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Kerr Barging Blogs

We have spent a fair bit of time cruising in the South Pacific aboard our 33 years young 11.1metre yacht, Pastime of Sydney. We are now cruising through the canals and rivers of France on our old barge, "Anja", which was built in the North of the Netherlands in 1903. Anja was 110 years old in May 2013 and we celebrated with good French Champagne- but the boat did not get any! In 2014, for Anja's 111th, we took her back to where she was built in the North of the Netherlands.

Arrived and down to work

We have arrived safely and have got down to work.

The trip was uneventful, though very rough and so we had very little
sleep on the 'plane.

Arrived early and the first hurdle of immigration was better than
expected. We had thought we might have to explain that our "Titres de
Sejour" (long term visas or residency permits) were in the small town
of Charbuy awaiting payment of the tax and then to be picked up. There
were no questions, so perhaps all the French computer systems were
linked together and working well.

We tried a different arrangement of trains this time- skipping the
Paris Metro and using the RER-A and RER-D to get us to a small town on
the Seine called Melun. We went through Melun last year and saw it
from the water. It is an attractive town. We picked up our rental car
there. This different arrangement saved us a couple of hours and much
walking- particularly with the heavy bags. We have a starter motor,
welding helmet, cables, electronics, material and many other
barge-related items. Of the 52Kg of baggage, much less than half is

From Melun, we went to Fontainbleu. We have not been there before and
the chateau and grounds were far bigger than we expected. Two hours
was only enough for us to know that we need a day or two and will
return another time. All the kings of France spent time there. Some of
the earlier construction began in the year 1160. As usual with many of
the spectacular buildings here, it is rather difficult to photograph
them, even with a wide angle lens.

The grounds will be even more magnificent in about a month. They plant
45,000 new plants in the grounds every year.

In Fontainbleu, we found a family-run Tabac and the lady assisted us
in buying the tax stamps to pay for our Titres de Sejour. After lunch,
we headed to the Charbuy Mairie (equivalent to Council Offices in
Australia but with a much wider scope of activities). There we picked
up the Titres. All the staff came out to say hello to us. We think
that an Australian couple in the small town of Charbuy is an uncommon
occurrence. It is thanks to Corinne from the Mairie and Christian that
we have these Titres.

Then we went to Les Chouettes and were very warmly welcomed by our
delightful hosts, Chantal and Christian and the notable Vauban (the
friendly dog, named after France's great
designer/engineer/strategist). We were becoming very "droopy" but
managed to keep awake and enjoy the delightful dinner and
companionship. We have been curious about the upcoming Presidential
Elections and have now learned all about it. They start in just over a
week. It will be interesting to watch.

We spent today working on the barge. There was bad news in that our
new and very expensive batteries were flat. We still do not know why
as they were supposed to be charged every month. We are recharging
them at the moment but this is very, very unfortunate.

Everything else is good and we spent the day unpacking and also
sanding the main deck prior to painting. The list of things to do
continues to grow and we are wondering if we can get it all done in
time. Perhaps we will do the items that require us to be in the
boatyard and then do the others as we move along. We will know more
tomorrow after another day's work.

On Sunday we will be visiting another Vide Grenier (large market and
second hand sale) at a nearby village. We hope to pick up some items
for the visit of our granddaughter, Mary plus (maybe!) a high pressure
water washer which would make it easier to clean our decks which we
painted white last year. The white is great for the heat but harder to
keep clean than the original dark grey.

That's it for now. Included are some photos of Fontainbleu.

Best Regards,

Penny and David






Here is the other Anja, prepared for our joint birthday parties


Heading back to France after Easter

Back to France!

We will shortly be back in France. We will initially be staying at Les Chouettes ('The Owls") with Chantal and Christian while we get the boat ready. Over winter, it has had two of the double glazed windows replaced. This will make it easier to see where we are going and keep us warmer when we need it. We will also be doing some painting and varnishing, building secure bicycle racks on the stern, fitting bits of equipment and performing other maintenance.

Through the excellent assistance of the Charbuy Mairie and Christian, we have received our " Titres de Sejour" which are the renewal of our visas. We hope to pick them up at the Mairie, after paying the taxes at a tabac.

That's it for the moment, but things are cranking up very fast. We have had an extremely busy 6 months. As well as all the usual things to to, we had to do a lot of renovations to four verandah decks and railings.

Notification of these blogs should now go to LinkedIn, facebook and Twitter!

Best Regards,
Dave and Penny