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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Life in Port

Posted by contentedsouls on 14/12/2015

Despite the previous owners, and us, keeping quiet about the sale and purchase of Francoise until the last moment; news travels fast within a port/winter mooring community. As we finished unloading the car alongside the boat on Saturday (a considerably easier job than loading it), we were frequently interrupted from our chores by numerous boaters popping by to introduce themselves and invite us to various events. Although this slowed us down, but it was good to take a break in the sunshine after the previous few days and there were no longer time pressures on us (we weren’t even living in a mess due to the fact that everything was being dumped in the spare room). What staggered me was the sheer amount of information that people knew about us!!

They knew we were British, had a narrowboat, cruised throughout the previous winter and that I was wearing blue knickers!!! That, I suppose, is inevitable but not something we’re used to – we rarely stay put anywhere for 9 days and even if we do it is usually in the middle of nowhere. Having said that, everyone has been delightful; making sure we knew where everything was, inviting us to social functions (including Xmas day dinner on Peter and Jan’s giant converted peniche, “Rook”) and offering us lifts to useful places.

Muttley and I have been adventuring down the River Loire and the gorgeous weather has continued; so here are a few ‘back to normal’ pictures.


We also took time out to pop into town and have a quick look round – and a beer. The indoor market wasn’t too shabby either. All the wet fish stalls had little ‘breakfast bar’ type places where you can have your oysters shucked as you sip Chardonnay – how cool is that!!


We have been quite busy on the social scene too. Wednesday afternoon is ‘stitch and bitch’ on the barge of an American lady. Thursday tea time is happy hour for boaters in a portside bar – a fair few nationalities involved in that eclectic mix. G went on for a meal afterwards with several others but I was shattered and just wanted a bit of space and some peace and quiet – it was lovely to climb into my PJ’s and snuggle down with the dogs and a glass of wine ready to watch Masterchef; until, that is, G returned with friends for drinks.

Saturday morning was a special Xmas market – I imagined it to be a sort of German market like the one in Birmingham, but it was just the usual creperies, cheeses, sausages, jeans and frilly dresses (I’m still curious to know who buys them as you rarely see anyone wearing such ‘frothy’ stuff). One table stand with live puppies, goat, rabbits, etc., on it gave me a nasty moment until I saw the sign on the other side which roughly translated to, ‘animals are neither for sale nor for giving’. Mabe this is the French equivalent of,’a dog is for life, not for xmas’.


We’d picked up a whole leg of lamb for silly money – it’s not the most common of meats here and usually very expensive – frozen, of course; so G set too to put half in the freezer. He needed to try out a few of Francoise’ tools anyway.


As it turned out we were invited for drinks Sunday afternoon on a barge owned by some lovely Aussies (thinking about it, I’ve never met an Aussie yet that I didn’t take to) so we never quite managed Sunday dinner!!!!

Back to boaty bits; we have 8 of these serious sea going portholes which I hope I never have to batten down in earnest!


… and a couple of the engine ‘ole and part of the paint store as requested!


The engine is a Ford Lehman 100 hp 509E which, we think, will use about 3.5 litres per hour … and there is the rub; we ‘think’, as we can’t take her out because the lock is closed and we’re not allowed to cruise around the harbour. Now we’re all unpacked and sorted, this is going to become increasingly frustrating; G is taking this with staggering equanimity as this has to be the biggest and bestest gadget he’s ever had and he can’t try it out although he is busy learning all the systems.

4 Responses to “Life in Port”

  1. andywindy said

    Blue Knickers? when did you start wear… Stop it Andy you’ll get a fat lip!
    Sounds like you’ve landed amongst a strong community of Boaters there, the sort that will look out for your beautiful new home for you should you leave Her for a while to go exploring or when you collect MR etc.
    I’m glad they left you the paint, when we sold our house up country we left a similar stock plus wallpaper part rolls that were left etc. I thought it was the least we could do, we had only re decorated right through a year or so before so it could have saved the new owners some money and hassle.
    It does look nice around there, another really nice set of pics Jill, thank you.


  2. KevinTOO said

    Happy Christmas to you all 🙂


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