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

  • January 2016
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

Plans are afoot! We have movement.

Posted by contentedsouls on 09/01/2016

We are gearing up to start cruising again; driving back up to Matilda Rose on Saturday with almost everything in place to start moving her down to Roanne.

Le Doubs is still closed, but VNF will open the 2 locks required for us to drop onto the Saone although, unlike here, they have had quite a bit of rain up there and friends advise us that there is a bit of a run on it – hey ho, we’ll be off of it quicker!! The Canal du Centre has water in it again and the Canal de Roanne a Digoin is open. Simples – I bet it’s not!!

Now we have made a plan and booked the necessary passages our, previously glorious, weather is deteriorating; inevitable I guess with us needing to be out on the tiller in all the elements. Not that we have had any opportunities to get used to cosy cruising in a covered and heated wheelhouse; up until now it has made a very good ‘cloak and boot’ room (not that either of us sport a cloak very often these days) and a nice sunny space to lie up and read or watch the world go by.

I cannot believe how quickly the days just seem to slip away whilst we are in port. I promised myself faithfully that I would do an hour a day on my French (especially verbs), a minimum of 5 hours a week painting (recreational), some exploration of the local area and sort out the blog format. Of those four things we have managed one trip into the hills for a ‘fizzy tasting’ trip and I’ve spent one hour with the watercolours – not a good hit rate. Once we get MR back it will be work time and I feel I have squandered these 5 weeks, I haven’t even made any shopping trips to start filling up my new, and vast, wardrobe – I’ve had a lot of fun though and met loads of lovely new people!

As Baxter ages he seems to feel the cold more and we need a new jumper for him to sleep in – we hadn’t been able to buy one big enough for him and I casually mentioned it to another dog owner in the port who contacted another boater who found a pattern and came round to measure him. She was heading back to the States though, so passed the pattern on to another boater who is now knitting it up – he’s had a couple of fittings and the new coat is nearly finished. All arranged without my even knowing about it until Debbie turned up to measure him; they’re efficient this lot.


Muttley has had a much needed haircut. Unfortunately our styling request (totally conducted in French/mime) lost something in the translation so he still has a full head and tail of hair. At least the bit in between is clean and tidy. When we went to pick him up she said that he didn’t much like being bathed – we feigned surprise. She also said he didn’t like having his paws cut –we feigned a bit more surprise. Then, mon dieu, the noise when I tried to clip his paws!!! Our levels of feigned surprise, in French of course, have now reached magnificent levels of total fluency.


We ate out on one occasion and the food was excellent but the service very, what I call, ‘Parisian snotty’. It came to a head when she asked us if we’d be wanting desserts whilst we were still eating our mains – hurrying you along whilst you are eating is probably the most unforgiveable thing you can do to someone in France and G had a firm, but polite, word. She did actually look quite contrite and her attitude then improved. We still didn’t leave her a tip though. These were our starters, I had fish for a main course and probably the best crème brulee I’ve ever eaten.



Graham disappeared into a Tabac to buy a paper the other day whilst I waited outside with the dogs. He was gone ages so I picked up one of the free papers from the stand and browsed through the adverts to kill the time, stuffing it half into my handbag when he eventually reappeared. On the way home. I popped into the supermarket and, at the checkout, the lass spotted the paper and asked me if I’d picked it up from outside. As I said no, I realised that she thought I was shoplifting it and then, of course, realisation dawned that they weren’t free at all and I had shoplifted it from the Tabac. Ooops! My French certainly wasn’t up to sorting all of that out, so I remain a 57cent thief – I don’t even know which Tabac I picked it up from.

New Years Eve was a party of 10 on a neighbouring Aussie boat – they were nominated whilst they were away Christmas week because they had the next biggest boat to the one we spent Christmas on. We took a box of oysters and quite a few of the Brits lost their raw oyster virginity; Mick said we’d never get him eating raw oysters and then ate 5!


I started typing this blog the day before yesterday but ran out of time to complete it, in the interim we have discovered that the Saone is getting ever livelier and the cubic metre per second speed of the water has doubled with heavy storms forecast for all of next week. The lockie says it’s not safe to lock us down onto the Saone so that’s the end of that plan.

So plan ‘E’ was to go for a shakedown cruise for a week or three on Francoise instead. The necessary phone calls were made and we were set to leave at 10.30 tomorrow. Then we received a phone call that tomorrow’s destination was closed but that was fine as we’d just wild moor. Then we were advised that the locks would be closed too; followed by an email to say that they were on strike on Tuesday. The current plan is that they will lock us out of the port Monday morning at 9.00 am (10.30 was inconvenient for them) but we shall see – watch this space; if I get up before 7 to walk the dogs etc., and they don’t turn up I shall not be a happy bunny!

Meanwhile I continue to pound the local countryside with Muttley and enjoy the big skies and cloudscapes



Someone made a break for it yesterday!


6 Responses to “Plans are afoot! We have movement.”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    Poor Muttley 😦 What was the groomer’s name? Sweeny Todd perchance? LOL

    Is that a breakfast on toast with a side salad? Strange concoction… 🙂

    But I’m saying nothing about the size of that spoon seeing the look in your eyes 😉

    Enjoy the cruise, if you ever get untied and a green light from VNF.


    • It’s a good job Muttley doesn’t feel the cold! It does look like poached eggs in the photo but it was Mozzarella and mushrooms – my runny thingy with the eggs and cepes in was gorgeous; oeuf cocottes – I’ve ordered this 2 or 3 times and each time been given something completely different.
      Fortunately my pud was nearly as big as my spoon!


  2. Just be thankful it wasnt Graham having a haircut

    Liked by 1 person

  3. indigodream said

    Happy New Year to you! Your French travels are amazing – though I feel for you wth Baxter ageing – I hope his new coat helps 🙂


    • Happy New Year to you also. I’m afraid there is nohing any of us can do about our aging boys although Baxter has become very funny with it – extremely demanding and quite noisy. He knows exactly what he wants and insists on having it.
      His new coat was finished yesterday and he seems to like it – as long as he stays warm at night.


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