Monday 23 May 2016
|33kms, 2 locks, 6 hours|
Only having French phone cards we need to cross the border into France before 10am so that lock service for the afternoon could be arranged; we depart Tournai early – 07h15. A gas cylinder, which should have been inspected and exchanged when we fuelled up at the fuel barge near Antoing, was found to be within two boiled kettles of being empty so a quick stop at the Neptunia was part of the travel plan. A new cylinder duly purchased for E30 plus E18 for the gas (no comment on the legitimacy of the ‘unacceptable cylinder strategy’ transaction) we were on our way to the delightful sounding town of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux.
|The old Belgium customs office.|
moor up next to a water/power point and Lynn starts calling – five numbers later we are no nearer raising assistance to open the two locks between us and our destination, so we give up on the Scarpe Infereior, top up our water supply with the magic ‘key’ which refuses absolutely to switch off the tap thus leaving our remaining literage to the mercy of the next user, and head off to the two big Peronnes locks and our overnight stop Perulewz.
|Amazing that the let all that water (about 18,000 tons of it) out of the two locks for one tiny boat|
The locks were negotiated without mishap although the good ship Peabody must have thought we were absolute prats for first passing them into the first lock (in response to our “Permision sil vous plais” we were told, in excellent English, “You enter first”) and then overtaking them after the second lock – I had not realised that the speed limit was 8kph, our worst engine vibration speed – sincere apologies Guys (grovelling in order).
|The good ship Peabody|
Into the port at Peruwelz in no time only to find it very full with a mooring-and-a-bit against the high wall; Lynn would really have battled to have gotten ashore despite deployment of the ladder fender.
My bike was handled ashore and after a quick trip to a nearby Hubo the computer 12v charger had a new fuse and the iBoost provided excellent internet connection.
After Captaine Dominique had relieved us of our E15 for mooring and electricity (not used as the box was a way away) we settled down to a favourite, copied-from-the-Njordians meal of barbequed chicken Maryland.
And so ended a bit of a disappointing day, France-ways.