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

  • January 2015
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

A summons to the Gendarmerie

Posted by contentedsouls on 21/01/2015

Tronville-en-Barrois to Longeville-en Barrois

Due to our boat lay-out, if we are on shore power we virtually never go out onto the stern deck when moored, so it was purely by chance that G went out and found a note from the Municipal Gendarmerie insisting that we contact them – no idea how long it had been there. It’s much more difficult to communicate over the phone so, fortified by a beer, we presented ourselves at the Marie’s office (largely as no-one seemed to know where the police station was) and were met there by  one of the local constabulary. The problem seemed to be that we had not appeared and declared ourselves as sleeping on our boat, a requirement which we were not aware of, and that there is a tax of 20 cents (about 17pence) per night for stopping and that we should have reported on arrival. As you may appreciate, it took some time and concentration to grasp this, so when we said we were leaving the day after he lost the will to live and wished us bon voyage – all adds to life’s rich tapestry.

Before leaving we were also invited to join the family at the White Horse for what appears to be a mid-January custom: a gallette (puff pastry and gooey apple layers) is divided up and one portion contains a charm (a bit like our silver threepenny bit in the Xmas pud). Whoever gets the charm is king or queen for the day and gets to wear the crown – it was me! Perfect for the drama queen that I am. Then Monday we left with our guests (previous blog) and spent two nights in Tronville, funny little place – elderly Massey Fergusons in the middle of the houses; here’s one for the boys

15-01-20 1336615-01-20 13365

Now I’ve been in some strange little bars before and this one is up there with them………

15-01-20 13368

This morning we’d booked passage through 6 locks and six kilometres but woke up to significant ice. This gave us a dilemma as, due to the ice forecast, wherever we stopped tonight was where we would be likely to spend the week – should we/shouldn’t we go. We decided to give it a couple of hours to see if the sun would burn off the icy fog and then decide, so we declared serious breakfast and fetched un pain and croissants which we devoured with eggs cheese and marmalade (I like the mix and match). Digesting this little lot over coffee we heard the sound of breaking ice – first boat movement in over two weeks. Action stations and we were hot on his tail after 25 minutes.


We made good time as Muttley and I walked on and lifted the bars as MR came into each lock but at the 4th lock our ice breaking friend was in the lock with the gates still open and the lights out (denotes non-operational). Oh no, breakdown of lock, boat or both


I shouted to see if anyone was about and had no response, so called the control centre on the lock intercom thingy. My comprehension is a nightmare when not face to face and worse still over these crackly intercom things. I established, during the long conversation that ensued, the following:

There was a stationery boat in the lock (we told each other that)

The chef of said boat had gone to eat

No, the lock wasn’t closed

The answer to my question as to when he was likely to finish eating/start moving was completely incomprehensible; despite my memorising the words and rushing back to look them up, it still made no sense so we reversed up and paid due homage to the French lunch and put the pins in


When we were under way again he re-set all the locks for us before we reached the ‘lock set control point’ so we forgave him.

We encountered some interesting characters at a lock – look away now if you are easily offended.


We’ll stay here tomorrow by choice but it may be longer due to ice – hey ho, the car is only a lock away

2 Responses to “A summons to the Gendarmerie”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    Bloody Tax dodgers, shame on you… LOL

    So are the lock-side figures a ‘tribute’ by the éclusiers to the plaisanciers anglais fous? 😉

    Hope you are all well and keeping warm… xx

    Liked by 1 person

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