Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Barge for Sale

Jun 15

We had our first 'viewing' in Fintele - it was raining and the French couple didn't speak any English (ever tried to sell a boat using sign language and Google Translate) but despite that it was looking good until their boat sale fell through - so back on the road.

We had had enough of the Flanders Ring by then so we sprinted back through Veurne and Nieuwpoort (where Peter stayed up overnight for the Election - breakfasting on champagne) then to Brugge for a few nights.

Brugge circular sluis - the big boys do squeeze in
At Brugge the 'Te Koop' sign went up. Most of the winterers had moved on and a lot of hire boats were coming in (we shut our eyes).

We got a few enquiries through 'Apollo Duck (sale site) one offering a flat in Gibraltar in exchange (not tempted) but nothing serious. Then into Kortrijk Old Arm - we needed a break (and no TV) so we went off to UK for a week and then Germany for a few days.  Several thousand kms later we were more knackered then when we left. Angie's German GP said she should drink more - water to her disappointment.

A local had fallen in love with the boat before we went to Germany and was ready to proceed, but it had to be vetted by his absent wife - no surprise when she decided the windows and escape hatches were too small, the boat was too dark ...we think she fancied something more tupperware! So onwards - well almost as the Kortrijk sluis,of the Bossuit/Kortrijk canal, was blocked for the weekend as a pound had been accidentally emptied by the eclusier (what is that in Flemish)?

So the great circle route back up the old Leie to Gent - a very long day as moorings were full and we had to go on and on. Then down the Upper Scheldt (Bovenscheldt) through Oudenaarde which was new to us.

On the Oudenaarde wall - lifting height for Kes
Makes my hydraulic steering ram look puny
Oudenaarde Town Hall
Then we were back on familiar terrain (or water). The crossing into Wallonia was a non event as they didn't check our docs or put us on the computer system?  Unusually they put us into the ecluse before a large commercial - Angie was hoping they were a good judge of distance and that their reverse worked!

Managed to get on the pontoon in Tournai amidst the Dutch and we have stocked up with food, then it is off to the Neptunia bunker barge at Antoing for a fuel top up.  Given it is nearly half way through the cruising season we have not covered many km (or used much fuel).

Tournai Town square
Impressive 'bell tower'
Nice that Angie's arrival was celebrated - she is nee Moules :)

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