Friday, 28 March 2014

First Blog of 2014

A beautiful place for our winter mooring

Wednesday 26th March

We are back in France…….the sun is shining and all is well with the world!

We had a brilliant journey here; 10 hours from door to door.  We managed to catch an earlier Eurostar train which meant we arrived at 4pm in Auxerre with plenty of day light left.  Rangali was looking a bit dirty, especially on our new decking nearest the bank, but inside everything was perfect, no leaks, no damp, not even many spiders….maybe the Conkers do work!!

We had booked into the Ibis hotel 100 yards from the mooring, as we thought we’d be arriving later and that it would be cold and damp inside Rangali…..but we probably could had stayed on-board.

In the evening we met up with Charlie and Marcia from Amarok, another Piper barge, who we’d met last year…we had a lovely evening with them, eating at a local restaurant and drinking too much vino!  They'd arrived on Tuesday after 2 days travel from Arizona so were a little jet lagged.

Thursday 27th March

We spent the day cleaning the boat, and trying to get the grey tank to pump out but we found out that the automatic switch wasn’t working.  We have ordered a replacement switch that should arrive in the next few days and we have had a manual switch put in to help us work the pump for the wastewater from the shower and the washbasin.

Our lovely back deck awning (made and fitted by Wilson Covers) was covered in black mould on the underside, and our port side deck was covered in grime and green algae so my Karcher steam cleaner came into its own.  Kev was not happy I had bought it a couple of years ago, thinking I was wasting my money, and to be honest I have hardly used it over the past two years, so he was right, but after using it yesterday, cleaning the Flexiteek, it's worth its money ten times over!!  The Flexiteek looks like new again.  (up-date...when using steam cleaner I used the plastic bristle head and followed the direction of the grain, but also we have since used our Karcher pressure washer and this cleans it perfectly too)

As we have the car we drove to the supermarket and stocked up on the heavy provisions and wine and then had a quiet night relaxing on the boat.

Friday 28th March

We had a great night sleep on-board, and the sun is shining again this morning, we are really lucky.

We walked into town to sort out our French phone and modem.  They were really helpful and we bought top ups to last us 6 months for the phone and two vouchers of 3GB each for 35 euros.  Each voucher is valid for 6 months after you activate it, but if you don’t activate it, they have a really long use-by date.  We have some credit left on our modem, which runs out tomorrow that we had activated last September.  It's called ‘Let’s Go’ on Orange, highly recommended.

We are sitting in the sun on the back deck, looking forward to seeing Marcia and Charlie this evening, who have kindly invited us to supper on-board Amarok.

We plan to stay at Auxerre until we feel we need to start on our journey.  We really love the city of Auxerre, so want to make the most of it.  We want to go more slowly this year, we have a provisional route planned but this may change as we go with the flow.

Charlie and Marcia with Kev

All the works on the Quay have finished
and very impressive they look too with multi-coloured fountains

Such a lovely old city,
we sat outside a cafe and had a cafe au lait and a croissant and watched the world go by
Our proposed route for 2014
Strasbourg is one of our aims but we shall see if this happens.
We will end up at Migennes for our winter mooring
as we are taking the boat out of the water to paint the hull beginning of next year.