Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Homeward Bound and on we go.

Tuesday 25th April to Thursday 27th April 2017

Our train was not due to leave Brussels until 12:52, so even with a late(ish) breakfast and coupled with a late checkout of 11am, it allowed us to have a bit more of a wander around.
 
Sad to say but there is graffiti in nearly every place we have visited
So we exited the hotel and headed in a mainly northerly direction and found ourselves back at the canal – some type of gravitational field operating in that regard; but this time there was actually a barge using the lock and so we hovered around watching it all – it was just like any single lock that we would have done a thousand times – except about 100 times bigger and it was all operated by a lock-keeper in the control room.
She's a bit larger than Ferndale, but the same process is followed

Lock full, gates open and then they come out

The ropes were just a little bit bigger than we would have had onboard at any time.

Slowly the water rose and then when ready, the gates slowly opened; there was no rush of water from the prop, but just enough to move the barge forward – certainly sticking to the 5 kmh speed limit.
About 400 metres up from the lock was a lift bridge – no windlass required – we had spotted one of the lock-keepers head off earlier on his bike to get the bridge ready for the barge to carry on beneath it.
Lift bridge - you can see the road level on the left - the operator is in that little
room on top of the bridge

There is always someone wanting to "photo-bomb" the photo

That was some excitement for us – to see how the bigger boys do it all – might have been nice with a Dutch barge doing all of that (even in Belgium).

After that we carried on back to the hotel; a last check in the room and then we were checked out and off around the corner to the station.
Through the Border Controls for both France and the UK and it was a relatively short wait and we were in our seats and pulling out of Brussels – we had had a lovely time.
 
We came when it was a bit dull and cloudy, but on leaving
Brussels the sun was out again

...and we looked out on Belgium for one last time on this trip

The scheduled stop at Lille was delayed as we waited for a connecting late train, after which we were off again, through the tunnel and in a brief time we were coming into St.Pancras – just 20 minutes behind schedule.
 
Back in Endgland and here we are crossing the Medway
We already had the train tickets to take us back to Lincoln – funny thing is that we took 2 hrs and 20 minutes to get from Brussels to London, but it was over 2 hours and 30 minutes to get from London to Lincoln (our connecting train at Peterborough was waiting and we caught it with just a minute to spare).
Not exactly sure where we are here, but there are certainly narrowboats down there

We were back on board Ferndale by 6pm; the fire was lit and the unpacking began; the solar panels had done their job, but we put the engine on to take care of the washing and by 8pm we were all sorted but a bit knackered as well.

The following day we took the boat back into Lincoln – it was actually easier and cheaper to do that than catch the bus, taxi or even a hire car.
The tickets that we had previously bought for Lincoln Cathedral and the Castle allowed us a return visit so we decided to use those as well as pick up Diane’s medications that we had left to be prepared before we left.
 
This is for Diane's sister Vivienne
It was to be one last trudge up the hill and later on, one more down – we took Marilyn’s advice and had our walking poles with us and they made it easier.

For the castle it was another walk of the walls and we took some time to have a look inside the County Court House – it was a trial regarding an injury matter to someone in the Lincoln Hospital but held interest for both of us – so much so that we stayed a fair while longer than we first though we would – plus it was a great deal warmer inside than out.
 
Just cannot get over how over-powering the cathedral is in comparison to the castle

The second Motte and Observatory 

The County Court House

At the lunch recess we headed out and across the way to the Cathedral where we had a bite to eat and then headed upstairs to see the Library/Reading Room – the design and construction of this was handled by Christopher Wren (of St.Paul’s fame) – the inside was just fantastic as were the volumes on display; the staff were extremely helpful and whilst Diane was engaged with a young man who was enthusiastically telling her all about the library and the books, I was discussing travel in Russia with the woman who was also there to answer any questions – I think that it was predominantly about the library, but we drifted to Russia (as you do).
 
And the Australian Coat of Arms in Lincoln Cathedral
and part of the WWII memorial
After that we were off again, and down the hill, and back to the boat where we were thankful that the fire was left lit and it was cosy and snugly warm inside.
We spotted this and the one below earlier in our stay in Lincoln but I hadn't
included them into previous blogs....

....talk about making sure that you can see behind

Diane thinks that there may have been a bit of train lag (not jet lag mind you) from our return travels – I just think that we were tired after walking more than the equivalent of a marathon whilst we were away.

We did sleep rather well on Wednesday night.

Thursday was moving day – we had seen enough of Lincoln and we were ready to continue our cruising travels and our rough itinerary that we had – this, of course, meant that we had a bit of a cruise to Torksey.
It was only 10 miles and whilst we didn’t open the after-burners we still managed it in just over the 3 hours.
The lockie was right where we first moored up, getting some grass cutting done and advised us to move down close to the lock ready for the next day, and we ended up mooring on one of the water points – we were later on joined by three other boats – so it was all the normal thing to do.
On good advice from Jennie we headed to the café and had cake and coffee which was lovely.
Looking from our mooring at Torksey - ready for tomorrow

We were now ready for the next adventure of the river tomorrow.

13 Miles
YTD:  280 miles (451 km), 154 Locks, 13 Tunnels, 3 Lift Bridges, 3 Swing Bridges
Total: 4912 Miles (7905 km), 3305 Locks, 137 Tunnels, 69 Lift Bridges, 175 Swing Bridges


Walking distance so far: 41.9 km (previous) + 5.3 km (Tuesday) =  47.2 km (Total)

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