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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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