Then, up the Oise from Conflans St Honorine, the ‘home’ of the barges & bargees, to Soissons, meeting all sorts of folk, and making friends along the way of various nationalities.
Most places we stopped at we stayed in for 2, or even 3 nights as there are, in general, very few mooring places and we have to do 60 Km or so between them, and we are NOT in a rush. We stopped in Creil, famous for earthenware, and spent the afternoon on a large barge that rarely moves. It is 45m x 5m and has been fitted out by the owners. It is much bigger than most houses. They had a conservatory/garden on deck all very tastefully done, where we sat & had drinks.
Then Saturday night in Compiegne, not so good, as my bike was stolen from the aft deck, locked to the rails with Mike’s with a proper bike lock, not just a chain and padlock. M chased them the first time, but they came back an hour or so later around 1.30 and must have had a cutter of some sort, as they were gone with the bike before we could get them. We were just unlucky as to where we were moored. We had a boring run around with the police, then by phone, & on Sunday, when we at last got the correct station after a lot of walking and asking, but they were too busy, they said, (and weren’t one bit interested). An Aussie guy had the flag and flagpole stolen from his boat the same night, but nobody else had trouble, and they had bikes etc., too. These things happen everywhere in big towns, not just here, so we try to avoid staying o/night in dubious areas, when possible.
The ‘up’ side of Compiegne was the chandlery, which is one of the best we’ve seen anywhere, with loads of varied stock. Mike had a happy time there buying essentials such as fenders, gas for the hob, and a regulator, and then poked around and found various other bits and pieces he’s been looking for. We’ll be back there again in better weather sometime, and get to see the chateau and forest, favourite hunting ground of the kings of France.