Rodwig, the gnome of the port de l’Arsenal in Paris

Rodwig was exhausted when Brent picked him up in the Arsenal. Swimming while playing the accordion is not an easy feat.
M. spotted him while he was drying on the aft deck of the Modestine, the yacht moored next to us.
Pam and Brent were getting ready to go home to Australia and they didn’t intend to take him in their luggage and so it happened that Rodwig ended up on our aft deck, from a Linssen yacht to another Linssen yacht, Rodwig looked quite pleased.
M. cleaned most of the dirt covering his clothes, she polished his boots and brushed his teeth. It is then that she discovered that he was manufactured by Heissner, a German company.
A quick look at the Internet told us that Heissner was founded in 1872, that they became famous for their outdoor decorations and that they invented the garden gnomes.
Nowadays they are mainly producing and selling garden appliances, such as plastic ponds and everything that goes with it.
It appears that they stopped producing gnomes.
Consequently, Rodwig, serial number 989, is a antique vintage hard plastic accordion player with a red hood, only to be found on eBay and swimming around in the port de l’Arsenal.
He looks good on the Chat Lune and despite the kitschiness of his appearance, we have decided to keep him aboard.

We left Paris six days ago, took the Seine, the Oise and the Canal du Nord and we are on our way to Gent, currently moored in Deinze, a mere few hours away from where we live.

20131007-204505.jpg

20131007-204523.jpg

20131007-204538.jpg

20131007-204552.jpg

20131007-204606.jpg

20131007-204615.jpg

20131007-204627.jpg

20131007-204643.jpg

20131007-204656.jpg

20131007-204710.jpg

20131007-204724.jpg

20131007-204742.jpg

20131007-204758.jpg

20131007-204811.jpg

20131007-204826.jpg

20131007-204845.jpg

20131007-204900.jpg

20131007-204915.jpg

20131007-204955.jpg

20131007-205008.jpg

20131007-205024.jpg

Paris, port de l’Arsenal, rejoice the lock is repaired and operational

I thought that the raft was to be used to repair the lower gates. Rémi corrected me, the idea had been to use it to facilitate the removal of the brick wall.

This morning the workers proceeded to do so, both manually and with the help of a pneumatic hammer. This tool was even used under the water level.
The bricks were lifted out of the chamber, each at the time, attached to a rope and pulled up by a worker on the quay above.
This took the best part of the morning.

After lunch, remember in France lunch is still sacred and I hope that this well ingrained custom will resist the pressure of the efficiency freaks.
Think about it, what a pleasure it is to make a break at midday, sit down in a restaurant or on a bench place de Vosges and enjoy a nice meal, let it be a snack and chat with friends and colleagues instead of gobbling a soggy sandwich at your desk, while reviewing and answering your emails.

After lunch, the crew came back and proceeded to lift out the two cofferdams.
First the tap in the upper dam was opened and the pit flooded. This took some time, because there is a ‘fox’ (un ‘renard’ is a technical term meaning a leak) between the two gates and through it, water is leaking in the chamber.
When the pit was filled, the crane lifted each cofferdam out of its position and placed it in the barge, waiting alongside the quay.
Under water, the diver attached the chain at the lower dam and it was lifted out.

The foreman explained that to finish the repair, he needed to adjust the doors, to close the ‘renard’.

This is done later in the afternoon, by closing the gates and then depending on the position of the leaks, inserting small wedges in the hooks of the arms that hold the axles of the gates.
See the pictures here below.

All sailers rejoice, at 17:30 the lock of the port de l’Arsenal is operational once again.
In the lower gates, 2 paddles are still to be repaired and are temporarily out of use.
This is not too bad, as they are needed to empty the chamber, which is faster than filling it.
According to Rémi, turning the lock has been timed to take 10 minutes, we can live with that.

Behind the Chat Lune I hear the guide of a Caneaurama explain to the tourists that the gold-gilded figure on the top of the column is called the ‘genius’ of the Bastille and that the repair of the lock will take another three weeks.

