I seem to start each year along similar lines….
We arrived back on board in Bruges on 5th April after waiting for a couple of appointments for Adrian at home. All done and dusted so off we set……
We have been pottering around the boat for the last 2 weeks but had to await confirmation of contractor to repair some storm damage to our roof at home – 3 properties had some damage in a storm so we are having all done at same time. Not so simple since the houses are 4 stories high and the problems are at the back – so getting the scaffolding organised is crucial & I want to be there since the component parts will be taken through my house to the back deck.
We finally heard that this would all happen from 1st May – so we plan to return home for a few days on 30th April to oversee operations!
So we decided to set off in tandem with David on Carmen and head to Ypres for a few days and then either return here or stay there while we go back home. Great idea and David beavered away to get Carmen ready for cruising – its a lot of work on his own on a 23m boat. Wednesday 18th saw us waiting for him to finish. We were ready and straining at the bit………. Finally – he was ready – we had unplugged the electrics and started to untie the ropes – all was set when I asked Adrian if he had tested the bow thruster?
And guess what? nowt! zilch! capput! We weren’t going anywhere – not with this boat without the ‘security blanket’ of a bow thruster. Now, I know there are purists out there who believe a bow thruster is unnecessary, one should be able to manoeuvre without such a thing, but we aren’t of that mindset, especially with this boat.
So cruising hats off! And thinking hats on! All afternoon and evening Weds Adrian tried stuff. Even called in guy from firm who had done some electrics stuff in January just in case they had left something unplugged – no luck. On Thurs David (Carmen) and Adrian were heads down in the thruster locker (which is in our main cabin) all day! David has a contact at Vetus in the UK and so there were numerous telephone calls to Kevin. Finally today, Friday, they have identified the little blue part (thermal break switch) that has blown; so now we are on a ‘hunt the part’ trajectory……
We tried various Vetus suppliers in Belgium but this seems to be going nowhere fast so we finally ordered said part from our local chandler’s at home (affectionately known as ‘Jones the Boat’) and we will pick it up when we are home. David then used a piece of wire to bypass the broken part and we have thrusters again via a temporary fix.
Interestingly the last time we actually moved Piedaleau was to relocate a couple of other boats here in Flandria when the dredgers finished – therefore the thruster could well have been working overtime which is reassuring to consider, and important to remember, for the future.
Every year it seems something jumps up to bite us on the bum when we return to the boat ………. you will remember the hunt for the part for the loo 2 years ago in Pont de Vaux? and the fiasco of the batteries and inverter last year in Paris? At least this is not such an expensive item (around £10 + postage – ordered 2 while I was at it)
To lighten this post I shall relate a couple of things that have happened over this 2 weeks – talk about a slow news day!
I enjoy watching the kayak volleyball behind us here at Flandria.
We went for a walk around Bruges last week and stopped for a beer (single) in the sunshine. Just as we were about to leave an old fashioned brewery dray, complete with barrels and horse, stopped beside the bar. They proceeded to give each customer a glass and a bottle of Omer beer – presumably as a publicity stunt. We enjoyed the beer. I asked if I could keep me glass too – the Omer guy said Ok nd promptly gave Adrian the rest of his beer and gave me his glass too! A British couple beside us didn’t like the beer much so they gave us their’s too! So by the end of it we were quite merry & had 3 glasses to boot!
This morning I heard quite a commotion going on behind the water tap stand. On inspection I discovered a poor little duck being ‘harassed’ by a most insistent drake! She didn’t look at all enamoured so I clapped loudly and they flew off. Obviously the ‘me too’ campaign has not reached the Belgian duck community.
The weather is currently fabulous – gorgeous sunshine and lovely evening light.
In fact the local photography group decided to come here to photograph the boats. Didn’t know who they were taking close ups of the boats & they didn’t explain until I asked them & suggested it would be polite to talk to people who are out on their decks before taking piccies! Anyway in view of the fact that there have been a couple of boat break ins here this year I took a photo of them, ready for the coppers should anything amiss transpire thereafter.
And finally I must mention our Aquarobics group at home. We have a truly fun time and there is lots of splashing – especially up our end of the pool. A crazy lot to say the least!