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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Foulain to Rolampont (Fri 18th)

Posted by contentedsouls on 22/09/2015

7 locks, 15 km

Friday dawned bright and sunny bringing out the delights of our mooring area

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As it was so lovely and the first lock was only 2 kms away, Sheila and Derek joined us for the short cruise and 3.35 metre rise in the first lock of the day before walking back down the tow path to Cyril. Not before, of course, introductions all round to our lockie of the day (man in a van this time) – explaining what we were doing and what D & S were doing was a very simple matter with the presence of our bi-lingual visitors (I wish we could put him in the cupboard and pull him out when we’re stuck and for lessons). The lockie was extremely patient whilst coffees were finished and goodbye hugs given and received – we should meet up again around this December though which is a vast improvement on the previous gap of 5 years.

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Our lockie for the day was very efficient; opening the bottom right hand gate for us and taking my rope up over the bollard on the right (a first for France – common practice in Belgium). For some strange reason, however, he opened the top left hand gate which meant manoeuvring across the lock against the prevailing wind. Hey ho!

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He spoke immaculate, unaccented, English and refused both coffee and a ‘tip’ of beers saying that he didn’t drink either. I don’t think he was a Frenchman at all, just masquerading; further proven by the fact that he wasn’t wearing a beret or a string of onions and there wasn’t a sight nor a whiff of garlic to be had. He complied with Graham’s (aka big mouth’s) request to speak to us only in French and helped me patiently with my pronunciation but, unlike the lass on Thursday, he didn’t really engage with us – he’d probably had enough of idiot foreigners by this stage in the season. Conversely to previous days; this one started sunny but degenerated into rain but we passed through some lovely countryside so weren’t too worried. I was particularly intrigued by these well muscled ponies, clearly some kind of native species but do any of you know what type? We thanked him for his help and his French lessons as we left him at lock 10 and booked passage for Langres at 10 am Monday morning.

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We moored at Rolampont to find we would have free water and electric for the weekend which was handy as there was going to be a lot of TV on (Rugby World Cup and Grand Prix). What wasn’t so handy was the high ish bank; G got stuck after tying off  – I tried to help him up but got the giggles; as you do. It also, of course meant lifting Baxter in and out and we are extremely grateful he only weighs 17 kilos. The sharp eyed amongst you will notice that we are moored in front of another wide beam narra., ‘Slo Motion’ owned by the delightful Peter and Glen. Having waved goodbye to Sheila and Derek in the morning, I’d hate you to think we were fickle for accepting the invitation round to Slo Motion in the evening! These guys had holed up during the storms with our friends Chris and Jaqui on the WBNB Joli Roger and had messages to pass on. Both Avalon and Joli Roger have similar layouts so it was interesting to see the completely different lay out on Slo Motion. We had a great natter and reluctantly left them, so we could eat our respective dinners, before we all starved to death, agreeing to say our farewells before they left at 10 am in the morning.

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7 Responses to “Foulain to Rolampont (Fri 18th)”

  1. caroline said

    The horses/ponies look like French Ardennes? they are a working breed so would account for the stocky look, not totally sure of that though! lovely photos.

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  2. caroline said

    oh and glad you have met the crew of Joli Roger, we were lucky enough to have a look over their boat whilst it was at the builders yard, our own build starts sometime around Dec by the same builder.

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    • I’ve never heard of the breed Caroline but they are lovely and very well muscled. We had great fun with Chris and Jacqui; their boat is beautifully laid out and finished – lucky you; you must be at the ‘extremely excited’ stage by now!

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  3. suenp said

    Yes I agree with Caroline Ardennes but small ones..

    Goodness you are busy with people over there!

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    • they were gorgeous Sue – I love the native breeds. It has been busy with people almost continuously since the beginning of August, but we’ll be billy no mates by the end of October – just us and the peniche. Much better for my French though xxx

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  4. Caroline said

    I’ve looked into the Ardennes a bit more, they are not an overly tall breed, a small horse 14.2 to 16hh, more info here http://www.heavyhorses.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/heavyhorses/ardennes.html
    and this info is taken from Wikipedia ‘In France, Ardennes stallions stand about 1.62 metres (16 hands) high, and mares about 1.60 m (15.3 hands),[1] while in Belgium these are the maximum allowable heights’. Yes very excited/daunted/apprehensive, so looking forward to this winter 🙂

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    • Thank you for that. These were much closer to the 14.2 I think (from a distance). We’re moving tomorrow and I hope to have a better signal once we get through the summit tunnel so I should be able to follow your link – at the moment it’s taking 2 or 3 attempts (and up tp half an hour) to publish these blogs from live writer.
      You must be one of very few people in the Northern hemisphere to say, “..so looking forward to this winter” !!!

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