The annual guided tour of Olivia Rose

Hello and welcome to the latest blog from The Olivia Rose Diaries on April 22nd 2023.

We’ve arrived! And Olivia hasn’t sunk which is always a relief. We’ve been back four days and it has been a busy time as it takes a while to turn her back into a home again. We drained down the water systems before we left to avoid potential problems with burst pipes and so one of the first jobs is to fill up the water tanks. We decided to give them a good clean first and were slightly taken aback at the amount and colour of the sediment at the bottom of the tank. We don’t drink directly from this tank for that very reason, running our drinking water through a filter, however it is good to know the tanks are now spotless.

As soon as we turned on the water supply we heard the unwelcome sound of water running where it shouldn’t and filling up our otherwise dry bilges. Up came the floor, down went Michael into the engine bay which is where many of the pipes run, and eventually we found the leak. We won’t be surprised if we go through this process again as we work our way round the various systems that allow the boat to function both as a home and as a means of transport. After being left for a winter, there is always something that needs sorting out.

Michael down in the engine bay. At the moment he only has one floor panel up but all three of them come up when full access is needed.

The weather has turned wet, windy and cold and, after the balmy temperatures back at Le Shack, it has been a definite shock to the system. I had hoped to share some pictures of Olivia and the port, but as the rain is coming down in buckets I will give you a short tour of the inside for this week and save the outside for a sunnier day. Apologies in advance if I seem to be getting overly excited in the following video about basic amenities such as washing machines and ovens, but I am sure those of you who are familiar with our lifestyle at Le Shack will understand why!

Guided tour

Some of you have been wondering whether we brought our bikes up with us on the train journey (which went very well by the way), but we decided against this. Not all trains allow you to take bikes, plus full-size bikes are heavy and cumbersome on a boat. As a result we decided to buy a couple of second-hand folding bikes which would then live permanently on the boat. Valenciennes is a large town and we found a couple advertised on Facebook.

Neither of them are electric models and I expect some of you are wondering how I shall fare completely under my own steam. So am I. The only reason I can take this brave step is because we are heading to The Netherlands, via Belgium, and it is flat.

One of our folding bikes

Although we are usually champing at the bit to get out on the water at this stage it is likely we shall stay in the marina for another week. We have a few improvement projects to complete, as well as general maintenance, and it is also time to fill in the annual French tax return. We eventually mastered the paper forms last year, but now we are required to do the process on-line and are already running into questions which have no answers. It looks like a trip to the tax office in person will be needed next week. However, once everything is ticked off my ‘to do’ list, we are only fifteen kilometres from the Belgian border and so our first night away will be in a different country.

I hope to have more photos for you next week, both of the boat and further afield as we have a few day trips planned on the train. If things go to schedule I should also have some exciting news about my new books.

Take care and see you soon.


13 thoughts on “The annual guided tour of Olivia Rose

  1. Always work to be done when you get back on board, and its surprising how dirty and dusty the boat gets just being in port, but we’re so pleased you are back on board and all is pretty good. You’ve answered our question in that you are heading to the Netherlands in a while, we know you will enjoy it. They are such lovely people there. We’ve had some beautiful sunny weather albeit an easterly cold wind blowing, but that is due to change later today with rain coming back in. Good luck with the folders! Enjoy your train trips and bon voyage….. A and G


    1. Hi Ann. That was quick! Haven’t had time to reply to your last comment so I can kill two birds with one stone now. If the leak is our only problem we shall be well pleased. We are really looking forward to the Netherlands. Going in via The Meuse, Maastricht etc.


  2. I enjoyed your video! Your galley is amazing, so many amenities in a small space. I hope you can set sail soon, but, yes, the dreaded tax return. Ours is (fairly) easy these days, but there is always something different every year. I hope your weather improves, too. It’s raining here, for which I’m very grateful, since it had become very dry underfoot again. Bon voyage!


  3. Great to see pictures of Olivia Rose! Sounds like all going well and I did wonder how you would survive without bicycles! Lots of love and light x🌈❤️


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