Random Meanderer Musings…….

Why is it that there is never the time to sit and write? Or am I just not making the time? Well, we have been busy since the end of the season in 2011 with many things so I’m going to use that as my excuse for not getting to this sooner…..

So a reasonable start should be Happy New Year to all who read this! And we hope that you all had a great holiday time. Ours was spent sorting out our new home here in the US — we moved from New York to Florida, had loads of visitors, and are just now starting to get to know our new surroundings. All just in time to get ready for the new season on board Meanderer and the beautiful canals of France. We are anticipating a great season again this year.

Our fantastic chef and his wonderful wife are coming back. Sylvain will continue to amaze our guests with his fantastic light touch to some traditional French cuisine and we’ll see if we can find even more interesting wines to have on board in addition to those we already enjoy. That’s always fun for me! Interesting how pretty much all French people know and understand wines and cheese like no-one else. You can have heated discussions about cheese vendors and whether they understand the cheeses that they sell or not!!! Quite amusing really! And of course everyone knows all the vendors in the region…….Something about village life and rural surroundings. Topics are always food, wine and the weather!
Kate, Sylvain’s wife, will continue to be the best hostess on the canals of France!!!! Her quiet wit and amazing attention to detail make life on board Meanderer an exceptional experience. We are so lucky to have her. We always get comments that she is never seen doing all the things that make Meanderer so special — she magically moves around the boat taking care of everyone.

So, as a precursor to the new season, which will begin before we know it, I thought I’d go through some of the hundreds of photos that I take and share some of them with you. No particular theme other than moments on the canal and places we visit………
(Click on the photos to enlarge for better viewing)
We see so many spectacular sunsets so here are a few for you to enjoy

I always talk about hidden gems when we have guests on board. Our region is “the road less travelled” which is wonderful because most of the time we have the place to ourselves when we go visiting. We are not fighting the crowds. One day I was walking in Montargis and took a different street than I typically do and 50 yards from the magnificent church (which we visit with our guests all the time) I came across an oddity! An old balcony stuck on the side of a building. It’s quite beautiful with gorgeous wood carvings and exquisite details. Where did it come from? I went to the tourist office to ask….. Apparently it came from a village not too far away and the building was about to be torn down. So the town of Montargis decided to rescue the balcony. It dates from the 16C I’m told but other than that there doesn’t seem to be much known about it!

I’m often asked — “don’t you get bored cruising the same route all the time?” “NO!!!” is always my emphatic answer. The countryside is so beautiful and changing all the time. The fields change, the canal changes, the trees and plants change…..

When I went back this winter there had been work going on in the canals. There is a long stretch that we cruise and the canal breached!!!! Work is going on as I write and it all should be prepared ready for the start of the season but it’s interesting viewing. First of all, there’s the empty canal!! It really isn’t very deep so when I tell you that if we were to breach our hull you’d never know it — it’s true! We’d simply sit on the bottom and watch the water flow past us!!! Look at the photos below though — hopefully you can see the river of mud that fell on the downside of the bank — and at the end — a stand of snowdrops peeking through early — a surprise in the mess.

As the seasons change so do our views of course. The end of the season is Fall and we can get some frosty, misty mornings. It can be a challenge for George to pilot when it’s like that but it can make for some wonderful sights….

And then there’s winter…..and that’s why we don’t cruise in winter!!! Still beautiful though.

Spiders!!! They are the bane of my life on the boat, spinning their webs where they are not welcome! But, oh so beautiful when they are draped on grasses, shrubs, and lock gates, dripping with crystals of dew…

I hope I didn’t bombard you with too many photos….. the next blog will be when we’re back in France and prepping for the season.
Until then……


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