The Journey -
Then Mrs Cross Dutch Lady and her wilting husband hove into view with, we assumed, the intention of mooring on the quay. MCDL then berated us, in Dutch, for sitting in the middle of the mooring, and not leaving space for them. I wished her, in English, a very good evening, and commented on what a marvellous day we had had, and asked if they would like to moor alongside. She went purple with rage. They eventually went through the lock, and moored on the very nice mooring above it.
I had a lovely walk with Fanny in the evening, climbing a hill to reach a British War cemetery.
In the morning I was up in good time to cycle into the village for bread, before we set off at about 9am for a longish cruise down to Abbeville. The Somme got prettier and prettier, sometimes giving us views across the rolling countryside, at other times shielded from it by a screen of trees.
The mooring at Abbeville is a pontoon, with water and electricity on it, but no rubbish bin, so an unofficial pile was forming. There is a Champion supermarket 100 metres away, though it was not big enough for June, so she and Mike visited the out-of-town Géant. There is a gothic church at Abbeville, but it was closed for repairs. The statues decorating the west front are very heavily eroded. An internet café (masquerading as a games arcade) was not too far away, located with the aid of the map and information provided by the Tourist Information Office. One of the Office staff came to visit the mooring to check on the rubbish situation, which they were trying to get regularised. I also tried to get them interested in the fact that the water level on the mooring varied over time by, perhaps, half a metre, and Rosy was aground at the lower level.
We liked Abbeville so much that we stayed there for six days. The weather was pleasantly hot, so I could only work at painting Rosy when her shore side was in the shade - in the morning. I got the other side of Rosy painted, and got her name stuck on (I use plastic lettering). Mike, meanwhile, was attacking Temujin's green roof - stripping the paint off, and putting some white paint on. Under the sun, the temperature difference between the green paint and the white paint is quite remarkable, the white painted section being GREATLY cooler to the touch.
We bottled out of going downstream to the tidal lock at Valery-sur-Somme. I'm told that the town, with its extensive tidal environs, is quite attractive. BUT it is a dead straight 16 km plonk there, plus a similar return, so we lazed at Abbeville instead.
We eventually left Abbeville, and started slogging our way upstream. Our first mooring was upstream of the Piquigny lock, long since vacated by Mrs Cross Dutch Lady and her wilting husband. Avid Sky watchers should note that most of the mooring is hidden by Sky, but it IS available right up as near to the junction with the weir stream as you can get.
The next day we had a lovely cruise up to Amiens. Do stop at Long (we didn't :-< ) to see the chateau with its glorious park, and the beautiful buttressed church. At Amiens we moored below the lock, on the quay in front of the school of engineering. As we arrived, who should arrive but David Long and Neil Arlidge. I thought we would meet them in Amiens with Falcon, but they thought they were going to meet us up at Cappy!! (I should warn prospective visitors that I'm prone to such misunderstanding).
Anyway, David had, in his car, all sorts of goodies for me, including a new fridge.
[Editor's interpolation: Nice photo of David, Bill, Fanny and fridge at http://www.tuesdaynightclub.co.uk/Stuffimages/Pict5377.jpg. David's report of the meeting is here.]
I guess that Rosy's Engels fridge was fitted when she was built, over 20 years ago. Of late, the thermostat has been iffy, often deciding not to turn itself off. Pretty much as soon as I had asked David to bring out a replacement, this refrigeration revolt ceased - but too late!!
Unfortunately, I have had to write the following letter to the suppliers:
I'll let you know the results.
We have been having long discussions as to whether one should pay about £100 for an ordinary mains electric fridge, or over £300 for a 12 volt one. The insulation on mains fridges is so good now that they don't have to be on very much (25% of the time or less, I'm told). PLUS the quiescent current of a decent inverter is now down to about a third of an amp. These two factors tend to mean that the commercial, mains fridge may well use LESS electricity than a 12v one. However, I didn't fancy being a guinea pig!!
The new fridge is doing fine. It is much colder than the old Engels. It tends to switch itself off about two hours before I get up in the morning, as it has a low voltage trip. The Engels didn't have one of these, so, fingers crossed, the fridge won't hammer the batteries so much, so they might last longer than the present two yearly average.
At this point in the adventure, I admit to forgetting that June only has 30 days, so that the following day, June 30, we were supposed to be back at Cappy, a voyage that took us two short(ish) days on the way down. Suffice it to say that we did our best - and failed, mooring at Chipilly.
The next day, Mike kindly drove me up to Cappy (and, in the evening brought me back) so that I could spent 1 July with Neil and David on the Somme battlefield.
The day after that, 2 July, it took us a couple of hours to get to Cappy, passing Falcon who was heading down stream.