Piedaleau & Laura Marie decided to form a little convoy for the final stage to Bruges. We haven’t invested in AIS system which enables you to ‘see’ other vessels around you on the waterways ie those BIG boyos, and we had been warned that there are a couple of narrow stretches en route to Bruges where it could be ‘interesting’ to inadvertently meet such a big boyo. For boats 20m+ it is mandatory to have AIS. Chris does too. So Piedaleau decided it made sense to tuck in behind Laura Marie and be warned of said boyos!
On Monday evening we all gathered for a farewell dinner at Bruno’s and prepared for the off early on Tuesday morning ……. best laid plans and all that …….. we learnt that there is a 24hr transport strike on Tuesday and so the lifting bridge keeper advised us to stay put as we couldn’t know if any of the bridge / lock keepers would be on strike. Not worth getting stranded somewhere when we can stay at this very nice mooring and have another farewell do tomorrow!!
We finally left on Wednesday with Keith acting as crew for Chris – ain’t easy to cruise on your own, particularly for a long period (how can you go to the loo, even!). Anyway we had quite a jolly time of it, keeping in touch by radio, waving at Lucrèze standing on a bridge, trying to get the lst lifting bridge to open……..
So we are now in Flandria, our winter mooring in Bruges. They are still dredging and no one seems to know when this will actually be finished! We are rafted up to Vlinder (Ellen & Peter – who have returned to Aus) but not sure if / when we’ll have to move again. Fun! But we are here!
And then on Weds 18th Oct we got word that boats could move into winter positions…….
So first we acted as shore crew for Maria of Zadam when she came backwards round the corner……
Then we acted as a tugboat and moved Vlinder out and up to raft up to Maria….. Then we moved Laura Marie back a bit while other boats were also being moved and eventually moored Piedaleau between Inevitable and Laura Marie. All tucked up nice and cosily for the winter!
So Weds evening we went out to celebrate with Jo & Tim (Maria), Chris (Laura Marie) and another couple called Diana and Chris who have a rather beautiful boat in the other mooring in Bruges. Jo said she thought I’d get on rather well with Diana, said she had worked at Addenbrookes Hospital …….. in fact she worked at both Addenbrookes and Papworth so I asked where they used to live – ‘a little village you won’t have heard of ….. Offord D’Arcy’! Its literally a mile from where we live! I even recognised the name of one of Diana’s previous boats which she had on the Great Ouse here. Eeeh life’s full of surprises and happy meetings!
So after all this excitement we spent Thurs preparing to return home on Friday (20th Oct) for a few weeks, to see the kids and for me to attend my annual get together with me old (ie long standing) college buddies!