We have stayed in Cambrai for the last two days. It has a picturesque little port which holds about 20 boats and is in the heart of the town. It was given a very good write up in the guide book, supposed to have diesel, water and electricity. We arrived late on Monday night.
As it was getting dark we just tied up where we could and as we could not find water or electric connections, we made do for the night. As the water tank had just gone empty and the batteries won’t last more than a night without shore electricity we had a discussion about moving the next morning.
When I got up I went for a walk and I got talking to Tam in the next boat (there will be a separate blog about Tam & Di an English couple who have lived on their barge in France for the last 15 years), he told me that officially the water was only turned on Tuesday and Friday. There were no official electricity points on this part of the quay and the diesel pump opened on Friday only.
He then went on to help. Firstly he checked the nearest water connection with me and it worked. He then showed me an “unofficial” electricity socket and it worked. As my cable was not long enough to reach he lent me a spare one of his. Suddenly the situation changed- we had water and electricity and shush don’t tell anyone it’s free. Oh how simple our lives have become!! I am beginning to understand how France works!!
Cambrai itself is a big town and we have not had time to fully explore it. The lock which is right beside the port is very busy with commercial traffic. The barges are made to just fit the locks.
Today I had a look at the local museum and the English section in the local cemetery. Imagine when I found the military section in the cemetery by following the French flag, the very first grave I came across was J. O Brien Dublin Royal Fusiliers.
I am going to see if I can find out who he was.Cambrai was occupied by the Germans for all of the First World War and when they finally withdrew in 1918 the centre of the town was destroyed.
Tomorrow we are on the move again, no more taking it easy (we could get used to this life and never get to Berlin!). Off to Saint Quintin town and we have to go through the Grand Souterrain Tunnel. Apparently as its 5.6 km long we have to be towed through it and it’s very scary, but Tam has told me what to do and how to tackle it.