Monday 22 – Tuesday 23 August – Peronne

Sunday 21 August 2011   Day 10 in the Waterways of France

Moislains to Peronne

Departed Moislains and locked into the first lock of the descent to the Canal de la Somme.  Interesting, the locks are identical in design to the ascending locks, only the other way round.   Armed with the skills learned from the ascending locks,  Reg and Sheila were very quickly into a rhythm and were visibly relaxing.  The first couple of days with lots of locks was a bit stressful.

We really got going today,  covering not so much a great distance, more a goodly number of locks.   We arrived at one lock to find the lower gate open,  the lock empty and no one around.   Big surprise,  lunch time.   About 40 minutes later the eclusier turned up from his house, right next to the lock,  and very politely invited us to lock down.

We passed the canal de la Somme at around 1400,  noting that part of it was buoyed off due to silting.  Little wonder we couldn’t have made it through from St Valery, but of course,  if we had done, we wouldn’t have met Robert and Judith and Reg and Sheila would we?

A little further along the canal was the small port of Peronne – our planned stop.   The sign outside caused some excitement until we realized that it told us the port was closed from November to February (great things these binoculars).    Wight Mistress in the lead,  in we went,  for about half a boat length,  and then ………….mud!   We touched the bottom and made excellent use of all 60 horses and the Bruntons Autoprop to drag ourselves astern, with Barbara jumping up and down on the foredeck.

Having aborted the Peronne entry, just around the corner was a public quay, so that is where the 3 musketeers stopped.

Monday 22 August 2011   Peronne

It is here that we say au revoir to Donna and Eve, who are catching the train to Paris and from there on to London.   They have enjoyed it so much that they are determined to come back.   This afternoon Judith noticed a fuel truck replenishing 2 cruisers on the opposite bank.   Armed with some French and lots of gesticulation, Robert dashed over the bridge and convinced the man with the truck to come over to our side and refuel us as well.    We managed 50 ltrs to fill us right up again – seems we have used even less than we calculated (well, a bit less.)   at E1.20 a ltr,  no complaints.  That is the cheapest fuel we have found yet.  We are full, Anna Lena is full and Billow is up to 85% so all are content.

Discussion on the bank has established that actually we are going to stay another day,  as there is stuff to see and we haven’t seen anything here yet, apart from Lidl and the cash machine in the high street.

Tuesday 23 August 2011  Peronne                                 Day 13   (67)

Another day here.  Dashed up to boulangerie for baguettes and pain au chocolat (V naughty) bought 2 baguettes and didn’t finish one of them.

Domestic battery bank is definitely not up to the task.   Since going flat last year,  it doesn’t  keep its charge too well.   We have even re connected the charge lead to bypass the splitter, which was dropping .88 volts to the bank.

Biggest problem is that the fridge is far too inefficient and power hungry.

When we put it on mains and run Harry the Honda Generator ( 240 volts 500watts output) poor Harry really struggles just with the fridge.  We need to buy a new, more efficient fridge and new domestic bank batteries and we need more capacity as well.  Currently  the bank is 220 AH which means we only have 110AH to use to drop the bank to 50% (minimum without knackering the batteries).  Cunning plan in hand to double the bank capacity by shifting the bilge tank pump and starter battery to make space for 2 extra domestic batteries.

Water Weasel arrived this evening with Stuart and Angela onboard.   Some good exchange of information both ways.  They are heading up the Somme a little way to explore but are also on their way south, so I expect we will meet up with them again.

We have all agreed to move on tomorrow around 1000.   Ba is in bed and we have put on a mozzie coil and liberally sprayed fly spray around the bazaars.  Hopefully we wont be bitten tonight.

Overnight we had the first of what became a series of amazing thunderstorms, with hailstones the size of Cadbury’s chocolates!

One of many chunks of ice that fell in the hail storm  A superb light show with flashes about every 2 seconds for a couple of hours and rather loud cracks of thunder.  WM has had an excellent fresh water washdown now.

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