Saint Jean de Losne Salon Fluviale

Apologies that I haven’t posted for a while – mainly because we were home for six winter months in UK. Now .. here we go again!

April – May 2023

We excitedly set forth for France and Calliope on April 4th, planning a week aboard to prepare for the season before taking the car back to UK. Then after about 10 days we would have returned to France by train, validating our 6 month visa on the way.

But as you will read below plans sometimes change – it is good to be flexible!

After a beautiful channel crossing and landing at Dunkirk we set off to Thuin in Belgium to join our good human and canine friends on Pavot for a night. A dual purpose to this diversion – a totally enjoyable catch up, and delivery of a few UK purchases.

Then onwards for a few hours next day, arriving at Calliope, moored safely at Saint Usage quay, in time for an early evening ‘welcome home’ glass of wine.

Next morning we both set to, cleaning, painting and polishing. Not only did we want Calliope to be well maintained, we also had the Salon Fluvial coming up. This is one of the biggest inland boat shows in France, and Calliope must look her best as a Piper representative!

The polishing was so impressive that I could see myself reflected win the hull again!

Stewart fixed up the hose and I brushed and washed the cabin roof ready for him to paint. (I am not to be trusted with a paint brush!) I had the easier job by far!

The days passed and the weather changed from wet to dry, spreading superb rainbows across the sky. Then continuous dry, and Stewart was finally able to apply the paint; it looks beautiful!

But before he started painting an unexpected event occurred. The crew slipped on the stairs and broke her ankle! A visit to Dijon hospital confirmed this fact and a couple of visits had me well plastered!

It took me a while to get the hang of the crutches, but eventually I was sort of mobile, within a limited range!

A change of plan was required.

Luckily we could be totally flexible and decided to take it a day at a time. We carried on preparing for Salon Fluvial, where we were to be part of a group of 18 Piper barges moored up outside Simon Piper’s house at Saint Usage (next to St Jean de Losne).

Stewart continued with prepping, masking and painting – first the back deck, then the front deck, and finally the sides – while all I could do was sit with my foot up, watching admiringly.

And its quite a long way from stern to bow on a 65 foot boat!

But well worth the effort.

Stu took over my polishing job as well, finishing the stern, then round to the sides.

Meantime I hopped about inside dusting and tidying!

Although to be fair it was Stewart who brought the galley worktop upon to its gleaming best!

Meantime I made an attempt at developing this year’s on board garden, using plants we had luckily bought a few hours before the ankle incident. There was also a marigold that had somehow survived the winter and was determined to bloom. Together they brighten up Calliope.

We discovered that we had been given roles to help manage the Piper invasion. Stewart was second-in-command to Roberto, our temporary harbour master. And I was allocated as communications officer, putting out messages own the group WhatsApp. For both of us it was good to feel part of the event organisation.

Piper barges began to arrive. Despite how it appears they are not all blue and white, although that seems to be the definite preference amongst owners.

By the end of Friday all 18 were in place. (And two photos courtesy of other Piper owners that help to capture the mood.)

Boats put up their bunting, opened their doors, and for the next two days we all welcomed potential Piper purchasers aboard to look round. Between us we spanned over 15 years of Piper boats with various sizes and layouts to see.

Simon and Andrea Piper, plus their team, invited us all up to the house on two of the evenings, where we were well fed, socialised and recounted our tales of cruising; all very good fun. Thank you Piper Boats!

And then Salon Fluvial was over. It took a few days for boats to gradually leave, each one’s leaving accompanied by the tootling of barge horns, and mass waving. Here we provide a send off for Tesserae; new friends who had been moored alongside us for almost a week ……….

For those who are interested in birds, we had a very insistent cuckoo at Saint Usage for quite a while, calling out for minutes at a time.

Also, to our wonderment, we could hear the piping call of the golden oriole as well.

Both birds are notoriously hard to spot, so no actual photos, but here is an internet image of the golden oriole.

……. leaving Stewart and I to contemplate a much quieter view across Saint Usage basin, and await the removal of my plaster in a couple of weeks – at which point this year’s cruise can begin.

Published by lesley-jane

Wife of Stewart, mother of 3, Granny of 6 (yes, I am happy to define myself by my family; I value them more than anything), and living abroad Calliope, our replica Dutch Barge, currently cruising the inland waterways of France, Belgium and The Netherlands. Retired from a couple of enjoyable careers, and now being closer to the real, outdoor me. Love water, fascinated by animals, enjoy music, support Pompey and try to find fun in all parts of my life.

One thought on “Saint Jean de Losne Salon Fluviale

  1. So sorry about the ankle. The Piper rendezvous must have been so much fun! When we were cruising on Lady we loved opportunities to gather with sister-ships and get to know their crew. I bet there were a few non-competitive culinary events too (haha). Best wishes from Oklahoma.
    Hugs and love to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: