We’re on our boat at home base .. Nieuwpoort (between Oostende and Dunkirk on the North Sea) which is where Endellion has been for the past 12 months while we were in Australia. We have spent more time in this town than almost anywhere (except our winter mooring in 2008/9 when at Limehouse in London) as this is where our boat repair work is undertaken. Well, when we are here to use the eyeball to eyeball contact to get things done!
We had a list of 20 or thirty things to do like fixing the leaks in one of our air conditioning units, installing a new VE Net monitoring system, installing a new window that actually opens in the wheelhouse .. and lots of other small to big jobs. However, despite a pretty constant flow of emails, phone calls and a visit from me, we found many jobs still to be done. Meanwhile .. as can be imagined .. after a year exposed to harsh weather with not one wash and polish, there is a vast amount of cleaning to do, inside and out. All part of our plan.
We are enjoying pottering around this delightful town.
There is the old Port section, although it’s usually busy with tourists down from the sea end of town, and our preferred area of the market square where we revisit an excellent cafe/restaurant.
We almost enjoy the old familiar sound of seagulls being strangled as it blasts across the marina (it’s a sound recording played every 20 minutes or so to scare away real seagulls);
we like the lazy swing of the brilliant white power turbine arms above the 100 meter De Spits commercial barge converted to a summer youth club at our bow (our neighbour); and we are still amazed at the stream of bicycles flowing everywhere, often with a dog perched in a basket or tucked inside a trailer under tow.
A usual challenge for us here in Belgium is drawing cash. Our French bank account doesn’t allow us to withdraw more than €350 a week which is probably OK except few places, especially supermarkets, accept Mastercard or Visa, our only other form of currency. It’s quite an act of financial planning and without the ability to use the internet to make direct payments which we use to pay ship repair people for example, we’d probably find ourselves arrested for non-payment of bills!
The weather is gorgeous .. although rain is forecast .. and we’re making the most of our floating ‘home’ in Belgium – expecting to depart by the end of this week heading for France.