Come with us as we travel round Europe in our floating home

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Reims to Rolompont

Hi, nice to see you again. Doesn't time pass quickly when you're having fun? I didn't realise it was 2 weeks since my last blog!

We're now on the Canal Entre Champagne et Bourgogne and the locks are once again operated by a telecommande. We had a bit of a problem  at one particular lock which was out of sight round a couple of sharp bends.

We'd pressed the zapper and got a red and green traffic light which meant the lock knew we were waiting and was being prepared for us. We knew there was a commercial barge coming down the lock as we'd seen its signal on the radio screen and after a while it appeared round the bend. We should have then been clear to go up the lock as soon as the boat was out of the way. Strange things started to happen with the lock lights though; first the lights went out, then we had 2 red lights which meant the lock was out of order, then red and green, then nothing again!  As there was no place for us to moor up below the lock I had to get off and go and see what was going on. Another commercial barge was in the lock! Somehow they'd bypassed the controls and refilled the lock without waiting for us to come up. They finally descended and  went on their way leaving the lock out of order. A quick phone call to the VNF control centre had them remotely reactivating the lock and almost an hour and a half later we finally made it up.

By this time it was lunchtime so we moored up at the first village we came to. The moorings at Chamouilley were really well cared for and would be ideal for a weekend, or longer, stay.

It's a pretty village with a restored communal wash-house.

We've seen several of these in the villages we've stopped at, but this was the best we've seen. I'm really glad we've got a washing machine. I couldn't picture myself doing the laundry here, too much like hard work!

We also found a little hotel, the  Auberge du Cheval Blanche, with a great value "menu du jour". There was no choice except for how you'd like your steak cooking, and was absolutely delicious. The place was packed with locals, workmen in overalls and businessmen in suits and at under 12 euros for 4 courses it's no wonder!

The weather's changed and I've had to dig out my waterproofs. It went from Summer to Autumn almost overnight and we're now wearing jumpers and putting the heating on in a morning.

The stretch of canal we're on at the moment has 17 locks that are operated by VNF personnel and we need to pre-book our passage the day before we want to travel. The staff have been amazing. Nothing is too much trouble for them and they have all been happy and smiling, even in the torrential downpours that we've had recently.

The last few locks were operated by a single man instead of a team and he let me help open the top gates. It was like being back in UK and I really enjoyed the exercise 😃

We've spent the weekend in the little town of Rolompont sitting out the heavy rains. There's not a lot in the town, just a bakery, pharmacy and a small and very expensive supermarket.

Oh, and a road-side shack housing an egg vending machine! On display inside the shack are the certificates from the local health board stating that the eggs are free-range and have been tested.

We've booked our little man to go up the last couple of manual locks tomorrow and then we'll be back to using the zapper for the final climb up to the summit. It'll be downhill all the way then, to the end of the canal at Maxilly-sur-Saone.

That's all for now, hope to see you again next time.

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