I’ve fast forwarded the blog to our arrival in Beaulieu a week ago today. We stopped here (about 15 kms South of Briare) because it was an ideal place to pick up our house guests; the Airedales Teddy and Herbie. This decision turned out to be brilliantly lucky!
On the last blog, Kevin and Debbie had just left us to sort out their boat and their dogs’ paperwork prior to returning to the UK for K’s brothers wedding last Saturday. There was a problem at the vets which meant they – the dogs, not K & D – couldn’t return to the UK for 3 weeks, so they left their boys with us for a few days. By now you will have seen the weather problems we are experiencing in France and, whilst we waited here for Kevin to pick the dogs back up on Tuesday, first they closed the canal in the direction we were heading and then the canal behind us. I say that this was brilliantly lucky because there has also now been a serious breach ahead of us and, had we not stopped for the dogs, we would have been the wrong side of the breach for the DBA rally (IF it still goes ahead) and on flooded rivers. As it is, we are in a nice little spot on the canal with free electric and water plus a small shop UP the hill (i.e. not down the closed and flooded roads to the river Loire). Whilst the weather is bloody tedious and miserable and all my lovely circular dog walks are no longer useable, we are not being unduly inconvenienced. We shall have to do some drastic re-planning for our friends later this month and G’s sister and b-i-l coming out from Australia in August but, ultimately, there are no choices other than to turn around and go back the way we’ve come, to Decize, once the floods have receded.
Here’s a pic of the breach less than 50 kms North of us
For the first 2 or 3 days we had enough breaks in the rain for me to get out and about with the two younger dogs leaving the two older dogs, Daisy and G to have a bit of peace and quiet. Herbie is a sweetie, but he bounces and Daisy doesn’t know how to deal with this ‘Tigger’ action so we kept her in the front half of the boat and Herbie in the back half. There are plenty of safe places to let Herbie and Muttley off leads and they had a lot of fun.
The only time I worried about Herbie was trying to hang onto him on his lead when dogs ran down their gardens barking through their fences at us – he’s a big, strong and excitable lad. Strangely enough, Muttley seemed to be on his best behaviour, rather than join in, which helped. Teddy settled down quickly and was quite happy to sleep and eat.
I took this picture around Sunday lunchtime and it was, really, the first indication that the situation was getting bad – they were starting to dump water. By Monday, the only place left to walk was uphill into the village.
Graham nearly jumped out of his skin when something stuck it’s head out from under the shelves – clearly, the wildlife is starting to board the Ark, but we evicted him as it’s too early for boarding.
Kevin returned to pick the boys up Tuesday and deliver our solar panels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No comment.
At least I don’t have to pound the roads with poor Herbie now – it’s a good job Herbie wasn’t still with me when I came across this little lot. Two men and their dogs were moving sheep up the road across the canal to higher ground and the sheep broke and jumped over the road barrier onto the canalside in front of us. I don’t think I could possibly have held on to Herbie in that situation, such would have been his excitement, and can you imagine a Herbie running amok amongst this lot – it doesn’t bear thinking about!!!!!!
So now we are a jolly little band of boats all sitting about and waiting. The cycle/boat hotel passengers are from Australia and Germany – even if they were prepared to brave the torrential rain, the Loire Velo cycle trail is, like most things, under water and the hotel boat can’t pick them up – they only had a week. The Brits on the barge had a month, with their guests onboard for just a week and their cars miles away – just to add insult to injury there’s also a train strike. You’ll see a gap behind the second boat from the far end – that’s a hire boat’s spot; it’s gone to cruise up and down the pound rather than just sit there. The people immediately behind Francoise are a jolly natured French couple – just as well after what happened last night!
With the dogs’ routine disrupted, Muttley got caught short and needed to go out at 2.00 am this morning. G let him off the boat and he didn’t come back as per normal. G went in search of him and couldn’t find him until his presence triggered the security light on the boat behind. Muttley was stood on the roof over their bedroom looking through the window at their Yorkshire Terrier – they could hear something on the roof and their dog was going mental so they came out to see what was going on! G said his French deserted him in his embarrassment and he had to go round this morning, ‘tres desolate’ ing. They were completely unphased and had thought it was a cat – little bugger.
So here we sit and are grateful as it is a whole lot worse for many.