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 June, 2015

Iuwy to Valenciennes

Posted by contentedsouls on 15/06/2015

We set off to Valenciennes in glorious weather with Daisy taking some outdoor space (Valenciennes was not a place where I would be happy letting her out) and G doing a bit of trend setting for the under bridge graffitti.

P1080365P1080368P1080370P1080425Big locks, big traffic but nearly everything going the other way so we made good progress and we arrived at Valenciennes to a brand new port area with every facility you could possibly imagine

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The guy came down and said it would be 10 euros for the night, water and electric included. I was just setting off into town so he said to pay the other guy in the morning. The other guy in the morning said that this new port wasn’t officially open yet and that there was no charge until Monday – on Monday it would be 20 euros for 18 metre boats and 26 euros for anything bigger – I immediately had that shrinking feeling for the return trip (if we come back this way)!

It was already gone 5 and the fellers set off to do car positioning so I walked the dogs and set off into town – I reckoned I had an hour and a half to play before getting back to make food. Such an archetypically French city/town with everyone sitting out in leafy cafes enjoying the long overdue sunshine and enjoying a beer or Pastis. I would love to have joined them but there seemed little point by myself. The railway station was a fabulous piece of architecture.

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G had started to worry about the brakes and tyres on the car so he went off to get it sorted in the morning, which he did and so it was lunchtime before we set off to Antoing.

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On off, on off

Posted by contentedsouls on 03/06/2015

After posting yesterday that we had our dry dock booked at Seneffe for 12th (5 days into Belgium), June phoned the local official for details so that we could transfer the money into their bank. At this point she was told that we couldn’t go in until the 26th!!!!

At this point Temujin thought they’d continue and G and I decided enough was enough. MR can easily go another year without being done so we made the decision to head on South down the Escaut and the St Quentin. It did, however, occur to us that Christian might have booked us in for the 12th and that this other guy thought we were someone else so thought the dock wasn’t available until the 26th – they seem to rent it out in 2 week slots. In order to try and clarify the situation, Belgian friends (that we made last year) made a phone call for us and were told it was down to a lady who could be contacted today. There has to be a “how many people does it take to rent a dry dock?” joke in here somewhere. The lady says, “yes” today for the 12th but we must sign the paperwork which must be posted to us and posted back and then the money transferred and then it would be booked. Why not turn up, sign the paperwork and hand over the cash I hear you ask? Why not indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If we travel all that way into Belgium (a lovely country but no place for pleasure boats – do it by train) and then……….

So I did what I normally do when wound up and walked Muttley to Horraines with the added benefit that I found a nice little village bar where they supplied Muttley with a bowl of water and me with a nice cold glass of Leffe, giving me chance to exercise a bit of French which tends to hide behind Mike and June’s near fluency.

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We’ve had some interesting skies as the fronts go through

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Today we drove into Cambrai to pick up our new head bolts from the post office – collected without hassle – so G has replaced the one that sheered and Mike welded for us. Time to look around the town and have lunch as tomorrow we’ll head to Valenciennes and towards Belgium

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Wind and rain stops play

Posted by contentedsouls on 02/06/2015

Mike and G set off, yet again, for Seneffe from Iwuy (pronounced ee wee as in wee wee) and we now have a date for blacking a week Friday. It has actually turned out better for us as we’ll be able to manage getting the dogs on and off better and Christian will do the pressure wash for us. That means we only have to do the painting.

We were moving on to Valenciennes this morning but heavy rain and strong winds have continued on from overnight and we can’t be bothered. Iwuy (next to a silo) has suited us fine but we have had some moments; particularly at the weekend. This Madonna with the big boobies decided to carve up the canal, us and the local wildlife until we explained the error of his ways – whereby he promptly apologised and moved further up.

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More worryingly, we were disturbed at 12.30am by nutters on motor bikes who chucked a liquid over the side of the boat – but they scuttled off when G went out and no damage was done although we could hear them in the distance round the village for awhile after. Mysteriously this lorry load of chickens turned up at the silo at 6.0 am one morning – don’t know what that was about and, I suspect, I won’t want to.

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Never having been a coffee drinker in the past, I have grown rather a taste for it since being over here – so much so that we couldn’t resist this when we saw it at only 30 euros. It’s a bit heavy on the batteries but only for about a minute and my galley is now overwhelmed by capsules of macchiato, cappuccino, lungo, ristretto ……… you get the picture; you know G with a new toy. It really is gorgeous – I’m getting quite growed up; heavens, I’ll be eating olives next.

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A nice small footprint so it sits happily next to the basil.

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Iuwy on the Escaut

Posted by contentedsouls on 01/06/2015

Our first day here was busy as we set off in the car to Cambrai in search of fuel for dogs, cat, boat, humans and to fill the gas bottle. It was gone 4pm before we returned and managed to eat some lunch and get all the shopping, fuel etc stowed away. Despite nearly dropping with tiredness I knew I had to give poor old Muttley a good walk and a chance to let his hair down whilst Baxter was content to snooze on the bank in the sun. I soon perked up though when we found a beautiful circular walk amongst little streams.

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An early night seemed in order but for some unknown reason I couldn’t sleep and I gave up at 2.15am and got up and read my book. Knowing we are only 2 days travelling away from our lift out and that we won’t get an update on it’s precise availability for another 3 days we can afford to stay here a little for some much needed R & R before the hard work starts.

I slept better the second night and felt a bit more myself. The fellers set off by car to the dry dock to see precisely when they would be ready for us – we had already been put back a month (and Temujin had been put back a year and a month; but that’s another story). Good job they did go in person because, despite ‘phone calls saying everything was on schedule, they hadn’t even started work on the boat that was supposed to be taking a month. Had Mike just ‘phoned, he probably would have been lied to again. After a complete change of plans and directions to get this blacking done and then being delayed another month of our summer I am not, as you can well imagine, a very happy bunny.

However, we have been given the location of a dry dock in Seneffe which, if it all works out, will be much better for the menagerie. We are 5 cruising days away (70k by car) and we think it’s coming free in a week or so which would work out perfectly – all this detective work has been massively helped by Anne and Michelle who have a mooring there and we met them last summer: they actually remembered G (without the boat) when he turned up there Saturday and have been so helpful in contacting people for us. G & Mike are off at tea time to, hopefully, sign copius pieces of paperwork and seal the deal. All being well, we shall head off to Valenciennes tomorrow en route to blacking; plan ‘J’.

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