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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Thivet (Sun 20th) and Rolampont to Langres (Mon 21st)

Posted by contentedsouls on 24/09/2015

9 km on foot and 7 locks, 10 km on the boat

Whilst up in La Tufiere on Saturday, we spotted a map for a 9 km circular walk from the village of Thivet. The village was only about 20 mins drive up the road so we went and had a looksee to see if we could find the start of it. We, eventually, found the sign for the start of the ‘Circuit des Caivottes’ and returned to the boat.

Sunday morning was 8/8ths low cloud and by lunchtime it hadn’t improved, but nor had it deteriorated. I made sure that I had the GPS locator ‘on’ on my fully charged ‘phone, this picture of the map on my camera with a new battery off of the charger, a bottle of water and wet weather gear in my rucksack (I can be sensible sometimes). Leaving G to the Rugby and, more importantly, the cooking of Sunday lunch, the intrepid Muttley and I set off to tackle the wooded hills.

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It should be a doddle, just needed to keep going in a straight line until the blue and yellow paint stripes marked where to turn off. The walk started with a steep climb up onto open track before turning off into the woods. I was soon confronted with a choice of three tracks and no sign of blue and yellow paint anywhere. So I consulted the map on my camera only to realise that the battery hadn’t charged and was nearly flat; it certainly wasn’t going to last for fairly continuous scrutiny. Twice I ‘phoned G to look at the map (also on the computer at the boat) and ‘ping’ me to give me directions and then I found some more paint marks and thought I would be fine.

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Wrong!!!! The paint marks vanished again! Worse, as I was indulging in a necessary call of nature I heard an ominous rustling in the undergrowth; I just had time to wonder if I could climb a tree with my trousers round my ankles to escape a herd of wild boar (sanglier) when Muttley shot off and put up a herd of red deer. Initial relief gave way to worry about how long it was going to be before Muttley returned and would he get lost – Floyd and Muttley pulled this stunt on us one winter when Lesley and I were in the Fens. Eventually, of course, he returned looking immensely pleased with himself and more than a little out of breath.

The sun finally broke through the cloud so, like all good boy scouts, I was able to get my bearings and work my way back down towards signs of civilisation.

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The village itself was quite nice and the new bus shelter had a ‘muriel’ of the village on the back wall. P1090818P1090819P1090821P1090823P1090825P1090827P1090828

By the time we arrived back at the boat I was very pleased to see my roast lamb and Yorkshire puds followed by apple and peach upside down cake; both Muttley and I slept well that night.

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Monday morning we left for Langres and our lockie for the day was a delightful young man in a van. We were met with the usual giggles when we told him that we only needed one gate open. However, he didn’t get the bit whereby you can’t change direction in a narra until your bum is clear of the closed gate – he opened the left gate, but then tried to take my rope on the right; we, of course, were still on the other side of the lock so it was all a bit of a muddle. He quickly realised the problem and, thereafter, opened both right hand gates and took the rope on the right. We whizzed through the locks after that and he happily accepted a couple of beers before waving us off with a cheery bon voyage. A pretty cruise and impressive new hydraulics on the lift bridge.

 P1090834P1090842P1090852P1090854 The moorings here are lovely and, like Rolampont, we have free water and electricity. There is, however, a snag with the electric in that it is only switched on for one hour three times a day; 7-8 in the morning, 12-1 mid-day and 7-8 at night. We think this is to coincide with meal times as many of the European boats don’t have gas; all their cooking is done by electric.

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