Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Winter 09

Nov 09 to Mar 10

Kortrijk is a nice town, with quiet moorings on the old River Leie arm very near the centre - all the expected mod cons like an Irish pub, reasonable restaurants and a frites stall. The Library had english papers and wi fi for when we exceeded our internet download allowance (again).

Broeltorens at night
A fellow Sagar barge (Linda) joined us for the Winter to provide some social life - Kes the pup was the main attraction for Linda, while Colin provided answers to some of the newbie questions which helped a lot. We also did a day visit to Antwerp to purchase new mooring ropes and fenders at a fraction of the UK prices.

Kes 8 weeks
We had retained the car for the Winter and it proved invaluable when the Kabola central heating packed up just before Xmas - a rapid trip to Kabola in Holland on 23 Dec sorted that just in time for Xmas Dinner on the 24th. Both children and their respective partners descended for Xmas and we decided sleeping/feeding 6 adults is our max limit on 17m - any more and it will have to be a bigger barge.

Winter had set in by now, though surprisingly the River never froze over.

Angela's sister and family came for the New Year to confirm that all was well.  After that we got back into a winter routine of hibernation interrupted by lots of dog walking - the light relief consisting of reading the instruction manual for the air con (not needed so far). Angela found a dog training school, so Kes is now better trained than Peter (any comparative comments on Border Collie's intelligence/trainability will be treated with contempt - by Peter).

Gent Cloth Hall
In Feb we visited Gent sightseeing, it was a bit of a building site so we wandered down to the moorings for a shufti - Dick Monk was moored adjacent to a wide beam boat 'Renaissance' which was our first meeting with Terry and Teresa Barrett. Then in early Spring, 'Renaissance' and a couple of narrow boats ('Wandering Snail' and 'Etoile du Nord') joined us in Kortrijk for a few nights which emptied the cellars.  

Angie took the car back to UK for disposal in Mar and returned at speed in the son's BMW carrying essentials like Yorkshire tea and Branston pickle. We also got an inflatable (RIB) in case of need (note 'teach Angie to row'). 

Kes was growing fast.

Time to move so we refilled the rear cabin with Belgian beer and cast off on 1 Apr 10 down the Bossuit-Kortrijk Canal  to the East.

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