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

  • September 2014
    M T W T F S S
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Leaving Metz, heading for Nancy

Posted by contentedsouls on 19/09/2014

We set off from Metz in glorious sunshine, albeit somewhat late in the day. I actually managed to extricate MR from between the vertical mooring poles without any collisions – just as well as the TV crew were still filming me.

Big blue skies and open river with not another boat to be seen. We had to wait for the first lock to be turned and went in on our own. As we were re-tracing our steps towards Toul we were determined to moor in different places, so my first port of call was to put him off here to check out it’s mooring potential. Some of it’s benefits were very obvious but G wanted to put down some rubber matting before taking on wood. It was very over grown so I picked him up and we carried on. We scoured the banks for a suitable wild mooring but there was nowhere to be found.

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At the second lock I hovered whilst it was set and the gates opened but the lights stayed red so I started to move to the side; then the lights turned green so I started to go forward and then they went red again! Then G spotted the nose of a bloody great commercial coming round the corner behind me – why didn’t they tell me on the VHF (we’d already spoken) instead of playing the light dance. Needless to say, I was heading very rapidly to the side of the lock mouth at this stage to get out of the way.

G was at the pointy end and getting a bit excited and saying lots of things that I couldn’t hear as my revs were quite high – I was quite happy to deal with the situation but G looked a bit sad so I offered him the helm back. The commercial came by us most courteously.

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As we came out of the lock we then reversed back on ourselves, into the mooring, on this side of this concrete ‘finger’ that formed the lock mouth upstream where another commercial was waiting to go in.

This mooring provided us with hours of boat spotting entertainment from our lovely safe grassy bank – having not seen another boat all day it suddenly became very busy. The shipping was so big that you couldn’t photo them from our side hatch without putting the camera on ‘panorama’.

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One of the biggest we recorded was ‘Deo Juvante’ @ 135m x 11m. When you think that a football pitch (so I’m told) is a maximum of 100m. It puts it into perspective!

The lock and mooring are at Pagny sur Moselle

5 Responses to “Leaving Metz, heading for Nancy”

  1. Dear Graham, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy this blog you are writing: it is so wonderful for me to follow you on your journey, because we hire houseboats since ten years in the region of Alsace/Lothringen and every time we have to go back home to Germany (to Bochum near Cologne) we are sad because we love so much being on a boat. Now we are considering to buy a boat as soon as we stop working (in 2 or 3 years or so….). That’s why I enjoy your blog so much: it relates me to life on board and to France (which I love very much) and I get an idea of all days life on a boat. So I am really grateful for what you are describing and for the great photos you take every day. Now you are in a region we know very well, because we made the tour around Nancy this summer and last summer – coming from the Canal de la Marne au Rhin and turning around Nancy a little bit on the Moselle vers Toul and afterwards returning on the Canal d’embranchement vers Nancy. Our “home harbour” is Mittersheim, situated on the Canal de la Sarre vers Sarreguemines. –
    It really touches me to see, that there is such a great contact between the narrowboat-crews. Sometimes I don’t understand everything but I am learning a lot of boat-specific words in English I never knew 😉 and sometimes I wish I could be with you to support you with French because my French is far better than my English.
    So, I wanted you to know that there it’s somebody in Germany passionately following your blog and I hope that you like that idea! Thank you once more for writing and the photos and please keep going on. If there is anything I can do for you (for example information concerning the French language or habits) please let me know. Best wishes from Germany where we have lots of rain and thunder in this moment…hope that the weather is better where you are ;-))


  2. Hi Anja, we really enjoyed reading your story – thank you so much for all the lovely things you said and, believe me, there are days when I also wish you could support me with your French! Never mind, slowly we will improve our French and often ‘not knowing’ adds to the fun. I wish you could explain the ‘habits’ of lock keepers for us as they are a complete mystery! Sometimes they answer you and sometimes they don’t and they never seem to use the VHF to pass on important information!!!
    We’ve reached Nancy now, are there any places you would recommend we visit or eat at?
    Best wishes, Jill (it’s my blog but it publishes under Graham’s name) and please stay in touch.


    • Hi Jill, thank you very much for your words; I am happy that you enjoyed it. – For today I am not sure what to say about lock keepers, but I’ve got some ideas! 😉 Please give me a little bit of time to think about it… I have some ideas and for telling you the truth: it has something to do with the language! And by the way: what is VHF? Is it a sort of radio?
      Yes, about Nancy I have something to say: first thing: I would like to recommend you a libanese restaurant called “Le Mont Liban” Here the address and telephone number:
      33 Rue Saint-Georges, Nancy
      +33 3 83 32 53 64
      We were there in summer; it is a lovely small restaurant near the cathedral and we liked the food and the service very much – and the prices are ok! I hope that you will enjoy it.
      And if it is still going on, I recommend the laser-show on the Place Stanislaw – it is really worth it! Great technique and beautiful pictures….
      Where are you going after Nancy?
      If you are leaving the harbour and take the direction to Rechicourt/Lagarde you will find a supermarket just beside the canal…you can stop there with the boat and buy the things you need – very practical!
      So that’s all for today. I wish you a lovely night and for tomorrow great weather with sunshine….and I am happy to stay in contact with you….
      Best wishes Anja


      • Hi Anja, yes the VHF chanel 20 is the radio frequency that shipping uses to contact lock keepers to request passage through locks etc. Unfortunately I found this comment too late for us to be able to try out the Lebanese restaurant, although we walked passed it today and I commented on how nice it looked. Sadly we missed out on the laser show – it finished on 13th September but there’s always another year. We shall head (very) slowly to Reims where we have UK friends coming out to meet us the first week in November x


  3. Hello Jill,

    Finally we are back from France; hope that you are fine! Do you have an Email? If you like I could send you one or two photos from our trip from Mittersheim to Sarrealb … Love to you and Graham


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