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

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


Posted by contentedsouls on 29/10/2014

Given that I’m currently singly left handed I have adopted a new morning system, off I trundle with Mr Baxter and head to the bottle bank, which is as far as he seems to want to go these days, before returning him to the boat and heading off again with Muttley, carrying the cardboard and plastic recycling. As I left this morning G thrust a 5 litre plastic container to add to my re-cycling and, of course, it didn’t fit through the recycling hole, despite my jumping up and down on it. In mid jump I was greeted by a local gentleman who was in charge of the disposal system and unlocked the side to dispose of the container for me.

I then started to dispose of the rest of the rubbish and became a bit challenged about what I was doing there, where I lived, how long I was staying, etc., etc. He then, helpfully I think, took the rest of my bag off me and allowed the disposal of milk and washing cartons before ticking me off about cling film, kitchen roll, foil and crisp packets which, it seems, are not recyclable. It could have been so much worse!!!!

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On a happier note …

Posted by contentedsouls on 27/10/2014

A few pictures from our glorious weekend; before Muttley swallowed the fish hook and life started to go a bit down hill!

We really have had such tremendous weather and I couldn’t resist setting off on the kayak – sometimes though you get caught up by some quite big stuff. It’s hilarious from the kayak water level perspective but they always give you a jolly wave.

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G saw ‘Sierra’ coming before I did, so was on standby to take the pictures – hopefully to also fish me out when I got tipped in, but I wasn’t banking on it.

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These pictures are all coming out in the wrong order but hey, ho.

We’ve seen our new French mates again and have been invited to lunch next Saturday, so staying here does have some silver linings (and the young doctor at the hospital was lush!). I know staying here until at least next Monday is peeing Graham off but, for once in my life, I’m quite glad to have a break and just chill a bit. We really needed to have the boat in Reims to meet up with Pete and Sally at the beginning of November but, given that we can’t (I am totally forbidden from using my right arm to drive the boat), this is a great place for us and the animals and it suddenly seems to have been a long and quite tiring year – I guess a woman can have a bit too much excitement in one summer.

So I’ve long since jettisoned the sling arrangement, but am still trussed up like a turkey with this back/neck brace thingy which is, supposedly, meant to keep the shoulder bone in place. It’s driving me nuts, chafes and itches like hell and, I have to say, the x-rays 2 weeks in didn’t look any better than the initial ones. Fingers crossed that next Monday’s x-rays look a bit more sorted.

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The French emergency services are very good

Posted by contentedsouls on 23/10/2014

So …. where were we. Thanks to Bernard and Beatrice, Muttley lived to fight another day. We invited Bernard and Beatrice round for dinner on Monday to say thank you for rescuing Muttley and inviting French people to eat is quite a big deal. I cooked my little socks off all day doing tart tatin e things and roasted this and that leaving G to do the steaks. They didn’t turn up and all my starty bits went soggy. Then they did turn up and it seemed we had invited them at 7 and Beatrice didn’t finish work until 7.30 but our (lack of) language barrier hadn’t sorted that!!! They brought us bags of cherries and mirabelles from their orchard and we managed the language barrier surprisingly well. We had a brilliant evening and Bernard decided he was more than happy to drive Matilda Rose into Toul where we had decided to stay whilst G was back in the UK.

The cruising day was absolutely thick and solid fog, but Bernard turned up well prepared

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and the sun came out eventually so we arrived happily in Toul in time for lunch on board. No matter what else happens, if you have a French person on board you absolutely must provide food and wine/beer. It’s just the way it is.

Graham was back off to the UK first thing Friday and I had a zillion plans for my time aboard without tons of cooking for himself and the associated washing up. With himself gone first thing I walked the dogs and then headed off into town for a bit of shopping (we blame it on Debbie) and found some rather lovely sandals. I decided to wear them home and, leaving the bright sunlight into the dark tunnel, missed the step and fell off them doing a fair bit of damage to both my foot and my arm!

Pouring a glass of wine and starting to prep my dinner, a knock on the boat from Austin who said that everyone was meeting up for pre dinner drinks in the marina and to come and join them. It was a great evening and guitars came out plus mouth organs and pre- dinner turned into a long night and no torches and an escort home which turned into a bit of a crash and one broken ankle (Perry) and one broken shoulder (me).

Given that I was on my own with two dogs (Daisy self sufficient) I decided to ignore the painful problems, but by Monday it was clear that I had to engage with the French medical system. Tex and Anthea from the marina came to check I was OK (which I wasn’t) and walked the dogs twice a day for me and Anthea even washed my hair for me (nothing more depressing than cruddy hair). Peter, moored in front of me, was there to help too. Sad to say that not one other single English speaking person in the marina made any offer of help. If this had happened on the UK Canals every one would of got stuck in to help.

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Hooligans and vets

Posted by contentedsouls on 01/10/2014

I’m not sure where to start on this one really! We moored up at Pompey and were greeted by Austin and Suzy – an Aussie couple (they get everywhere these Aussies) who took our ropes. There were a number of teenagers lurking on the pontoon and they seemed pretty good natured when we chatted to them but we were more than a bit apprehensive about leaving the boat unattended. You don’t want to label every teenager between 14 and 18 as ‘baddies’. Coincidentally Austin and Suzy left their boat at exactly the same time and, when they crossed the bridge, spotted the kids clambering on their boat. They hastily returned to the boats and found that they had prised the window off of the back of their boat and were sat, looking innocent, saying that there had been a thief! No harm done though and we reported the incident to the Marie’s office, who directed us to the Municipal Police, who directed us to the Gendarmerie. We had taken photographs of the kids concerned and we e-mailed them and the info through.

We later discovered, via our other Aussie mates Peter and Jo, that some friends of theirs had their computer nicked from this location a few weeks earlier. C’est la vie. Said mates turned up with their English mate Trev at lunchtime on their way through to Nancy – whilst we waived them off (a way too short visit) Baxter demolished the remains of the fig tarte tatin – little bugger!

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So we moved on and moored up at Chaudeney sur Moselle. We wanted a nice quiet rural weekend and we found this little hole – it was a bit of a squeeze but we shoved our way in!

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Just before G served up Sunday lunch, the fishermen from a more spacious gap packed up and went home so we decided to move up into the idyllic gap. Had a splendid lunch and then pulled the chairs out to toast in the sun on the bank. Then Muttley dived onto some bait that the fisherman had left behind and swallowed a dirty great hook. I accosted some passing dog walkers who drove G and Muttley to the vet in Toul and then, when they couldn’t sort it, a vet back in Nancy – two anaesthetics, which is seriously bad news as both our dogs (it must be hereditary) have an allergy to anaesthesia which stops their hearts beating. All was well in the end and Muttley spent the night there after they successfully removed the hook from his throat (Baxter spent the night in our bed with Daisy as G didn’t think he should be left on his own in the saloon!).

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Lovely, lovely French couple who were so kind to us. We’ve done our best to say thank you – but that’s another story!

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