On this dreary October day, 34 years to the day I gave birth to my firstborn, I suddenly realised it was about time I got writing again just incase anyone actually reads this drivel and likes to know where we are in the world!
The canine crew enjoying the view
Well I can tell you that we are back in Bolton at the moment, planning our winter get away and fraught with indecision about where and when to set off in the motorhome.
First cycle ride after surgery, phew!
Nigel’s replacement ankle surgery went according to plan but the recovery didn’t. The wound was stubborn to heal having somehow picked up an infection. Weeks of too-ing and fro-ing to the hospital in Salford every few days, interspersed with readmittance for intravenous antibiotics for a couple of days kept us from returning to the boat until the beginning of September. This hampered his ability to perform the physio exercises in order to get moving comfortably again. However, he is now driving again and physio has resumed, fingers crossed he will become more mobile before too long. He was able to cycle again to get about in Belgium even though one short dog walk was enough!
First dog walk for 2 and a half years! complete with crutch and moon boot. Dash is in the canal, can you see him? You might need to zoom in!
Being back at home always has its plus points of course, number one being that we were home for Hattie’s 4th birthday and I was able to take her and her mum and other grandma out for the day to Stockley Farm where I have been countless times before on school trips. It was so special to be there with my own grand daughter though and she thoroughly enjoyed her day as we all did. Thankfully grandad managed to hobble about and look after himself at home alone without any mishaps!
Tractor ride, Hattie and her mummy
Feeding the goats
Later, back in Belgium we enjoyed some fantastic weather on our month’s cruise in Meander. We decided, with advice from the capitaine of the marina, not to be too ambitious so we planned a circular (ish) itinerary taking in some of the smaller, less well known towns and waterways of Flanders and giving ourselves plenty of time back at Leopoldsburg to winterise the boat. We had originally planned to leave her back in Lemmer, Friesland out of the water but having got as far south as Flanders we thought we would leave her there and explore more of Belgium, including Wallonia next year.
Tapestry clad lifting bridge
More bridge tapestry
Mechelen Cathedral I climbed 538 steps to the top
View from the top, I could see Brussels to the South and Antwerp to the North
Hotel de Ville, Lier
One of the bells of the Mechelen Carillion
Deep lock…going up!
Duck weed trail, we woz here!
Into the pea soup
Strange goings on in Mechelen, Red robed people with Picture Frames ???
Me and him in Hasselt
Talented family street musicians Could have listened all day
Catching the rays
Hasselt by night
Keeping out of the way of the big boys on the Albert Canal
Let Me In
Random parrot out for a walk in Hasselt
Hasseltse coffee a “little” bit of cream and a large slug of Geneva
We have enjoyed Belgium much more than we expected to, the waterways are varied and interesting and the towns all have differing and lively charm and architecture. The people have been welcoming and friendly and starting with “I’m sorry I don’t speak Flemish, only English” even on the VHF radio channels usually gets one a helpful and polite reply. We haven’t seen many other British boaters although back at our winter base there are now 4, the other 3 of whom we have got to know and intend to keep in touch with.