Farewell Parties PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill and Nancy   
Wednesday, 16 April 2008 15:00


The weather in Paris is unpredictable. After a very mild winter of cold sunshine, the weather has become unsettled. You can wake up in the morning to blue skies, eat breakfast during a rain storm and leave the house dressed for the cold and rain, only to find the sun has returned and you are overdressed. Pas de souci, you only have to wait 30 minutes before it rains again.

A few weeks ago, we were riding our bikes and almost got blown over by a violent storm that came and went before we knew what hit us. It snowed the other night just as we were heading off to bed, and a couple of days ago, there was a hailstorm in the middle of an otherwise mild day. It is difficult to know how to dress.barge cruising to the lock

The only sign of  Spring is that boats are moving again. "Elisabeth", Henk and Jacqueline's beautiful barge cruised out of port recently. They had a week here without too much rain, so they were able to leave as planned. But that morning, their barge only descended half the normal level in the lock and once they hit the river they disappeared from sight twice as fast as a boat going down river would under normal conditions. Wherever they were planning to go that day, they probably arrived much earlier than expected.

From the moment that "Elisabeth" left until yesterday, it has done nothing but pour rain, the sky has been gray or black, and it has been cold. This year, April in Paris would not inspire any songs, movies or plays.

Mike and Jane, our charming Australian neighbors on Drumsara, picked up their newly built barge last fall and cruised for six days directly into Paris. They are now ready to start their first cruising season, and we said goodbye to them over dinner a few nights ago, and over a glass of Champagne last night, but so far they have only made it down to the endJane and Mike standing in front of their barge.  Jane is holding a bottle of Champagne and Mike has his arm around her. of the port.

While moored in front of the Captain's office in preparation for an early start this morning, they learned that the Seine is near flood level, so they have to wait to see what tomorrow brings. Maybe it's time for another farewell party.

Paris Marathon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill and Nancy   
Sunday, 06 April 2008 18:00

Valerie's kids holding a sign to cheer on their father


The Paris Marathon came by the Bastille twice today and finished up on Avenue Foch.

We were at the Bastille with our French teacher, Valerie and her children to cheer on her husband, Olivier. After Oliver ran past us on rue Henry IV, we came back to the boat to relax and have a cup of coffee, and then we took the métro over to the finish line, all the while Olivier was running.

Valerie's daughters had fun cheering on the crowd, and handing out bananas to the runners as they passed the food stand.




Venetian Carnival PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill and Nancy   
Saturday, 05 April 2008 00:00
After taking part in a mini Venetian Carnival on the Île Saint-Louis yesterday, (look at photos #13 and #28) we went along with all of theCarnival mask other participants to a party hosted by the neighborhood merchants.

Between dinner and dessert, someone at one of the tables in the back of the room started singing, in fact, it was Marcel, the waiter from La Cavetière, our neighborhood bistro. He loves to sing, and does do so often.

This was the invitation for others to start singing "their" song. In Europe, people sing more that they do in the States, and everyone seems to have a song that they sing reasonable well. When someone starts singing, everyone else joins in and sings along all the way to the end. They all know the words, and for the most part, everyone carries the tune.

The songs danced in the air, and we felt as though we were in the middle of a French film. Conversations and laughter filled the room and were only silenced by a new round of songs. We knew that we were lucky to be the only foreigners, and we had smiles on our faces thinking that life doesn't get any better than this, when the owners of Bertillon arrived with their world famous sorbet for dessert.

A cheer rang out from the crowd, and everyone got up to form the French version of a line, (something free form, like a glob of mercury), while the couple scooped up double cones for the crowd. The Carnaval Vénetian had been a big success with crowds of people taking photos of the beautiful costumes against the back drop of the Île Saint-Louis and Notre Dame, and as everyone sat back down at their tables enjoying their Bertillon sorbet, we thought that this day was so amazing that we may be dreaming.

Suddenly, someone started singing La Marseillaise, and everyone stood up raising their cones in the air, and sang their national anthem with passion, only stopping occasionally to lick their cones to keep them from dripping. It was spontaneous and pure, and it was the highlight of the party.

When the evening was over, we opened the door to find a warm spring night, and crossing over the Seine, we smiled our way home.
Spring is Here PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill and Nancy   
Friday, 04 April 2008 00:00
This is what happens in the barging community when Spring arrives and boats start moving again.

Monday - We had an apéritif dînatoire for 14 people on our boat. This happened a bit by accident. Roger and Kathleen on "Water Lily" were getting ready to leave, and they had not yet met Jerry and Suzanne on "La Lavande". We wanted to get them together, but they both had company. No problem bring them along. Henk and Jacqueline were here to install our kitchen extractor. Then Bob, our neighbor from Cornwall, is too much fun not to invite, and the English couple who were staying on Mike and Jane's barge while they were back in Australia stopped by the day before to ask a question, so we invited them, and the party just kept growing..........

Tuesday - We invited nearby neighbors over to help us finished all of the food that we had left over from the night before. We always err on the side of having too much food for any given party.

Wednesday - Dinner with Henk and Jacqueline at one of our favorite local places, Chez Janou, and even though it rained most of the day, it was a beautiful evening. After dinner, we walked through the neighborhood, stopped at an outdoor café for a nightcap, and headed home throAlain giving Henk a yacht club flagugh Place des Vosge, where we could admire the art galleries. It was a perfect evening with good food, good conversation and great friends.

Thursday - First Yacht Club Paris Bastille barbecue after the new board of directors was elected. There was a huge turnout, and it was a great evening that almost ended at about 11pm when people started going home...that was until Henk invited everyone onto his boat.

Alain, the president of the yacht club presented Henk with an Arsenal burgee, wine corks popped and then the music started. There's a piano on "Elizabeth" and soon guitars and harmonicas appeared and the music began.

Friday - We took a day off, before our busy weekend with the carnival and the marathon.
Yacht Club Paris Bastille PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill and Nancy   
Thursday, 03 April 2008 00:00
The yacht club had elections recently and one of us was voted onto the board of directors to be in charge of international relations, with the knowledge that both of us would be doing the jobs that will be assigned to us. We are feeling rather proud to be the first foreign members on the board.

The first meeting of the board was held before the barbecue on April 3rd, and all went well. No problems understanding the rapid fire French, and the newly elected board is full of enthusiasm and plans to improve the port.
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