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

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

Boat swap – day out with Manuela and Alex

Posted by contentedsouls on 14/08/2014

After drinks on the German motor launch the night before it was a very early start the next morning and G drove the car to the outskirts of Verdun before cycling back to Vacherauville and then the 4 of us set off on MR. Alex quickly settled down on the helm of MR and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Just the one lock and G left me with Alex whilst he did the front rope. Alex was nicely set up for the left wall as we arrived at the lock, but a last minute request by the lockie to change to the right, understandably, threw him a bit, so we just swapped places until the lock was filled.

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Arriving at Verdun, we piled into the car and drove back to Vacherauville; climbed onto their motor launch and repeated the trip.

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Great fun and yes it was chilly but not as cold as this big coat would suggest (it was the only spare they had). Great fun, but the boat was quite a shock to the sytem – highly manoeuvrable, fast and extremely sensitive compared to MR’s solidity. The view from up there (compared to life looking at top boxes, kayaks etc) is amazing but driving from so far forward you have to be very careful not to forget about the swing of the back end behind you! Whilst I was on the helm upstairs, Alex went and ‘shook the tail feathers’ from the steering below inside nearly giving me a heart attack until he came back up laughing his socks off

The best seats in the house though were these chairs at the front where you can lay back comfortably, in virtual silence, with nothing to obscure your forward vision. Perfik.

I think I’d like one of these for summer and MR for winter please.

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And here we are being dropped off back at MR before they carried on their way having exchanged details. It was still only 12.00 but they have a lot of ground to cover now that the inclined plane has been closed – an extra 3/400 kilometers to get back to Switzerland by the end of September.

A fabulous day and an opportunity that had to be grabbed. 




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German police

Posted by contentedsouls on 10/08/2014

Where am I? Vacherauville. Middle of nowhere really (as is pretty normal for us) but, having moored up, we were soon joined by a Swiss couple.

Tomorrow I get to take a German Police boat (wasserpolitzei) through a lock and the Swiss owners get to take MR through a lock – we have a cunning plan with bike and car. How often in life do you get that sort of opportunity!

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Posted by contentedsouls on 08/08/2014

We loved it outside the sleepy village of Mouzay and ended up staying for a week. Unfortunately, we haven’t had an internet signal since we left there so I’m now giving the blog a bash on the ‘Live Writer’ for the first time. Trouble is, without getting on-line, I don’t know where/when the last post I published was.

Hopefully I said that we went and spent some time with Debbie and Kevin whereby we collected our amazing water filtration system that Kevin built for us and my new camera. We no longer have to pull into ‘proper’ moorings if we don’t want to as we are now completely self sufficient for water. For the first time in six and a half years we can have really long showers and run the washing machine whenever we want. G is also running a sprinkler system from the pump which runs river water over the boat to cool it down. This will make a massive difference to our ability to keep moving in the winter – both of us had been dreading the idea of taking a prolonged winter mooring.

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An unusual centrepiece in the middle of a roundabout en route

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This is our new filtration system – a series of filters and ultra violet light sterilisation

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An early Sagar barge (1991), Albertine, moored up across the way and we were invited round for drinks with Andy and Clair – a lovely evening and a chance to pick their brains (my pen, notebook and French/English dictionary are my constant companions these days – I had to buy a handbag to cart stuff around in).

The following day we were hailed by a passing narrowboat; Chris and Helen on NB Jeremus Picator. They hovered and chatted for awhile before moving on. We are starting to see quite a few Red Ensigns now – they are no longer the total rarity they used to be.

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You can just see MR moored across and behind them – I must admit I’m beginning to hanker after a bit of width and some ‘on board’ outside space.

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