Saturday, 19 March 2011

Tree paintings #16 - Burgundy Canal

The canal holiday I mentioned yesterday was a complete nightmare, mostly due to the fact that the boat we hired was too sophisticated for us to manage.

We left the 'bassin' in the early evening, after just half an hour of instruction by a young Frenchman, in rapid, technical French, rounded the first bend in the canal....and ran aground! But while we waited for help, I was able to take photos and the one above turned into one of my better paintings, I think, as the Bath Society of Artists accepted it for their Summer Exhibition!

We seemed to have some such calamity on each of the six days we were afloat; we ran out of water one day, another day the bilge pump overheated; we lost one of our fenders in a lock and discovered on the final day that our 'reverse' hadn't been working all week, which is possibly why we kept bumping into things, as we were effectively without brakes!

We also got stuck in the lock below for hours in the midday sun - not our fault! - so I had plenty of time for more photos and I even got out my little sketch book and pastel pencils. Eventually a man rolled up in an old Renault 4 and, after a long and loud discussion with the lock-keeper, involving much arm-waving and shoulder-shrugging, took some string out of his pocket and used it to somehow get the lock gates working again. And we were on our way!

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