Decision time this morning……will I be able to get on the boat and, more importantly, if I get onboard, will I be able to get off? With Craig’s assurance that we’ll find a way to make it work, off we headed to Colombiers to retrieve “Joie de France” and bring her home.
Craig picked up croissants at the boulangerie and drinks at the epicerie, rolled the wheelchair on board (just in case I need it) and gave me his thoughts on how I should get onboard, none of which sounded the least bit plausible.
The boat was docked stern-in and the marina’s walkway was at the same level as Joie, so I crutched over to the back railings, turned around, put down the cannes and with a firm grip on each railing, lowered myself to the now familiar “bum scoot” position. A few scoots brought me to the back door and four narrow steps down….too narrow to bum-scoot….so I stepped down to the third step, stood up holding the hatch glides firmly, eased myself down to the floor, grabbed my cannes and continued on to the front of the boat….smooth as silk.
Craig handled the pre-launch activities while I patiently waited….listening to the rustling of leaves in the trees. The weather report advised this would be a cool and windy day….and it was. After we were underway, the wind gusts pushed us close to the canal bank, but the boat handled well and we enjoyed cruising along the waterway, sharing memories of other trips along its banks.
After cruising for about five hours, we spotted the train bridge. Just past this bridge is the junction of the two canals with our little cottage on the far bank. There’s a cement edge along the canal near the front of the cottage. Craig planned to temporarily dock the boat there….it’s the safest landing spot for me….but, the best laid plans of mice and men…..
As soon as we passed under the train bridge, we saw an elderly gentleman fishing on our landing spot, a boat coming toward us from the Canal du Jonction, another boat coming toward us from the Canal du Midi and a man in a very small rowboat heading toward the fisherman. Ok….do we have a Plan B?
The canal boats passed, Craig made a large U-turn and headed toward the cement bank, the rowboat wisely turned around and headed the other way. Craig slowed the boat, grabbed the dock lines, jumped ashore and tied the boat off…..not exactly where he wanted to dock it, but still alongside a part of the cement edge. Unfortunately, we were docked next to the rounded edge of the canal…..if Craig brought the stern in close to the cement, the bow would move toward the canal, so it would be best if I exited from the bow. Unlike the relatively easy way I boarded the boat, this exit involved one narrow step up, another step up and over a high threshold, getting up onto the bow seat, then up to the deck walkway and then down to the cement edge…..all while bum-scooting. My mind flashed on “The Wizard of Oz”…..“I’m frightened, Auntie Em, I’m frightened.”
But, it was the only way off the boat, so I started the journey….up the step, over the threshold, up to the seat, up to the deck, over the boat and onto terra firma! With me safely ashore, Craig moved Joie to her new home in front of the cottage.
After an expensive taxi ride back to Colombiers to pick up the car, Craig returned too late and too tired for aperitif time….Felix was extremely unhappy with this turn of events and voiced his disappointment very loudly. Has anyone else ever been sassed by a cat?
Jusqu’à la prochaine fois…..until next time