We had reserved a taxi from La Roche Bernard to Nantes airport and paid dearly for the privilege of having our own use of a car and driver. The 140 Euro taxi fare was exactly what we paid for a months boat storage at La Roche Bernard. In fairness, the taxi ride took us some 45 miles along the motorway to Nantes airport where Judith and I boarded separate flights. I flew to London with Judith boarding a delayed flight to Bristol. In fact I was in London before Judith left Nantes. Not a happy bunny!.
The three weeks flew by with weddings, ceremonies, meeting friends, organising things, dog walking, baby sitting (5 days whilst parents were in Ibiza!!), and even a trip to Southampton Boatshow. Although it reminded us of how wonderful it is to live in Pembrokeshire, it wasn’t long before Jude and I wanted a rest by returning to Money Penny.
Our return trip involved being on the same flight out of Bristol to Nantes. On our arrival in Nantes and in the scramble to get your individual overhead locker luggage I heard the lady in front mention that it would be nice to get on their boat again. A conversation was struck up and it turned out that Debbie and John had their sailing yacht in the Villaine River at Reddon some 17 miles upstream from Money Penny. Whilst walking through the airport, various sailing stories were shared with Debbie and John. Outside the airport terminal there was a row of some 20 taxi’s all waiting in turn for a fare. An enquiry by Judith led the lead taxi driver to work out the cost on his mobile phone calculator which he proudly presented displaying his quoted fare to Reddon. Three hundred and twenty five Euro!!!!!. In explanation , he quoted night rates. It was only 7pm! What is the difference between driving a taxi in daylight to darkness was lost on me. We declined the offer and it was at this point that John had a wonderful idea. Why didn’t Judith and I use the train with Debbie and John to Reddon, sleep overnight on their boat and they would take us on their boat the 17 miles down the Villaine river the following day to Money Penny. They were taking their boat to Arzal the following day for a lift-out so wasn’t out of their way. A plan was hatched. Forget the train, Judith had by know managed to contact Uber taxi’s online and within minutes a swish newish Mercedes arrived and we all piled in with one suitcase sharing Judith’s lap for the journey to Reddon. One hundred & fourteen euros later (57 a couple),we arrived in Reddon in darkness and wheeled our cases along the pontoons to John and Debbie’s very nice boat. Transpired that John had built the 38 foot boat himself and as an engineer had made an excellent job of things. Cheese and crackers washed down with wine were the order of the day mainly due to the fact that that was all that was on-board (Judith had stashed the cheddar in her suitcase for emergencies such as this). Sleeping accommodation prepared by Debbie saw us turn in after a long day. I had hoped for a good nights sleep but unfortunately decided to have a fight with the sleeping bag liner for most of the night. In the morning I woke up and resembled something out of the Mummy movie with the liner deciding to wrap itself around me countless times and I felt constrained as it won the day or should that be night!
It was early as John fired up the motor and we headed down the Villaine towards Money Penny. The joys of an early start were soon rewarded with sightings of an otter and numerous heron all out for their early morning feed. The trip down the river was idyllic, with the open fields covered in a blanket of early morning mist and dew. It was so peaceful, with the only noise being the boat engine and on-board conversation.
After a couple of hours La Roche Bernard came into view and Money Penny festooned with her bunting to our starboard. Money Penny looked like the morning after a village fete with the bunting in a state of disarray, but having done its job in that we couldn’t find any bird poo on the decks. With Jude and I plus suitcases transferred over to Money Penny it was time to say goodbye to our very kind new found friends Debbie and John.
Having settled in we used the dinghy and rowed ashore to pay our fees. On arrival at the Captainaires office we found out that the lock at Arzal didn’t open until Friday and it was only Monday. This lack of opening was apparently to reduce the levels of salinity in the river water. O dear, another few days in the river waiting to get out. Time for some routine maintenance jobs, lunches out and general walkabouts. On the Thursday we motored down the river and anchored near the river bank and went ashore to browse in the variety of chandleries, and have an obligatory coffee. Having been suitably refreshed we ventured into the boatyard and soon found Debbie and John’s yacht in its storage cradle. We were soon on-board continuing tales of our adventures with John and Debbie. In order to repay their kindness we invited them on-board Money Penny for the evening, with even a dinghy ride both ways thrown in. I can’t remember a huge amount about that evening, other than we had a great alcohol infused evening filled with laughter and conversation. Tomorrow morning we would be continuing our journey South……