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
  • Meta

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.






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

  1. indigodream said

    I’m so glad that you’re ok (well, apart from shattered nerves) – hope that’s the last of the dramas and you just have nice adventures from now on…

    Sue, nb Indigo Dream


  2. Margaret Budd said

    Oh darlings,how frightening,thank goodness you are ok now,never mind a mess as long as you are all good and in one piece.I do hope that you have a peaceful nights sleep,and good days from now on bless you all xxxx


  3. Kevin TOO said

    Well you wanted an adventure Jill… looks like it’s more fun than Alton Towers on board MR.. LOL
    All joking apart though so glad that you are all safe and sound, we live and we learn, so they say… 😉
    BTW just what do you have to do to wake that cat ??


  4. suenp said


    Things can only get better tra la la la… Just keep singing it Jilly xx


  5. Greygal said

    We’ve all had our ‘big phew’ moments and thankfully we’ve all come through them, so don’t think about it again and just enjoy the road ahead. At least there are no marauding greyhounds eating your pizza….then everyone would be on a fast day! Get me your shopping list when you can and we’ll see you soon 🙂


  6. Eddie said

    Oh Jilly our best wishes for you both, so now it’s
    History and get on with the future, it has to brighten up! Love O and E xx


  7. Jaqueline andvLes Biggs said

    My heart was in my throat as I read this post. We are so relieved you are both okay and we are sending you love and big hugs.


  8. Del & Al said

    Oh gosh, you must have been so frightened, good news is you’re safe and sound and that’s all that matters, Take care both xxx


  9. Geoff said

    Flippin’ ‘eck! And we only did the Anderton Lift…


  10. Simon H said


    It can be very scary – we just slightly beached one at the bow and thought it was going over!

    Maybe a couple of car belt cutters? They come in a holster.



  11. Paul said

    Did the same thing in the big London Limehouse lock, the rope got nagged on a weld on the ladder, blasted the horn and they reversed the lock…..brown trouser moment xx


  12. Thank you all for your comments. I wasn’t ignoring you all but we had no internet the following day and yesterday was so long that I didn’t have the energy to blog so G threw up some pics. I have to confess to wine and sleeping pills that night. Just when I start to put it behind me G tells me how the counter was just about to go under and other ‘helpful’ comments!


  13. Alistair said

    Bless Daisy… She’s such a cool cat. Wine AND sleeping pills? Sounds like the perfect treatment for such a stressful day. You guys stay safe over there.


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