Monday, May 18, 2009


Rhonda'Comments: This travelling is tiring!!!!!

We left Choisy-au-Bac (30th April 2009) this morning in beautiful sunlight with a dusting of fog touching the river as we headed south east towards Soissons City which has a population of only 30,000 but has a huge ancient history including being the first Capital of France before this standing being transferred to Paris.

This was a very pleasant 39kms trip through some of the prettiest country-side we have seen so far including the biggest camping ground imaginable. This ran for at least 2 kms along the river and where it was possible to see through the beautiful forest, the grounds sloped back up to ½ a km offering such a mixed accommodation selection it was mind boggling. Ranging from basic tent and caravan sites to motor home parking to large family tents mounted on timber bases all fitted out with very nice beds and all the amenities you could want for a family set up right on the river bank, to log cabins to mobile homes to large tree houses to standard cabins right through to what looked to be 3 or 4 bedroom homes. The whole area is sheltered by beautiful tree lined tracks and roads so walking, cycling, and all sorts of sports are played on manicured pitches etc as well as fishing canoeing and yachting in the river. There appeared to be every facility imaginable.
The banks of the river are massed with all the trees you can envisage including lots of Chestnut trees which I had never seen before. They give such a beautiful showing of flowers on trees up to 20 meters high and just as wide. I hope the pictures show the real beauty

With only light traffic and 6 easy locks to go through, we entered the city to find plenty of mooring spots right in the centre of town so tied up right by the main street with only a little park between us and the Hotel du Ville. After a brief walk around the park and into the city fringe with Harry, we sat down to relax in these great surroundings. We are only 62kms from Paris but will give the great city a miss this time around and concentrate on heading to the champagne and burgundy areas. This city, Soissons, is dominated by the spires from St-Jean des Vignes cloisters built in the 14th century which is all that is left after so many wars, along with another cathedral St-Gervais-et-St-Protais built at the same time is the main tourist attractions. These 2 churches show signs of the ravages of the wars which have raked this area. Bullet holes are clearly visible all around the walls and facades of these buildings. It is amazing to see structures so old yet so solid which is a factor applying to the whole of Europe’s architecture and building processes I guess.

After a very quiet Friday being May Day which is celebrated strongly in cities like Paris, this town was almost deserted until afternoon when a free trash and treasure roadside market was opened along the park fringe where the locals could display and offer any furniture, bric-a-brac and clothing. It stretched for a good kilometre so the choices were amazing. It makes the street market in Waiheke Island pale into insignificance a bit.

Today, Saturday, the whole city centre turns into a market place of at least a couple of hectares where it appears every Muslim for miles around comes to shop as so many of the stalls are run by their brethren as well. From live poultry to every sort of vegetable and fruit, to rugs, clothing, and everything in between was on display so we shopped for our needs and came back to the boat feeling as though we had shopped well.

