We have now been home a week. The predicted date for Nigel’s replacement ankle operation was some time in August but Drew intercepted a hospital letter and relayed the news to us that it is to be 6th July with his pre-op assessment on 15th June.

Red bridge, Utrecht
Water lilies on the Beverlo Canal

So having almost reached the Belgian border and having had intelligence from other boating friends that their winter mooring in Leopoldsburg was a good spot to leave a boat we decided to make that our intermediate destination instead of returning to Friesland.

A country pile on the Vecht

Following on from my last blog post, we spent some time navigating the very pretty Vecht river, had a few days in Utrecht, a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, cruised for a while on the BIG Amsterdam Rhine canal  and for a short time up the very busy Rhine (called the Waal at this point) with the big boys a rather bumpy ride!


At Heusden we had a very pleasant chance meeting with John and Hilary Berridge on their barge Iskra. We first met them on our summer 2011 cruise and have had a couple of meet ups since. They told us about their winter mooring and just as they were leaving to go north and us to keep on heading south, we got the news about the operation date.

This made us bounce!

Let the big boys out first

No overtaking!

On to s’Hetogenbosch, (known as Den Bosch for short)  the birth place of the Dutch painter Hieronymus_Bosch  where we met a young man from Salford who helped us moor and then came on board for a natter. He kindly accompanied me on foot to the station so that I could go back and retrieve the car. This had not gone well the first time when I returned to Lemmer from Utrecht. It was quite a long journey by train and bus and involved quite a bit of walking. I decided to do my shopping in Lemmer before returning to Utrecht, got back to the car with a trolley load only to find I had a flat tyre. I was helped by a local garage owner who replaced the flat with the spare wheel. Fortunately I was able to get the tyre repaired in Utrecht at “kwik fit” on the Monday morning.

New Rail bridge at Den Bosch

Evening Light show

Markt, Den Bosch

Den Bosch Town Hall

Working out our last few days, we realized we could take our time to get to Leopoldsburg and get the dogs to a vet within the prescribed time span for the Pet Passport scheme and for me to travel back to Den Bosch to retrieve the car one last time. 

Yours truly steering along the
water lily lined Beverlo Canal

We have asked to leave our boat there for the duration of Nigel’s operation and recovery, we hope to be able to continue cruising late summer/early autumn and return to Leopoldsburg for the winter 2016/17. It’s a very friendly marina with helpful staff. The town is within walking/cycling distance with all the shops we need. Whilst we were there, Nigel managed to install our two tilting solar panels, a good day’s work whilst I was fetching the car. 

Us in a lock with two commercials

A 103 year old commercial alongside us in a lock

Bailey Bridge at the start of the
Beverlo Canal, Belgium


Kiddie transport,
Dutch style

Loading with gravel, almost full
load line under his feet!

New “thatched” houses at Naarden

Alternative use for hub caps

Peleton…clock the King of the Mountains
in polka dot…I don’t think so!

Red Bridge opening for us

Rhosneigr Bay????

Sailing lesson on the Vecht

Street Art

Look behind you…….

Our mooring in Veghel

A bit of elbow grease and it might still work????

Meander on the wall above the lock in Utrecht

On the Vecht

Needs some TLC!
Work boat on the Vecht
One of many “house boats” lining the Vecht
Solar panels installed

So we’re back in Bolton, it’s the summer Solstice today and the sun is actually shining.We’re looking forward to being able to watch Le Tour De France on TV this year, last year we missed it all as we have no TV on Meander.

One thing that really pleased me was that I was complimented by the Vet on the dogs’ health and fitness; after Belle’s illness earlier this year it was good to be told by a professional that they are both in fine fettle!