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

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

Pont le Beaune to Melay. Melay to Roanne Port

Posted by contentedsouls on 15/02/2016

4 locks, 22 kms, 5 hours

3 locks, 26 kms 4 1/2 hours

Due to stopping early the previous day, we had a lot of ground water to make up in the morning to make our first lock appointment at 10.45. There was a time when we could only book locks for on the hour; then we added half past the hour  to our vocabulary – now we can book anytime we like! Their time is as crazy as their numbers; 11 – 15, 4 x 20 + 10, etc. G said I should be ready to leave at 9 am so, needless to say, we left at 8.45 in another howling gale. We arrived early at the lock and thought the lockie said he’d see us through the next 3 locks before stopping for his lunch at 1.30 – we really should know better by now and ended up moored below Chambilly lock for an hour waiting for him to return from lunch at 1.30.

We wanted to catch up with Nicolas at Melay, so had scheduled in a stopover for Wednesday. On arrival, a sudden and timely lull in the off shore wind gave us a moment to get to the bank and tie off. I knew the village shop would be closed in the morning so I set off with Muttley to get provisions which would allow us to invite Nico for supper the next day. Fortunately I was still wearing full wet weather gear as 5 minutes after we left the most almighty squall came through – Muttley and I arrived at the village shop in a sodden heap much to the amusement of the shop owner and his son; thank goodness we moored up when we did and not 5 minutes later. Travelling in strong wind is stressful and having been thoroughly washed and blow dried by the elements and then made dinner I’d had enough for one day.

The next morning, having made sure supper was all prepped and ready to go for the evening, Muttley and I set off on one of our favourite walks that we discovered when we stayed here on Francoise a few weeks ago; only getting slightly wet.


Nicolas arrived for supper having not only supplied us with some logs – we’d run out and were relying on the central heating – but also bringing a huge apple pie with homemade pastry and a bottle of excellent wine. Muttley was delighted to see him too. It turned into a lovely evening all round.


We left early again in the morning and thankfully the wind had dropped right off – it was bitterly cold though. You know it’s cold when, the normally hardy, Graham asked to be spelled after only 40 minutes. I was well wrapped up and thoroughly enjoyed what was likely to be my last day at the helm of MR.


The temperature gradually climbed and Muttley and I walked for an hour or so before the last stretch up into the port where we had to wait for the lock until after lunch again. When I looked back MR seemed to be cruising by remote control (man overboard?) and I was surprised to see snow on the hills on either side of the valley. Mick, at Roanne, had advised us that a tree had come down and blocked the Canal along this stretch, but then updated us that VNF had cleared it.


We arrived noisily, tooting our horn to make sure everyone knew we were back – well we had to give everyone a fair warning to hide behind their sofas and pretend that they were out. The Port was looking very smart with all new flags ready for the 2016 season and our mates on NB Puzzler were on hand (not surprised with all the racket we were making) to help us moor nose to tail against Francoise. Paul, Brian and Mary were also waving like mad from their respective boats (all our other friends were up the other end so were able to ignore us). A very strange feeling; as if we were coming ‘home’ – it won’t last; I’ll be whingeing to move again in a fortnight – but great to catch up with everyone at boaters’ happy hour in the evening. Brilliant.

P1140027P1140029P1140034P1140035File 13-02-2016, 10 13 31 pm

The last photo was taken by Sally from NB Puzzler.

Although you can’t see MR’s presence alongside in the dark, it was really funny when I called Daisy in to bed, “so which bed would that be Mum – where are we sleeping tonight?” The boys seemed happy to stretch out again too.



So here we are, ‘his ‘n’ hers’ – oh, and the kayak on top of course!!



2 Responses to “Pont le Beaune to Melay. Melay to Roanne Port”

  1. andywindy said

    So now you’re a Three Boat Babe then, I’d lost track of the Kayak. After passage in those gales I bet you will appreciate the helm on Francoise even more!
    Wow doesn’t She look big with MR tied up alongside?
    I’m currently working on a rock 28 miles out in the Atlantic so phone signal is a bit sketchy, those photos took a while to come through but were worth waiting for. The Scillies to Southern France, 20 Years ago it would have been Science fiction!


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