Like life in general, as we go along there are various things which show up and I note them here for your perusal:-
(a) The country is very religious and the Catholic churches dominate almost every town.
(b) The people are friendly but quite rude when it comes to moving through crowded areas or so and sure don’t mind pushing in front or shoving one aside to get to whatever they want.
(c) Holding doors open etc is not practiced for sure so it is a case of get through while you can.
(d) Pedestrians are only accepted as being on a protected area on a designated pedestrian crossing if actually on the side of the crossing the traffic is flowing onto otherwise the cars just shoot right through. Used to be like this in New Zealand too until the PC mob got busy.
(e) Give-Way signs are not used so it is a case of give way to your left, right and wherever if the need is there, however, I must say that on a couple of occasions I have been given away to even when I was in the wrong, I think.
(f) Guys make no effort to find urinals but just stand up against a wall or whatever and pee regardless of who is walking past. In the toilets the urinals are often in the hall-way so ladies going to their cubicles having to walk past a line up of fellows relieving themselves and none of them appear to bother to wash their hands after finishing.
(g) Dogs are common but nobody picks up after them unlike in the UK where everybody takes poop bags to dispose of the droppings.
(h) Rubbish disposal seems to be very mixed. There are lots of bins and receptacles where one can sort bottles and cans etc but the amount of litter dropped just where people are sitting or even standing is a sorry sight to see. They don’t seem to care or realise just what damage they are doing to their beautiful landscape and waterways. Just yesterday afternoon I noticed approx 24 beer bottles drifting down the river so someone had just dumped them rather that putting them in the bins provided.
(i) Most of the homes have alloy shutters set on the window frames so the owners can shut down when wishing to keep out the sun, the snow or nosey parkers. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the streets go so quiet in the early evening too. By 8.30 pm there are very few people using the streets or walkways and even a lot of the bars close at that time. When you look at houses and you expect to see lights on by about 7.00 pm as it is darkening then, they are likely to be few and far between. Maybe they enjoy candle light only as they enjoy their evening supper.
(j) Generally the hot meal is taken in the middle of the day, hence why there is the 1½ to 2 hours closedown from 12.15 pm so many people go home, eat have a snooze and then come back and work until 7.00 pm. The restaurants cater well for those who are not able to go home so the reason why the expansive menus are there and are so tempting.
(k) Motor vehicles are what we would call small sedans and diesel is very common in all brands even though the price difference is minimal between it and petrol. The size I guess is driven in part by the very narrow streets in the towns and cities and some are so narrow you can’t believe vehicles can get down them. This is also the reason I think why all the newer cars have fold back mirrors with some being automatic. As soon as you turn off the key, the mirrors fold back out of the danger zone.
(l) Primary school children start their schooling at 3 years of age, starting at 8.30 am and going through until 4.30 pm with a 2 hour layoff in the middle of the day when the school feeds them and the little ones have a nap (sounds good to me). Schools are also closed on Wednesday to give the kids a break. As soon as they start school they begin to be taught French, Maths, Geography and History. Can you imagine Kiwi kids doing that at 3 years of age. We are told that parents are very strict with their kids almost to the point of being cruel, however, we have only seen what seemed to be well behaved children at restaurants etc. I do think they are somewhat cruel to their animals which is upsetting and I have had a word or two on a couple of occasions when dogs have been receiving a thrashing. I think they love their animals but it is just that they don’t respect their needs and feelings very much.

As I think of other things which I think are worth noting I will add them to a blog.

Rhonda's Comments: Look at that adorable face (the one under the table).

Yesterday, I walked along the river esplanade to track down what all the PA noise was about etc. At a park nearby there was the area competition going on of Horse Ball. I had seen this once before when CNN was showing unusual sports some years ago. It is played on an area about the size of 3 Netball courts by 7 players on horses on each side plus an umpire. The ball is also about the size of a net ball but has leather thongs affixed to it. The game’s intent is to get the ball down to the opponent’s end where there is a net frame with a goal hoop which the carrying player hurls the ball through if possible. It is quite a vigorous sport as you can imagine with so many horses and riders in such a small area yet they get up to a full gallop at times and if the ball goes to the ground players must reach right down to pick it up while being jostled by their opponents. Passing of the ball is a part of the game so riding while letting go of the reins to pass or catch is all part of it. I guess there were about a thousand spectators and the finals will be held today, Sunday.

After another lazy day we headed off on Monday to see if we could make it to Berry-au-Bac which looked promising, however, after 8 hours we had had enough and as we were on a beautiful canal called Canal Lateral a l’Aisne, we pulled into the bank in the middle of a farming district and tied up using our long ropes to some trees well back from the edge. It was so quiet it was deathly silent to use that horrible term. We couldn’t even get TV despite having our satellite dish set so it was a case of read and listen to our music which was good for a change. Harry enjoyed the woodlands for his run and the opportunity to chase the birds from the tall grass.

At 7.00 am we were up and about to leave when a commercial barge came through and despite slowing down which was appreciated by us, threw us about and almost pulled one of the trees out of the ground (this gives you some idea of how much water displacement they pull from the surrounding area to feed the props, then squirt it back from the rear of the craft) so we finished our breakfast and left our pretty little bank side berthage and headed off to cover the 15 kms to Berry au Bac. This canal we were on was the cleanest so far and one could have swum in it without a problem as the water was clear to at least a meter so we guessed the reason was that it has only very few commercial barges use it and it is also fed by a river which flushes it. If the water was warmer I sure would have had a dip.

Well we reached Berry-au-Bac only to find it a disappointment with poor berthages and lots of heavy duty commercials hogging the quay-side tie up points, so we decided to keep going and hopefully reach Reims which is a very large city, by early afternoon. On the way we had problems with two of the locks. One which allowed us in but then would not fill with water or close its gates so eventually we had to back right out and to re trigger the reader and do it all again which then worked and the other one locked us in completely at the bottom of this 5m walled lock and with no lockmaster on duty, the automatics just didn’t work. VHF radio call to the advertised channel bought no response (we have since found that if they hear English being spoken and have difficulty in handling the language, they just don’t answer) however after a phone call someone answered and muttered something before hanging up and about 15 mins later a young (eclusier) lockmaster appeared with apologies and saying “we are sorry but some of the locks need rewiring etc but they hadn’t had time to do them) God only knows what they have done all winter.

