2023 Barging France

Stage 1 Continues (8/05 – 26/05/23)


Well, not so much has happened since the last update. Catharina Elisabeth is still in the water waiting to be lifted out. The wait is frustrating but the experience of most people I have met is that being in a shipyard is a waiting game. Nothing ever seems to be definite.

In the meantime, the weather hasn’t been all that social or conducive to outside work. On the plus side, the bit of rain we’ve had might improve the prospects of cruising for those who are able to. Given the delay, and likely time to complete the work even when it begins, our “plan” for using the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne is now dead. What will replace it, I simply can’t say.

The only bit of work worth reporting is a bit of a tidy-up of the rear of the wheelhouse. Repairing and refreshing the ivory paint that adorns the upper half of it and the stern spud pole housing

and removing the pretty worn-out varnish on the door. The painting is finished but the oiling of the wood on the door is Lisette’s expertise. I’ll give her a brush when she shows up.

The only other event of note was a day off I had one Saturday for the annual Fête au Port just across the railway line in Migennes.

We’ve never been here early enough to experience it so this was my first opportunity to see it all in action. I ended up staying the whole day – as much to have a break as anything. Indeed, while there were a number of events, booths and attractions, there wasn’t enough to completely fill the day. We were lucky to have a fine day in the midst of the rain other than a quite ferocious thunderstorm at about 5 pm. That emptied the place (I sheltered for an hour or so under one of the vacant canopies) but when it finished, everyone returned and the evening was busy.

Highlights for me were watching the tiny young kids, some of whom were barely toddlers, being taken out on training skis (Baby ski nautique);

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a quite professional display of group roller skating (Roller Club);

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some artistic fire dancing (Danse et Art du feu)

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and a pretty good if short fireworks display (Feu d’Artifice) to end it all.

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There was food, drink and music later in the day including a three-man band who were obviously French but only sang and played English songs. However, the crowd enjoyed them and sang and danced along with the music.

The absolute highlight, for me, was a display of models by Simon Evans whose shipyard has been hosting Catharina since the winter of 2018. Simon had shown us his collection last year but this was a chance to see what kind of display he puts on. He regularly puts on shows around the district.

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There have been plenty of people around the yard to chat with and socialise so I haven’t been lonely but it will be wonderful to have the other member of Catharina’s crew on board. Oops, have to go …

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    2 Responses

  1. Oh my, Ian. I thought you would be well on the way with your repairs by now. The waiting game is one we know well, but you always hope things will go according to plan. The festival looks fantastic and it’s great you had such a good time, but yes, I can imagine you’ll be pleased to see Lisette.

    1. It is, perhaps, the most disagreeable part of cruising in Europe but I guess nothing is perfect – although this lifestyle on Catharina is close!

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