20130923-203342.jpg

20130923-203407.jpg

20130923-203421.jpg

20130923-203438.jpg

20130923-203451.jpg

20130923-203504.jpg

20130923-203522.jpg

20130923-203540.jpg

20130923-203555.jpg

20130923-203608.jpg

20130923-203619.jpg

20130923-203632.jpg

20130923-203657.jpg

20130923-203716.jpg

20130923-203729.jpg

20130923-203751.jpg

20130923-203801.jpg

20130923-203818.jpg

20130923-203830.jpg

20130923-203839.jpg

20130923-203853.jpg

20130923-203909.jpg

20130923-203921.jpg

20130923-203954.jpg

20130923-204008.jpg

20130923-204023.jpg

20130923-204038.jpg

20130923-204056.jpg

20130923-204111.jpg

20130923-204127.jpg

20130923-204139.jpg

20130923-204222.jpg

20130923-204244.jpg

20130923-204256.jpg

20130923-204308.jpg

20130923-204322.jpg

20130923-204345.jpg

Paris, port de l’Arsenal, repair Day 10, upper gates, final touch

We’re almost there, this morning a few workers are cleaning the pit and pulling out two of the three sump pumps.
Two other technicians are fixing the arms of the paddles at the moving mechanism.

Meanwhile Olivier and Rémi have brought their aluminum barge alongside the cofferdams. Next week it will be lifted in the chamber to be used as a working platform for the divers.
It appears that the crane on the back of the truck is not strong enough to lift the raft, they will have to hire another lifting device.

In the afternoon, the electricians are connecting the electrical motors of the paddle and trying out their workability.

Next week, the cofferdams and the brick wall will be removed and Olivier is considering opening the lock for a few days, until the diving crew starts working at the paddles of the lower gates.

We’re getting there folks, have a nice weekend.

Guy

20130920-174143.jpg

20130920-174206.jpg

20130920-174233.jpg

20130920-174251.jpg

20130920-174347.jpg

20130920-174406.jpg

20130920-174421.jpg

20130920-174431.jpg

20130920-174442.jpg

20130920-174457.jpg

Paris, port de l’Arsenal, repair Day 9/2-afternoon, new paddles in place

At 14:30, I woke up from my daily siesta hearing the familiar noise from the workers in the lock.

They were back, the same four as this morning, and they had already placed the four paddles in their guides and were fixing the bars that move them up and down.

I owe the repair crew a mental apology for my pessimistic skepticism of this morning.
Good job guys!

Olivier at the Capitainerie had a proud big smile on his face:
“Elles sont belles n’est-ce pas?” (“Ain’t they beautiful?”)

Indeed they are.

More tomorrow.

20130919-181645.jpg

20130919-181701.jpg

20130919-181714.jpg

20130919-181725.jpg

20130919-181759.jpg

20130919-181812.jpg

20130919-181826.jpg

20130919-181844.jpg

20130919-181859.jpg

20130919-181916.jpg

20130919-181931.jpg

20130919-182005.jpg

20130919-182024.jpg

20130919-182041.jpg

20130919-182106.jpg

Paris, port de l’Arsenal, repair Day 9/1-morning, the paddle fits

The new paddle fits the guides.

They were four this morning, trying the fit of a newly manufactured paddle, in the guides of the gates.

They used a shackle to tie a rope at the support point of the test paddle. Above the gate, the foreman fixed a block at the railing of the footbridge. The workers in the pit lifted the paddle and tested its sliding in each of the guides of the four openings in the gates.

It took a while, because at some point, one of the workers in the pit, dropped the pin of the shackle in knee-high water at his feet.
Jokes were exchanged and another way of tying the paddle to the rope was used.

This being done at everybody’s satisfaction, the foreman gave the command, “Let’s roll the production”; the forth worker took his mobile phone and spoke the magic words.

At the Capitainerie, Olivier told me that beyond the four paddles of the upper gates, two of the paddles of the lower gates will also be replaced, using the divers in the chamber of the lock, to work under water.
He was confident that the timing would be respected, another two weeks and the Caneaurama’s will cruise the Seine again.

20130919-180603.jpg

20130919-180625.jpg

20130919-180640.jpg

20130919-180652.jpg

20130919-180722.jpg

20130919-180740.jpg

20130919-180753.jpg

20130919-180810.jpg

20130919-180827.jpg

20130919-180838.jpg

20130919-180852.jpg

20130919-180949.jpg

20130919-181003.jpg

Paris, port de l’Arsenal, repair Day 8, brass hinges

This morning they brought back and fixed the hinges of the upper gates. The brass rings have been renewed, each part was put on the axle of each door and soldered to be kept in place.

I now understand why the passage above the upper gates had been closed for the last few days. The axle of both doors were loose and it would have been hazardous to cross the lock walking on the top of the gates.

