So we thought that we ought to really go and have a look and see if we really did like it that much there.
We made plans for our summer holiday this year to do just that. So with passports loaded for both of us and for Poopy off we went.
We'd seen the pictures you get on the booking website but you can never really tell until you see a hotel in person just how subjective the photos are, right?
Well this one was beautiful! The downstairs area was very vintage styled with a big gramophone in the lounge area and beautiful panelling and furnishings, but our huge room was so modern we couldn't quite believe it! As well as being slick and streamlined it was absolutely immaculate. This was the Grande Hotel in Roanne if you want to look it up!
It's a big and quite commercial marina and well served. There were loads of people around and fab facilities for families to just come and hang out! There was a mini beach, water toys, and a monster chess kit!
We liked the narrow streets with all kinds of beautiful old buildings towering high above but shopping in France is very different from shopping in the UK.
I was left a bit puzzled as to how the French buy birthday or Christmas presents for their loved ones as there didn't seem to be any shops that sold "stuff" if you see what I mean.
I did find one shop in Roanne with pretty things, and one in another place we visited; Nevers.
We spent a lot of the day on Wednesday in St Etienne too as we'd enjoyed looking at it briefly the day before.
There is no artistry or passion in the English cemetery (yes, I know this is an odd holiday topic!) but with family tombs and crypts here there was such flair. We saw these dating back to the early 1800s just at the front of the grounds so I can't imagine how old the ones towards the back were. It was over 34 degrees that day again so we didn't venture too far back.
This is a beautiful middle sized town with some amazing buildings, a stunning cathedral and some cute little shops. Unfortunately for us there was a sandwich shop selling toasted poison too as the Croque Monsieur that Mr LFCC had for a late lunch gave him really nasty food poisoning. We got back to the hotel and he was rather poorly. The weather was set to be stormy again on the Friday so we rested as much as possible that night, and he insisted he was well enough to travel, so on Friday we came home. We had been booked to come back on the Eurotunnel on the Sunday but we didn't fancy putting the tent up again so we shared the driving, and having left the hotel at 8.30am that day, we got back to our beautiful boat here in the UK at 8.15pm. We stopped for nothing but wee's all the way home! My poor husband was feeling the effects of his illness and the travelling so we had a lazy quiet day on the Saturday, but on Sunday we fired up our girls engine and disappeared down the river!
We travelled to an EA mooring only a couple of hours down the Great Ouse river past Ely to start with and spent the night there, but in the following couple of days we travelled down the Little Ouse and the Wissey.
The Wissey is our absolute favourite river with miles of fabulous twists and turns and stunning scenery. This time it also held a stranded narrowboat! There are a few channels on the Wissey with almost no water in them that you just can't go down and this boat had been steered down one in error. They'd been stuck for a while and were lucky we'd appeared as not many boats go down that way at all. We tied ropes on and hauled them off, and then they followed us down to the site right at the end of the river!
We came home the following day as there'd been a huge disaster at the marina. There were two Dutch Barges ready to be craned back in and there were strict procedures to follow for this as there had been a few issues getting them out. Unfortunately the lone crane driver who turned up first apparently didn't read the mission statements, ploughed straight on through the marina in a £750,000 crane which very quickly collapsed the riverbank and fell quite literally upside down into the marina. I'm glad to say that he jumped clear and no one was hurt.
This left us with two Dutch barges still on the bank that couldn't be moved and a 32 tonne crane, wheel side up in the marina. The whole place has been closed since then. It took over twelve hours to get the crane out of the water and it only just came out. When it was almost up several tonnes of mud had to be shovelled out of it by hand otherwise it wouldn't have been raised. That was a bit of a nightmare job. It's still in the car park here at the marina though as there's a very steep little hill to get out of the parking area and there isn't a vehicle that can get over it with the crane on it. So they must work out some hydraulic solution to get the broken crane over the hill before it can go on the low loader. They've already had to build a new section of road into the marina so that the low loader will actually be able to leave though.
After a couple of days of re-writing mission statements, planning and manoeuvring we saw the first of the barges go back in the water late yesterday afternoon, and I'm very pleased to say the second one has just gone in! For me, a decrepit floaty, it's meant a lot of pain and inconvenience as my car is parked very near to our boat so I don't have to walk far (as this gives me very nasty pressure welts) and when I'm battling fierce allergy problems or I can't breathe so well, I can be safely popped in to the car to transport. With all that's been going on, my car has been cordoned off with no access from where it's parked into the main car park. We've had to park right across the other side of the marina and walk all the way. And carry groceries all that way. It's been rather un-fun. I don't think my problems have been much of a priority with what is most likely to be set at about a million pounds insurance job... bit of a nightmare!! With the last barge in the water now the road is set to open again which is handy as if I can't get my car out then getting back to work on Monday after our holiday would be interesting!!
So, that's what we did on our holidays!