Thieu and the Strepy Ascenseur

After our successful and pain-free visit of Mons we headed East to a great looking overnight spot alongside Belgium’s Canal du Centre. Loads of room, very rural, and great hard-standing. Our ideal stopover, and a very popular place for motorhomes in the holiday season. Just us tonight though, but that’s fine.

With the sun still shining and a dry concrete surface I thought I’d tackle a DIY job that had been bugging me. Our bathroom sink has been draining sluggishly since the start of the trip. I’d tried sticking wire down it, plus bicarb, vinegar, drain cleaning fluid, boiling water, but it only got worse until no water would go down at all, and just backed up. Now unusable we easily adapted to using our collapsible bucket instead, which had been no problem. However, I was keen to sort this out, so I reckoned if I could find where the basin drain pipe met the waste water tank and detach it then I could stick a wire up from that end.

The jubilee clip was tricky to undo, and in fact I was able to pull off the pipe anyway. At that point I had to move quickly as the detritus from the pipe, plus water residue, poured out. The nozzle on the waste pipe had a surprisingly small hole in it and this explained why the relatively small build up of hair and gunk had blocked it. That’ll now be a regular check before a trip as I’ve learned that the pipe can be simply pulled off, then replaced.

The basin itself also needed re-gluing around the waste outlet to make right a previous repair. So I’ll be keen to see how things come together in the morning.

After the very satisfying feeling of solving a quandary I enjoyed a circular walk along canal paths as the sun shone brightly for the last hour of daylight. Sophie, on the other hand, stayed in the warm.

Looking forward to a cosy evening by the canal with pasta for supper, and I’m hoping that normal service will be resumed with the bathroom sink in the morning.

It was a blustery night, and despite the dark clouds, the sun was out when we got up. It’s been apparently around 14C all day, although quite nippy in the wind.

The good news was the stubborn blocked basin waste pipe was definitely running freely. Unfortunately, the basin repair job will need some more attention and some robust gluing when we get home. In the meantime the basin is usable, but not for accumulating water in it with the plug in.

As previously mentioned, I tend to just point the motorhome in a particular direction and go, and if we pass somewhere interesting then all the better, but I don’t usually have the mental energy to do any local research. Realising that she has therefore been missing out on lots of hidden gems, Sophie has now taken on the research role.

So today my email inbox was full of potential places to visit en route, plus some subtle google maps including distances between places. The purpose of these maps were clearly to show, for example that Ghent isn’t really that far from Tournai, and almost en route to Bruges, so could we go there too please.

First on today’s agenda was the vast canal boat lift at Strepy-Thieu. It was the biggest in the world until the Chinese built a larger one. We strolled round the enormous structure and were even fortunate enough to see a large cargo boat being hoisted 240 feet up to the higher level.

Sophie was very excited at the proceedings, and I even saw her running on a couple of occasions to ensure she captured everything. So you could say that today I’ve witnessed two quite extraordinary and rare occurrences.

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7 thoughts on “Thieu and the Strepy Ascenseur

  1. Hi Both,

    Well done for the work carried out on the sink!! sounds like you made good progress. The canal boat lift also sounds interesting. Well I have had a busy weekend cladding the front wall which i really pleased with although have yet to see what its like in the day time as I am currently going to work in the dark and cycling home in the dark not much fun but hey ho. I am looking forward to a closer inspection at the weekend. My work Christmas party is due to start on Friday evening (black tie event) so looking forward to that. Tanya is making good progress after her minor operation and walked to meet me at lunchtime today. It has been good cycling weather may it long continue. Cant believe its that time of year again so looking forward to spring. Keep safe you two and keep (I was a about to say bogging) I mean blogging and photos coming, hope the weather is kind to you and wish you a safe journey.

    On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 6:14 PM, Random Motorhome Travels wrote:

    > Michael and Sophie posted: “After our successful and pain-free visit of > Mons we headed East to a great looking overnight spot alongside Belgium’s > Canal du Centre. Loads of room, very rural, and great hard-standing. Our > ideal stopover, and a very popular place for motorhomes in the h” >

  2. Well done for fixing drainiing problem. We’ve had a few snags since we started our journey in July. Had a leak through seam on roof and through awning screws and had to buy new ladder to fix problems. Always something to do… Nice and sunny in Portugal now, so no more rain coming in! Good luck with rest of the trip.

    1. You’re right about the ‘always something to do’ Fatima. Since the basin issue, Michael has had to fix the step to climb on and off board. It kind of collapsed one side when I was climbing down – reckoned I’d had one pastry too many!🥐 – but turned out a bolt fixed that happily!
      We were trying to figure out where you are now storing your new ladder!
      Good you fixed your leak.
      We’re back home in 2 days, our month away almost over! Enjoy Portugal!

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