We stayed in Charleroi for Sunday and had lunch with Graham and Jill, I made a quick dessert from chocolate waffles (bought) topped with slag room (whipped cream) and fruit. Its a shame I ran out of topping for the last two but I’m pleased to say they went down rather well!
Monday we left. There was very little we wanted to explore of Charleroi especially as Kevin had caught the metro into the centre and reported it to be as dismal as the outskirts. So we headed off for the first lock. Both boats were in need of water and there was a big shiny sign with a tap pictured. Hurrah! Kevin radioed in his best Frenglish that we wanted water and plugged us in and in it glugged. Suddenly the boat ropes started creaking and I noticed the water was going down. The lock keeper didn’t seem to care for our wellbeing and so we all went back to our ropes to release the strain (with me praying that the hose was long enough to reach when we got to the bottom). Finally the water levelled and the lock gates opened for us to go. Matilda Rose decided it best to leave but I wanted my water! We sat there while our guage rose and the lock keeper didn’t object so all was good until a small boat appeared and we were signalled to move. Well there was no way I was climbing up a slipperly algae covered ladder to the top to put the hose back and I wasn’t keen on Kevin risking his life either so I unplugged and left the hose dangling. Not best practice I’m sure but if Mr Lockie hadn’t lowered us so hastily we would not have been in that position so I think he deserved the inconvenience! We left with three quarters of a tank of water so I was happy and rushed to put my washing machine on for the first time in a week.
Its strange how my priorities have changed here … I am happiest with the waste tank empty and the water tank full while being moored close to a supermarket on a flat mooring where the dogs can get off and on with ease. Nothing else matters!
We spent a full day cruising as we wanted to get to Auvelais which is exactly where we are now. Our moorings are right next to a railway bridge which is fine because we are used to the noise from our Ely moorings, however work is being undertaken and the sandblasting starts from 8am! Its not constant (I imagine there are lots of tea breaks) and you do tune it out.
Last night another English couple, Sandy and Trevor turned up and we all spent a very pleasant evening on their boat, Cariad. They have been cruising France/Belgium for many years and were keen to offer helpful advice which we were keen to receive.
Tomorrow we will be heading to Namur. Let’s hope the sun follows us there!