Monday, 28 July 2014

Hastiere To France and Givet

2 Locks, 5 miles, 2½ hours, €613 Euros lighter!

As luck would have it just as we were prepping to leave Hastiere 2 cruisers came into view, so we waited till they passed then tagged on.  No radio work you see! and because they are faster means they get to the lock before us ready to just bimble in.

I have left Napoleon at Hastiere lock for retrieval today.  That meant a 8 mile bike ride in the pooring drizzle.  When I got there I was soaked through.  Anyway Napleon is now with us in Givet.

First Lock Hastiere with Napoloen parked up.


100m past this bridge is the French border. And about ½ mile past this is the first French Lock.

Givet Lock




For the first time since early in Belgium the Lockie took our ropes on a long hook and put them on the bollards for us. Most polite. Now I see why>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It was here we were relieved of €613 for a one year Vignette


Notice the start and end date.  This is for the whole year, but as we are 7/12 through it was only EXACTLY the same price as for the whole year. Gotta love the French!  We did get a free map and a leaflet as well.  Also we got a remote control for the regions locks.  More on that when we use it.

Once through the lock with a bruised wallet we are soon reminded this is still a commercial waterway although commercial traffic has been extremely rare.

Scrap Metal

So here we are in Givet.  I must admit I thought it was a bigger town when we were car shifting with MR.

There is of course a Citadel which we won’t be visiting.



The moorings here are very long split in to Commercial and Pleasure.  On the pleasure you pay but on the Commercial you don’t and no one seems to bother you either.  I have read on one group that there is very little chance of a commercial barge wanting to moor here nowdays.  The wall is quite high so the first night I lifted the dogs up and down but this mooring I put the boarding ramp on the foredeck with the ladder side up so the boys could walk up and down.



The wall at the pleasure moorings are just the same.

Apart from being small Givet seems to be a well kept town apart from the dog poo everywhere. It seems very popular with motorcyclists and a lot of classic cars passing by and motorhomes.


Free Aire



Deb has found a new beer Leffe Ruby


Going back a bit, the fireworks at Hastiere were quite spectacular lasting about 20 minutes.  Oh and remember the UmPha band / bar I forgot to say Juplier was only €2 a pint!




I could go on as I have loads of them.  You had to be there.

Saturday, 26 July 2014


No Movement

We both woke early but lazed around in bed doing all the important things like Facebook, Daily Mail etc. over breakfast in bed.

The plan was to set of for Givet & France, but it turned into a boat day.  First on the list for me was to cycle back the 14km to Dinant and get the MH.  I also wanted to go to the cycle shop as I wanted to change to a bigger chain wheel on my bike.  They couldn’t help me so I went to another shop recommended by them but they too couldn’t help either.

Another boat has joined us on the mooring.  He is having guests over for a Fiesta this evening.  Apparently there will be fireworks on the bridge here this so armed with this info we decided to stay. It was Belgium Nation Day on Monday and this is the first weekend after for celebrations.

I took Deb shopping as she needed a fix.  Here she is shopping on a €5 stall. I know how to treat a woman.


It must be market day.  She is now the proud owner of a very jazzy pair of trousers. Also in town is a sort of fair,


in the town there was a strolling UmPha band sort of busking for beer at the bars and strange dancers in tow with a hat for donations.  There’s also massive PA rig just up the road that was testing a short time ago.  Looks like it could be a lively night.

As there was a fuel station nearby I decided to fill up as in Belgium fuel is a bit cheaper. 230L purchased of which 190L fitted in the tank.

Here we are this evening with MH back on the mooring with us.


So France can wait another day.  We are only a few miles from the border.

France is the green bit behind the line

Friday, 25 July 2014

Dinant To Hastiere

2 locks, 8½ miles, 2½ hours

Morning dog walk took us all to Spar for a few bits and bobs and to check on the MH which was fine.

We cast off about midday and took a leisurely cruise to the first lock of the day. 

Leaving Dinant

Rocher Bayard





We were joined by a couple taking their restoration project bought in the Netherlands and going down to just past Lyon.



It was at this lock we decided to try our newly made lock hooks.  The purpose of these hooks are to enable quick secure attachment to the lock rope points.  These locks are relatively shallow at about 8’ rise, but in deeper locks its necessary to move the rope up or down as you go unless there’s floating bollards.



The other end of the rope is secured to the boat in the normal way and controlled as normal depending which way your going. Once the hook was level with the boat I simply re-hooked to the safety rail.  Deb did the same at the front but on a ladder.  Verdict agreed was very successful and so came out for the next lock.


On the way out of Anseremme lock we spied a narrowboat Genie’s Wish.  A most unexpected sight, although we must be too because several times today we were photographed.

Once again the scenery was stunning as was the weather.






Look at that lovely wake!


How’s this for the “Slow Down” club.  Water-skiing past us at about 40mph.  They would have kittens and shout themselves hoarse.

Waulsort lock


Approach to Waulsort lock looking back to Yachtclub de la Haute Meuse.

We have moored for the night at Hastiere town moorings



Tomorrow we reach France. 



I had lost 3 things on the boat since being on. I found the flags and put the Ensign up


and I eventually found the duel LNB satellite cable I wanted to install yesterday while I had all the bedroom ceiling and headboard in bits.  So its just a big cable padlock I need to find now.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Dinant Citadel

Totally stationary

Today was a tourist day.  We took the short walk into Dinant centre and decided the Citadel would be our visit of choice.


Not before though we visited the Church Of Our Lady.  As much as I hate religion it has been the driving force to some really great buildings over the century's.

Church & Citadel above

image046  image045
Vivid colours in the stained glass window




Then on to the Citadel, 400+ steps or cable car?  Yes you’ve guessed it. Once at the top we got bamboozled for a photo, and on exit she was most indignant we didn’t want to even look.  Why would we?  A nice Chinese family reciprocated our offer to photo them with our camera. 


Of course being this high gives great views of the town.


We are moored just around the left curve

Once inside the Citadel we tagged on to a tour in Dutch.  We couldn't understand what he was saying but the rest of crowd were clearly captivated.  It was just as well we did tag on as the bulk of the attraction is roped off the the independent visitor.

Being a Citadel the was the normal barracks and torture & execution stuff on show.



By far the most weird part was the WW1 trench exhibition.  I wondered initially why they could get away with this sign.


But it soon became clear.  The exit was the most strange experience ever.  I really don’t know how Deb did this with her vertigo, even I was well disorientated.

It’s hare to explain. but there is not a vertical or horizontal surface in the area. but at the bottom there is a pool of water that look to be hanging at about 20 degrees.  Its very disorientating.  My camera has an artificial horizon and this was taken level.


This was taken with my perceived level


Photos don’t really catch it.

After a spot of lunch we took the opportunity to take photos on the Charles De Gaul bridge.  Sorry about the over exposure.


Why the saxophone's?  Well Dinant is the birthplace of Adolph Sax the inventor of the Saxophone.

On the walk back we came across the Sax Museum with a great glass sculpture of a …………. Saxophone.


Once back on Avalon I decided to fit the 12v Ceiling fan I bought for the bedroom.

Remote control, 3 speed and revisable

I found this on eBay but only available from America.  Its very quiet even on full speed.  It will be tested tonight. I will be changing the colour of the blades.

This is our mooring in the daylight.


We will be moving off in the mooring heading towards Givet.