Come with us as we travel round Europe in our floating home

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Lille towards the Somme

Hi, nice to see you again.

We enjoyed Lille so much that we returned for another 3 nights. It's a good mooring, although the water level goes up and down by as much as 2 feet every time a commercial barge goes past the end of the arm.  There's not enough bollards but there are rings set into the wall that you can tie up to.

Monday was gloriously sunny so not long after we arrived and moored up we headed off across the canal to the zoo.  It's only small compared to others we've visited and was an absolute bargain at only 4 euros each.

We could see these birds from the boat

so we had to go for a closer view. They were Pink Ibis

Every morning and evening you can hear the monkeys screaming, presumably at feeding time. They are gibbons and live on this island

I felt sorry for the Barn Owls

The Meerkats were charming as always

The White Rhinos were impressive

but my favourite creatures were the armadillos which scurried around their enclosure so fast it was difficult to get a decent photo.

After walking miles around Lille taking in the sights, and indulging in a few more delicious meals out, David finally left us on Thursday morning to catch the Eurostar back to the UK.   We left Lille for pastures new and moored on the Canal de Lens at the Halte Nautique de Carrieres.

It was raining when we arrived and we were disappointed to see a British boat moored right in the centre of the 40m pontoon. As soon as he saw us he came out waving his arms to tell us that it wasn't a Halte Nautique but a landing stage for kayaks and was unsuitable for barges ???  B*****s.... it was just a floating pontoon similar to several we've moored on previously and he wasn't tied up properly.  Anyway, as we pulled onto the end of the pontoon with the intention of overhanging as he hadn't left any room for another boat he decided he wasn't sharing the pontoon and cast off. That was fine by us. Shortly afterwards a 20m Dutch barge arrived and moored behind us and we had absolutely no problems all night.

Just across the road was a beautiful park and I dragged Chico out for a walk next morning.  It was raining and he hates getting wet so I did literally have to drag him 😃

Do you like my new wellies?  They're Crocs and totally slip-proof. It's the first time I've needed them since we arrived in Europe but it's been dry for so long I didn't mind having to dig them out.

Several of the locks have had guillotine gates and at first I thought this barge wasn't going to fit underneath, but the wheelhouse is hydraulic and dropped down at the last minute. Clever eh?

This was the first time we've encountered rising bollards. They are wonderful and float up with you as the lock fills.  If only every lock had them 😃

On Friday night we moored just inside the Scarpe Superieure canal, in between 2 commercial barges. The rain was long gone and we spent the evening sitting out on the top deck soaking up the rays.

On that note I'll say "Cheers, see you soon"

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