Journey through Europe
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We love to have family and friends on board who also enjoy life floating wherever we may be in the world, somewhere in Europe.

Here we include a few more photos and notes on friends and family .. rescuers and neighbours .. who have come on board Endellion.

JONNIE on 'DN59'
Thursday 7th May, 2009: Rescuer on board his tug boat DN59

Jonnie rescued us when we re-entered the Nieuwpoort harbour after our week touring the Ijzer and nearby canals. Being tidal, once we popped out of the Veurnesluis, on the outrunning high tide, we have little control without steering.. which failed right by our marina but in the channel with big commercial boats ploughing along. The harbourmaster put out a call and Jonnie with DN59 came chugging along within minutes and pulled us to our safe mooring. Jonnie is working with a dredging team and took this little interlude totally in his stride. No payment would be accepted, and he doesn't drink .. perhaps they will enjoy a big tin of chocolate biscuits?

Jonnie and DN59
Monday 11th May: Fellow bargees and Nieuwpoort residents

Les and Sally came to see us prompted by Dirk, our key contact at VVW Marina. Fellow bargees, from England, they will be bringing their replica Dutch Barge Nancy May into VVW next week to lift so they can repaint her bottom. Les and Sally passed on lots of invaluable information and delightful anecdotes of life on the waterways in Europe having spent the past five years living in this area and in France, Germany and Holland. When we departed Nieuwpoort harbour yesterday (Thursday 14th) we pulled up at their Gravensluis moorings and chatted again .. we're looking forward to their recommendations for Champagne .. when we get there.


Nancy May at Nieuwpoort Gravensluis


Monday 11th May: Neighbour at VVW Marina
Stewart spotted Chris moored up last night at the Harbourmasters pontoon (B) ahead of us. He was sure it was a 'pommy' boat as he could see the ensign furled up yet enough red and blue showing to make it obvious, to him. I went over to make sure he was OK and said come over any time which he did this evening. Chris crossed the channel from the Medway and is here to watch a cycle race (his own bike is stowed on board). His 31' yacht, Roulette of Exe, is a classic, obviously much loved. One valuable piece of information he provided was a reminder that we really shouldn't fly the St Piran (Cornwall) flag in the place of the British ensign - our boat being built and registered in Britain, not Cornwall! He's right .. so we have quickly acquired and now fly the right flag. St Piran could go under the Belgium flag though (at the masthead) .. we'll see. Flying the British ensign
Thursday 11th and 12th June: Moored at Kortrijk
We caught up again with Sally and Les (met at Nieuwpoort above) at one of their favourite moorings in the great town of Kortrijk. We feel very fortunate as Sally taught me a great technique for attaching the rope to the bollards in locks (and elsewhere) using a boat hook. Les taught Stewart a new trick for getting the stern out of tricky spots, and we both loved the advice about flat fenders all round, soon to be fitted. We were all delighted to find a traditional Dutch sailing barge coming in to join us, then another, and yet more - seven or so completely surrounded Nancy May and Endellion. A beautiful place and wonderful company. Kortrijk Marina
Saturday 13th and 14th June: Wambrechies and Lille
We confidently set off for Wambrechies planning on staying the night before pushing on to Lille. However, when we arrived at the marina we were told in no uncertain terms 'no way'. "Fireworks tonight, a big festival this weekend, no space". The same in Lille apparently. Luckily we found Catherine who spent the next few hours calling on contacts and friends to find somewhere for us. Willie was due to watch the fireworks tonight but can't make it so we took his prime spot right next to the fireworks barge! And then into Lille we also took his excellent mooring (as he's away) with perfect access. Our thanks to Catherine and Eric who did so much to help us. We also met their four gorgeous children/young adults. Fireworks at Wambrechies
Thursday 25th to Monday 29th June: Chauny
Ron greeted us at Chauny marina, just when we thought there was no room for Endellion, calling out instructions in his loud English voice.. it's rare to find a mooring manager who can speak English, Ron was a treat to find! The following day he and wife Pat drove me all the way to Compiegne (35 kms or so) to buy the highly recommended flat fenders (Les). The following day they also took us on a major supermarket shopping spree (with car)! Needless to say we shared quite a few glasses of wine and beer, heaps of highly amusing anecdotes keeping us laughing for days. This really was a special place full of fun and kindness. Chauny Marina
Thursday 25th to Monday 29th June: Chauny ... and onwards
Peter and Brigitte popped out in front of us in their motor sailer, My Suna, from an overnight mooring before the 5.67km Souterrain de Bray (the longest waterway tunnel in Europe apparently). So we first met them during the tunnel tow and were bolted together for quite some time afterwards. At Chauny they saved a mooring spot (above note) for us and then 'rafted' up alongside Endellion. Peter volunteered to fit our flat fenders, all four of them, and considering we continue to have the hottest weather experienced to date, it's not surprising there was quite a bit of cooling beer consumed in between a few polite but strong words about fenders. He is a major star! We're now heading north like a convoy, staying at Attigney and waving as they passed by at Neuville Day. My Suna rafted to Endellion
Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th July: Pont a Bar and Sedan
Pulling in to our second mooring at Pont a Bar our neighbours to be, as is often the case, came to help us moor up. The ground was extremely hard, "small stones" I'm told, and Joeke smashed the mooring pins into the ground for me. Within ten minutes I'd decided to move (and pull up his hard work) to use two solid bollards. As it happened, this spot was in shallow water once the locks had drained a few times! So we got to know Dorothe and Joeke very well as they were again helping to re-moor us. The two days we were with them they cycled each day to Sedan (10kms away) .. and when we moved on to Sedan we met them again in the tourist office for the free Wi-Fi connection (their good advice). Hunze at Pont a Bar
SERGE, JANINE, GUY and the captain, GILLES on 'MAGIIE'
Friday 21st July: Givet and Dinant

