Return to Piedaleau

We left home at 7am on 1st September to return to the boat once again. Our journey time UK side is now around 4.5 hrs (about 1.5 hrs longer since we moved to Lincoln which makes a difference)! We had hoped to go the day before to visit my brother en route, and stay over so making the final stretch much shorter. But Peter has not been well for sometime and was having a hard time, & then we thought Adrian might have Covid, so unfortunately we had to cancel our visit. So we had to do the full journey that morning. Various problems on motorways made our timing a little tight but we got there in time.

We used Irish ferries again and had a lovely crossing – sitting out on deck away from everyone! Valenciennes is about 2 or 2.5 hrs from Calais. We were looking forward to seeing Grainne, Andy (Joni) and Pat (Coole Swan) who were due to visit Valenciennes for a few days.

We arrived around 5.30pm to mayhem in the port!!!

Basically what seems to have happened is that Joni was coming further into the port to turn around before rafting up to another boat. Joni picked ‘something’ up in her prop, lost steerage & was drifting towards other boats and, potentially, the weir at the far end of the port!

Coole Swan was on the waiting pontoon just outside the port because the whole place was chocker block with boats. As he came out of the office Pat heard Grainne’s cries for help and, according to Grainne, ran the length of that side of the port to jump on his boat and come to their rescue. I should perhaps point out that Pat is not made for sprinting and he was wearing clogs, but he knows his stuff re dealing with boat-type emergencies & helping a damsel in distress!

Coole Swan high tailed it down the canal – narrow boats, like this owner, are not renowned for their speed – came alongside Joni and pushed her across until lines could be secured so that the problem with the prop was investigated. When we arrived there were several people trying to free the prop using boat hooks …… & lots of other people watching & commenting! It turned out to be a wooden fender complete with rope that had been caught in the prop. It was safely removed but it wasn’t until Joni finally left a few days later that all the rope was finally got detached.

Grainne and Andy were really pretty shaken up. This is not surprising in itself but they really have had a hard time this year………. their car was written off; a commercial barge hit Jomi outside a lock causing 24000 euros of damage (luckily no one was hurt); and then in Paris their bikes were stoeln from their boat. All in all an awful year for them!

A recuperative drink and then dinner followed on Czyvargo.

John Pat Adrian Julie Moi Rachel Grainne Andy

So that was Thursday.

Friday was a slow day but we all went out to dinner at Mykonos, the family run Greek restaurant near the station. Very pleasant evening.

Saturday became boat moving day. Czyvargo left so Joni had to go out to let them off the pontoon then return and then Coole Swan moved in alongside.

We all took a trip to the Saturday market for a little light relief!

Then, in the afternoon, we grabbed various people to help us turn Piedaleau around so that her stern was to the pontoon ready for works to be carried out on Monday. We actually had quite a lot of fun with people strategically positioned to catch ropes or fend off as we turned. A thank you beer was definitely in order!

Pat Barbara Gerard Chantal Cat Grainne Adrian Peter

Author: mistyjf

I have been boating in Europe since 2009 when I shipped Misty Morning to France. Time & life move on! Adrian, my new partner, & I bought Piedaleau in 2015 to continue and expand our European boating adventures.

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