20 May to 1st June – The Return to France

Friday 1 June 2012   Suerre to Verdun sur le doubs (junction with Saone)

What a lovely peaceful day.    We were the last but one to depart.  1000 we set off south and enjoyed a very quiet river trip down to Verdun sur le doubs  where we found somewhere to stop that had wifi.   Had a Skype with Carly  to find that our son Tony has a new job.  It all sounds really good and we are fingers crossed for them.   Tony and Carly depart with the munchkins for our cottage on the Isle of Wight for a week.   We hope they have a smashing time and that the English weather is kind to them

Arrived at Verdun sur le doubs at around 1240 for a snack and a tidy up.   Now sat here under Ba’s brilliant awning;  Ba is making something pretty with her beads and Steve is tapping away on ‘Precious’.   When the sun lowers in the sky a little, perhaps we will wander off and explore the town.  For now, it is just nice to sit here in the warmth (30 degrees C) in the shade and relax.  All of a sudden England seems a long time ago,  how strange is that?   I am publishing this now (without pictures, so I don’t lose it.  I will then come back and put pictures in once I have found them (they are here somewhere……..)

Overnight Verdun sur le doubs .  Position   46 53.794N   005 01.523E






Thursday 31 May 2012   St Jean de Losne  to  Suerre   (on the River Saone) 

Departed St Jean de Losne at 1005 and took a leisurely paced (7kph/3.5kts) south down the Saone.   Arrived at Seurre at 1240,  long day!!

Alongside at Seurre

We had thought about going further on to our next planned stop at Verdun sur le Doubs but that would have been another 3 hours under way.   Helped Rod and Heather onboard  ‘Scarlett’   a 20 year old SeaRay 42 motor cruiser,  moor up just along from us,  had a beer with them and then sat down for a cold meat lunch.     Wanda  (our washing machine) then came out for a bit while the smalls were washed, rinsed and spun,  then she slunk back into her cabin for a kip.  Met up with Kareem,  skipper of a hire boat that came in alongside us for the night.  Gave them a hand with manoeuvring and getting in safely,  to be rewarded with a lovely bottle of white wine.

Kareem on a Locaboat charter boat

Kareem is multi-lingual and from Switzerland,  in fact we thought he was English to start with.   He and his crew are on their return leg up the Saone to Gray,  north of Auxonne.

Overnight  Thur 31 May 2012 at  Suerre   Position 47 00.028N  005 08.594E

Wednesday 30 May 2012  Auxonne to St Jean de Losne  (on the River Saone)

 Departed Auxonne at 1040 bound for St Jean de Losne.   We made our farewells to Roy and Carole and in return, Roy took our electricity reading.   We decided to stop at St Jean de Losne as it is the headquarters of the H2O organization and we had a couple of minor queries  over our bill.   Arrived St Jean de Losne at 1340 and were in to the H2O Office in their marina and sorted out in fairly quick time with a favourable result all round.

We decided to moor on the ‘Spanish Steps’  for the night instead of going into the marina. After  a couple of beers at a bar less than a boat length away,  sat down to a smashing dinner of turkey steak in white wine with local white asparagus in an amazing creamy sauce that Ba made up.    Sitting under the nice new awning that Ba made,  we sat and played  $h1thead’  until some English folk came to have a chat and a glass of wine with us.   They own a Moody 34 with the same draft as us and the good news they brought was that they had managed the Canal du Midi, where we understood we could not achieve it.   That makes our planning thoughts a little different, not necessarily now but for the future perhaps.  Very silly, but we realised we hadn’t taken any photos of St Jean de Losne.   Desole,   we will buck up, honest!

Overnight Wed 30 May 2012 at St Jean de Losne    Position 47 00.030N   005 08.588E

Tuesday 29 May 2012   Auxonne for the last day before heading out.


 Typical last day before departing,  went shopping and spent a few hours sorting out last minute bits and pieces.   Paid a visit to the dechetterie to see if we could scrounge a piece of 4×2 timber to make a replacement fender board.   None available and the bricolage was closed (lunchtime)  Hey ho.

Overnight Auxonne.

