After getting married we were off to Piedaleau in Valenciennes for a few weeks. We left her here just over a year ago expecing to return within a few weeks. She was dirty but we were very pleased to discover everything dry and protected inside.
We did various checks ….. oil & water fine; fuel test showed all well in the tanks!
So we tried to start her up! Absolutely NO GO! Dead as a Do Do, as they say down under! Probably the starter battery had died but we wanted to be sure it was not anything else, eg corrosion around the contacts. After discussion with Andy we checked and sandpapered the contacts to the starter motor in the engine. As always not the easiest of tasks but we persevered. We tried to start her again ….. NO GO!
About this time a nearby boat started their engine up and then guy apologised for the noise / fumes. I made some comment about being jealous since we couldn’t start Piedaleau. A rather bizarre afternoon / evening ensued!
The guy, Oscar, came over to have a look! He told us (I forget now just how many times) that he is the only boat mechanic in the area and had been working on the other boat. He is from Peru and has been in France for many years. Now divorcing French wife and looking for an English wife, even though he doesn’t speak English but, thanks to British TV, thinks this would suit him better.
His apprentice, Julie, her fiance, their dog and the guy from the end of the pontoon, and his dog, then arrived looking for Oscar. Julie was beside herself because they had had no idea where he had disappeared to and all were worried he may have fallen in the water! Apparently this has happened before! Needless to say drinks were required to soothe worried brows……..
But Oscar did manage to get the engine to start (think he jumped across from anothere battery) thereby confirming that it is a dead starter battery. We tried charging it overnight, to no avail, so then we had to source a new one.
So we drove to the Neptunia chandlery boat at Antoing. No luck. Sent us onto a battery place at Tournai where they sourced one for delivery Monday or Tuesday. Hopefully that will work out and we will be able to get a little cruising in before we have to return home late October. Got to do some cruising since we’re here!
In th meantime we took the opportunity to walk around Valenciennes and enjoy a coffee or a beer or 2! Lovely sitting in front of the Gare watching the world go by!