A much belated end of season

Well, to show I was brought up right, Im starting with an apology. As I write this, it’s 23 May 2021, at the tail end of the latest pandemic chapter and we are sat in our house in the UK watching the Monaco Grands Prix.

We are also planning on getting back to the boat, and how our cruising itinerary will look this year. But first I feel we should conclude last years brief cruising season.

Having left Diksmuide we headed down to Ieper (Ypres), down peaceful canals and rivers, in tandem with our friends Cath and Alan on their Piper Barge, Plan B – and before you ask, I have no idea what Plan A was.

Ypres is the most beautiful city, with a square in the middle of a circumference of stunning Flemish/French buildings. All this balanced with the poignant simplicity and solemnity of the Menin Gate.

We rang ahead and spoke to Freddie, the rather eccentric and (thankfully) English speaking capitinaire at the small harbour on the outskirts of the town, booking neighbouring mooring for both boats. The moorings are at the end of the Kanaal Ieper/Ijzer and were remarkably quiet – Covid has really taken it’s toll on travel.

After a lovely few days, including, what should be a mandatory, visit to the sounding of the Last Post at the Menin Gate Memorial, we up-anchored (not sure that’s even a word) and set sail (we don’t actually have a sail) for our home port if Bruges.

We had only been away a couple of weeks, but felt lucky just the same, as many of our friends had not even managed to get to their boats at all. We settled back into Flandria, and prepared to put the boat to bed for the winter. But not before a highlight of our time in Bruges, an invite from Ian and Jeanette’s boat Alwil, a magnificent century old converted barge around twice the length of ours. The occasion was a murder mystery evening where we all dressed up and ate magnificently, all washed down with excellent local beer, wine, and port from the skippers cellar.

And there we have it – the end of 2020. A short cruising season, but filled with great memories and experiences, shared with friends old and new.

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