He saw our Kiwi flag and registration and said in his reasonable English that he wants to come to live in New Zealand next year or at the latest the following year in time for the Rugby World Cup. The jumper he was wearing was a 6 nation’s promotion souvenir so I guessed he must be pretty keen. He followed us for the next two locks in his van to ensure all worked well and we gave him a Kiwi flag and Kiwi pen which he was really excited to receive and upon leaving said he would see us at the next lock. Well, as we came in there he was with his wife, daughter and son who was dressed in an All Black shirt and was so excited to meet some New Zealanders. He, the father handed us a beautiful bottle of local Champagne as we are now officially in the champagne region. We were a little embarrassed, however, he assured us that they wanted us to be as welcome as possible and maybe some Kiwis will be kind to them when they get to NZ. He says they want to settle in Christchurch as he is a Crusader fan and he wants his son to become naturalised and be the first ex Frenchman to become an All Black. The father was clutching his copy of Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand and the wife was pretty good with her English so we wished them well and it was with some difficulty that we had to leave them and head on our way with another 4 locks to do, before the end of the journey.

The lock keeper advised us not to stay in Reims as the berthages are again set right on the main canal and have a motorway running alongside so you can imagine how noisy it is and as we came through we could well see what he meant and while we want to visit this city we pushed on facing another 4 locks and at one I made a bad move adjusting for the outflow of water from the lock right as you entered the jaws and hit the wall pretty heavily putting the first dent in the coaming rail on the boat. I guess it won’t be the last dent but as you can imagine I was so annoyed with myself, however, no-one was hurt and as they say “a lesson learned” so on we went to the small town called Sillery, 12 kms south of Reims to find this fabulous little marina with full facilities, beautiful grounds and good security for €14.00 for 3 nights so we gladly paid and settled down for a few days stopover.

Rhonda' Comments: Iris and the studious one.

Also at the marina is a barge called Manatee which has Australian owners, Iris and Grahame from Brisbane and who have been ‘doing’ the area for 4 years, so we had a good chat and learned some more about the area and where they had visited. Later that day another of our new canal friends, Steve arrived in his yacht. This is the one he built completely from 316 stainless steel 4mm thick and is a real cutie. He is taking it on his own through France to the Mediterranean. He had left Cambrai a few days after us and took a slightly different route so we have renewed the friendship and as he will be ahead of us we will no doubt catch up again as we move south from here.

Rhonda's Comments: Steve sitting and Graham.

Rhonda's Comments: Our first champagne house.

We have decided to stay for the week and to visit some of the champagne houses which are literally just that apart from the very famous ones like Mumms or Moet Chandon. The little village of Ludes is about 7 kms from the canal up on the hills so we mounted the trusty scooter and off we went. As you climb up the hills to Ludes you get great views of the grapevines which are only now shooting so pruners are only just beginning their tasks. In the village it seems about every 4th or 5th house in some streets is a champagne “house” so you can go in and pay up to €5 per glass for a tasting of the good stuff. They have not developed their “houses” like the wineries in Australia and New Zealand which offer meals, however, the one we did go into was a house rebuilt in the 17 th century and the winery was still a family business for the past 4 generations. The house was beautiful with lots of art works and memorabilia and the husband has been a collector of Joan of Arc items and displayed some great pieces of sculpture and books relating to her. The champagne, Coqueret-Bernard was beautiful and being served in the cool library of the home was lovely, so we tried a couple of glasses each and then purchased two bottles finally remounting the scooter and wobbling off down the hill to the boat feeling no pain and very happy indeed.

We went back again the next day, Sunday, to the adjoining village only to find it all closed so we Tiki toured the area then found that a street market had been set up in the centre of the village where sales combined with lunch seemed to be the order of the day. This little scooter does a great job of carrying us two hefty lumps about and has proved invaluable so far so it will allow us even greater areas to visit.

