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November / December


For us it's been a short winter; the weather has been mild with hardly any frost and no snow. The gales and flooding in England did not affect us at all here in Belgium and we have had a very easy time.

City life has its charms, especially in winter but it's good to see the countryside too. Flanders is very beautiful and there have been some perfect days to enjoy the outdoor life, whether walking in the woods or on trips to the beach with friends Dave, Carol and their dogs.

It's been so nice to be in a familiar harbour with old friends but happily some new ones too. Soon after our arrival, we met Niki, a lively American girl who breezed into our lives and stayed a week or so. We got on really well and as she loves to travel we hope to see her again.

Dog walking at Zeebrugge Breakfast with Niki
Dog walking at Zeebrugge                       Breakfast with Niki 

Our Dutch chums Rebecca and Michel came to share a few days with us. It had been a while and there was lots to catch up on, very enjoyable.

Soon it was birthday time, the two of us in the same week so more excuses to celebrate and another super restaurant to discover. There is so much culture and art here in Brugge so this year we bought Museum Cards, enabling us to visit whenever we like without charge. We made friends with a local historian and tour guide Marie-Christine who kindly gave us an English walking tour with "insider knowledge" followed by tea and cakes at her home.

As usual the beginning of December is marked by the Christmas Lights Ceremony. All the boats in the harbour are decorated and we have an official "switching on" party. This includes locals and neighbours, so it's a good chance to meet and make new friends and to feel part of the community. It's an outside event with mulled wine and the local folk get to taste our sausage rolls and mince pies.

We are lucky to have regular visits from English friends. During the Christmas Market time, Sue and Ian came again for a few very enjoyable days. Shortly after George and June visited, cooking our breakfast each morning - a fair deal. Fellow bargees Jen and Alan popped in several times en route to their ship in the Netherlands, often bearing parcels from England. Long-time barge friends Jan and Ian also stopped over with us to break their car journey from the south of France. Young Londoners Louise and Rich came to celebrate his birthday and to sample life on board a ship - they hope to buy one. We also made firm friends with Jo and Tim, who had arrived on their ship from Cornwall, wintering here, also Carol and Jeremy, newcomers to barging over here.

This year was our first Christmas on board and in Brugge, shared with fellow bargees and local friends. A jolly time was had by all with numerous parties including our Christmas meal in a super restaurant. No cooking (but unfortunately no leftovers and fridge picking)

Christmas lights Christmas day in Brugge
Christmas lights                              Christmas day in Brugge
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