contentedsouls

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

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Archive for April 30th, 2014

Now in week 3 in Belgium

Posted by contentedsouls on 30/04/2014

Our learning curve gets no less steep – in a way it gets steeper as our expectations become higher, but we don’t become more knowledgeable.

To start with, I want to know who is eating all this patisserie. We’ve yet to see a ‘fat’ person anywhere on the Belgian plains; someone is eating the chocolates and cakes but it isn’t the locals … oops, perhaps it’s us. I have to say England (apart from Radio 4) has been pretty much abandoned. My breakfast now consists of a cappuccino (I can’t handle this milk in tea – anyone want to make me an offer for 20 boxes of PG Tips? ) a lump of cheese, a handful of grapes and a banana – we still have a fry up once a week though. There is not a scrap of fat on any of the meat although it is still surprisingly flavoursome.

We were wrong about our comms costs. A text to my English mates costs 0.37 euros and their texts to me costs them 10p – we continue to be very wary of internet charges and I oh so miss browsing through my mates’  blogs at random with no worry about costs. In fact, everything in the garden is not rosy tonight – I expect it will be tomorrow, but there is no point in this blog if I don’t tell it like it feels.

On my new Belgian phone number, I have unlimited texts to other Belgian phone numbers – that’ll be me and Debbie then. Quite handy as I can text Debbie to find out what clothes/shoes shop she is in and she can text me to find out what bar I am in; all for free

The lockies aren’t really here to help us enjoy life – we’re expected to comply with whatever makes their lives easier. They do not like the fact that we keep setting up base camps in the middle of nowhere and they expect us to do groups of locks and bridges together whether we want to go that far or not. We wanted water yesterday – I’d done loads of washing ‘knowing’ that we could water going back through the lock but I was told, “no” because there was too much traffic. The definition of ‘too much’ was the two locks set for us to go down and one waiting to come up so we couldn’t stop and fill in the lock. We suggested that the other boat came up and then we could fill with water as we went down – no, too much traffic. Things happened that I probably shouldn’t publish here, but we do now have a full tank of water as we don’t know where the next ‘free’ water is coming from for a little while. Rapidly coming to the conclusion that it’s better to tell neither lockies nor harbourmasters our plans and just bumble along pleading ignorance where necessary. Sorry it all sounds a bit down tonight but I must be feeling homesick – I’d give a ransom for a nice flat bank mooring on the Nene right now where the dogs and Daisy could have a good romp away from the incessant cycle tracks.

I left you Sunday afternoon heading for glorious roast beef on Avalon and then we moved back out to base camp in the evening when the canoeists had finished playing polo. We found a flatter bit of pre-strimmed bank although it was a bit shallow so we compromised by sticking the front in and hanging the back out. Monday we spent In Flanders Field Museum which needed to be done but became sad, dark and claustrophobic after nearly three hours so I headed back out into the sunshine – how lucky that I could just make that choice – this trip to Flanders has been extremely humbling.

I then trundled off for a last tour around the, now unnavigable, ‘narrow’ canals around Ypres

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The photos are all in the wrong order but I expect you get the gist.

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