Obviously, we all have a different versions of a perfect day, but as a boater on one of the busiest waterways in France a perfect day can be just things falling right and seizing opportunities, plus a lump of luck.
After leaving the Giants and our friends Dawn and Paul at Douai
Leaving Casey May too at Douai
we travelled down the Canal du Nord towards the Somme canal and had stopped for an overnight stop at Moislains on the summit of the Canal du Nord after the long tunnel.The aim for the following day was to leave early and descend the large locks and hang a right onto the Somme canal and be in Cappy all in the same day.
We settled down for the night with confidence that our aim would be easily achieved, however, when we awoke we found 6 commercial barges had arrived and moored up ready to descend the locks, and as they have priority we were looking at a long delay.
I took Gladys for her early morning walk and bumped into the lock-keeper who was to operate the first lock. I asked when I was likely to get away and he looked at the situation and said I could get in with the first large commercial who was moored by the lock.
I rushed back to the boat, woke up Teresa and started the engine and moved off to follow the very barge into the first lock.
Thats what you call a tight fit in a lock. The Captain was surprised we were able to just get in the lock with him but was a perfect gentleman and left this lock and all the subsequent locks very gently so not to shake us up too much.
Teresa after being awoken so rudely quickly regained her composure and put on a pot of coffee and made some toast for breakfast and by 7.30 am she actually managed a smile.
We got to the turn off for the Somme in quick time and went through the VNF lock without incident, and made a phone call to the Somme authorities and by the time we arrived at the first lifting bridge we were met by a familiar face and he greeted us with a big smile and assured us he would get us through to Cappy before the lunch time shut down, and he was true to his word.
We arrived at Cappy, which is a Locaboat hire base with limited space for pleasure boats , but on this day there was a prime spot available for us which I managed to slip into effortlessly. We tied up and hooked up to the electric, as we had about three loads of washing to do . I took Gladys for a walk, Teresa prepared her lunch and ours. I arrived back from the walk and enjoyed a splendid lunch and settled down and relaxed in my chair . Teresa asked why I had such a huge grin on my face, I replied in song with ‘Its such a perfect day’
This post was written by Terry Barrett
Photographs by Tes