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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Vieville to Riaucourt–a fruitful day (sounds like an episode of Morse)

Posted by contentedsouls on 11/09/2015

3 locks, 8 km

Before we left yesterday we harvested sloes for the Christmas gin and two bags of apples from our mooring – one to hand over to Rouge Corsair when we passed. Moving off, we rose in our first lock of the day to find a VNF man in a van picking pears which he promptly handed to Graham. The second lock was also surrounded by fruit trees and I have been told that they were originally planted to supplement the diets of the bargees and help prevent scurvy (hmm – was that lockie trying to tell us something?).

At our 3rd, and last, lock of the day we were just about to leave when I spotted a ‘vendre truffe’ sign outside the ex eclusier cottage, so we tied off in the lock and started truffle negotiations.

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We received a great deal of information on the care and use of our truffles (little of which I understood) although we did establish that they should be kept in a cool dark place, but not refrigerated, and would keep for a year. Once negotiations had been completed, Monsieur expressed a fascination for MR and had a good look through the windows. On spotting Daisy in the boat I was swiftly trotted off to meet his two cats.

At this point there were two new arrivals – Monsieur’s wife and barge Rouge Corsair.

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We explained (or we think we did) that we needed to get MR out of the lock as our friend’s boat was coming and Madame insisted we all went round for coffee. We tried to explain that we would if we had enough water to moor, but the French was beyond us; fortunately we sort of managed to moor, albeit by blocking the navigation. The latter no longer mattered however, as we had stayed in the lock so long that it had packed up and thrown up the dreaded two red lights – not that we cared but it was a problem for Jackie and Noel. By the time we had made both boats secure and walked back, the outside tables were covered with a cloth, fresh pot of coffee and the ubiquitous home made schnapps – this one was pear – invariably at least 75% proof!

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G and Noel braved a glass – although Noel, sensibly, only drank half of his – and Jackie reluctantly ate a sugar lump dipped in it – having already met the Mirabelle version last year, I pleaded medication and managed to duck it. Jackie said just the sugar lump went straight to her head and Noel said his body started going numb. Jackie was also taken off to meet the cats and came back with home grown grapes and I was given an enormous courgette from their garden.

I rootled in my cupboard to try and find a return ‘gift’ but the best I could do was a jar of homemade red currant jelly.

It was time to call VNF to get the lock re-set whilst the crews could still talk and walk and we waved fond farewells wishing we could have had a little more time together – great company and a very special morning.

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So we both continued onwards in opposite directions and we pulled in at the beautiful little Riaucourt in front of an historic dove cot/house. Just room for MR – only one problem; the landing stage was very precarious and G was in danger of falling through it! Lunch done and it was off for a looksee round and about; the omni present Marne glistening in the glorious sunshine. G postponed the car retrieval as he was still wafting alcohol fumes as he walked

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When we returned to MR we were sat out in the sun having a cup of tea when a lady pulled up in her car – the dogs went over to greet her and she made a big fuss of them and then came over and gave me handfuls of peaches. Two more days like this and I’ll be setting up a fruit and veg stall.

A truly magical day.

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10 Responses to “Vieville to Riaucourt–a fruitful day (sounds like an episode of Morse)”

  1. Veronica Hayes said

    Sounds like you guys had a great time together!

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    • Jill Budd said

      it was one of those lovely days that sometimes just happen – made even better as we had great company to enjoy it with

      Like

  2. I love love love this! Perfect – I did get squiffy on a sugar lump dipped in the pear alcohol – Noel was numb after two mouthfulls – Jill I need your permission to re-blog this – it is just fantastic – I am sitting here with a big grin. You’d be proud of us today – we stopped at 4 – met a local (blog to come) – who produces wonderful artwork on motorbikes and an attic to die for – pics soon – incredible stuff – Noel asked me if I thought he was married – I think Noel wants to marry him! lol! Now we are supping Chavignon – yes, Chanvignon – perhaps we should patent that – more info soon – wonderful wonderful blog! xx

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    • Jill Budd said

      I’m glad you enjoyed it – please feel free to re-blog it. Can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to in the attic!!!!!!

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  3. I have to add – that, that photo of me with the large-ish – odd-shaped dark phallic “thing” in my hand is the bunch on grapes – not, erm, what it looks like – lol! hehehehehehehehehhehehe

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  4. andywindy said

    A most ‘Fruitful’ day then. More wonderful pictures, thank you Jill.
    In light of Her Comment, I’m not going to ask why Jackie had her eyes shut in Her photo!

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    • Jill Budd said

      Best not Andywindy!!!! The village was so beautiful it was difficult to put the camera away – thank goodness we’re not still on celluloid or I’d be bankrupt!

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  5. vallpee said

    Lovely blog, Jill!! How fantastic that you’ve met up with Jackie and Noel too. I’d give anything to have your life, I really would! Wonderful encounters, great descriptions. For me, cruising is largely in the past and I just have the memories to go on.

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    • Jill Budd said

      Thank you Vallpee. It is a wonderful life and I wouldn’t swap it for anything. It’s a shame that you can’t cruise anymore but at least you did it and have those memories. I hear too many people start sentences with, ‘we thought about doing that’! Go to your grave with as few ‘what ifs’ as possible I say.

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