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

  • December 2015
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for December 9th, 2015

Moving to Francoise

Posted by contentedsouls on 09/12/2015

Having secured a month’s mooring at St Symphorien for Matilda Rose, on Wednesday morning we dropped the dinette down into the spare double bed and spent the rest of the day and Thursday packing our worldly goods into bin bags. After we received confirmation that our payment for Francoise had arrived Thursday lunchtime, G started loading the car to the roof, making sure to leave space for the boys and Daisy’s cat carrier and litter tray. Loading the car wasn’t so easy as ‘we’ had to climb over the boat we were brested up to and across a single gang plank; not a job to be done in the dark. In the few days that we were there, half of Baxter managed to slide off the plank once and all of him slid off and went straight in once; as did our neighbouring friend’s cat – the metal gangways get extremely slippery.


Alarm set for 5am Friday morning, we finished the final bits of packing and loaded up the menagerie without any further cold water mishaps, setting off at 7.15 for our 2 3/4 hour drive South to the Port of Roanne where Francoise is presently moored. In an ideal world we would have cruised MR down to Francoise and brested up to empty everything out (a 10-14 day cruise) but there are significant closures en route at the moment; the most significant of which being the Canal du Centre which has been emptied!

After a cuppa and pain au chocolat with the owners, Barry and Alison, we spent the day trying to absorb their 8 years of expertise, meet the port Capitan and locate the rented garage. After a thoughtfully provided lunch, we finished picking their brains before they departed for a local hotel ready to return to the Isle of Wight in the morning – a long old journey in rough seas overnight on the St Malo ferry.

It was only after they’d left us that the enormity of how much they’d left us sunk in; tools beyond even G’s extensive range, enough paint to completely re-paint her, spares up the yin yang, etc., right through to electric blankets for each berth, a pair of bicycles and a bottle of Champagne. We unloaded the car contents into the spare room which is a wondrous thing to be able to do as we could remove one bag at a time to deal with and not live in a mess.

Daisy was settled within the hour and loves all the ‘high ground’ – she can get from the wheelhouse, through the saloon and dining area into the galley without touching the floor. The dogs settled well but Baxter is being a bit clingy and didn’t want us out of his sight.

Things wot I have learnt, so far about living on this elderly barge:

* If you drop a bag of spaghetti on the floor the strands line themselves up with the floor boards and disappear down the cracks.

* If you leave a big pantry drawer open Daisy can climb down the back into the bilges.

* If you try and throw rubbish out of the port holes you are thwarted by fly screens

* If you don’t watch where you are going on the gunwales you fall down a small step – 3 times

* If you are a Muttley you can run around the gunwales but you can’t turn round on them

* If you are a Baxter you can sleep out the back in the sun and no-one can leave without going passed you as there is only one way in and out (apart from the emergency hatch in the bedroom).

Here are a few random photos (including some dirty bits). Sorry if this blog is not very coherent but, as you can imagine, we are very, very, tired (and very,very, happy). We should be a bit more organised by the weekend but I wanted to get something out.



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