|As I like to remember my old barge,|
My more recent blogging friends won't know of my foray into Belgium some years ago. I call it that because rather sadly, we did not receive a very hospitable welcome and it felt as if we were invaders at the time, but even so, I miss it. Shall I explain? Oh go on then…
It was like this. In 2003, I was a bit tired of full-time Rotterdam. Living in the centre of a city can be quite stressful if you are more of a country girl, and while my life and friends in the Oude Haven were still very much to my liking, the activities in all the bars and cafés overnight and every weekend were getting too much to handle full time. So when a good friend told me about a barge with a garden up for sale at a bargain price, and on the outskirts of Brussels, I jumped at it. The plan was to live there and just work in Rotterdam, The barge was the one in the photo above.
|Lovely riot of flowers in the garden|
And this was its garden. I must say I loved it - the barge and the garden that is. What was not so pleasant was the reception we received from the other bargees in the community. They were all Wallonians and possibly saw us intruders trying to take over their space. I think it is well-known that the only factor that keeps the Flemish and Wallonians united is their common dislike of their neighbours. Unfortunately for us, we happened to come from one of those neighbours.
There was also a great deal of work to do on the barge to make it habitable and although we succeeded in some part, a medical emergency in the family ultimately meant that the work would be too much to truly achieve proper living standards on the barge.
|Beautiful morning light on a lovely summer's day.|
Nevertheless, we were there for three years and still have very fond memories of the Ténacité. It was a lovely peaceful spot to have as a mooring and combined my absolute ideals of a barge with a long stretch of bankside garden.
|I wish I knew what these shrubs were called, but they were glorious.|
|Looking up the canal towards Brussels|
Still, it was wonderful to be there and it was also a handy launching pad for other forays deeper into Belgium by boat.
I sold the Ténacité in 2006 with many regrets and much sadness. We don't go back there often, but I have my photos and some very happy memories too. Belgium is very beautiful when you get off the beaten track and whenever we get the urge, it is not far to go to re-visit our favourite haunts. I'll show you all a few more of them in the coming weeks.
And if you're interested in dipping into any of my books, why not have a look at my author page on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/valerie-poore/e/B008LSV6CE/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0