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

  • June 2014
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

Charlerois to Auverlais

Posted by contentedsouls on 03/06/2014

We tried for an earlier start yesterday and managed to get our ducks in a row around 10 as we knew it would be a long day. We hit the first lock with good timing, waiting only briefly for a big bugger to come out and Kevin spotted the water point in the lock so, calling for water (and no traffic around according to the AIS and the VHS) we breasted up and Kevin grabbed the hose to start filling Avalon. There was much housewifely delight at the thought of water and rubbish disposal (Debs and I know how to have a good time). So there we were with Avalon all happily tied off at the top of the lock and us loosely attached to Avalon when off goes the siren and they start emptying the lock – a mad scrabble to untie Avalon as it starts to hang. So down they went with the hose pipe still in place and we had to leave at the bottom and wait. I think they made most of a tankful before an oncoming boat got them chucked out by enthusiastic gesticulation. My rubbish has now been fed into Lidl’s bin.

At the second lock G called with his best google translate and apology for lack of linguistic talent and all we got was a rapid incomprehensible essay (or was it novel) of French back. So Avalon tied off and we went round and round in circles (because you can) to see what transpired. It seems we were waiting for something to come up and also something to catch us up to go down with us. Wouldn’t it be nice if they just told you how long, then you could put the kettle on, empty the dogs etc., etc.

I think that lock passed without incident except for a chunk out of the wall right next to the bollard which I was worried my rope might snag on (can’t think why I worried!!!!). I tell you, if we are visited by the police as we cross into France I am likely to be arrested before I go on a mass murder rampage – I’ve got more knives within reach than Edward scissorhands now. A long and dull day on the whole and very glad to see our nice rural mooring pontoon for the night. No wild camping here as we are on a Class 4 canal still. Needless to say that there is no evidence of the advertised electric or water here. Nicely moored up with 5 ropes, 2 boat attached fenders, 2 pontoon attached fenders and the satellite tuned in (yeah, we have the replacement LNB), the fellers set off by bus and train to recover the vehicles from wherever they’d been left. Then 3 cruisers turned up and Debs and I had to untie everything and move MR back 3ft so they could squidge in front and tie it all up again; our fault for leaving the gap but it was late and we didn’t think we’d see anyone else and we try and leave a bit of space so Daisy cat can see Herbie come calling! We actually had a better TV signal after and the couple, Sandy and Trevor, on Cariad (that is how they spelt it my Welsh Sues’) were good fun and invited us round for the evening. Now we’ve got the TV back the Ipad has gone down – I’m not that worried about the TV but a working satellite is the only way I can get my beloved Radio 4 cost effectively – I can sometimes get Radio 4 LW but that consists of mainly cricket at the moment rather than the afternoon play.

I’m about to loose my Facebook shortly and I’m not renewing it as we’ll be in France in a few days with new comms, new boat licence, new paperwork (you can bet on it) and, we are reliably informed, frequent access to water.



A little splicing required now


One person’s graffiti ….. I love it.                      More of my door obsession.



We waited for the empty one to come out of the lock


Pretty much all of the cargo round here is scrap metal


….. and the full one. “Loaded to the gunwales” has a lot more meaning for me now

So far we’ve paid for one mooring at 15 euros each boat and 500 litres of water at 6 euros. Not a lot when you remember that we only paid 120 euros for the boat licence in Flanders for a year and Wallonie is free – maybe that’s why all the water and electric for the pleasure boats has been disconnected. Fuel is around 1 euro 30 ish and we are using a bit more as we’re going faster!

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