Leaving Roanne, looking for a winter mooring

Mr B is a little incapacitated today, so has left the blog writing to Mrs B. I have a different style, I witter on a bit but there you are.
Through the lock at Roanne at nine sharp for a meander down to Artaix, pronounced artay, which is about half way to Digoin. Doing this trip in 2 days is pleasant, althought apparently it can be done in about 9 hours, who wants too?.
We only meet two other boats all day, the restaurant boat “Infatigable” who we pass in a nice wide place not shallow at the edges, and a smallish plastic cruiser who we meet on a tight bend under a narrow bridge.
Who says boating is not exciting!
It has not been as hot today, but still very humid. The lock keepers are saying there will be l’orages,(thunderstorms).
We stopped at Artaix on the way to Roanne, very quiet tidy mooring, not too many other boats and the odd camper van. We try to chill out during the afternoon but the humidity is draining us. The temperature has risen to 38 degrees. A few spit spots of rain, are we to get a downpour?. ….No chance….
As we go to bed we see these strange flashes in the sky, a bit like distant artillery fire but without any noise. The silence is very eery, the flashes continue for some time then stop, we fall into a restless hot sleep. Then early hours and it starts, thunder and lightening like fireworks, but little rain.
Tel can’t sleep so gets up to make a drink. I sleep through most of it laying on my good ear, this is where being half deaf really pays off.
We are both up and about early and it is pleasantly cooler, but just as we leave the mooring for the first lock of the day the downpour we expected last night arrives. At the lock there is a small hire boat waiting, they are dutch and the captain is out talking to the student lock keeper who’s first day this is. The lock , which we know is a deep one is taking forever to fill. Tel can hardly see the front of the boat for the rain. When the lock opens Tel and the dutchman gesticulate to each other that we should go in first being the larger heavier boat, so we do, and tie up forward in the lock so the other boat can come in behind. As we are doing this another small boat turns up. The young lock keeper decides that he’ll put us through then the  two smaller ones, closes the gates and begins to empty the lock. We can’t imagine how livid the dutchman must be, we have to put this down to inexperience on the students part.
We continue  our way to Digoin. The rain had stopped by the time we’d done another 2 locks, at about 11.30am we went through Bourg le Comte 7 Lock where the nice lock keeper remembered us from our trip down to Roanne . Today he had potatoes and lettuce for sale, and put the lock to empty on a trickle while he went to his garden to cut us a couple of lettuce.When he returned I got him to taste the rocket I’m growing with the herbs in one of our top boxes, he really liked it. Tel paid him and the deal done he then opened the paddles to full flow and we were on our way. Experience is a wonderful thing.
Off the Roanne/Digoin canal now and into new water, The Canal du Centre.
We arrived at the lock before the aquaduct at Digoin at around 4pm, no more rain but back to the hot and humid. The lock was against us and we had to pull over and wait. I got off with the camera and went up to take pictures. The lock opens into a pound and then into the aquaduct over the Loire, there were many gongoozlers. I snapped Tel bringing the boat into the lock, and rising, then jumped on board and we were on our way over the aquaduct.  On the other side we moored for the night, no water or electric but all we wanted really was a good nights sleep.

This post was written by Terry Barrett

Photographs by Tes


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