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

  • November 2014
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Archive for November 13th, 2014

It can only happen in France bless ‘em!

Posted by contentedsouls on 13/11/2014

Last Thursday we moved MR up into the marina, just one lock and onto the  finger pontoon but we couldn’t get enough of MR on to reach the electric point so had to reverse off, wind and reverse back on. Such a joy to manoeuvre (albeit only for 30 minutes) and change our scenery. Poor old G had to do the front end as I daren’t risk my shoulder hanging on to ropes in these deep rising locks, or mooring up.

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Friday morning saw us dismantling MR and de-camping to Reims to meet up with our UK mates – beds, litter tray, basket. wack wack, bed time treats, waterproofs ……. and that was just Graham! Apart from 1 night when we shipped MR out from the UK, it’s been over 2 years since we all left the boat; what a performance. The minute you start packing on a narra the place is in chaos and, I must admit, having spent 2 nights on a widebeam, the shock of unloading back on the narra was even worse! I know we’ve spent a lot of money on new batteries, new boiler, etc., etc., but we like it here and the call of the widebeam gets louder.

Thank you so very much for lending us your boat guys. It was massively kind of you and very much appreciated – as was the toy library.

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We had a brilliant weekend in Reims with Pete and Sally with scrummy (and not extortionate) food, champagne tour, brocante and 3 remarkably well behaved animals given that they were in a strange environment. G, bless him, did all the driving and it stayed mostly dry (well the weather did!). A nice city, quite looking forward to mooring there in a few weeks and a chance to explore properly.

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We had intended to leave Toul (finally) Monday, but we thought it was a bank holiday so couldn’t book passage up through the 12 locks. Except it wasn’t a bank holiday, so, by the time we discovered it wasn’t and we tried to book passage for Tuesday we couldn’t leave because Tuesday WAS a bank holiday!

The Marne au Rhine Canal is open but, after 1st November, you have to phone and book passage before 3pm the previous day. We managed, eventually, to book passage for the 12 locks up to Pagny sur Meuse for 11.00 am yesterday and set off in the rain but it soon cleared up. We assume (but don’t know) that passage needs booking to make sure that there is someone around to help if you or a lock gets into difficulty as this set of locks operate automatically when you break the radar beam thingy. In the bottom of the second lock in the flight I was greeted by a VNF eclusier who turned up in a van and told me that I couldn’t go up the flight without booking (where the hell else I was meant to go at that point I don’t know – mind you, it wouldn’t have been the first time we’d spent a night in the bottom of a French lock!). At least, I think that was the gist of it, but they do talk very fast when excited (and/or upset). I told him that I had booked passage and he responded with a great deal of gesticulation before driving off. I seem to remember Kevin and Debs having a little spot of bother with officialdom on this stretch too! I had a great day and, although quite lively, none of the locks bothered us with G making a good anchor at the front.

We awoke in Pagny this morning surrounded by a fishing competition. A study in total concentration until 12 o’clock then?

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You’ve got it. France; 12 o’clock food and wine shared over a convivial lunchtime! Out with the tables and chairs, steaks on the fire, voila! Lunch over and back to the competition ….. priceless.

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