Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

  • January 2014
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for January, 2014

New Bow Flash for Matilda Rose

Posted by contentedsouls on 30/01/2014

New Bow Flash

Somewhere in all the regulations, I think, I saw a requirement to have the ships name both on the stern and bow of the vessel, so whilst we were in for blacking last year Jill painted out our old bow flashes.

I did a little designing, and with a little help came up with these. Including delivery and VAT £35.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Map of Belgium Waterways

Posted by contentedsouls on 20/01/2014

We shall be starting our European Odessy from Nieuwpoort which is about midway between Dunkirk and Ostende. The initial plan is to do a small circuit down to Ypres and then on up to Brugge, Gent and Brussels. But the best layed plans an all that.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Nieuwpoort, Belgium

Posted by contentedsouls on 18/01/2014

We have also confirmed with VVW Nieuwpoort Marina our lorry to water lift on the morning of Tuesday 15th April, we shall either be 2 days behind WB Avalon or 2 days infront, not yet sure but either way we’ll need at least a day to put the boat back together. Then Europe will be our oyster!
Quoted price €180 plus Vat at 21%,

Ah who are WB Avalon?

Kevin and Debbie, who have a mooring at Ely on the River Ouse were almost the instigators of this Odessy, they had leant Sue and Vic, NB No Problem their French waterways book, who then leant it to us for a few days and we were hooked, the other two partners at the original meeting of minds have since withdrawn for family reasons and we seemed to have fallen instep with Kevin and Debbie’s timings. Woohoo!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

We are being lifted out at Watford

Posted by contentedsouls on 17/01/2014

Yesterday pencilled in parts of the plan all came together and we have now gone firm on April 14th and we shall be lifted out at Bridgewater Basin in Watford at 0900 hrs. Let’s hope for a nice spring day.


Cost £290 + VAT

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International Certificate for operator of Pleasure Craft

Posted by contentedsouls on 16/01/2014

The ICC as it is known is the licence needed to operate a UK registered pleasure craft upto 20mtrs in length throughout Europe (excluding Germany where the ICC is only recognised for vessels upto 15mtrs). The RYA are the recognised issuers of the ICC in the UK.

So what is needed to obtain an ICC:

1. An Inland Waterways Helmsman’s Certificate, this can be achieved in 1 of 3 ways:

a) Complete a recognised inland waterways course held at an RYA  recognised training establishment. Cost £100 approx

b) Complete  a course held on your own boat with a licensed RYA Instructor, this can be for up to 3 people and the days course costs in the region of £300.

c) Go to an RYA approved test centre and take a handling test, cost is approx £60. Be aware that you can fail doing it this way.

2. Taking and Passing the CEVNI exam ( Code Europeen des Voies de la Navigation interieure), which can be taken as an online multiple choice test for the princely sum of £18.

Put the two together and you get to apply for your ICC, which if you are a member of the RYA is Free, to a non member it will cost you £43.

It’s all about jobs for the boys and as a boater you should be used to throwing money into a project!

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Vhf Radio Licences

Posted by contentedsouls on 15/01/2014

Jill really gets upset with this topic……why? I hear you say well simples…..she has had a PPL for 35 years part of which includes a VHF Licence but not transferable to Marine VHF….not only but also, we have had a hand held VHF radio for a couple of years but low and behold the Rainwat agreement which covers what radio you have to have state that all boats using the inland waterways of Europe must have a fixed DSC VHF radio with ATIS function….

DSC….digital selective calling
ATIS….automatic transmission identification system

DSC VHF radios start at about £120 but to have one that is waterproof and easily mountable on the back deck of a Narra will set you back about £170 but to go one step further one with inbuilt GPS which will send out your position automatically if sending an automated Mayday call will cost around the £200 mark.


Built-in 12 Channel GPS Antenna
Ultra thin and compact rear case design (3.5” depth)
Powerful 25 Watt VHF/FM Transceiver
Meets ITU-R M493-12 Class D DSC (Digital Selective Calling) with Individual, All ship, Position Report, Request and Distress
Navigation to a DSC Distress Call with compass page **
Automatically poll the GPS position of up to 4 ships using DSC
Enter, Save, and Navigation to waypoint with Compass page **
GPS Compass display **
Navigation (LAT/LON, SOG, and COG) information shown on display**
Submersible JIS-8 1.5M (4.92Ft) for 30 minutes
Noise canceling microphone with channel UP/DOWN, 16/9 and H/L keys
NOAA weather channel selection with alert
Programmable Scan, Priority Scan, and Dual Watch
GPS repeating of position, SOG, COG and time **
Customizable channel names
Oversized dot matrix display
NMEA Input and Output
Programmable soft keys
Capable of connecting to a Second Station CMP30 Remote Access Microphone
Overall Dimension: 5.91″(w) x 3.35″(H) x 3.54″(D)
Flush mount cutout: 5.35”(W) x 2.80”(H) x 2.56”(D)
3 Year Waterproof Warranty

The Rainwat agreement also has to be carried in its 42 page entirety….why? I don’t know.

