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

  • July 2015
    M T W T F S S
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Lesdins to Saint Quentin, Weds 16th July

Posted by contentedsouls on 17/07/2015

It’s me – back again. We’re on the Saint Quentin canal and not the prison and it’s pronounced San Can Tan. I could make a number of excuses for not blogging and, in reality, we had no internet whilst in Belgium (and anyway we were too busy working on the boat); then, back in France, I was too shattered; then we met lots of lovely people and then it was too hot. Oh – I just have made a number of excuses!

I can’t possibly catch up with everything that’s happened, so here’s yesterdays fun and games and then I’ll do a series of hi-lights and low-lights (another rope cut!) of what we’ve been up too.


Lesdins is not a particularly pretty village, but is well kept and has everything you need although well spread out over long up and down hill streets. So before we left I made the long trek trek up to the boucherie/charcuterie and bought a couple of days worth of meat and ham. We ate the fillet steak last night and it was one of the best we’d ever eaten, before collecting fresh fruit and veg from the tabac by our mooring (strange things for a bar/tabac to sell I know). I should, at this time, point out that when we went to get meat out of the freezer the other day and that the freezer had broken down and everything was defrosted. We hadn’t taken anything out for awhile so it could have happened ages ago and I daren’t, therefore, even risk giving it to the dogs. It all went overboard. As we had left the car somewhere long term it was fully stocked and I tried not to cry. We can’t get a similar replacement anymore ( a chest which sits under the dinette seating) and we don’t have anywhere else to put an upright. The problem is that my fridge doesn’t have a freezer compartment, so we’re going to have to suck it and see – watch this space; we may end up living on salad and getting skinny!


As the boulangerie was in completely the opposite direction next to our second lock of the day, we decided I’d nip off and get the bread. Best laid plans – only 1 of the twin locks was working and this chap was waiting to come up – so that wasn’t going to happen as there was no other way to get me off/on other than the lock. We didn’t disturb the Heron downstream – he was too busy concentrating on his own lunch.


In fact at each of the first 3 locks there was something waiting to come up and we were praying that there was nothing at the 4th as we desperately needed to get water – we weren’t keen to make our own water here as it looked more than a bit mucky. If push comes to shove though we could use it as grey water and by bottled for drinking.

At the 4th lock we were delighted there was not a boat insight and pulled into the left hand basin – the only one automated; the right one was closed.


Trouble is, it turned out that the water wasn’t in the centre – as is normal – it was on wall of the house behind me, where I’d taken the picture from. G jumped off and weighed up the situation and decided that it was no problem; he would reverse out, go round and put MR’s nose on the top gate of the defunct lock and that our hose would reach. At this point I did suggest that that probably wasn’t a good idea as the automated lock would probably throw a strop if a boat went in (there are boat detectors) and then a boat went out (they have no idea that it’s the same one reversing) without the lock emptying. G said it would be fine and reversed out and round to the other lock. At which point (yeah, you know what’s coming here), the emergency system activated and red lights flashed.


I mentioned to G, as we tied her off, that the lock had de-activated and G said it would be fine; the green light was still on and it would re-set when we re-entered. I promise, I didn’t look the tiniest bit smug when the VNF man in a van came to sort it…..well, maybe just an eensy weeny bit, but I did resist those other 4 deadly words. It didn’t take long of course before man in a van came to talk to us so, like all embarrassed cowards, I found something terribly urgent to do indoors when I saw him approaching. He was remarkably sanguine about it, but thank goodness a peniche hadn’t turned up from either direction – I don’t think they would have been very happy with us. What we should have done, of course, was go down, wind and come back up; but it’s such a fag. What VNF should have done, of course, is put a sign up saying go the right for water before entering the lock or, far more sensibly, automated the one by the water point and closed the other one. Too easy I guess.

That was our last lock of the day before finding a very nice spot which was Daisy safe, good for dogs and with woods and lakes opposite, whilst still being within easy walking distance of St Quentin. G started setting up the water pump to spray and hose the boat roof to try and bring the 33 degree temperature down and I took the dogs into the canal and chucked water over them. If it ever cools down enough, we have quite a lot of stuff to do in town – my (guaranteed for life!) best kitchen knife has broken and I’ve walked right through my walking shoes. G’s shorts went in the bin after blacking.


I’ll try not to leave it so long next time

6 Responses to “Lesdins to Saint Quentin, Weds 16th July”

  1. Caroline said

    Not sure what sort of freezer you had but shoreline do a 35 ltr pull out one for under a seat/dinette. So nice to see your are out and about.


    • Thanks for that Caroline, we couldn’t find one. I’ll check the measurements, but the price is shocking. Our fridge is elderly and I wonder if we might be better off replacing that with a fridge/freezer – but then I’m losing fridge space. I think I’ll see how we manage for awhile – at least you’ve given me an option.


  2. Elsie said

    Hi, found this online when we were looking for an under the bed chest Expensive ! Our freezer and fridge problems was caused by a faulty domestic battery isolator only letting a small current through.
    Elsie Fletcher NB Bendigedig


    • Hi Elsie, a long while since I saw you! Thanks too for that and equally expensive. I’m not sure I wanted to hear that last bit lol. Ours has been taken to the dump!!!!!
      Lovely to hear from you


  3. Kevin TOO said

    Welcome back, so glad to hear that you are all still OK 🙂
    Sorry that your freezer has gone belly-up though, how annoying!!

    BTW did Graham call out the paramedics… you must have be seriously ill
    as I’ve never known a woman to miss an opportunity for the ITYS quote 😉 :0 🙂

    Looking forward to your catch-up posts, sounds like you’ve got loads to tell us


    • Hi Kevin, no I wasn’t ill just immensely restrained. Besides, it’s much more fun to leave him in suspenders as to whether I will or not. I will, at some point – probably a year or so from now!


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