contentedsouls

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

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Archive for November 30th, 2014

Beaujolais Nouveau at Void-Vacon

Posted by contentedsouls on 30/11/2014

Not being in a hurry, as we are doing a bit of an exploration to see if it is possible to continuously cruise in France, we spent a very happy week in Pagny. The evening light was amazing as were the ‘wild’ goats. I say wild because although Muttley and I were walking for a couple of hours or more we never saw a fence confining them throughout the entire walk.

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We also had the opportunity to take up Kevin’s (WB Avalon) recommendation to eat at the local truck stop. Kevin hooked up with his ‘personal restaurant advisor’ who recommended the excellent steak restaurant at Commercy and then the Pagny truck stop. Kevin and Debbie had no opportunity to check out the authenticity of the latter, so we thought it would be rude not to check it out on their behalf!

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I have NEVER before and probably will never again eat ANYWHERE like it. A vast place broken down into more intimate areas where you could dine alone or sit with mates or just join a long table to eat and chat with mates or strangers alike, but no ‘greasy spoon’; every table beautifully dressed (to use modern parlance). Eat all you like massive buffet for starters plus a selection of soups, a choice of main courses and eat all you like desserts. The bread, of course, kept coming and  ‘on tap drink fountains’. Use of the latter required grabbing a 75cl bottle and filling it with still or fizzy water, syrup, or rose, white or red wine – all 7 if you wanted and repeat visits perfectly fine and, of course, coffee. Cost: less than £12.00/15 euros per head. They charged for overnight lorry stop but deducted that from the meal if you ate there and they also provided hot showers. They opened at 5.00pm and every cover was taken by 7.00pm; the staff were incredibly funny and friendly – worth going out of your way for? You bet, even if you don’t have a lorry!

Time to move on towards Void-Vacon in time for Beaujolais Nouveau day. A lock free cruise via the aqueduct over the River Meuse which was back, more or less, within it’s banks after the previous flooding. Due to the lack of locks and the rather miserable weather I was happy to hand G back the helm and we moored outside the VNF offices amongst the working vessels – an excellent spot for Daisy who found the mice particularly fat and, therefore rather sluggish, due to the proximity of the grain silo!

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Void is a little bigger than Pagny – more tiny town sporting a small store, butchers, bakers, post office a bar/tabac and two little restaurants, hairdressers plus, important for me, a variety of dog walking and rubbish disposal – don’t mock the latter; it’s a tough job being the rubbish disposal fairy but someone has to do it.

I confess to not being good at making the effort to leave the boat when it’s dark, so we chose the restaurant that was open at lunchtime to see in the Beaujolais Nouveau. Very nice it was too and so, again, was our set meal.

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After returning to the boat for an afternoon snooze we realised that Daisy was using the rather attractive planters as a toilet so, under cover of darkness and when I thought everyone had gone home, I set off wielding a trowel to make good any damage; as I started work a lady opened the door and looked a bit bemused to see the mad English woman from the bateau digging in her plant pots – Muttley, of course, took advantage of the situation to dive through the open door into the offices so I was forced to follow still wielding the trowel. My French does not improve when flustered, embarrassed and unexpectedly forced into use. With hindsight, in ‘ello ‘ello parlance, I think it went something like this:

“Sorry. My cat toiletted in your flowers. My bad dog quicked into here. Very sorry. Hello. Good evening, goodbye. Sorry. Extremely sorry” As I retrieved the lap searching Muttley and beat a hasty retreat. If I carry on like this I’ll get a job in stand up!

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