So as Jill’s VHF licence will not cover us ( Not Yet, more later) I had to go and do a Marine VHF Course which was held by Andrew Phasey at one of the other candidate’s house somewhere near Rugby. Another £100 but this was deemed to be cheap as rules as of this January are changing in that the course instructor can no longer be the examiner, meaning two people will be involved thus increasing the cost.

It was on this course that I also learned that now, as of January 2014, PPL VHF licences will now be transferable to a Marine VHF licence. Could have saved ourselves £100. Damn.

Now that’s not the end of it, it is also a lawful requirement that the boat itself has to be Licensed, this can be done online at:

Once you have your radio licence you will have to apply for a Notice of Variation, this enables you to input your ATIS number into your radio (not required in the UK), the ATIS number is then automatically transmitted every time you have keyed your mike. This can then be used against you if you are found to be using your radio illegally. The ATIS number is sent to the RAINWAT people in Belgium by OFCOM. So be aware big brother is listening to you.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

What about registering the vessel with another agency other than C &RT

Posted by contentedsouls on 14/01/2014

There are two ways of registering a Narrowboat going to the continent, the 1st is relatively easy and the the 2nd is not and very expensive.

Needless to say we chose the 1st option which is to self declare on the UK Small Ships Register, this is easily done online and at a cost of £25.00.

Here is where you apply:


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

What to do about Black Waste?

Posted by contentedsouls on 13/01/2014

This is a controversial subject which needed a little thinking about, yes I know tick tock, but we as boaters all end up talking s..t at some stage in an evening when out socialising.

On the continent, in general there are very few location where one can do a pump out, and historically boats on the continent nearly all have sea toilets, so what to do……when in Rome and all that….

A decision was made last June that we needed to have a Seacock welded into the bottom of the swim in the engine hole, close to the prop, so whilst in dry dock being blacked we had Les who runs Welford Marina and Facilities weld in the offending item. Seacock and Valve £95 approx

We then purchased a whale toilet waste pump for around £200 which was positioned close to the Blackwater tank and linked via a diverter valve to the seacock and the original roof pump out point. This allows us to choose either to pump out normally or dump straight through into the river ooooh!

This has made me ever so lazy, as it used to take me best part of 40 mins to do a manual pump out, now all I have to do is put a hose onto the roof pump out point hit a switch and it’s all over and done with in 10 mins. Lovely…….

No we won’t be swimming in the rivers on the continent, although I have in the past.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

What to do about Money in France?

Posted by contentedsouls on 13/01/2014

I trawled the internet and found out it is virtually impossible to get a French bank account without having a permanent address in France, it’s not impossible as Credite Agricole will allow you to have an account, using you permanent UK address and Bank…..but a big but for us we needed to be on an electoral role, which we are not. Ah!

We bank in the UK with Nationwide B/S and they have an account which is called Flexplus. The account is chargeable at £10 a month but pays interest at 3% per month on balances up to £2500 which will pay about £7 after tax. It also has European Breakdown cover for account holders car, Worldwide insurance for your Mobile Phone and Free Cash withdrawals from ATMs worldwide plus a few other add ons. So all in all

We have also opened an account with a company called CaxtonFX which allows one to load the card up with Euros from your bank account at very good transfer rates, the card is linked to VISA or MasterCard, your choice, and is used like cash. It can be topped up by phone, iphone App or on the internet.


With both above we hope to have covered all eventualities where money is concerned.

Only time will tell………we will keep you updated.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

When did it all happen?

Posted by contentedsouls on 13/01/2014

We were having a BBQ with Joe and Lesley off NB Yarwood, Sue and Vic off NB No Problem, somewhere on the River Ouse. From one of our number came the question “wouldn’t it be lovely to take our boats to France?”
That was it the seed was planted, everyone in the group were given tasks to do and so it started to happen.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

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