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

Sunday, 22 July 2018


Hi, nice to see you again.  The internet signal has been very poor again for the past couple of weeks so this catch-up blog about Amiens is a bit out of date I'm afraid.

Our friend David came over from UK for a visit and arrived by train to join us in Amiens. He stayed for a week and we had a really good time sightseeing, eating and drinking. David also brought my new camera as "old faithful" died from overwork, so please indulge me while I get used to it.

One of the main sights to see in Amiens is the Cathedral. We took a wrong turn and arrived at the rear of the building. The architecture isn't quite as ornate as the front facade but we'd have missed the poppies otherwise

The new camera has an amazing zoom........

There were poppies all over the lawn and also bleeding from a window, a bit like the ones that had been at the Tower of London a couple of years ago.

but where the Engish ones were made from metal, these were made from recycled plastic bottles, painted blood red.

The front facade is very ornate with carved saints and angels, although on a much less grand scale than Reims cathedral that we visited last year.

Inside it was very differennt to Reims

There were far fewer statues, instead there were many of these painted, carved wooden friezes

some of which were quite gory

This was my favourite statue. It's the Crying Angel and was originally carved in 1635, although this is now a plaster replica. It became famous during the 1st World War as it was featured on postcards sent by the Allied soldiers back to their families

David was staying with us for a week so after Amiens we cruised down to Abbeville and then Sainte Valerie sur Somme, which is the closest we can get to the seaside.  The weather was glorious and even though there was no room on the pontoon at Sainte Valerie we were made welcome by the French owner of a static converted peniche who gladly let us moor alongside. We only had time to stay for one night as David needed to be back in Abbeville to catch his train back to UK but we'll be back again next week as Sainte Valerie is a beautiful town and our grandchildren are coming to stay for a while. When we got back to Abbeville there was no available mooring so we breasted up with the 38m travelling theatre peniche Le Lapin Vert. We'd seen them several times over the previous couple of weeks, unfortunately usually taking up all the premium mooring places but that hadn't bothered us too much as we've got quite used to mooring in the wild. They were a really friendly bunch and told us (them in perfect English and us in pigeon French) that they were really struggling along the Somme as it's very twisty and narrow in places and quite often they were dragging along the bottom and travelling at only between 2 and 3 km per hour. The eclusiers had to alter the water levels in pounds to get them under bridges and raise the level in others to get them off the bottom. Next morning we awoke to very low water levels as the eclusiers had again needed to lower the level to let them go through the next lock and low bridge to turn round before heaing back the way they'd come.

Moorings in Abbeville and Sainte Valerie are supposed to be limited to 3 days, although we know that boats have been moored in both towns for much longer, so once David left us we headed back up river and spent the weekend in the middle of nowhere before returning to Abbeville this afternoon to stock up ready for the grandkids arriving on Tuesday.

If I don't blog for a while it's because it's "Granny Time" 😀 See you soon X

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Bougival to the Somme

Bojour, welcome back

After the exitement of passing through Paris we spent the weekend in Bougival. Just after we moored up a very loud PA system started playing music and when we went to investigate where it was coming from we found that there was a park 200m away and they were setting up the stage and a proper sprung dance floor for a disco that evening. They were also building a bonfire and setting up for a firework display.

We sat on the back of the boat and listened to the music all afternoon going back as it started to go dark, just in time to watch them light the chucking  jar of something flammable over it and giving the mayor a lighted stick to set it off with a blaze

We joined the locals on the dance floor for an hour or so and then watched a fantastic fireworks display that went on and on, lasting well over half an hour!

It was a great evening and totally free. There were lots of people there of all ages and ethnicities. All the kids were kept under control and although many families were having picnics there was no litter anywhere and no drunks either.

I've been very impressed with how clean the canals and rivers are over here. On the Seine they have these floating compounds every 10km or so

They collect any floating rubbish and plastic bottles. Such a simple idea, but very effective.

One day we were passed by a commercial barge towing this submarine on a barge.  It used to be a floating exhibit to show the public the inside of a submarine but is now up for sale for conversion into a house boat

We don't eat many pastries or desserts but occasionally temptation wins. I LOVE the way the patisserie wraps them up to look like a gift.

Mini tarte tatin........delicious with a drizzle of cream 😍

On a slightly healthier note, I'm growing tomatoes this year. They're tiny but full of flavour

Funny how there's always one mutant one though

We left the Seine and had an uneventful trip on the Canal de la l'Oise and the Canal du Nord and we've now turned off the commercial canals onto the beautiful Canal de la Somme.  It's very weedy in places but the water is crystal clear and there are so many fish it's like havig your own personal aquarium outside the boat

There may be a lot of weed but the weed cutter boats have it all under control and the lock keeper told me that there was much less further up the canal.

That's all for now. We've moored at Corbie for the weekend so Roger can watch the British Grand Prix and we're having a visitor next week so I'll see you again soon.