Wednesday 9th to Tuesday 15th August
The marina at Roanne turned out to be surprisingly large, and with also then surprisingly little to offer in the way of marine supplies and services! There is a large community of live-aboard boaters moored here, with a bit of a social scene going on – every Thursday evening they meet up for drinks, either at a local café/bar, or on one of the boats.
Our main reason for being here was to winter Shangri La, so initially I was a bit concerned about the lack of supplies etc. But we found out there was a South African family living here permanently on board their big barge, and he was an engineer and had sort of become the local person for just about everything. So we got to know them. Peter came across and helped me with a few engine issues, which we planned to sort out next year. I bought anti-freeze from him and for the first time did all the wintering myself – main engine and generator. Also drained the fresh water system.
Peter’s daughter also lived there on a boat with her husband, and she takes on looking after and checking people’s boats during winter. I arranged with her to take care of Shangri La, check moorings, change dehumidifier granules, and charge up batteries as necessary. Must say veru relieved to have someone keeping an eye on her. A whole new issue – apparently some youngsters have been known to throw off the mooring ropes, so they suggested I put chains and padlocks securing the boat to the quay as well. We had found a local general hardware shop where I bought suitable items.
We spent about a week here, getting to know Roanne and generally preparing Shangri La for winter.
On the way up the canal. We had literally bumped into a local French family – Damien and his children. We had got chatting and we invited him for drinks on the boat one evening. It was a lovely evening, and he offered to take us on a day drive of the area and visit some wine farms. How could we refuse!
He duly arrived the next day, and we enjoyed a truly memorable day – we drove along the River Loire, visited the dam/barrage, took in Chateau Roche, had lunch at a cute rustic French village – St- Jean-St-Maurice-sur-Loire , and finished off with visiting 2 wine cellars or domains as they call them where we tasted and bought wonderful local wines of the Roannaise Area.
Finally, we covered up Shangri La for wintered, left the keys with Kerrri-Ann and headed for the train station. We trained to Lyon where we spent a couple of nights and then flew back to London.
For a completely different perspective, check out Karen’s blog here
Next – plans for 2018.