September 22: Cosne to La Charite Sur Loire

I did not get a good night’s sleep but Dave did. We woke up early and had coffee in bed before showering and making breakfast. First for ourselves and then for everyone else. Del complained that no-one told her what the weather would be and she has the wrong clothes. I had printed out a long term weather report for everyone which must have been ignored. We got going and avoided the first tie up point for Sancerre to ensure we avoided Tim & co. We tied up at Ménétréol-Sous-Sancerre and filled the boat with water. We hooked in to the electricity and got things on charge. This cost €12. As we were about to leave Wanette decided she wanted a shower! This however was left for the day and Dave called the taxi. He went with Annie and Del to Sancerre and I went with Nico and Wanette. We all walked for a bit but Nico’s knee was bothering him so he and Wanette stopped for coffee. We walked on and found Maison Sancerre. Dave went to fetch Nico and we went into the exhibition rooms. It was so interesting. We watched a fascinating presentation on the region. They display it on a relief map set on the floor. The area produces 25 million bottles of wine per year, all under strict control. 75% is Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Pinot Noir and 5% Rosé. We left the 4 of them in Sancerre to have lunch and we walked down a steep hill to the Carrefour to do shopping. This has been the best part of the trip so far! We stocked up on water and food for 2 days and called Maguy (the taxi driver) to fetch us. She was so helpful and assisted with loading and off loading the groceries. Despite Nico promising we would not see Tim till the last night where it is unavoidable, they were sitting waiting for him! This was no coincidence as Joyce pretended and I was more than upset!! We unpacked the groceries, had lunch on the barge and waited for Nico et al to get back. As soon as they did we unhooked the power and set off. I decided to read for a bit but there were locks that needed me. We had a cider between the last 2 locks and then found a place to tie up for the night. There is free water and electricity at Charite but all the berths were taken. So, we moved a bit along and stopped. Nico took the bike for a ride and I washed dishes and started on dinner. I made a vegetarian pasta sauce to go with taglietelle. We had cravettes to start and I was amazed and how they were devoured! Cheese and biscuits to finish the meal. I washed the dinner dishes and asked for the glasses to be left on the table with the cheese plates. This was ignored and all the dirty stuff was put with the clean stuff. (Kim, if you are reading this, my name is now Sophie). The ice tray was left empty in the kitchen! Only 3 people take ice in their wine and not one of them has filled a tray once, despite emptying two a night. I have been moaned at for there not being ice. I got ready for bed and Wanette had her 30th plus cigarette for the day. Someone then had a shower and I lay awake for ages!

"September 22"
September 22

September 21: Briare to just past Cosne-Cours-Sur-Loire

Dave and I woke up at 6am and at 6:30 he took the car back to Gien and cycled back to the barge. We all showered and had croissants for breakfast. At 9am the lovely young gentleman from Le Boat showed us where someone had switched off the water! We left just after 9am and the first lot of locks were automatic. The rest have had very helpful lock keepers and some have actually looped the ropes for us. The locks are all manual which means a lot of work for them! We crossed over the Loire on a narrow canal – the pont du Loire. It was amazing. We stopped and had a picnic lunch at the side of the canal. At the next lock I bought a bottle of Sancerre regional Sauvignon wine for the white wine drinkers and at the next lock I got tomatoes. They look fantastic and I am sure the lock keeper was pleased to sell some of his produce. We tied up at Cosne and Dave and I used the wobbly bikes to cycle to the shops – which were closed! The round trip was 5.6km and I enjoyed the exercise and relative peace! Only had to worry about falling off the bike. We went through the next lock and found a spot to tie up at. I made mushroom and courgette pasta sauce to go with the filled pasta we bought. After washing dishes I sat down and had some cheese and biscuits before heading to bed.

"September 21"
September 21