Neuilly-sur-Marne - Meaux

We didn’t do a lot of traveling last week. The reason why will be explained somewhere hereunder. This is why this picture is part of this week’s blog. Perhaps you remember the story about the Ukrainian oboe-player, Oleg Yugan, from last week’s blog. After some walking around close to the Place de Clichy (Paris), based upon Oleg’s information, we eventually found a (grand-)piano store in the Rue de Rome. The man inside was fully prepared to help us and managed to find Berthelot (based upon the, by us, given name ‘Bertollo’). To our delight we found Berthelot and this picture shows the parts we need for playing the baroque-oboe more or less decently. Upper-left: two reeds for the modern oboe, bought from Oleg Yugan – the Ukrainian. Probably useless, but ‘a cat in trouble makes funny jumps’, as we say in The Netherlands. Next to it a little metal cigar-box (‘Fumer tue’) and a small piece of soft plastic to fix the reeds within are visible, Oleg’s way of packing the goods. Brilliant! Next to it: the existing reed-box and its contents. Then a small catalogue of Berthelot. On the right hand side: cloths to clean the oboe inside (difficult up till now) and out. On the foreground: three new Berthelot-reeds, still to be worked on – by the player. Then an ellipse-formed little knife to cut open the two halves of the, out of one piece, folded reed (like the pages of a book in former days.) The tri-angled plectrum-like piece of plastic is used to keep the two halves of the reed apart when working on one of them. Finally the knife in the foreground is the tool to be used to work on the reeds. Ever so carefully both halves of the reed are scratched until thin enough to tremble when blown by the player. It’s done by placing the knife against the reed at an angle of 90 degrees and start carefully scratching it. The knife was tested by a Berthelot-worker on one of his fingernails and approved of after the knife removed a very, very, thin layer from the nail. It will be a matter of patience, building up experience, luck and… money before being able to make one's own reeds.

Monday the 4th of August we left Neuilly-sur-Marne at 10:00Am sharp, to moor exactly 2 hours later, 1 lock going upstream included, at Lagny-sur-Marne. We only visited the town to buy a sandwich for lunch and to find a hairdresser for the female half of the two of us. We never look for a hairdresser for the male half of the two of us, as the female half cuts the male half’s hair. Is this news or what!

This picture shows 9 of our 10 domestic maintenance-free gel batteries. They were fitted in 2011 and worked fine for three years. However, they are placed inside the engine room, close to the engine, just underneath its silencer. It becomes hot inside the engine room, sometimes very hot (a heatwave last year and this year again!) which is not a good thing for the batteries. We noticed that the battery-bank lost its capacity far more quickly than it did in the (recent) past. So we had it checked out last week, after finding a trustworthy company (we think) at Meaux. The result is that all 10 batteries will be replaced coming Tuesday, the 12th of August. Only three years of use is a pretty short period so we have decided, also based upon advice from people we trust, to replace the batteries to a cooler space outside the engine room later on this year and to have panels fitted on top of the rear cabin to change solar energy into electricity, thus topping up the battery bank. It’s just August and we are already confronted this year with costs for the central heating system, the accelerator- and gearbox-cable and now the battery bank. Let’s hope that’s it for the foreseeable future…

Lagny-sur-Marne was left at on the 5th of August 11:11AM, arrival at Meaux 2:35PM – three locks and one short tunnel in between, still on the lovely river Marne. All spaces were engaged initially, so we waited close-by for one day. An engineer was found for the battery-problem, that’s why we are in Meaux already for 5 days – still 2 (3 nights) to go. As said before, on Tuesday the batteries will be replaced. Tomorrow, Monday the 11th, our daughter and her two sons will visit us on their way back from their holidays in France/Italy. We look forward to the busy part concerning our family. Less so concerning the battery bank. It will, however, soon be Wednesday. We hope to be on our way again by then. À bientôt!