My daughter Louise is married to a Frenchman called Jo Renard. We did not realise until shortly before we commenced this journey that his grandparents live in Douai. We had met them at Louise’s wedding in France five years ago so we decided we should contact them since we were in their town. In their honour I am putting this blog up in both English and French.
Louise told them where we were moored and the first evening we found a note stuck to the side of our boat telling us that they had called by. Geneviève Carlier came by again the next day and she invited us to her home for an aperitif on Sunday at noon.
We duly arrived and were greeted by Claude and Geneviève Carlier. We were joined shortly afterwards by their son Damien and his wife Mariline. We had a great conversation (all in French with a few bits of English from Mariline, Damien and Claude when we got stuck). The champagne and hors d’ oeuvres were delicious.
Claude and Geneviève are an inspiration, he is 94 years old and while his back gives him trouble now, he still has a great interest in life. He insisted on visiting the boat with the others and climbing on board to inspect it. Geneviève still drives and has a great enthusiasm for life. They have 12 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren 2 of which are my grandchildren Eve and Edouard.
It was great for us to make a local family connection. As Nuala says, she was only two days in France and we had our first rendez-vous! Tomorrow we leave Douai, our first day cruising on our own. We are heading for Cambrai. We will see how we get on 6 locks!!