Good morning all. Here a I am at half past two in the morning updating our blog after just checking our boat (and the other half-dozen) on the quay at Montherme on the Canal de Meuse in the Ardennes region of Northern France.
If you have caught the news over the last 24 hrs of catastrophic flooding in western Germany and eastern Belgium, you will recognise that our location is just on the southern edge of the affected area.
Two days ago we were instructed that navigation on the Meuse was closed due to imminent increase in speed and level of water, so we pushed against a strengthening stream to our present mooring in Montherme where we tied up with a few extra lines!
Over the last 24 hours the river level has steadily risen to within about 3 inches of flooding the quay. This necessitated the VNF (French waterways authority) delivering 3 metre long poles to each of the boats moored here, in an attempt to stop them being washed up on the quay should the river rise more.
Trigger, from Mimosa, the other Piper barge we are travelling with and I then summoned our collective firefighting knots and lines knowledge and lashed the poles to the side of our boats. The idea being that the poles would add extra draught to the boats by effectively sticking down from under the boat by a metre or so, and thus making it more unlikely that the boat should be washed ashore.
We have not been able to find out what the level of the river is forecast to rise to, even though weirs along the river are controlling flow and levels, hence the fact that the poles are in place and I am patrolling the waters edge in the middle of the night.
Friends of ours who are downstream of us in Namur have been evacuated from their boats at the insistence of the local Police and firefighters and moved to a local hotel. Namur is on the northern Meuse and not far on the river to Liege which apparently is under grave threat of flooding.
Anyway, I’m off for another torch-lit walk along the quay! Hopefully a more cheery update to follow when the rains have stopped.