Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Encore France: Day 6 - Cappy to Corbie

From the journal:
And so it was that Sunday morning, about 20 minutes before we wanted to depart, I had to phone the Somme Canal authority and say, in my bestest French, “Bonjour madam. Ici bateau Labreilloire, départ Cappy á Corbie”. Thankfully, the answer came back, “D’accord” and so my pulse rate was able to return to normal. The first time, as they say, is the hardest – or so I believed.
Before leaving Cappy, the English couple who live on a big old barge called River Dog, out of Hull, which was tied up at the port, came over and said that they were going to the boulangerie and would we like them to bring anything back for us. We said that a baguette would be great, and in due course they returned with a lovely fresh one for us. They refused to accept any payment for it but just said it was a gift. Such kindness seems to attach to the river life, yet there is also a great respect for privacy.
Farewell Cappy

After setting off we passed under the lifting bridge at Cappy and so began a day’s slow and easy travel through some stunning scenery with hills and fields covered in trees of amazing autumn colours such as we don’t see in Australia. The colours looked almost unreal, like a painting, and the canal and canal-side lakes were dotted with superbly hued ducks and the snowiest of geese. Yes, it really was like living art.

Stunning scenery

We stopped for lunch at a lovely tie-up spot not all that far from Corbie and waited there for the lock to open – remember, those French lock-keepers strictly observe the lunch break. It was just gorgeous sitting there up on deck, taking in the beautiful scenery, feeding our souls and our tummies at the same time.
Fabulous colours.

I did embarrass myself at the first lock, I must confess. We brought with us a selection of Australian souvenirs as gifts for people who were particularly helpful, such as lock-keepers. Well, there we were at the first lock and I was chatting to the lady lock-keeper. Just before she passed us back our ropes so that we could cruise on out of the lock, I reached behind me and grabbed a rather nice pen to give to her as a little gift of appreciation. However, I didn't say "Pour vous", I said "Pour voir". And she, of course, looked at the pen, as I had told her to do, and then gave it back to me. Spot the error: vous = you; voir = see/look. I kept giving the pen back to her; she kept looking at it and returning it to me. Then I realised my error, blushed probably not so becomingly, and gave it back to her for the final time. She laughed and happily put the pen in her pocket and thanked me for the gift.
Coming into Corbie.

We arrived in Corbie late afternoon and discovered the mooring area to be a really excellent one with great facilities. After securing the vessel we wandered up into town only to find everything closed, which of course is pretty normal for France of a Sunday. We did, however, discover a patisserie/boulangerie open and so we were able to indulge ourselves with some wonderful cakes.

Fantastic tie-up point.

When we got back to the boat we decided to give the bicycles a tryout. Dangerous idea. Now, my man loves cycling and has even been on cycling holidays. I, on the other hand, have a strong belief that the person who invented the bicycle was somebody with absolutely no knowledge of or respect for the laws of gravity. I have never enjoyed cycling, and feel always that I am one wobble away from disaster. Nevertheless, the path along the canal looked safe, and so I climbed onto the two wheeled contraption and set off. Or I should say I tried to set off. The bike was a horror story. I know I wobble, but this wobbled all by itself, and seemingly in various directions all at once. I quickly dismounted and offered the bike to my man. Ah, it wasn’t me: he found the bike quite treacherous himself. So, scrap that idea. Bikes back onto the foredeck, he and me up onto the back deck with coffee and cakes. As they say in The Castle, “How’s the serenity”.
And here she is, bateau Labreilloire - isn't she lovely.

See you tomorrow.

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