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 16th, 2016

Le Guetin to Cours les Barres (Mon 09/05 to Weds 11/05)

Posted by contentedsouls on 16/05/2016

1 lock, 9 kms 2 hours

After cycling back from Apremont we decided to pull pins and head to Cours where there was reputed to be free electric and water. The weather forecast remained awful and I thought I might as well run a few loads of washing through whilst it was going to be too miserable to do much else.

My lovely lockie from the weekend was now on duty at our only lock of the afternoon and greeted me with a big grin and a cheery wave as I jumped off to close the gate on the other side. in English, this time, he told me that he hadn’t forgotten that my name wasn’t Francoise (although after the day’s bikling I probably looked like I’d been born in 1902!).

The mooring was a perfect Daisy spot and, in addition, to the free electric and water had an immaculate shower block and landscaped gardens with a pond and water feature. Whilst I understand the logic of free services to encourage trade into local businesses, it rarely seems to be the case. Whilst grateful for it, I don’t understand the reasoning behind the investment here as the only business we found open was the boulangerie. In other places there has been nothing at all in the village, but charges were levied for both moorings and services.


There was one enterprising restaurant in the vicinity though that had erected this advertising board – sadly, having eaten out the day before, we couldn’t support them. We have no idea how far away they were located.


There was just one other boat on the mooring, which was occupied by Belgians and had the appearance of having been there for a considerable time. G plugged into the electric and nothing happened – well nothing electrical happened, but it galvanised the occupants of the other boat into leaping off into our faces ranting about their electric having gone off. Their reaction was so extreme it was comical (so we had a coffee before G went to check fuses) and they were insisting that we go to the Marie’s office to report it (which wasn’t open at anytime on a Monday, let alone at 5.30pm).

The following morning Mr Belgian was banging (with considerable force) on the side of Francoise at 9.00 am, again ranting that we should go to the Marie’s office. At this point we couldn’t help but wonder why he didn’t go himself given how stressed he was but hey, ho – we pointed out that the office wasn’t open until 10 and we finished our excellent croissants and drank another coffee or two whilst he paced up and down outside Francoise with smoke coming out of his ears. We, eventually, sauntered up to the Marie’s office to say that the electric wasn’t working but we weren’t bothered about it although Mr Belgian was – she rolled her eyes and smiled.

Having seen quite a lot of water this week I decided to hit the forests with Muttley for a change. Looking at this map from the Navicarte, we couldn’t possibly go wrong – go out through the village turn left, left and left again. Simples!


After an hour or so, as we got deeper and deeper in; it became darker and darker and the sound of birdsong was replaced by the snuffling and grunting of mating sanglier and the roar of lions………….


Just as I was thinking I’d best turn back whilst I could still memorise my route, the canopy lightened and – much to my relief – I came across signs of civilisation.


I passed Mr Belgian on the way back down to the mooring and wished him a jolly, ‘bonjour’ but he wasn’t in a talkative mood; nor did he wave goodbye to us when we left on Wednesday morning.

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