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

  • May 2016
    M T W T F S S
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Gannay to Decize (Thurs 28/04 to Mon 02/05)

Posted by contentedsouls on 09/05/2016

4 locks, 16 km, 3.25 hours

En route we spotted a stork sitting in her nest – every time we see one I’m freshly amazed at the size of them; they’re huge!


Decize is situated on an island within the river Loire, with the canal lateral a la Loire to one side and the Nivernais canal on the other. Both canals run North towards Paris from here and we had been waiting(ish) for the Loire to subside in order for us to cross onto the Nivernais.

All towns situated in such strategic positions tend to have big and ancient histories and I had been looking forward to exploring this one. We moored where the blob is on the right hand side of the canal to the left (keep up at the back) and accessed the town by bike – I’m still not at all sure about this bikeling business but, as it was market day morning on Friday, it had to be done. I definitely need additional carrying capacity on my bike and was struck down with envy at the capacity of this one.


After we’d loaded our rucksacks with fruit & veg, meat, cheese and bread, we chained up our bikes and wandered into the rest of this delightful little town filled with friendly people. We spied an immaculate little electrical shop – even though it was a sunny day Madame had put a t-towel on the outside step to avoid her white floor tiles being sullied. Despite her OCD she was delightful and, much to my surprise, we were able to replace our pressure cooker (cocotte minuite) and buy hair tongs and drive a deal for the two. Carrying these items back meant emptying the veg out of G’s rucksack into mine and, during the process, we scattered carrot tops all over the floor – I was frantically trying to pick up the bits whilst G unboxed electrical goodies and stuffed them into his rucksack. We thanked her profusely and beat a hasty retreat – leaving a trail of greenery behind us – to go and annoy the man in the green grocers who sold more exotic produce than the market stalls – he understood my pronunciation of ginger and supplied me with both fresh and ground. Nice man.

It was in Decize that I, finally, twigged onto the egg buying malarkey over here and wish to offer profuse apologies to the shopkeeper in Pierefitte-sur-Loire whose character I maligned by accusing him of selling me eggs beyond their ‘best before’ date. The French verb ‘to lay’ is ‘pondre’ and boxes are often marked with the date of ‘pondu’ rather than best before – it’s taken me two years, but I’ve got there now.

Muttley and I did a town walk……..


…..and then we did a country walk

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The Saturday was a wipe out due to non-stop heavy rain and we gave some consideration to our cruising plan which involved doing the Nivernais (Decize to Auxerre), Yonne, Loing, Briare and Loire canals back to Decize to pick up our mates on 30th June. The Nivernais alone is 174 kms long and has 110 locks and unless we tore along (= missing everything) it was never going to happen. Our new plan is to continue North up the Lateral a la Loire instead and pick them up from where we get to and then drop back down to Briare with them in time for the DBA rally – simples and no time constraints! We’ll complete the ring after our visitors have left and we’ve done the rally. You can see the ring in the bottom right hand corner of the map.


So, after spending a night with a little sailing craft attached (too deep drafted to get into the side) and watching this couple have a MAJOR domestic over trying to reach the pull cord to operate the lock (they never did come up the lock so they, presumably moored below to file divorce papers), we left on Monday without pressure.



One for the Facebook link:


8 Responses to “Gannay to Decize (Thurs 28/04 to Mon 02/05)”

  1. Amanda Lewis said

    David and I spent an enjoyable afternoon on the way back from Spain in Briare four or five years ago. You know we are sad people! But as soon as I saw we were near a canal….A very nice English couple invited us onto their newly arrived Dutch barge when they heard we were keen narra boaters. We also partially walked along the Briare Aqueduct which was an amazing sight spanning the Loire.


    • Jiggles348 said

      On Lesley’s tour we have arranged for a full day’s excursion in Briare!
      The Loire has been our constant companion since the beginning of December and it’s size and shape continually changes, this really is a stunning area.
      Shall you be out this way this year? I can’t remember where your house is and my French geography is still rubbish.


      • Amanda said

        Our French house is near Aubeterre Sur Dronne. We will be out for a week soon and the nearer you drift towards it ……I did check how far you were the other day and it was about 4 hours. Would love to see new boat. And you both!


  2. andywindy said

    As you say the size of Stork Nests really is something else, seen them in books and on line bit I didn’t realise just how big until I had seen them for myself.

    I’ve found an answer to your Bicycling shopping carrying, This is the Ebay shop in the UK from the French Manufacturers, should be cheaper in France, Surely??
    Food for thought anyway. (Oops, another unintended pun.)

    I notice from the pic of the couple at the Lock switch, HE must be driving perfectly, so therefore it must be HER fasult that after straddling the railing she can’t reach the cord from where he parked the boat! Doh! Just reverse the bloomin boat, silly or give the poor Lass the boathook, You HAVE got a boathook, haven’t you? Blimey I can see what’s wrong from 700 miles away, She’s got the wrong partner!

    That last photo, it’s nice of them to plant trees to show you where the bank is meant to be, isn’t it?


    • Jiggles348 said

      That trailer is brilliant – not just the shopping, but fetching fuel too. If we’d had one of these when we bikeled (it really should be a word) to Apremont yesterday we could have put Baxter in it too, instead of leaving them both on the boat and still having to walk Muttley when I got back. Muttley is still rubbish at following the bikes but he’s getting better.

      That bloke in the boat was mind boggling – when she ‘failed’ to reach the rope he slammed the/both (?) engines into full throttle, roared around the port in a circle like a demented thing and failed AGAIN to line the boat up. Provided me with an hour of entertainment. After I’d left they must have connected with it finally, because the lock set and a boat waited to go down. They never did come up though!

      Liked by 1 person

      • andywindy said

        Thought you’d like the trailer, there’s a young couple live near me and they’ve got a pair of bikes with a kiddie seat trailer behind one (always goes in front) and a trailer like this following on behind the second one. Theirs are electric bikes due to our not so gentler terrain of course, but that’s their only family transport, a lot cheaper than a car!


    • Jiggles348 said

      I hope you have a lovely evening. Have a very happy birthday from him and me x

      Liked by 1 person

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