Big scary locks

As we left Tournai we passed alot of industrial buildings but i spied this charming turret rising up from the tree tops.

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I expected to see Rapunzel draping her hair down the side.

I also spied this …

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We had decided we all needed a break and changed our route to escape the big boys only to discover some humongous locks. 

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The first one was horrible. Extremely deep and you had to release and reattach your ropes as you lifted. Of course I used the wrong bollard so couldn’t reach to reattach and had a frustrated husband yelling at me which made it all the worse. Still, we survived somehow and were soon in the (even deeper) second lock. Thankfully this lock had a rising bollard to tie on to which made life so much easier (and quieter) so no incidents here.

Gulp!

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Imagine climbing that ladder!

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The river narrowed and became quite lovely and so we moored up in Blaton before attempting an 8 lock climb. 

Now, to approach a lock you need to radio ahead so they can get the lock ready and when there are 8 to go into you need to give notice well in advance. So the men phoned and it turns out the entire flight is shut for 3 weeks. There was no notification of this but what can you do?

We spent the night here and spent the evening with Graham and Jill plus a Swiss couple, Lucy and Peti, who had moored up nearby.  Today Jill and I decided to walk the younger dogs and explore the 8 elusive locks.  What a treat we would have had.  Such a pretty route with greenery everywhere.  No industry or big cities in sight.

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We did meet a few old cows …

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Herbie wasn’t too keen on getting close though so I stayed well back.

We also walked past a cute row of cottages …

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All in all a very loooong and enjoyable walk.  We even found a pretty park to walk through on the way back …

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Later on we hosted the Sunday lunch.  Because it had been such a lovely sunny day we had a barbecue and Graham and Jill bought a delicious apricot tart from the local patisserie.

Last night we spent the evening aboard the Swiss boat ‘La Vie’. I love meeting new people so this was a treat plus their English was excellent.  I really must learn to speak French (sigh).

We were woken early by the sound of the boat being pushed and pulled with the waves caused by large barges going past the end of the river. This was not expected!  We are still learning remember!  Monday morning and its business as usual.  Again and again it happened and we got stuck on the cill of the riverbank. Kev managed to get us off but it happened again and again so we left it there while we got up.  The dogs were getting quite agitated so I was glad to get them off the boat for a quick stroll into the village where they proved to be popular.

The heavens opened while we were out so we huddled under the awning of a market stall for a bit then made a dash for it.  Back on board and we hastily pulled pins and left.

Today we are aiming for Mons or maybe Ascenseur de Strepy-Thieu (boat lift).

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