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

Roanne to Briennon–Shakedown cruise

Posted by contentedsouls on 11/01/2016

3 locks, 15 kms

Shortly after I’d posted the blog on Saturday, saying that we were abandoning the trip to fetch Matilda Rose, we received an email from VNF saying that the Saone was closed. The alternative plan, to take Francoise out for a cruise, also saved us from having to do any packing so I had time on my hands to drive Muttley further afield for a walk along the Loire which we hadn’t done before. The rain threatened us the whole time but never actually caught us – the light was fabulous.


Goodbyes said, we purchased and printed off an annual licence for Francoise – £400 (the second one of these we’ve had to pay for this week!) and put last year’s paperwork to bed. We negotiated 466 locks and 1,665 kms on Matilda Rose last year.


This morning we started a new boating chapter and untied Francoise ropes under dark clouds and a little rain and hovered in the port at 8.55am and watched the VNF man winding the lock paddles for us at spot on 9.00am. The rain cleared and the sun started to come out. Unfortunately the wind started to come out too with nasty, intermittent, strong squalls! The first lock wasn’t pretty and nor was the second. I had mentioned to G that we were likely to turn the wheel the wrong way after years with a tiller, “no we won’t,” he said, “you don’t do it in the car”. Sadly I was right. Yes, you can turn it the wrong way under pressure and you also have to remember that you are not stood on the ‘end’ – there is quite a bit of boat behind you which is easy to forget.

G aced the third lock but, sadly, I didn’t do so well with the front end. The bollards are well back from the lock sides and we were sitting quite high in the water so I decided to get off with the rope. It was too high to step up to get back on so I put my bum on the gunwales and pulled my feet forward in front of me; but I couldn’t get up. For a long while I have needed to roll onto my stomach to get up off of the ground but this wasn’t an option in this situation – our gunwales may be a lot wider, but they’re not that wide – as I would have rolled into the cut. The situation was exacerbated by the shape of the tjalk which slopes upwards to the front so I was embarrassingly stuck on my bum falling backwards – the rope was on though so the boat was secure. At least I gave the VNF man a good laugh.

As we moored up just through the village of Briennon the wind took pity on us and allowed us to moor with a semblance of dignity. A beautiful spot but a bit muddy – we’re not used to mud anymore. Baxter did his first foray along the gunwales to alight at the lowest point; easy peasy. His idiot son kept trying to squeeze under the safety railings; a dog of very little brain! We’re just off to get a cup of tea now and change our trousers.

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Great to be on the move again.

8 Responses to “Roanne to Briennon–Shakedown cruise”

  1. suenp said

    I like the arm ‘swarved’ around the back of the captain’s chair G! Mutley and Baxter are doing fine on the gunnel too. Glad to see you have managed to get away after a mad social time in the port. I bet you are enjoying the peace and quiet for a while.. Until… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. andywindy said

    Glad to see you’re moving at last, and to able to do it whilst it’s quiet where you are has to be a bonus… Graham does look quite comfy driving from the Boot/Cloak room (Maybe Vestibule could be a new name for Wheelhouse?).
    Having to pay a full license for both boats does seem excessive, but if they only do them for a full year then I suppose it’s understandable.
    At least 4 of that top picture set have a definite ‘Constable’ feel to them, you really are very very good at this picture taking!


  3. Jaq said

    Gloriuos photos! I know how wonderful it felt when you came out of the last lock for the cruised a bit and then moored up! Congrats at escaping the marina. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great to see you on the move! G looks nice and cosy in the wheelhouse – what comfort! Your antics on the bow made me laugh, hope you find an alternative way of getting in and out of the boat that ensures your safety and dignity very soon. xx


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