Rosaleen arrived by air next day, and cruising began. We had a super trip up the Seine from Rouen, a truly beautiful river. The first 40 Km of that stretch is tidal and Rouen is already 115 Km from the sea. We passed Chateau Gailliard, the castle of Richard the Lion Heart, which is quite spectacular, built high up on the chalk cliffs above the river. We moored outside a barge that belongs to a friendly French couple for a couple of days with whom we’d been in touch previously. Their barge had Shannon registration, as it was simpler to get than registering it in France! The hull was built in Warwick for them, & Gerard had fitted it out himself, so he & Mike had a load to talk about, & compare notes. His wife speaks good English, so between us all we managed through technical terms! They took us back to the castle by car to see the fireworks display in honour of Bastille Day. The next day we visited Monet’s beautiful garden at Giverny, the water lilies and all that, and his house which is pretty amazing, too, simple but lovely, esp. the kitchen, and the dining room, which is all a bright yellow and must have been even more stunning to his contemporaries.
We also saw a museum of old engines. They had a huge diesel engine that had a 20-ton flywheel and used air start, and also air injection for the fuel. Mike, particularly, enjoyed talking to the guys that run it, and they appreciated his interest.