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Our arrival in Maasbracht marks the beginning of a two month stint of work for Chris, helping our friends with the final fitout of their new ship. He is enjoying being "back in the saddle" of the working week and the company of fellow workers.

View from our mooring and at sunset
View from our mooring                         and at sunset
Getting to know the local area has been fun. Historically an industrial town closely linked to the big haven here, Maasbracht lies in a valley surrounded by many lakes and waterways, including the old River Maas. This is really beautiful countryside, the place to enjoy any water activity, yachting, waterskiing, summer camps, beaches, swimming and cruising, all in designated areas. There is a fair amount of commercial barge activity here too. Again, the comprehensive network of safe cycle tracks and good weather make it a pleasure to explore longer distances.

Many beautiful lakes and tracks through the woods
Many beautiful lakes                          and tracks through the woods

Mother horse and foal Thorn - pretty traditional village
Mother horse and foal                         Thorn - pretty traditional village

VW camper rally The Belgian border
VW camper rally                               The Belgian border

Bikers rally near Kinrooi Spaanjerdplaas
Bikers rally near Kinrooi                     Spaanjerdplaas

The town has everything we need, a weekly market and a couple of bars and restaurants. Many locals were born here or nearby, work in the town and know each other. Overlooking the haven is the Maasbracht Ship Museum where enthusiastic volunteers made a very interesting afternoon for us, explaining the history of ships and shipping in Maasbracht.

Ship museum, Maasbracht View of town from locks,
Ship museum, Maasbracht                       View of town from locks 

Our mooring is inside the industrial haven, not the most glamorous spot but surprisingly peaceful apart from the occasional massive ship unloading at the nearby mill where agricultural feeds are made. Several people have asked if Diana is bored as Chris is across the yard working all week but when not occupied with domestic stuff she has been busy with the usual summer jobs of varnishing and painting, endless but satisfying. Again it is all about catching the right weather and we have had plenty of that - still making time to relax too. Gentle mornings - she has never been good at early starts.

New varnish The Botel, Ophoven
New varnish                                   The Botel, Ophoven

It's been great to take Esme on the occasional weekend outing. Together with Jen and Alan we cruised round to the Spaanjerdplaas, a lovely lake just over the Belgian border and about an hour away. They introduced us to their friends who own and run The Botel at Ophoven, a converted cargo ship, now a hotel and restaurant overlooking the water. We enjoyed the warm informal hospitality and an excellent barbeque meal provided by Katy and Leo and their delightful family.

Arrival of Lenie Anna Eating again!
Arrival of Lenie Anna                         Eating again!

Just because we're in a shipyard doesn't mean no callers. Frieda and Jaap on Lenie Anna called in to Maasbracht for a few days - time for a happy reunion with shared food and fun. Jaap's Portuguese Prawns were quite unforgettable! It's been great to catch up with them and chew the fat. After three years we have become close friends. More news at the end of September.
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