Jan-Mar

January was spent away quite a lot, visits to Netherlands to see barge chums there and also to England to see cousins on both sides of our families.

Sue and Ian came again and we did our own Flanders battlefields tour including Ypres and Tyne Cott War Cemetery.

In spite of the wintry Flemish weather there are many outdoor events including an annual after dark street theatre known as Winter Wonken, which is very well attended. In contrast to last year’s tightrope walkers (in the sleet) this year we were entertained by incredible illuminated dancing horses, the spectacle accompanied by music, drinks, food around warming braziers and candlelight, all against a backdrop of the beautiful old Flemish buildings.

Winter Wonken street theatre
Winter Wonken street theatre

Dancing horses
Dancing horses

February brought Valentine’s Day which is always well celebrated in Brugge and we had a special meal out at a favourite fish restaurant.

It’s so easy to nip out to our local pub Estaminet to meet friends and locals. The cinema shows regular English films too and there are many opportunities for good lunches out. We do try to get out on the bikes to undo some of the damage. The magnificent Brugge concert hall attracts international musicians but on this occasion Flemish musicians gave us a wonderful evening - the premiere of Frank Huyt's Cello Concerto with soloist Tom Landschoot and the Flanders Symphony Orchestra.

Numerous on-board projects were completed and this year we shall enjoy air conditioning in the sleeping cabins. Let’s hope we get the weather to justify it!

Installing the aircon unit
Installing the aircon unit

We rounded off the winter season with the Port Barbeque on Easter Sunday and a Flag Day party at Flandria Yachthaven. It was good to see Andy and Caroline who came over from Veurne to join in and meet more members of our club.

We look forward to sailing off again in the spring but saying farewell to winter friends can be tinged with sadness although many of us will meet up again in the autumn.