Parroy (that’s all folks)

Some of our flowers still blooming


Rather than complain about the darker evenings when the clocks go back, we try to view it the other way around: let's enjoy the lighter mornings for a while.

Sunday morning at Lagarde

Our winter plans had been to return to the UK at the beginning of December but we decided during the morning that we would go three weeks earlier than planned and booked tunnel tickets for next weekend.  The elongated summer weather was due to end in a few days and, with not much cruising available due to the water shortages, we felt we may as well be back in the UK getting more family time. The boat's booked into Parroy from 1st November, so we thought we’d arrive early and spend our last week there.  To that end, we set out for Xures on Sunday morning which was about halfway and where there was the perfect mooring for putting the remaining butterflies on the side of the boat.  Arriving above the lock at Xures we span the boat around so that we had the correct side to the bank.

Moored above the lock at Xures

With the continuing good weather, I also got on with more painting on the bows and after lunch we walked back to Lagarde to fetch the car.  On our return we noticed the plants were looking a bit droopy; I’d been forgetting to water them as it’s not usually something that has to be done at this time of year.  The situation was soon rectified and by later in the afternoon they’d picked up and weren’t looking too bad as can be seen at the top of this entry.

On Sunday we cruised four kilometres down two locks.


Monday was forecast to be 20ºC, cooler than of late but still very pleasant for the last day of October.  Looking at the 14-day forecast it was clear that autumn was now upon us but with no signs of frost yet:

We remembered overnight that the canals would be closed the following day for the 1st November national holiday, one of the five public holidays when this happens.  Rather than staying where we were for an extra day or two we thought we’d move on to Parroy during the day.

It was probably going to be the last cruise of the year since we decided to go to the UK in a week’s time so we had a real mix of emotions during the journey.  It's been a different cruising year in France than we've had before.  It's the first year since covid that many people have been on their boats and, although we were one of the lucky ones who cruised during much of the pandemic, it wasn't nice seeing boats unloved and unused.  At least this year we achieved our ambition of reaching Strasbourg by boat and also travelling through part of Germany to reach Luxembourg to meet up with previous work colleagues of ours who have made their home there.  

A lot of this year's cruising was on rivers which are not our waterway of choice, preferring the tranquil and generally quieter canals.  Saying that, we certainly enjoyed being on the Saar and the Moselle with their massive locks and commercials and we are certainly glad we've had the experience.  The other different thing this year has been the addition of three new grandchildren so we've had more time back in the UK than usual.  Once again it was another exceptionally hot summer in France and we were glad we were back in the UK for July and August.  Of course, the good weather continued and we've been able to enjoy a balmy autumn.

Leaving our last lock of 2022 (écluse de Mouacourt)

Once we arrived in Parroy, we spent the afternoon doing some of the things we have to do before leaving such as making an appointment for Buddy at the vets.  I don't like having phone conversations, let alone in French and with someone I don't even know.  To make it worse I have to explain that my dog needs tapeworm treatment (mandated by the UK for each entry) and ensure I understand the date and time of the appointment we've agreed upon.  On top of that, because we are constantly moving around France, we tend to use different vets for each visit so don't get the comfort of chatting to someone we've already met. 

On Monday we cruised six km down two locks.


It definitely felt cooler when we got up especially as it was cloudy and windy but all that started changing over breakfast as the day soon turned out to be lovely and warm if a little windy at times. 

As well as us there are three other boats who are mooring here for the winter months but there has been no sign of any life on the other boats. 

Our mooring until March next year

We think it’s a great place to moor and, apart from a smallholding on the opposite bank, the closest civilization is one kilometre away in Parroy.  The only drawback we’ve found is that the recycling and general rubbish bins have been removed for winter.

We had a good walk during the afternoon taking in the varied landscape of the area and were pleased to see several butterflies still out on the wing.


Another warmer day than expected and our daily walk took in the lake that acts as reservoir feeding the canal on the west side of the summit at Arzviller.  The lake is popular with fishermen and, in the summer months, holidaymakers use it for sailing and the like.

Dinghies shut away for winter on the distant shore


We had to go out in the car on Thursday as Buddy had his appointment with the vet to enable him to travel to the UK on Monday.  It was a 30-minute drive to the closest town, Dombasle-sur-Meurthe, and after his appointment we took the opportunity of being in a town to pop into a supermarket.  We had a slight detour on the return journey to go through the next closest town, Lunéville.  We wanted to see if it looked worth visiting, but we thought it didn’t look particularly attractive and agreed that we’d rather go for walks on our last few days.  Mind you the weather had turned and looked very much like rain was on its way, so the greyness didn’t help make the town look attractive.

By the time we got home, it had started raining and it continued until late into the evening feeling like our first proper rain for ages.  We should have guessed it was coming because of the warning sunrise that morning.

Red sky in the morning

It was also the first misty morning of autumn which was more obvious when looking out of the hatch the other way along the canal:


With the odd bit of rain on and off all day on Friday I’ve included some recent pictures of our five grandchildren rather than photos of damp landscapes or grey skies:

Skye, our latest, born when we went back in October

Evan, a surprise as he was born in September at 26 weeks 

Olly, born in March (with Polly, my favourite daughter [youngest])

Ellis, Evan’s older brother who's three next month

Our first grandchild, Dexter who'll be four in February, having breakfast after a sleepover with us

So, the car's packed and we're leaving tomorrow stopping at Châlons-en-Champagne on the way to pick up our post and catch up with boater friends.  We'll also pop in and see the kind French family who put me up in the summer when the car died and I'd missed the last train back to Metz.  They are long overdue a thank you from us and we hope the selection of English wines will rectify the situation.  

Well, that's it for this year, so we wish all our family, friends and readers a wonderful 2023 and that at least some your dreams come true.