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
  • Meta

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.

20 Responses to “2015 draws to a close and we wish you all a happy and healthy 2016”

  1. Caroline said

    Congratulations on your first year in France, I can well imagine the mimes, we’ve had similar, asking if a table (marble) – display item, can be purchased and then dismantled, blank looks resulted and three different people asked, the third understood and when we asked how it was said in French the reply in English was ‘as you asked it’ it seems both nationalities like different versions of this game 🙂 have a lovely celebration tonight, and we look forward to reading your travels in 2016 in your new home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In situations such as yours Graham now trots out in French, “isn’t that what I just said?”.
      N’est pas ce que je vient de dire? It’s, mostly, received with laughs and smiles although there have been one or two exceptions!!!


  2. andywindy said

    Thank you for Posting for this year Jill, and congratulations on surviving the French so well for your first Year. One of my sayings is that the french mostly dislike us Brits and it comes over as arrogance, but that’s ok because we hate them! Clearly not true, and one must not label a population by how their Motorway service station act… Maybe if you had put Drap Housse into Google it would have come up with Curtain Wall!
    Thank you for some more of your wonderful photos, those Dusk shots are really special, You really have quite a skill there!
    Can I put the cat among the Pigeons and ask if you are going to change your profile picture when MR goes? (NOT a request for you to hange it, just wondering.)
    I wish You, Graham and the Canines a very happy New Year and many more of them afloat.


    • I tried to add to my reply to you the other day that, in answer to your question, we only have to lift one small area of decking to fill with fuel. The spaghetti mysteriously lined up with the floorboards in the galley and disappeared down the, spaghetti width, gaps. Clearly some kind of spaghetti magnetic field going on! For some reason the computer took exception to my commenting on my own blog!

      We have only found that arrogance very occasionally and then in big cites or restaurants (had an incident here this week actually) and they seem to like us a lot – maybe it’s just the free entertainment value we provide! Drap housse comes up as, ‘cloth cover’ on my app – an awful lot of stuff here is covered by the word ‘cover’.

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the photos but I wish to proudly and gently correct you – all but the first one were SUNRISE!!!!!! I actually got up early to take them (well maybe a dog needed to go out).

      I suppose I should have long since changed the profile picture from the Thames barrier to somewhere in France; funny but, when it’s yours, you stop noticing. I’m not sure I can remember how to.

      Thank you for taking such an interest in the blog, it’s been good having you with us. Here’s to a great 2016 for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. stevethewargamer said

    …just an occasional commenter but the blog is brilliant.. Keep it up,you’re living my dream! :o)


    • Any comments are gratefully received – it affirms that I’m not just prattling away to myself. I trust it won’t be too long before your own dreams come to fruition – I’m beginning to fancy a sail around the South Americas now!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. stevethewargamer said

    ..oh, et bonne annee… !


  5. Kevin TOO said

    Bonne Année (Happy New Year) to all aboard MV Francoise c’est soir 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures in both words and pictures.
    Merci beaucoup de partager vos aventures dans les deux mots et des images.

    Have a great 2016 and keep the blogs flowing please.
    Avoir un grand 2016 et garder les blogs qui coule s’il vous plaît.

    Kisses from Kevin and Harry (left, right & left again)
    Bisous de Kevin et Harry (gauche, droite et encore à gauche)

    Liked by 1 person

    • A very happy new year to you as well.

      Most of the time it has been a pleasure – sometimes you’d rather just curl up with a good kindle – and it’s nice to know making the effort is worth it; your regular presence helps with that. It looks like we could (keep everything crossed) be on the move in Matilda Rose a week tomorrow and I’ll try to keep the blogs flowing, but it’s going to be long days I fear. You watch the weather go all horrid on us now!

      Bisous toujours a tu deux

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kath said

    Happy New Year to you both. We miss you but have enjoyed all your adventures this year. Keep it up.
    Kath (nb Herbie)


  7. Happy New Year to you both, long may the adventures continue … and the pictures and miming of course! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ianmccauley2014 said

    Thanks also for the steady stream of life, adventure and the curious. Very much looking forward to more tales from you and the menagerie this year. BTW where does that map come from – a nice summary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ian. We shall get a chance to meet up in Briare this year – or so the IT department tells me. Thank you for sticking with me and not getting bored – you’ll be pleased to know that we hope to be cruising on MR again a week tomorrow, so pastures new. It’s going to seem very odd going back to the narra!
      That map is off of the back cover of a ‘navicarte’. I just stuck post-its on it and took a photo as the IT department was out.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. suenp said

    I have only just realised that two boating bloggers in France are in the same port!! xx


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