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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Archive for May 12th, 2016

Nevers (Weds 04/05 to Fri 06/05)

Posted by contentedsouls on 12/05/2016

2 locks, 11kms, 2 hours

Summer is definitely here: the sun is shining, the Swallows are on a feeding frenzy and G is shaking his fist and muttering as boats tear passed us – not that they have much impact on Francoise’ buxom stability, but old habits die hard. We pulled pins early and hung a left through 2 locks up the embranchment which now terminates at Nevers. The last lock which used to drop down onto the Loire has now, according to my guide book, “been obliterated by a multi-tiered municipal swimming pool complex”. A huge French equivalent of a “Wet ‘n’ Wild” water park wasn’t anticipated, but I did expect a large and rather grand genteel lido.

This certainly wasn’t what I had in mind.


Once again the trusty bikes were pressed into service as we hit the city with our rucksacks but the large indoor market was closed even though it was post witching hour. There is no doubt that that this a beautiful and historic city but, for us, it was just too big and impersonal – like most big cities no-one engaged with anyone (well, not in a positive way).


I stopped on the way back to take a picture of the city from the far side of the Loire and, in order to do so, I walked a few yards inside the entrance of a motor home and caravan campsite. Within seconds a young man came out of his reception hut shouting at me to get out, no ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ involved in this interaction even when I explained I was just taking one photo. He was horrible and so over the top that I, rather rudely, reverted to English and told him he could carry on all he liked as I didn’t understand a bloody word he was saying and I had my picture anyway – at which point he switched seamlessly into English whilst still in full rant, “get out, this is trespass, you wouldn’t like it if I walked into your garden” etc. I didn’t know it at the time, but this turned out to be the first of three unpleasant encounters we were to experience over the following few days – worthy of mention only because they so rarely occur.

The following morning was a bank holiday for VE day and scorchingly hot. It was also Thursday and therefore G’s fast day. We had a long debate about whether or not he would postpone it until Friday and in the end we tossed for it. The coin came down in favour of fast day which we quickly overturned when the smell of moules and frites wafted out from the very nearby restaurant and the artisan creme glace sign came out – we are so weak. This was the result of my lunchtime excesses; sadly I am no longer of an age where a large belly can be mistaken for pregnancy.


I did rally enough later to take Muttley down the beach though and was intrigued by the presence of the houseboat which seemed to be firmly aground with no access to either bank although, apparently, occupied. The coypu kept us entertained in the evening.


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