We are accompanied for some of the way by an itinerant VNF man who is over-filling the "biefs" because a large peniche (commercial barge), heavily laden, is coming up the locks. Slightly worrying given the amount of water lilies and weeds at the edge and obvious shallow patches.. Where will we meet him, and will it be deep enough so we can move over and let him through? He has to go down the middle, it appears.
The VNF man is making sure that he has 30cm extra water as he passes up the system, which seems to occupy the man for most of the day, whizzing up and down in his van., so the barge must be deep, as I haven't seen any less than 2m -and usually 2.4 - 2.6m all the way down the system. I suppose it keeps the VNF occupied as we and the barge seem to be the only boats moving on the system today.
We finally meet him about 4 locks short of Bar le Duc. he's churning up the mud in the canal, and turning it from milky green blue to brown, so I guess he's pretty deep.
The lifting bridges in Bar are fun... again we have an itinerant lock keeper to come and operate them and have to give him our schedule for tomorrow, as he needs to plan for operation of the next two lifting bridges.
Bar le Duc itself is a pleasant surprise as we were expecting an industrial town. There are lovely renovated areas with creative pots (see piccy), houses of pale stone with multicoloured shutters, several nice bridges over the Ornain river, and also the Canal des Usines, a little arm of the Ornain which flows beneath/under the houses
I'm afraid crew mutiny has now reached its peak, as we set in search of yet another restaurant.. lots according to the tourist office, but we fail to find many open, as we miss the restaurant street.
Right, Captain is putting down her foot and suggesting we eat out when there is a NICE restaurant.. one reputedly two stops away. The crew, I think, agree (but tomorrow will tell!)