Posts Tagged ‘Kenneth Grahame’

“Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!”
~Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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Not all barging is done on rivers.  Canals are also a big part of river travel and commerce.  And when you have a boat in another country (Sandra and Neville are from England), you have to have somewhere to keep it when you’re not using it.  In this case, that spot is a marina where they leave the barge while (or as Sandra would say, whilst) at home in England, whether for the winter or between trips in the summer.  After some time on the river, we turn and head for the canal the leads to the marina.  But first, the boat has to go through a lock.

Locks are used when water levels vary between a lake and a canal or two part of the same bit of water.  Very simply put, much more simply than the process is accomplished, the gate nearest the boat opens, allowing the water level to become the same as where the boat is.  The boat enters the lock and the gate closes behind it.  The the water level is raised or lowered until it reaches that of the water on the opposite side of the lock.  The gate in front opens and the boat moves out.


“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
~Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

I’ve read about people who live, full or part time, on barges (houseboats to some) and travel on the European canals.  It sounds like something that would be wonderful, but with our lack of experience with boats, probably out of reach.  It is, however, on our dream list of things to do some day.  This trip to France gave us that chance to not only spend a short time on a barge, but to meet another online friend and fellow writer and her husband.

We were thrilled when Sandra said she and Neville would be near Dijon while we were in Melisey.  “Near” is in this case a relative term.  They were near compared to Chicago or England, but still about 2 1/2 hours from us.  We thought that trip might be longer when the river was so high that the mooring they’d planned to use was covered, but we set out in the morning with borrowed cell phone in purse (ours wouldn’t work properly in France, no matter what Verizon had told us) so that we could get in touch for the final arrangements.

A call, in Sandra’s lovely English tones, told us the water was down enough, which cut half an hour or so off our trip and we arrived a bit after noon.  The river was in full spate but lovely.

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