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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Oisilly to Maxilly-sur-Saone, Auxonne and St Symphorien Mon 6/10-Thurs 9/10

Posted by contentedsouls on 14/10/2015

6 locks and 49 km

A bit of a misnomer really as Maxilly was our last stop before reaching the Saone. Not the most glamorous of moorings and Daisy was confined to boat due to the proximity of traffic. None the less, it served as a useful base for us to head off in the car to try and find a mooring where G was comfortable about leaving MR (and me) home alone whilst he returned to the UK for a family visit.

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Our first try was at Pontaillier; a small town with the usual shops for me to enjoy poking around in. It did have a ‘floating’ pontoon (the Saone can quickly go into flood), but a very steep set of steps with close proximity to small roads and little chance of a satellite signal.

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The second try was the historic city of Gray which I really fancied and where I felt I could do some serious retail damage. The moorings, however, weren’t safe should the river start coming up – fabulous place though.

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I’ll certainly need to explore further, rather than just the river bank. We then trundled off to find somewhere to walk the dogs and found this row of riverside ‘summer houses’. The rather dilapidated one, from the front, hid an amazing surprise from behind!

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We called it a day and returned home thinking we’d have another go at finding a mooring in the morning. Sadly we awoke to peeing rain – that didn’t stop all day – and I had managed (in my sleep) to trap a nerve/pull a muscle or something in my shoulder blade and was in a ridiculous amount of pain, plus a sore throat and swollen glands. So we stayed put and I had a pyjama day. My Facebook friend, Helen, said that there was a free mooring where they were wintered at St Symphorien – on the Rhone au Rhin Canal, just off of the river Saone. So we decided to take that option and headed off in their direction on the Wednesday.

Unfortunately, en route, we had a message to say that another boat had taken that last remaining mooring but that we were welcome to breast up to them. So we pulled onto the floating pontoon at the gorgeous town of Auxonne and drove across to join them for a cuppa and assess the situation.

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Sadly, breasting up wasn’t an option as the lovely Carrie had 3 Whippets and Daisy (staple diet for Whippets) and our two crossing back and forth her boat wasn’t going to work, so we decided to stay at Auxonne. Later that evening Helen phoned to say that she’d spoken to the Capitanarie and that there would be a land side space for us by Thursday afternoon.

Thursday morning I managed to get out and about in Auxonne with the camera, buy a loaf, one pair of shoes, one pair of boots, get the credit card cancelled and break the phone! Hey ho – what a lovely little town.

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It was decision time and my preference was to spend a few nights at Auxonne and a few at St Symphorien but, if I got to the latter (Helen and Chris would have crewed for me) and the Capitanarie hadn’t freed up the mooring or the mooring didn’t have suitable access for the dogs, I would have been stuffed. So I wimped out and we moved down to St S in the afternoon.

We had an ‘up’ lock to negotiate from the Saone onto the Rhone au Rhin Canal and the lockie insisted we turn off the engine and then whacked the paddles fully open – NOT funny and G swiftly turned the engine back on. I doubt if I could have held the boat on a normal day, let alone with a very sore arm/neck/shoulder – it did provide me with a bit of free traction though! Had I opted to move up here without G mid-week I would have been badly shaken and stirred.

The mooring was free and Chris and Helen were ready and waiting to help us moor up and line up with the gang plank. It was a bit tricky for Baxter and G had to lift him off to start with but, by Saturday, he was managing it by himself. Daisy loved it as she could defend the boat from all comers.

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