There are some things that require no particular pondering over and they have been done. Flights are booked for the beginning of May, a visit to Scotland arranged, our vignette (navigation fee) paid and insurance renewed. An ever lengthening list has been made of jobs at home that need to be completed before we depart (now if that's not planning I don't know what is). The best part of list making is the flourish of thick black marker as you score off the items - certain people have even been known to add already completed tasks just for this simple pleasure.
Last year we ordered a lot of navigation charts online but as our present mooring at St Jean de Losne has 2 good chandleries on hand we haven't pre-purchased any this time. St Jean is at the junction of several waterways of course, so at some point a decision has to be agreed on (or a coin tossed) about which route to take. Plenty of time for that.
I've noticed many people on their blogs give an end of season summary of the distance cruised and number of locks worked so I've managed to waste a few hours working that out. Some even calculate the number of bottles of wine consumed but perhaps that's better not thought about!
So, for 2011
- km cruised 1,246
- locks 574
Should you be thinking, 'that's not very far for 4 months - I drive more in a week,' please take into consideration that our normal cruising speed (on the canals that is- rivers are quicker depending on current) is not much faster than walking pace. Bikes (on the tow path of course) regularly leave us well behind and we've even been outdone in the speed stakes by children riding with trainer wheels. Then there are the locks. At best, it takes 15-20 minutes to work through one but should there be a wait for any reason (and believe me, there are many, many reasons) it could take hours. We might decide to stay in one place for a couple of days or a week and when we do move we never get going very early. What's the hurry?
*Insert the word 'usually'. It's never a good idea to wax lyrical about the weather. Since I wrote this black clouds have swept in bringing rain and hail storms and even snow in the mountains. Gales have uprooted trees which need to be cleared up, some chopped for firewood the rest stacked on the increasing number of bonfires dotted around our property. So, that jobs list is getting longer...