The foreman told me that meanwhile, new paddles were manufactured in the workshop, he hoped that Thursday or maybe Friday, they could be put back into place on the gates.

He hesitated a moment, I could seen him thinking, then he added, “we might even come on Saturday”.

We are fortunate not to have planned any museum visit on that day.

20130918-154413.jpg

20130918-154424.jpg

20130918-154506.jpg

20130918-154523.jpg

20130918-154554.jpg

20130918-154611.jpg

20130918-154633.jpg

20130918-154824.jpg

20130918-154833.jpg

20130918-154845.jpg

Paris, port de l’Arsenal, repair Day 7, excitement

I wish I could write, another exiting day at the lock, I can’t.

On the metro line 1, coming back from the BHV, where I bought a sponge, I saw a girl dressed in checkered white and black pants, similar to a clown outfit, a short black leather jacket and her strait hair falling on her shoulders. At the left side of her head, she had the locks painted in bright fluorescent green, white and pink, the remaining locks were auburn, cool, would my 7 year old grandson say. Other than that, she was a beautiful girl, worth for me to look at her.

The other exciting thing worth mentioning, is that we bought a 5€ year membership at the ‘Foyer de la Madeleine’, in order to eat their daily meal, 8€ for the entrée, main dish and dessert, to coffee is an extra 0,80€.
The food is good, we had pork in mustard sauce with zucchini, the service provided by volunteers is close to perfect. The entrance is located at the west side of the Madeleine.

Walking back on the quay towards the Chat Lune, I chatted with the gardener who cleans the base of the wall on the Bourdon side of the Arsenal. “They should have sprayed weed killer, we have some stuff that does not pollute the water”, he told me a bit irritated at having to spend several days on his knees with a knife, cutting the weeds.
Pigeons are happily eating the seeds.

Enough excitement, the workers at the lock, one of them dressed in a shining white coverall, cleaned the bottom of the pit, the Kächer was activated once again to clean the guides of the paddles. They will be put in place soon, I guess.

More excitement tomorrow.

20130917-173937.jpg

20130917-174003.jpg

20130917-174048.jpg

20130917-174111.jpg

20130917-174142.jpg

20130917-174210.jpg

20130917-174224.jpg

20130917-174241.jpg

20130917-174301.jpg

Paris, port de l’Arsenal, repair Day 6, the Kärcher

Today is Monday, I am not expecting much activity at the lock.

However, at around 10 am, I hear the noise of the sump pumps emptying the pit.
The the high pressure Kärcher is out and a couple of workers are cleaning the gates at the place where the bars of the paddles are meant to come back.

Two other workers are using green plastic bags and red tape to protect the action mechanisms of the paddles from the rain.

The KNIGHT’S CROSS is making a round in basin in front of the Capitainerie. After two years of cruising the european and french waterways with his wife and two small children, Peter, an Australian, sold her and today, the new owner is running a trial.

By noon, at the lock, the city workers have all left.
They have secured the passage of the gates with a chain and a padlock, we really have to walk the bridge to access the Capitainerie.

That’s it for today folks.

20130916-162557.jpg

20130916-162619.jpg

20130916-162634.jpg

20130916-162700.jpg

20130916-162714.jpg

20130916-162734.jpg

20130916-162754.jpg

20130916-162814.jpg

Paris, port de l’Arsenal, repair Day 5, making new paddles

This morning, out of bed, I push up the hatch of the Chat Lune and I can see that the pumps are active at the lock.

The muesli eaten, the tea drunk and the daily sudoku completed, I walk to the lock to control the works, somebody has to keep an eye on what is going on there.

This time the leaks have been sealed and the pit between the cofferdams and the wall is almost dry, “get going guys”.

At the other side of the upper gate Rémi and Olivier are discussing with the foreman, and 2 workers are in the pit doing several things that were not clear for me.

However, at the end of the afternoon, I am jumping ahead a few hours now, the four paddles of the upper gates have been dismounted and taken away to be remade in the workshop, according to Olivier.

He also tells me that Monday, the divers will come back to examine the state of the 4 paddles of the lower gates, the gates of the Seine.

The weekend is on, don’t overlook that Paris opens its doors for the European ‘Journées du Patrimoine’, have a good one.

More news Monday evening.

20130913-174630.jpg

20130913-174654.jpg

20130913-174710.jpg

20130913-174732.jpg

20130913-174751.jpg

20130913-174817.jpg

20130913-174847.jpg

20130913-174916.jpg

20130913-174931.jpg