I took the Eurostar back home on 13th June in order to look after Lisa who had an operation on 15th. I was due to return a week later but had to remain a further week because her op was a little more complicated than anticipated. As always, if there is an easy option or a harder option Lisa chooses the latter! I returned on 26th. The trip on Eurostar was great but the railways in UK are in disarray as a result of the introduction of a new timetable. No one knows what trains are actually running, when, or even if, they will arrive and if they’ll ever get to their end destination! Chaos and many disgruntled passengers! What a difference to their Belgian equivalent – which we have found to be on time, comfortable and cheap! After 9am we can go anywhere in Belgium for 6.40 euros – cos we are old!
Anyway I had left Adrian with a ‘to do list’ so I knew he wouldn’t get bored even though I was delayed. In fact he had friends to play with – Chris (Laura Marie) came to join him with Sally and Martin (Pavot). Not met them before but all seem to get on extremely well and several entertaining evenings ensued! Chris and Adrian got ‘involved’ with some Belgian football supporters when World Cup matches were on – were even awarded complimentary Belgium t-shirts. After my return the England v Belgium match was on and that got very rowdy in the bar – good natured rowdiness, with a full rendition of ‘God Save the Queen’ after we lost to Belgium.
We decided we would leave on Friday (29th) in convoy with Chris. Sally and Martin staying an extra few days in order to be somewhere acceptable for their dogs in the heat. It is extremely hot – same while I was at home too – and it certainly is here – thermometer reading 38*C outside and 32*C inside just now – its 6.30 pm.
Anyway, leaving involved turning the boats around, as we didn’t want to brave the weed to go right along the Roubaix Canal to Lille. Sounds easy but not when the canal is not wide enough for any of the boats to turn 180* and the turning space is in the french part of the canal. We had to go through the Belgian lock (operated by the Belgian eclusier) and then rendezvous with the French eclusier to go through the lifting bridge – up to the turning point, turn around taking care not to use thrusters or to get snarled up with the weed – then come back to the lifting bridge and then back through the lock, with 3 boats in the convoy. The turning was fun rather like a slow motion dance on the grass, the weed was that thick. Martin managed to snag a large branch in his prop which caused him to stop at one point. He went in the drink to untangle it after he limped back to his mooring.
Anyway we all managed the turn around, had celebratory champers, BBQ and England lost to Belgium! But we were up and ready to head to Tournai on Friday. All rather sad to leave this lovely comfortable mooring. Most enjoyable 3 weeks!
An easy enough cruise back down the Espierres Canal, out through the narrow entrance, to join the Escaut and head towards Tournai.