat to get ready.

I carried on and nearly had the job finished by the time Karen & Buddy got back.  Apart from being too long, the new cable works perfectly even with an extra coil to take up the 1.5 metre slack.

I went back to the boatyard to settle up and Philippe charged me 20 for the cable.  I had been expecting upwards of 70, but this one was used.  It had come off a boat where the engine had been changed recently. It still means I need to order a spare but at least we can get going again when we want to.  He didn’t want any money for the help he gave me at the beginning and he also gave me a new fuse and a courtesy French flag for 2.  At least we now also have the courtesy flag and will feel more relaxed travelling the waterways as Brits as well as being compliant ðŸ˜‰

After lunch we had a slow walk around town as it was still hot, and Buddy was still not used to the heat.  We made the most of the weather as apparently there will be a dip in temperatures over the next few days.

The River Aron running through the centre of Châtillon-en-Bazois
The little buildings at the end of the gardens overlooking the river reminded us of when we were on the River Stort in Ware in Hertfordshire.  Ware is well known for the antique gazebos in the gardens along its riverfront – see our visit to the Gazebos of Ware by clicking here.

Looking the other way
When we got home, we stayed outside and started getting rid of some of our spring plants and repotting the empty pots with summer plants.

As the boat was river worthy again it meant we could have a cruise on Tuesday, and I arranged with the éclusier to leave at 1.00pm.

In the morning we cycled up to the supermarket to stock up on provisions and also to look at their plants and compost.  We had run out of the soil on Monday and were hoping they had smallish bags that would fit in backpacks, unfortunately the smallest bags were 40kg so we will wait until we are in another town.  We know we have bought 20kg bags before but if necessary, we can always take the sack barrow.

We then paid another visit to the water point at the basin to top up again as we have heard the next few water points are out of action.

Moored for water and lunch at the basin
We had lunch whilst filling up with water and then moved into the lock to await 1.00pm when the éclusier was expected.  We had just closed the gates when he turned up five minutes early and we were soon on our way.

Although it was warm it was fairly overcast for most of the afternoon and it wasn’t until we moored up for the day that the sun came out.

This part of the Canal du Nivernais follows the Aron valley and consequently has many twists and turns in it.  What we cannot work out is why the canal is so wide though.

The twists and turns of Tuesday’s cruise
The cut – wider than we feel it needs to be
One of the locks had a very pretty garden around its lock cottage.  There was a lady sitting on the doorstep so I asked her if I could take a picture.  I obviously wasn’t clear enough as she started smiling and said of course but picked her dog up expecting me to take a picture of her.

I was too embarrassed to repeat the question so didn’t get a picture of her pretty garden.  I did get a picture of the lock nameplate though; amazingly, there have only been a few plates missing from the hundred or so cottages we have seen so far.

The cottage at the last lock has been converted to yet another bar.  This one is owned and run by a couple of friends of Philippe the boatyard man.

The bar at the lock at Fleury
We moored up for the day after coming out of the lock and suspect we will be here a few days as strong winds and heavy rain are currently forecast.

There had been lots of butterflies on the wing during the day and we were lucky to see our first swallowtail and clouded yellows of the year bringing our total species seen so far this year to 18 - an unprecedented number for us before the end of April. 

Our mooring at Fleury
As you can see, we are behind Paul & Sue on Flubs so Buddy was straight around there after titbits and we joined them for a glass of wine or two before settling in for the evening.

On Tuesday afternoon we cruised 13 kilometres down six locks.

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