Chevroches, Canal du Nivernais

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Better than Swimming

Port de Plaisance, Chatillon sur Loire

'It's better than swimming' (long pause) 'Ma'am.'
I'm nominating this as the new slogan for Qantas, the observation having been made to me 10 hours into a 13 hour flight by a senior (very) flight attendant. She was waiting for someone to let her into the crew rest room for a lie down (lucky her) whilst I was attempting to ward off DVT and stretch my cramped muscles. We'd met earlier in the flight when, on one of my regular circuits of the plane I'd paused at the galley and had the temerity to ask for a cup of tea, it having been some hours since our welcome aboard drink of cranberry and apple cordial (those 13 hours were going to be long ones).  She'd make some tea, she said, when she had time in her busy schedule of not handing out meals, snacks or drinks.  I'd come back in a bit, I said, thereby saving her the walk to my seat.  When I returned she barked out something that sounded like, 'Juhevya tea?' I obviously looked puzzled so she said it again only louder. 'No, not yet,'I replied. Wrong answer.
'How. Do. You. Have.Your.Tea?' longer pause, 'Ma'am.' I realised then that when she said 'Ma'am' she really, really wanted to say something quite different.
So, when we met later, outside the crew cabin, I was a bit surprised that she spoke to me at all. 
Her. 'Going to London?'
Me. 'No, Paris.'
Now what ?
Me. 'It's a long flight.' Stating the obvious, I know, but I was exhausted.
Her. 'It's better than swimming..... Ma'am.'
And it most certainly is - but that's about all you can say about it.
This year's long haul tip - when  booking codeshare flights check the small print for which operator is flying which segments.
Thanks to a delayed departure from Melbourne we missed our connecting flight from Dubai and subsequent train from Paris. However, the second flight operated by 'the other' carrier was excellent - hot towels, drinks, decent food, pleasant staff, huge selection of films etc and most importantly, slightly more leg room. Makes all the difference.
But we're here now. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the spring flowers are blooming and l'Avenir is just as we left her. Well, a lot grubbier and she's needing a lick of paint here and there but there's no hurry. We have another whole summer stretching ahead of us. As usual, we have no firm plans. There are only 2 ways to go, upstream or downstream. Also we will, as we do each year, be visiting Scotland.
Huge thanks if you're a returning reader and welcome if you are new to the blog. I hope you enjoy seeing a little bit of France and her beautiful waterways.

We have an artist in port so we can spend the day watching paint dry. Chatillon has a tradition of public art works and there are lots of large murals around the town depicting historical scenes. I have posted some previously. The commune has employed 3 artists this year to paint the large walls of the port buildings with scenes from the canal's past. This artist is incorporating her own children and their friends into the mural which they are naturally very excited about.