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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Besancon to Novillard and Laissey (Mon 2 & Tues 3/11)

Posted by contentedsouls on 16/11/2015

5 locks, 22 kms

Having been forced to stay an extra day, we were disturbed Monday morning by a different capitainerie who said we shouldn’t be there as the port was closed after 31st October – it was too dangerous for pleasure boats due to the risk of flooding. My French was having a melt down morning ( I wish they wouldn’t make verbal attacks prior to coffee and breakfast) and I tried to explain that we had tried to leave but couldn’t, but would be leaving in the next hour. For my efforts, and despite the port being closed, we were charged another 20+ euros for our enforced stay the previous evening!

As we left, (one more gratuitous shot of ‘my’ bridge) the first lock had no lights on so we called a central number who gabbled away at us before hanging up and leaving us lurking for a long while. Long enough for G to go and see if he could find a more local number. This is the first canal that we’ve been on where we haven’t been able to find a definitive ‘phone number – on previous canals they’ve been very good at rescuing us quite quickly. Just as we were beginning to think they might have tagged another day off onto the previous one (they often do), someone turned up. The other option to contact rescue mission control is the intercom on the side of the eclusier huts, but physically accessing that intercom box can be quite challenging; regardless of the amount of ‘rise or fall’ of water, the structures are physically very deep to allow plenty of lee way for flooding so, even if you are at the top of the water level, you can still be a very long way down. You can see the ‘filled’ water mark on the lock wall.

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The mooring itself at Novillars was down a very steep ‘rise and fall’ ramp which was in a pretty dodgy state of repair – most of the ‘non-slip’ batons were broken or missing making ascents and descents quite tricky in the morning and evening dampness. We were actually adjacent to a truck stop advertising food and music – these are normally high quality and cheaply priced – however this one disappointed because even truck stops, it seems, have a closed season and this was it.

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The next morning we headed off to another small village stop by the name of Laissey. Throughout the cruise (still enjoying glorious sunshine) we were escorted by Heron with squeaking Kingfishers as our wingmen – I don’t know why, but they seem to be particularly noisy here and, invariably, I hear them before I see them. A similar pontoon layout here, but in considerably better repair. We moored in time to wander up and explore the village with the dogs (Baxter was having a ‘good’ day) and enjoy a late lunchtime beer.

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The locals and the goats were very friendly and I would happily have stayed in this village for awhile, but time was no longer on our side as this canal/river is closing on the 8th December so we have to turn around and re-trace our steps fairly soon. If we get heavy rain now the river will flood, the guard locks will be closed and we could well be trapped until the end of January when it officially (weather permitting) re-opens.

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