|Hard at work swabbing decks|
For those of you who imagine that cruising in France is all about lounging around on deck quaffing champagne and nibbling 'fromage' here's the proof that it's not. Well, not yet anyway. Before we get down to the serious business of life afloat six months of winter grime has to be scoured from the decks and, through the wonders of modern technology, namely the marina webcam, we can be observed from anywhere in the world. Spoiler alert - tomorrow's episode will highlight drying paint and varnish.
We left Scotland in blazing sunshine having had 2 fantastic weeks with family and friends. Thank you to all for making us so welcome. Too often Scotland's scenery is completely hidden in low cloud but when the sun shines it's absolutely beautiful. 'When it's like this who'd want to live anywhere else?' we asked each other. We even began looking at the property for sale ads - and there are many. 'You're quite mad,' said one friend. 'Most of the time it's just grey as far as you can see and that's not usually very far. That and wet.' Perhaps we had a touch of sunstroke.
Our journey from Glasgow to our marina at St Jean de Losne took the best part of a day involving a plane to Paris and then a variety of trains ranging from the fantastic TGV (train à grande vitesse - high speed train) which runs at over 200kmph to the slow country train that trundles along sedately and stops frequently at tiny stations. France has a marvellous rail network and as long as there's not a strike on it is extremely efficient, easy to book and most impressively, it runs on time. The helpful chef de gare at St Jean de Losne found me the number for a taxi and I managed to make myself understood on the phone - thanks Sylviane, the French classes are paying off already.
L'Avenir was just as we left her, albeit somewhat grubby. Perfectly dry on the inside and this year even remained so once we got the water back on. No burst pipes despite a very harsh winter. Today the engine was given a test and so far so good. So, a couple more days and we should be ready for the off. In the meantime, tune in and watch paint dry.