End of Season

After a very busy wonderful summer and a lot of kilometres on the clock, it was time to turn
to France again, via the Canal St Quentin and its tunnel, of nearly 6km this time, through which boats
have to be towed by an electric tug, as there is little ventilation. We had heard grim tales of boats being
damaged while being towed through at the end of a long string of craft so were somewhat anxious. However,
we were the sole customer that Sunday morning, the tug coming to collect just Aquarelle. It took us 1 hour
35 minutes to get through the tunnel: slow going and slightly chilly, but dry. Well lit, in places the overhead
cables for the electric tug were very low, hanging just over our heads as we stood on the aft deck.
There is a tow path on one side with timber along the edge which the tug and barges lie against; the other side
is all rough rock and brick with protruding, jagged edges here and there, dangerous for craft at the end of a
long tow. However, we had a completely trouble-free, if not slightly boring after a while trip to add to our
Down on the Oise, we met up with our second daughter, son-in-law and other two grandchildren for the cruise up
the Seine into Paris, through very windy, showery weather, but great to have them with us, albeit for such a
quick visit. Paris well, among other things we took in a quirky and fascinating guided walking tour through
lesser known parts of Montmartre, home to many famous artists and writers, including a 700-bottle-a- year
vineyard! One final Irish visitor signed on at Morêt-sur-Loing and, with Mike, introduced some French children
in the playground beside us in Namour to conker playing, keeping them fascinated and amused for ages. He also
helped replace an unsealed double glazed window unit in the galley most useful!