Saturday, 27 September 2014

Tuesday 23rd September 2014 Malmy to Le Chesne. 16.1kms 2 locks

Chicken on the lockside at La Cassine 
3.4°C Misty start, sunny. Mike and I went in the car to Flize to the gendarmerie to get our livrets de circulation stamped. Mike took the scenic route via Chèmery-sur-Bar with views down into the valleys where the low-hanging mist looked like fallen clouds. A pleasant young lady did the honours, without any queries as to what it was or surprise and we were on our way home again five minutes later, calling in at the boulangerie in Dom-le-Mesnil for bread. I did some catching up with the log then the photos and made a recovery drive on t
Purple flowers of Autumn crocuses below Sauville lock
he new 16gig thumb drive, while Mike moved the car on to Le Chesne and came back on the moped. A fisherman in a car had parked behind the boat and set up his gear right behind our stern (Why do they do that, I will never understand the logic). We set off at 12.10pm. The first bridge was an old farm track bridge over a very battered old concrete structure, badly knocked about where the highest bits of some boats had hit it, leaving great gouges. Just after the bridge there was a sweeping left hand bend taking
Below Sauville lock
the canal south for a while. A cattle egret flew over the adjacent field and went out of sight in a ditch, where it stayed. A little later a snake zipped across the water, far too fast for the camera. I tried the new 4G router as we approached the quay below the lock at La Cassine and surprise, surprise we’d have got 3G there! On up lock 2, gently rising a mere 1.3m. The PC finished doing its recovery drive, so I added
Above Sauville lock
Paintshop (now I’d found the disc for it) so that I could edit our photos. Mike saw another snake swim across the cut and a big bird of prey swoop down, grab a big fish and fly off again before he could even switch the camera on! At KP19 the one and only boat of the day went past, a shiny new 40m DB called Miró from Antwerp. The lady of the boat was on the bows taking photos as we passed. Below lock 1 Sauville the banks were covered in the lilac flowers of autumn crocus. Zapped and we went up another 1.64m on to the
Piling slip on the summit level
summit level. All the lock houses of the seven locks up from the Meuse were inhabited, which was nice to see as so many lock houses on this canal have been left to ruin, but we guessed that they were no longer VNF employees that lived in them. It was 2.15pm as we went across a little aqueduct carrying the canal over a tiny un-named tributary of the river Bar. 9.6kms to the top of the first lock downhill into the Paris basin. We weren’t going that far today and kept a check on the Internet, nothing but GPRS - slowest of the slow. Poplars full of mistletoe lined both banks, with oaks, alders and silver birch beneath them.
Moored at Le Chesne by the silos
Round several more sweeping bends, then on to a long 2km straight passing the empty old house where the VNF controller of the feed water from lake Bairon used to live. A lone fisherman sat on the bank by the house, now door-less and window-less. Still the internet was rubbish. A VNF man in a van was cutting the grass with a strimmer and he paused to chat with Mike about the weather as we passed by. A lorry was being loaded with grain from the big concrete silos just before Le Chesne. At 3.45pm we moored next to an old quay before the town centre moorings (where Miró had been moored this morning when Mike left the car in the town). No one on the moorings now below the pont X. Mike went to have a look to see if the taps were working. He found one that did, so we’ll top up before we leave in the morning. The Internet was still useless even with the antenna up. You can’t amplify a signal that isn’t there. 

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