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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Baume-les-Dames to Laissey (Sat–Tues 7 to 10/11)

Posted by contentedsouls on 19/11/2015

I wanted to stay a little longer but we had spent 2 weeks travelling out – allowing another 2 weeks to get back gave us 2 weeks in hand in case of bad weather or emergencies and G, quite sensibly, was getting twitchy; this amazing weather can’t hold for much longer. Besides, I had gone close enough to Switzerland to hear cow bells  (albeit by car not boat) which was one of my criteria. In that time we have travelled 110 kilometres and 35 locks; I would have sworn that we’d done far more locks than that as they really are quite vicious with very little within reach to tie on to and they have been the only blot on this otherwise perfect cruise.

I never did do more than take a drive through the town of Baume. Although pleasant enough it wasn’t a patch on previous towns and I was far more impressed with the surrounding countryside; the juxtaposition of flatland and hills made a good contrast from the steep sided valleys we had been travelling through.

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We have left another 75 kms and 40 locks to the summit and then the much shorter drop down towards Germany/Switzerland, of around 38 kms and 41 locks, to explore another day.

We’ve spotted a number of different moorings to stay at on the return trip, but Laissey was one I wished to repeat – I was looking forward to spending more time there, as was Daisy as she had been kept in for 3 nights in Baume (I forgot to mention that following her dip the other night she fell in again 2 days later at Besancon).

Once again the cruise was a comedy of errors at the locks; greeted again by 2 red lights (out of action) we were about to try and ring VNF when a man feeding his goats left them and came and sorted the lock for us – VNF man on a day off? Who knows. The next lock was also sporting 2 red lights and, suddenly, the fat controller displayed a message (in English!) saying that there had been an incident, that VNF were aware of the problem and it was being repaired – all lies. There was no answer to any of our calls to the four telephone numbers we had and it wasn’t even lunchtime. By this stage we had quite a big audience to our predicament as walkers and cyclists alike stopped in the sunshine to pontificate on the reasons behind why this funny, skinny boat was lurking outside a lock in November.

One lady took pity on us and crossed to the lock intercom for us (there was nowhere at all for us to get off of the boat). She returned with the message that they would send someone although she had no idea when (and she was French), so we thanked her and lodged our back end against the quay whilst enjoying a spot of lunch in the unseasonal 24 degrees.

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The fat controller

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They eventually turned up and we continued on through the last lock without further incident. We were travelling straight into sun so you may well be relieved that I couldn’t take many photos.

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Once moored up for a few days i was able to rectify that and managed to make my way around to the beach on the far side of the river from MR. Baxter was having a good day and managed the walk, so this photo with the pair of them looking back towards MR in the distance is one that I will treasure forever.

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Here are more!

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We trundled up into the village bar to sit outside in the sun with a Pastis and coffee (himself) and a glass of red wine for me – much to mine host’s consternation and great hilarity from the other clientele he didn’t have any red wine. This has to be the French equivalent of a pub with no beer (something I’ve also experienced). The laughter increased when I offered to fetch him a bottle of red from my English boat – poor man, he’ll probably never live it down.

We ‘phoned Marc and Evelyn to say that we would be back in Besancon on Wednesday afternoon if the offer of dinner at their place still stood – it did and we said we were at Laissey. Later we were delighted to hear a knock on the boat and find that they, plus Annie and Jean Pierre had called by for a cup of tea – yes tea!

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A great spot to watch the clouds drift down the valley between the hills and the surprisingly large bats on a feeding frenzy at dusk taking fry off of the surface of the water.

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2 Responses to “Baume-les-Dames to Laissey (Sat–Tues 7 to 10/11)”

  1. andywindy said

    Wow what a picture you got of the Dogs looking back at MR, that really is the most unlikely place to find a Narrowboat! Reminds me of the Calendars that my uncle used to send us of his adopted homeland in ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ in Western Canada. NO Red Wine? That’s going to take him Decades to live down, especially in a Rural area like there.

    Like

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