While Liberty is still for sale, Liz and I have decided to move her back to where we bought her from, the central-eastern inland port of Saint-Jean-de-Losne.
As you'll know if you've been following the updates, she has been wintering-over (hivernage in French) in Sillery in Champagne, but it's a very small marina and not frequented much by boat-buyers, whereas St-J-de-L has two big boat brokerages, a large marina, and is on the confluence of the Bourgogne canal and the Saône River. It has good rail and road access, and is one of the key places those in the market for a boat often head for.
So, for two weeks in April we will once again be on board and cruising through springtime, this time south as we head initially down the Canal de l'Aisne à la Marne, then left onto the Canal Latéral à la Marne, on to the Canal de la Marne itself, and finally turning right onto the Petite Saône. From there it's just a short jaunt to Saint-
Jean-de-Losne. All-in-all a pleasant (we hope!) two-week voyage.
In a way it will feel a bit like a homecoming. Saint-Jean is not only where we bought Liberty, but also where we began our commitment to living aboard with each other in a confined space, and - unbeknown to us at the time - also the start of writing the book Against the Current. So it will be an emotional time as well.
The irony of all this is that we have just recently purchased a property on the River Thames with its own mooring, at Sunbury-on-Thames (or 'Mortgage-on-Thames' as we call it), and while you may be wondering why we aren't taking Liberty there to moor her at the bottom of our garden, the answer is simple but frustrating: the water's not deep enough! When we measured the depth a few weeks back it was barely half a metre, whereas Liberty's draught is 1.2 metres. So, if we are to have a boat on our mooring it will likely have to be a flat-bottomed narrowboat. (The boat in the image is a neighbour's craft, not ours!)
All in good time. For the moment it will be nice to once again start Liberty's engine and head off along the inland waterways of France, calling in each day at a boulangerie for croissants and baguettes, speaking French as best we can, and stocking up on excellent value French wine. And who knows, there may even be a few last blogs! :-)