Once back to the boat, I got stuck into giving it some TLC as it is surprising how much grime builds up, so windows and paintwork got a good going over and she looks so much brighter again, however, there is some touch-up painting to do as well so with wet weather forecast for the next week I will be ‘confined to boat’ as they say. It took two full days to get rid of all of the grunge, that is, when I wasn’t having a nap or a walk with Harry. The weather is a bit overcast and muggy but we will get by and after another couple of days taking ourselves on tours of some of the local towns in the district we will head off towards Epernay which is the official capital city of the champagne area and as the canal ahead lists 14 locks, one 2km tunnel and a swing bridge to encounter we will be up early and away.

This blog is dated 12th May 2009.
Some more rhyming Cockney slang which you may find to be humorous.

Pillow Weeping willow
Pub Rub a dub dub
Quid Tea pot lid
Rain Andy Cain
Sister Skin and blister
Scouts Brussels sprouts
Umbrella Auntie Ella
Wife Carving knife

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Rhonda's Comment: Captain Zap and Little Captain Zap.

After a pretty wonderful couple of weeks at Cambrai where we did our Cevni tests etc and met a new bunch of folks who added to the good feelings we have had so far in our travels. To Carol and John, Steve, Bob and Bobbie, Alistair and Bernard the local hotelier where we spent a few very pleasant hours indeed. Thanks for the memories and may we keep in touch and hope our paths cross again soon. The weather was really good and the berthage was top grade and by having our motor scooter to get about we saw so much of the area which was just so nice.

Rhonda's Comment: Washing Day at Honnecourt-s-Escaut. Don't look too closely at the what's on the line!!!

On Wednesday we set off to further our experiences of this great country and its people by heading upstream as they say on the canal St Quentin and faced 14 locks en route to our first nights stay at the little village of Honnecourt-s-Escaut which is purely an agricultural centre, and I can assure you this was no easy task and while only being some 23kms from Cambrai it, took us 6½ hours to get there due to the time it took to get through the locks which were so busy due to the temporary closure of the main route, Canal du Nord which normally takes the majority of large commercial traffic but which had now been diverted to the Canal St Quentin.
Once you get behind a few of these “large commercials” as they are called, it takes so much longer to get through the locks as you have to cue up or “lurk” as it is referred to. In other words, sit back from the locks shifting from forward to reverse gear, while traffic ahead or coming towards you clears and then you shuffle in and so on. Rather than taking 15 mins it can take 30 mins in such heavy traffic.

We have slowly improved our skills at getting into and out of these locks and seem to be doing less bouncing off the walls as the water inside rises or drops. It starts slowly then all of a sudden it is like being in a lift as the main bulk of water is dropped or raised and the flow of water throws the barge from side to side too. While I have had to learn so much more about the barge’s behaviour in all sorts of situations, Rhonda has had to become more agile and learn how to lassoo bollards, pulling ropes to suit the barges needs as the ebb and flow of the water shoves the boat around and to be ready to drop fenders into the gap to protect the boat as much as possible from bump damage.

Rhonda's Comment: We are in a downhill lock and I have complete control of everything, yeah right!!!!

In addition to the inflatable fenders (two of which have holed since leaving London), we have added 4 solid compound fenders like the commercial boys use so each corner of the boat is now protected both below and above the bump rail. Since adding them I haven’t had a hit so I must be improving.

Rhonda's Comment: A lock keepers house.
By the end of a day I can assure you we are both fully knackered to use the only term to really say how it is, so while we only travelled 23 kms it felt like we had done a full day’s physical work so when we found this great little village to berth in we grabbed it. Later on that evening a couple of commercials came in and berthed ahead of us ready for a jump start early the next morning, however, we had decided we would stay another day and catch up on laundry and boat washing etc so unloaded the scooter and went for a ride out into the country to see some of this great farmland. It would appear as though it is getting close to harvesting some of the thousands of acres of rape seed which is used for the oil and for stock food so the paddocks are largely bright yellow as the plants come into seed. The soil is amazing as it is a fine silt as referred to in my blog about the war when it turns to mud so easily, but you can imagine with it being so fine how crops of all vegetables seem to flourish everywhere. We can’t really understand why so many homes have vegetable gardens of such large proportions when the local markets almost give produce away but I guess there is something good about growing your own.

Rhonda's Comment: We aren't the only ones completely knackered!!!!

After another great nights sleep we left at 7.30 am to make our way through 3 locks before joining the line up of barges which hook up with 30m tow lines behind each other with the largest in front and the smallest at the rear (us being number 7) and are towed through this huge tunnel by a chain driven mule for the 5.67 kms right through this mountain, pretty much in a dead straight line. Being the last in line is a bit more difficult due to the flow of water coming from around and under the barges ahead so there is fair bit of banging and bumping into the walls until it all settles into a smoother rhythm. However, after an hour or so I found my eyes played tricks and I started to feel as though the barge in front was moving into a corner etc so we cranked up the CD player and made the most of the 2½ hours experience of tunnel travel with just a centre row of fluorescent tubes to illuminate the whole way. Just try to put your self in this situation of being in the dark except for the flouros and I can bet your eyes would go wonky as well. Others we have spoken to who have done this trip also speak of the difficulty and were surprised we had tackled it at all being relative newbie’s but that is the way life goes.

The construction of this tunnel which we are told is the longest brick construction canal tunnel in the world is amazing due to its construction and with it having a walk path along one side and when you consider it was built in the 17th century, one can only imagine how many millions of travellers have used it since it was built including the hundreds of thousands of German troops who used it in the occupation of France in two world wars to move troops and equipment back and forth. When you come out there is a huge sigh of relief to be back in the sun but the joy is short lived as 3 kms down the track so to speak there is another tunnel of just over one km long which you have to drive through so its back to high concentration levels again.

By the time we reached Saint Quentin some 5 hours later after working our way downhill through these locks (until then it had all been uphill so different procedures are required to manage these ones) we were horrified to find the marina full, however, on the far side of the little inlet there was a wharf which looked to be ok but just as we were about to tie up we were told in French in no uncertain terms that the whole area was reserved for a fishing competition and despite our protestations that we would be gone early in the morning the answer was still NO. So after muttering about bloody fishermen etc, we pulled back across the marina and rafted (doubled) up to a larger barge which was not occupied, so that was ok as we had water and power across his decks if we wanted it. At €26.50 per night, we decided to stay for a couple of nights to get back some of our balance etc.

Upon awakening round 6.30am we looked out of the windows to find the wharf where we had wanted to berth jammed with fishermen, so we were glad we didn’t push the point of wanting to berth there too much. We could not believe that so many came to fish for what we might call bait fish at best and each fisherperson seemed to have an entourage accompanying them for support. Kiwis and Aussie fisher people would have a great laugh I think.

We couldn’t get the scooter off so had to walk some 2 kms to town to shop and to see the city centre. It is amazing that the French call every town hall Hotel De Ville, so one can get quite confused if looking for accommodation. The city square which is over looked by a large church or cathedral is very nice and we are told on Saturdays there is a huge market but as we wanted to get down the canal, we thought it would be quieter on a Saturday with less “commercials” coming and going but again we were wrong due to the closure of the Canal du Nord. They were all going like hell to make their trips as per schedule so it was a case of chasing or being chased by these BIG FELLOWS but also being held up at locks by them as it takes so much longer to get them through and as they have right of way sometimes we would have to wait “lurking” while the lockmaster allowed two to come through against us so that means loading the lock after the first one goes through and repeating the procedure for the second one. Annoying but that is the way it is set up.

Some beautiful houses you see along the way

On top of that we had a couple of unfriendly Germans in their plastic launch squeeze into each lock with us only to have them panic about our wash as I leave “Somewhere” in gear so as to keep her against one wall or the other so after one of the lockmasters told them to settle down we carried on regardless. The fact that it was Anzac Day for us didn’t make our feelings any better towards them but I guess that is a prejudice we should overlook.

Eventually we got to the industrial town of Chauny where we found room to tie up among the BIG BOYS and collapse after tea into bed, however, this was after Harry discovered that the grass lay-by alongside was full of rabbits, at least 20 of them ran about so you can imagine how funny he looked bouncing through the long grass after these critters.

This town while not being very attractive has a recorded history dating back to the when man first used flints, scrapers and other implements on to the Galio-Roman period so coins from the Ancient Regime, the Revolution and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Republics, the 1st and 2nd Empires can be still found and in addition, has a well structured museum of artefacts collected from the first and second World Wars, so for you students of European history, Chauny is a town to visit.

The colours of the countryside are magnificent.