Monday 28 May 2012   Sirod (Jura Region) to Auxonne   


Bank Holiday in France.   Everything is closed.  Left Steve and Yvette’s house in Sirod during the forenoon and drove back up to Auxonne.  S’funny:   Doris,  our tame GPS in the car,  has always navigated us to and from Sirod using the ordinary roads.  This time she managed to get her corsets in a bit of a tangle and we ended up on the Peage.  Took the same amount of time but cost us some euros, dammit.


Anyway,  mega hot day, so Ba made up a brilliant awning using yoghurt pots and sticky backed plastic  (well, actually a B&Q cotton dust sheet,  some brass eyelets and bungy cord)  and it fits like a glove and has turned the cockpit into a really habitable place even when it is blisteringly hot.  Clever lady.     Our pretty blue twin tub washing machine (christened  ‘Wanda the Washeurre’)  was given full power trials with great success as well.

Wanda gets full power trials. Result Good!


Wight Mistress sporting her nice new bimini









Early night,  watched  ‘True Lies’  (again – it is one of our favourites 🙂  then bed.

Overnight Auxonne.

Sunday 27 May 2012  Sirod (Jura)    HAPPY BIRTHDAY COUSIN PAULA

Both awoke at a civilised hour with slightly baggy heads.   Quiet day ensued in front of the box, watching the Harlequins/Leicester final,  some Indian cricket and the Monaco Grand Prix.  Steve watching sport?  unheard of. 

Saturday 26 May 2012 Sirod (Jura)  


Went into Champagnole (the nearest town to Sirod) with Steve and Yvette and sat outside a cafe in the square,  with the hotel de ville and the church filling two of the sides and shops on the other two) in the lovely sunshine and ‘Simpsons sky’  to watch the world go by.   Steve observed that Champagnole has more than its fair share of pretty girls,  to be slapped by Barbara.   Back to Sirod to feast on barbecued saucisson en vin blanc.   Delicious.

Sat up nattering until about 0100.

Overnight Sirod.

Friday 25 May 2012   Auxonne to Sirod (Jura)

After a few days to get over the ‘Polo lag’  run from London to Auxonne and having settled back in to Wight Mistress and sorted a few things out,  we headed down to Sirod for the bank holiday weekend to see  Steve and Yvette Kellow.

Thursday 24 May 2012   Auxonne

More of the same.   With Barbara cleaning out lockers,  sorting out the victuals etc.  An occasional run to the bricolage for bits and a quiet night in again.   Gradually catching up on the ‘Polo Lag’.

Wednesday 23 May 2012   Auxonne

More sorting out and quiet night in.

Tuesday  22 May 2012   Auxonne

Still raining.  Woke up with baggy head after last night with Phillippe et Francoise.  A quiet day ‘indoors’ needed, sorting the boat out and de-winterising the engine etc etc.   The car has turned into a ‘shed’ i.e. repository for all the stuff we don’t want/need onboard for the next 5 months.

Monday 21 May 2012   Dunkirk to Auxonne

0105 (French time)  arrived Dunkirk and started the long,  rain-soaked haul the 590 or so kilometres to Auxonne.  It is a 6 hour journey if you don’t stop,  but after quite a long day,  we had 2 ‘kip stops’,  thus extending our trip by 4 hours and arriving at Auxonne around 1100.   It poured with rain all the way;  we found ourselves aqua-planing even on the good road surfaces of the peage.    Quick sort out and then a rewarding visit to the Longchamp Bar to see our friends Phillippe and Francoise,  who had emailed us and sending their best wishes for Mums  timely return to full health.

Early night onboard Wight Mistress at Auxonne.

Sunday 20 May 2012   Harrow to Dover to Dunkirk

We felt so very glad that Mum was looking and feeling good and healthy and having agreed that it was time to Mum to regain her independence,  and for us to return to our boating lifestyle,  we made our farewells and headed off to Dover.   Arriving well early for our 0030 ferry to Calais (which was already an hour late for planned departure)  the lady in the departures office kindly offered us a place on the 2205 to Dunkirk.  Avid readers of our blog already know that the distance from Calais to Auxonne and from Dunkirk to Auxonne is almost exactly the same, since both roads meet up at Lille before commencing the peage.

Got under way at 2205 from Dover.


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