Boats, Birthdays and Barbers



 It’s Aussie’s Birthday and after driving through some low hanging cloud early am we had the best sunny weather and blue sky fitting for the sunny birthday boy!

The rural country along the Saône and the Canal du Centre is beautiful and has some great regional streets. We arrived on time at Briennon Marine (you won’t find that on a map), a tiny boat harbor with approximately 8 moorings. There we met with Graham Wambly, an English born Frenchman, to see one of his boats for sale. The French owner was around too and waited patiently while we looked around the 13 m cruiser and discussed pro and cons. The inside of the boat was very roomy, so was the Aft deck (slowly catching on to the boating language). I particularly liked the bar in the living area and the island bed – that means you can actually walk around the bed and don’t have to climb over a snoring body when you need to go to the loo at night. But Austin, being interested in something as unimportant as the diesel engine, found a lot of oil in the bilge. Ashame! I would have liked Aussie to find the perfect boat on his Birthday!

With the decision on this one outstanding we made our way back North to St. Jean de Losne, a real canal cruising fanatics kind of place. There the Saône and the Canal de Bourgogne come together. We booked into yet another Hotel Logis, right at the river past the old, historic bridge. This night we had a real gourmet birthday dinner: duck breast in black currant sauce (not fatty at all) with 5 different tasty vegies. For desert Austin was presented with a 3 mini desert platter, which the chef had doubled up to 6 different deserts – heaven for a Robinson!



Today was dedicated to visiting the large H2O Marine here in Losne, which, by the way, is owned by a German as we were told.The young salesman, Max, gave us a bunch of keys and sent us off to look by ourselves at suitable boats for sale. We saw another nice barge. But like most barges, it was missing a decent outdoor area to sit on. It also smelt rather musty and was a little old worldly for me, although some people like just that about them. We saw a few motor cruisers, nothing really suited to our needs and budget. Lastly we saw the Leieland, a 12m motor cruiser still occupied by their Belgian owners Eric and Belinda. Everything on this boat was spick and span – even the motor! We were impressed by the space and brightness inside, and stayed for a good chat on board. Eric and Belinda really know their boats. They used to pilot a commercial barge up and down the Rhein for 30 years. The “Leieland ist mein Augenapfel”, said Eric to me (is the apple of my eye), and you could see that he treated the boat like it. Well the boat went straight to the top of our list.

Mundane things like shopping and doing our washing at the Laundromat took up the afternoon. However bumping into more boat people during our wash cycle and later at the riverside eating some Tapas made it all fun and interesting.



Couldn’t sleep all night after Austin and I discussed to make an offer on the Leieland. We asked Eric and Belinda to take us for a little test drive this morning, so Austin could hear the engine and see how the boat handles.

The engine purred like a cat! So on our return to H2O Austin put his great negotiating skills to work. We waited what seemed forever for Max to return from presenting our offer to the owner. He had jokingly said, “If I don’t return the owner has probably shot me…”

Finally he returned with a counter offer, which was very acceptable – and so we did! Yeah!!!

We celebrated with some Rosé and both getting our hair trimmed. Unfortunately my French for “Austin wants his hair cut with a number 4 comb” was interpreted as a 4 mm crew cut!  “Vive la difference!”

And that was not the only stuff up that occurred today.

Driving back from the “shearer” we got stuck in a queue behind a truck transporting a huge barge. Soon the whole village was at standstill. It turned out that the driver had taken the corner onto the old bridge to tightly and busted the rear hydraulics. It took 20 minutes until we finally could pass and another 2 hours until the hydraulics were repaired and the truck could move on.

© Austin Robinson 2019