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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Cambrai & the Tour de France. Sun 28 June–Thursday 9th July

Posted by contentedsouls on 20/07/2015

En route to finding somewhere for G to leave me whilst returning to the UK, we poled up in the large town of Cambrai on the Sunday. The towpath was such that Muttley and I were able to walk nearly all the way, at times giving us a glorious view of MR and the surrounding countryside. The only vacant mooring in the little port said ‘no mooring, reserved for fishing’. The Marie is a keen fisherman. Annoyingly there was no-one fishing there – they were all busy fishing between the moored boats! We reversed out and moored the other side of the ‘finger’ on the main bank. This, in fact, was superbly safe for Daisy (although deprived us of water and electricity) and was free.

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So safe for Daisy, in fact, that she took to sunbathing on the bank edge. Shortly after I took that photo she stretched further, rolled over and fell in. Daft cat. Not long after we moored up we were joined by 2 other Brit boats; John and Hilary and dog Ben on barge Iskra and Geoff and Dot on a tiny, 40 year old cruiser which they had cruised across the channel – respect! Then there was Carol and dog Guillemot on barge Plover (husband John and other dog Kestrel visiting UK), down the canal a bit on a converted peniche and owner of the fab incredibly dog friendly restaurant The Jolly Sailor was David with one huge dog and one tiny dog. Needless to say we quickly and shamelessly formed a temporary ex-pat community – it’s not something we’ve done before, but it was nice to be able to relax in the mother tongue and humour and they were all such good company.

Once I discovered that there was an Aldi and a Lidl just up the road; the Tour de France was through the following week and Wimbledon was starting; we decided that I would stay put and G hastily booked his ferry for Wednesday morning from Dunkirk unaware of the strike at Calais. It took him an hour and a half to do the last 4km into the port and then he had a 2 hour departure delay. Just to add insult to injury, customs took him and the car to bits at Dover – it was only a matter of time really given the amount of times he crosses.


As you can imagine, with all these distractions the time flew by and everyone was back in time for the Tour de France stage which ended in the town on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately we arrived unnecessarily early to secure a good position and, after 3 hours I was extremely bored and beginning to need  a pee, so I decided to give it a miss and return to the boat. These two gentlemen had other ideas and would no longer let anyone cross the road. People who were there by chance were getting extremely annoyed about being ‘held’ there. Somebody came passed throwing these silly hats into the spectators.

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Finally the ‘caravan’ arrives, which is basically lots of silly vehicles advertising this and that; the occupants of which chucked useless tat into the crowds – I have to admit that the grabbing of this useless tat took on life or death importance as I wrestled the local French children to the ground in order to possess a particularly tasty rubber wrist band or biro. This caravan was greeted with great enthusiasm by the crowds largely, I suspect, because we were all so bloody bored that we would have cheered a dog running into the road to have a poo! Here’s a few of them:



Oooo look! Here’s some cyclists. Don’t blink or you’ll miss them.


and that’s it ………. it was all over, after 3+ hours of standing around. The best bit for me was watching them dismantle these amazing hospitality suite lorries.


Wednesday was declared a day of rest and Thursday we headed off towards the tunnel that sits between Cambrai and Saint Quentin.

2 Responses to “Cambrai & the Tour de France. Sun 28 June–Thursday 9th July”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    If you want to get ahead… get a hat!! LOL

    Oh dear, Dunkin’ Donuts Daisy, what’s the number for the CPL?

    And yes Le Tour is so much better on TV, you see more of it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a blue, baseball style, Gaulois hat too which I exchanged with a French lady for a spare one of the checked variety as modelled above.
      We’ve subsequently started watching it on the TV Kevin and have found it quite interesting


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