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 December 17th, 2014

Through the tunnel, then starting on the descent

Posted by contentedsouls on 17/12/2014

Yesterday we set off at 9.45 to be at the tunnel in good time for our 10.00 am passage. The lights are before the bend so you can’t see the tunnel entrance from the ‘holding’ point. The lights were red and stayed that way so, eventually we ‘phoned VNF and were told to go on through. Explained that the lights were red but were told to go on, ‘pas de probleme’. It might have been pas de probleme for him, sitting safely in his cosy office, but it would be one bloody tres grande probleme for us if we met ‘Nobis’ coming the other way and we had to try and reverse 5km. Anyway, as we finished the call the eclusier came cycling round the corner and beckoning us to follow him. At the entrance he whisked out his clipboard and asked who was on board, so we declare two people, two dogs and a cat. He cycled all the way through alongside us –it took about 50 minutes – what purpose did he serve? Was he going to tow us if we broke down or phone to tell someone that we’d sunk? Perhaps he’s there to check that you don’t dispose of murdered bodies. If I ever went missing (not that anyone would know except himself), the French equivalent of SOCCO would have a field day as I’ve been having more of those projectile nose bleeds; that’s after they’ve separated my blood from that of Daisy’s mice and rabbits

Totally uneventful, like a big underground tunnel all lit up, huge and boring; I went in to peel potatoes and left Graham struggling to keep the (French) conversation going with the eclusier – I have to admit he did a mighty fine job and they seemed to be nattering away happily. Once on the other side we went down the first lock – months since we went down and moored on a floating pontoon.

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We didn’t stay there long though for a number of reasons. The pontoon was rotten, and very slippery combined with a steep exit gangway. Daisy doesn’t use the gangways; she prefers to enter and exit pontoons by using these very narrow metal support struts

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Across the track from this pontoon was a garden housing this chappy. He was completely fascinated by Daisy and every so often lunged toward the fence and issued a woof. Daisy jumped onto the struts and nearly over balanced into the water and Baxter and Muttley burst into a frenzy of barking. So, whilst I heated up the soup I sent G round the opposite bank to see if we could moor there – the edges of this canal are sloping so you can’t moor just anywhere.

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One man and his dog on a mission. It was too shallow, but he found a lovely wild mooring a bit further on with lovely views and even lovelier horses

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