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BY GINNY WARE POSTCARD from Leonie


Canal Champagne et Bourgogne


AFTeR LIVING ABOARD ON THe RIVeR DART FOR eIGHT YeARs, GINNY WARe AND HeR HusBAND CARL seT sAIL FOR FRANCe AND BeYOND. HeRe’s AN uPDATe ON HOW THeY ARe GeTTING ON.


W


e’ve come a long way since leaving Paris on June 13th


on a dull, rainy day -


leaving the Seine for the Marne River followed by the Canal Champagne et Bourgogne, with its myriad of locks which took us high above the valley into the pine clad hills and bright, clear air. We have travelled past countless


French villages, stopping off at some and finding them as quiet and still as an airless day, with only the occasional bark of a dog to break the silence. Gardens and pockets of land filled


with rows and rows of assorted vegetables, berry bushes and fruit trees were the only indications that human life did indeed exist and thrive in these empty streets. And if you waited long enough, supplies could be had at the


boulangerie, boucherie or charcuterie when they eventually open their doors in the placid late afternoon. It was so hot in the French waterways in high summer but thankfully, travelling by boat meant we could just jump in the water or tip bucketfuls of it over our heads to cool off - fantastic. on one of the first really hot days


we had, Carl worked up even more of a sweat fixing a deck problem while I, for some unfathomable reason, decided to cook a very hot chicken chilli for tea. I was still in la la land the next day


when I managed to break a lock by pressing the avalant (downstream) button on our remote control lock opening system instead of the mortant (upstream) button. Luckily two men from the VNF


(which runs the waterways) turned up to fix it, with us innocently shrugging our shoulders as if the failing were a mystery.


The Champagne region was soon upon us, with miles and miles of vine-clad hillsides and (empty) villages full of independent champagne producers (60 at one tiny hamlet). At Epernay, the capital of the Champagne region, we ended up in a champagne bar tasting a variety of different fizz. Fact of the day - the town is home


to many famous champagne houses, included Moet and underneath its streets are stored 200million bottles of champagne in a maze of tunnels stretching 110km. On our travels through the inland waterways of France we have spotted masses of wildlife including thousands


A lock!


Balesmes 5km-long tunnel visit www.bythedart.co.uk - for everything & anything about Dartmouth


Cooling off


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