We were up again early to get ahead of the commercial boys only to find that they had gone at some ungodly hour. It was amazing that we didn’t hear a sound despite their huge engines so we headed off in pursuit and had a great day toddling along through some beautiful countryside and as there were long straights of a kilometre or more where the canal lined alongside with huge poplar trees which looked great so Rhonda spent a lot of time at the wheel while I was able to potter about catching up on a few jobs. It was good for her as it gave her an appreciation of how the boat handles and its various funny habits so she is becoming an all-round experienced boatie. We turned off the Canal St Quentin onto a river called L,Aisne which will lead us towards (Rhonda says “ no idea”) but should put us into the Champagne area in a few days so LOOK OUT. We may never be the same again.

After the turn off we saw a mooring place with a park and mooring rings set into the bank so we turned around, scared the fishermen off the site and tied up and it is like being in boaties heaven. It is so pretty here (Choisy-au-Bac) and peaceful so we look forward to spending at least a couple of days here to see the area and catch up on the shopping from the local centre which is not too far away and as we can get the scooter off we should enjoy the opportunity.

Well next morning while unloading the scooter a young woman with small child walked by and said “hello” in English so we had a chat and it transpired that she is a school teacher and had learned to speak English in Missouri in the USA as an exchange student some years ago. She offered to take us to Compiegne which is a city some 10 kms away where there is a very large supermarket and marine chandlery. We accepted her kind offer so she returned home to get her car and drove us to this great shopping centre where we stocked up on all sorts of food and groceries and it was so helpful to have her with us acting as translator advising what some of the foods were and finding foods we had no idea what they were called in French. The same thing applied at the marine chandlery where we were able to purchase so many items that we had been looking for but to date this is the best shop we had come across as so many so called chandleries would fit in the fishing corner of the Smart Marines or Sailors Corner etc.

In the evening she returned with her husband who is also a specialist teacher and we spent the evening talking about the features of the area and about New Zealand so it was great to have this exchange of information while enjoying their company and emptying a couple of bottles of wine.

This area has a really interesting history like all of France, however, there have been some significant events like being the place where Joan of Arc was captured, leading to her eventual execution by being burned at the stake. Napoleon the 1st and Napoleon the 3rd stayed in the area for periods of time fighting some of their local wars in the forests which surround the towns so he built castles and fortresses to suit his needs and these still stand despite being on the front lines of World War I and World War II.

In the nearby forest glade is the actual site where the Armistice for WW1 was signed in October 1918 by the French along with representatives from the Allied Forces who had caused so much damage to the German forces by this time that they wanted to negotiate a peace so a special rail carriage was set up in the forest and used as the signing site at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th Month of 1918 so as to end this terrible war which for some reason has been named the Great War. How such a name is beyond me and in part due to the crippling amounts of reparations demanded of the German people by the French and the Allies was one of the real reasons that Hitler was able to stir his people who were living almost in abject poverty, to follow his lead. He then went on to rebuild the German war machine and to develop the Nazi party so that some twenty years after the close of “The Great War” he had his troops marching into France in June 1940 and he took back this famous carriage as the French war effort collapsed and he then had it taken to Berlin just to show his superiority. Sadly at the close of this war the carriage was burned, however, another of the same build and vintage was refurbished and set up in the glade again (now kept indoors in a specially constructed exhibition hall) where you can visit and view lots of war memorabilia and actually walk on the original rails and feel the history surrounding you.

Sadly, while this area has also been famous for the really huge factories which produce everything from Michelin tyres to Colgate soaps etc to Alcan and to wheel rim manufacturers and everything in between, thus supporting very large logistics companies to get the products moved around Europe. The downturn in the economy has led to huge closures and layoffs which are really hurting the city and surrounding towns. Unemployment is expected to reach 20% later this year.

Upon that rather depressing note I will close off on a brighter side by saying that Rhonda and I went on the scooter back to Compiegne today to spend more money at the chandlery shop so using some of the items we bought, can now lift our boarding platform off the rear deck so we should be able to tie up to almost any bank along the waterways we are yet to explore and enjoy.
Rhonda's Comment: Pat White eat your heart out!!!

Cockney to English
Oily Rag - Fag or Cigarette
Oxford Scholar - Lend me a dollar
Pen and Ink - Stink
Rabbit and Pork - Talk – She can’t arf rabbit
Rosy Lea - Tea – ‘Ow about a cup of rosy
Skyrocket - Pocket – Me skies are empty

English to Cockney
Card - Bladder of Lard
Cash - Sausage and Mash
Married - Cash and Carried
Mouth - North and South
Walk - Bag of Chalk

Take care of each other and remember that “this life ain’t a dress rehearsal so if you want to do it… it.