'Endellion' and 'Magiie' (our boats) were stern to stern at Givet with a pontoon width between us so it was quite natural that the occupiers spoke, despite the language challenge French/English. The key word 'aperitif' was mentioned and we shared our neighbours pastis and 'sauscisson' from Lyon (like a salami) in the relative cool of our air conditioned 'saloon'.

This was on Wednesday, by Friday we had a very lucky reencounter in Dinant. This time a FEAST was in store. 'Chef' Serge and 'Sous Chef' Janine went to town (literally) and came back with heaps of fresh food to make the best ever, huge paella for all six of us. Along with great wine and cheese .. all French. Our friends don't speak a lot of English and we have virtually no French! It has been a very delightful and amusing time with heaps of laughter - Frenglish and body language work brilliantly!

Paella Supreme
Monday 3rd to Thursday 6th August: Antoing, Bossuit and Kortrijk

Our friend Louise joined us again during her school-teaching holiday break. As always, we were spoilt by Louise with food and wine. Travelling to Kortrijk was a highlight .. we had a phantom marina at Bossuit (a marina was marked and described in our guide but not there) and ended up mooring on an excellent pontoon but right by a water ski club where power boats roared up and down rocking Endellion non-stop until dark! However, we found a very pleasant restaurant to escape to in the delightfully pleasant, warm evening sunshine. After drinks on board first of course.

Louise and Stewart and evening wine
Thursday 6th to Tuesday 11th August: Kortrijk
Our friends Sally and Les, on their boat Nancy May, were still happily moored at Kortrijk when we arrived. They would have moved the whole marina around to have us berth beside them but as wheelchair access is not possible we opted for the spot just along in the entrance to Kortrijk Lock. In fact we moored in various spots over our four days in town. Heaps of laughter and a great time spent with new friends Linda and Colin (with their Sagar replica Dutch barge named Linda). Kortrijk is a favourite town and just down stream we were introduced to an excellent restaurant for a big breakfast (or lunch) - we'll be back again (we hope) next year. Colin, Linda, Sally and Les
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th August : Kortrijk
Stewart's god-daughter Pollyanna took a few days break from life and work in Manchester to join us at Kortrijk. Being a curator of contemporary art we thought she'd love to tour the feature arts event in Kortrijk, Secret Gardens. However, since the launch of this great idea the gardens are somewhat overgrown with weeds - the idea was a good one but someone seems to have overlooked that gardens are not like a painting; they need regular loving care. Weather was great .. lunch with friends too .. a good time had by all (we hope). Pollyanna and Stewart
Friday 14th to Friday 21st August : Gent and Brugge
Niece Jac and her friend Isobel made the big trip from Cornwall via Exeter, two stations in London (Paddington then St Pancras) then Brussels and finally into Gent where I met them. A big trip and very daring considering they had no idea what was in store for them on board Endellion! Travelling between Gent and Brugge was the only cool day (weather-wise) so they went home brown as berries and very happy about that. A major treat for us was a scrumptious meal conceived, purchased and cooked by the two young women. We all agreed Gent was a wonderful town full of fantastic shops, buildings and atmosphere .. although Brugge was pretty special too. Exam results (GCSE) now through and the bright young things both have a long list of A*s and As .. top marks. Jac and Isobel tasting

Jac and Isobel were our last 'guests' for our first year with Endellion. We hope to be back in Belgium to join her (Endellion) in 2010 and would love to hear from friends and family who will be around Belgium, France and The Netherlands some time from mid year and may be able to pop in to see us .. or stay a few nights.

Our thanks to our wonderful friends and family who joined us in 2008 and 2009.

Lesley and Stewart









  Safe and secure    

We love our time on board Endellion being mostly just the three of us (Stewart, Lesley and our mate and vessel Endellion) but our days are joyfully broken and refreshed when family and friends come on board. Often they are not far away and come for lunch, drinks or dinner. Sometimes they stay a few nights or we plan a holiday together for longer.

Our request to everyone is to please be in touch; come on board when you are traveling nearby and/or stay a few nights. Talk to us and plan where, when and for how long.

Before you decide to join us we thought it would be helpful to hear about our first and best overnight guests, Jonney and Felicity (Lesley's brother and sister-in-law from Cornwall). They were perfect because they

  • Wanted a short break and a bit of uncertainty in their lives, but some rest and excitement too!
  • Brought food, wine, beer and laughter on board from day one.
  • Disposed of the empty bottles and rubbish.
  • Tidied and finally stripped their bedroom of sheets and towels.
  • Brought the most delicious home cooked food and helped cook what we had.
  • Were on hand to crew, cast off and tie up.
  • Didn't hesitate or question instructions from the captains.

Safety is a major concern, all guests must

  • Know where the fire extinguishers and exit hatches are located
  • Undertake safety training if staying overnight
  • Wear correct attire when crewing

We don't ever want to have to get our life-ring out!