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Life on the French rivers and canals is slow. And the barge Waterman is also slow – and a real challenge to steer in a straight line. But Ian tells me I’ll get used to it – and I’ll certainly get more muscles from the exercise of wrestling the wheel.

Canal Nivernais Lock

Our first lock on the Canal de Nivernais.

Lock-keeper's House

A typical eclusier’s (lock-keeper) house beside a lock on the Canal de Nivernais.

The locks are only open from 9AM to 7PM – with an hour off for lunch between 12 and 1! We cooked eggs and bacon for our lunch while waiting in a lock for the eclusier to return from his dejeuner.
Canal de Nivernais

The river on the Canal de Nivernais. On the right is a weir and downflow; boat traffic keeps well clear of this, in the navigable section of the river.

Canal de Nivernais Lock

In a lock heading upstream towards Vermenton.

We left Mailly-le-Ville just before 9AM, and eventually arrived at Vermenton, in a small side branch river, at about 2:30PM, having covered an astounding 12km and 8 locks. Here’s a sample of Vermenton – mostly closed on Monday, as is almost everything in France.
Vermenton Skyline

The skyline of the village of Vermenton includes an old church with double spires.

Vermenton Baths

Carmel and Ian at the old public baths beside the river at Vermenton.

Vermenton pondage

Evening view of the pondage at the small port at Vermenton, base for a hire boat company.