or happenings sur le ponton……
We left Pont-à-Bar on Monday 26th June heading for Charleville-Mézièrres – about 20 kms but only 4 locks so about 3.5 hours and lovely to be able to move a little faster, as we were onto the Meuse river. We came into Charleville around lunchtime and were amazed to see the river pontoon outside the marina proper was virtually empty! So, rather than risk the low, arched footbridge at the marina entrance, we did a ‘u-ey’ (which Piedaleau does not particularly like doing) and came in to moor on the pontoon with Kiwi Rose right behind us as another English barge came in ahead of us. Nifty!
Max & Lucy had an engineer come from Germany to check their engine which is smokey and they see diesel in the water at times. They had had the engine completely overhauled in Germany so wanted to have it checked. The guy duly arrived; Max took the boat out for a spin with him while Lucy guarded their spot. Engineer said they need to push their engine harder – bit difficult to do on canals. Had to get a Danish couple to translate from the German engineer! They will do as instructed and talk with the boatyard again in due course.
A bit later things got a little interesting on the pontoon…… A Danish family on a small yacht came in between us and the barge but moored pretty much in the middle of the space, leaving gaps fore and aft that weren’t much use to others, and went off for a walk. Along came a Dutch cruiser and decided he couldn’t get in either in front or behind the Danish geezer; the barge offered to let them raft up against them until they could ask for the Danish guy to move. Fine. But the Dutch geezer wasn’t satisfied with this and proceeded to move the Danish boat himself – forwards, away from any cleats & the electricity point. The Danish family returned …. and went ballistic! You do not move other people’s boats – and they told the Dutch guy in no uncertain terms!! The Dutch guy shrugged but didn’t reply. Because of the shape of their boat the Danish family didn’t have long enough ropes or power cable so the Dutch guy had to lend them some. I also had to protect our rope and cable as he came into moor as he took no notice of anything except getting his boat where he wanted it. Nice guy. Strange to say I don’t think he made any friends on the pontoon.
But it became a real social place for the rest of us.
I was catching up on my emails, Women on Barges (Facebook group), and aiming to do a blog ……. had just noticed a post on the WOB site to which Voirrey had replied ……. I looked up to see Bella Fortuna going past! Ran out to yell hello to Voirrey and Andy etc. The pontoon was virtually full and there certainly wasn’t wasn’t a 20m space for Bella Fortuna so they rafted up to us for the night and invited us to join them for dinner.
In fact it turned into dinner chez Piedaleau as it was quite a warm evening and its difficult for them to open windows with having 3 cats on board. They left the cats on board Bella Fortuna but brought their friend Blair. Clever having navy type friends as crew!
So today, Thursday 29th, there has been a clear out of boats from the pontoon – Kiwi Rose has headed orf (sure we’ll meet up in Belgium soon) as have the Aussies on La Belle Vie and the Dutch geezer. We are staying another night so that I can go for a swim and we can go out to dinner with Voirrey & Andy.
Lucy keeps saying she needs an alcohol free day but never quite manages – I am in the same boat, as it were!