Packing up the boat has really been a bit of a performance – to put it mildly! And we have spent time talking the new owners through all her little idiosyncrasies. Patrick & Arian haven’t owned a boat before so there was an awful lot to explain. They intend to live on board in Valenciennes and go cruising in due course. Both are undertaking their boat licences now.
It was quite tiring explaining everything in french! And since they are french they have to register the boat under the French scheme – its called francisation! We had to provide evidence that VAT had been paid and that she had passed various requirements. We had to de-register her from the British Small Ships Register. Then they had to register her as French. Easy? Not really! Particularly as Patrick came up against an example of French bureaucracy on Friday afternoon! The SSR register had her listed as a ‘barge’ – which, he was told, meant she was a commercial vessel and different rules applied! The guy we spoke to at SSR was extremely pleasant and very helpful. He wrote and sent us an official letter stating that Piedaleau was a ‘pleasure barge’ and had always been used as a pleasure boat. Patrick provided this to the French authority; the lady had subsequently found a separate document supporting this and so, as far as we know, all is now well.
We both feel sad to be selling Piedaleau but both agree that it really is time. I have had boats for the last 30 years and we have had some great adventures and met some wonderful people together over the last eight years on Piedaleau. We have an open invitation to visit them and we will return since they are storing a few things for us in the cellar at their bar!!! Gerard and Chantal on the boat next door had some of the furniture …. interesting getting a sofa through a boat window!!!!
The car, and roof box, were full to bursting when we finally set off on Monday 24th October. We dreaded being stopped by customs – thankfully that didn’t happen but the guy at passport control commented along the lines of ‘I think you could have got a bit more in your car!’
On our last evening on board there was a firework display to say goodbye to us – how kind! And as we approached the white cliffs of Dover on the ferry, a rainbow appeared – hopefully a good omen for our future adventures in the UK and further afield!
Bye bye Piedaleau!