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

  • May 2014
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for May 29th, 2014

No water, hung up (didn’t think it would happen to me) and Kevin escorted off by officialdom

Posted by contentedsouls on 29/05/2014

The day no-one wants. We all started off OK; lift bridge set and down the lift caisson, then into the local small boat marina, we were down to an egg cup of water.The language barrier met it’s finest dead end in our slowly improving French ; yes we could have water ; no we couldn’t, something about harbour masters and timings; yes, no. I bashed on the door and explained I was desperate for water and gave up and burst into tears. Finally we got water after paying for tokens and proceeded into a very deep self service lock. Debbie and Kevin have both posted tonight and have been very ‘delicate’ about what happened next. I attached a rope to the top of the ladder – thinking it a better option than the bollard a long way back. Got snagged, couldn’t loosen it; pulled the emergency ‘stop’ rod (no lock keepers), lifted it; pulled again;. water still going down. Kevin was closest to me and threw me a kitchen knife, by which time G had reached me and he cut the rope. The rope had snagged at the top of the ladder about 9 metres up. We were now safe and, of course, by then the emergency stop rod re-acted so we couldn’t re-start to empty the lock and get out. A lot of ‘phone calls and someone eventually came out and re-set the lock. I was shaking like a leaf. I know how it would have ended if Kevin hadn’t been there with his knife. Somerton Deep is a mere stop lock compared to where I tried to kill us all. A galley swimming in burst olive oil and broken china took some cleaning up. Dogs were not too bad and Daisy was still snoozing.

We then went into the Strepy-Thieu massive ascender which is a rise of 73.15 metres and Kevin was whisked (and maybe frisked) off by officialdom as we rose; missing it all. They weren’t happy with his Wallonie paperwork but all conducted in French and, like the earlier water incident, a completely mysterious interaction.

When we reached the top and we let the large scrap metal boat leave I couldn’t start the engine and G had to come back and change a fuse.

Moored breasted up in a little cutting where we have been warned it’ll be tsunami land again at 6 ish tomorrow.


Far too many adventures for me in one day.

The amazing pics can’t be accessed tonight either. My hearty admiration to the 3 people that stuck to a skinny day today – great fortitude. I salute you.






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