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
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Archive for December 31st, 2015

2015 draws to a close and we wish you all a happy and healthy 2016

Posted by contentedsouls on 31/12/2015

The end of our first full calendar year in France draws to a close and sees us settled into our new home.

Seeking out things for the new boat over the last few weeks has made us realise that there are whole areas of the French language which we still haven’t even touched the edges of and, as such, we are turning into superb mime artists much to the amusement of staff and clients alike in busy stores. For such areas of language exploration, Google ‘iTranslate’ is best avoided – I still haven’t forgiven it for instructing me to ask for a fix in a chemists when I wanted tissues.

We were out looking for a new bed sheet and found the colour and size we wanted in a sealed wrapper – we wanted a fitted sheet but had no idea what the word for that was. I flagged down a smiley young man in the bedding department and did the ‘not this’ before miming Matron’s hospital corners, ‘but this’ as I mimed twanging elastic. He clearly thought he’d encountered the local loony although was happy to follow me up a couple of aisles where I could show him a picture of an elasticated fitted corner on the cover of a mattress topper. As understanding dawned he shrugged and tore the wrapper off the sheet I was holding to have a look – it was fitted. I asked him what the French word was – a further shrug and, “elastique” he replied. Well what do you know ….. not a lot actually, as we later found out from a friend that a fitted sheet is a ‘drap housse’ which it clearly stated on the wrapper. Perhaps he was only on loan to the bedding department from haberdashery.

2015 for the mime of the year must go to Graham though. We were in the supermarket yesterday picking up oysters, chicken legs and fizzy to take to tonight’s New Year’s Eve party and I wanted some of those little chef hat thingies to put on the end of the chicken legs so that you don’t get messy when you eat them. I don’t even know what they’re called in English, but G valiantly struck out in his finest French and asked the assistant to imagine that the bottle of wine he was holding was a chicken leg – he then covered the end with his hat which he said was a chef hat and mimed holding and eating it. She fell about laughing and went off to fetch her boss. G repeated his French explanation and Oscar winning performance and the stony faced boss said, “I do not speak English”. It deserved a better result. You can’t win them all so I’m off to tear up bits of kitchen foil.

More stories to tell but so little time, so they will have to be left until another day. A few photos in the meantime


As soon as the silly season is over we need to sort out trying to get Matilda Rose down here and finding out exactly what is going on with the Canal du Centre which was empty, but some sites say it’s now re-filled and some say it’s still closed. Lesley was moaning that she needs maps to grasp the logistics so here is France with the location of the two boats – about 2 weeks cruising if the weather doesn’t turn bad on us – 3 hours by car.


Thank you for staying with us this year.

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