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

  • June 2016
    M T W T F S S
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Briare and it’s Pont Canal

Posted by contentedsouls on 19/06/2016

We moved on the 4.5 kms from Chatillon to a lovely wild mooring just short of the 662 metre long Briare aqueduct across the Loire and old canal. With wide towpaths either side of the trough, we had good access (either by foot or bike) into Briare. To get to Briare by car from ‘our’ side, however, you have to go back to Chatillon or onwards another 9 kms before you can cross the Loire.

I am delighted to report that the kilowatt of solar panels now installed on Francoise’ roof (courtesy of ‘deliveries by Kevin’) has revolutionised life on board and we are now able to wild camp with gay abandon and we have had a lovely stay here for the week whilst we’ve waited for life upstream and ‘radio gunwales info’ to sort itself out a bit – the fact that the barge moored in the layby behind us is occupied by a VNF eclusier lady has been rather useful on the information front. The heavy rain continues, but is breaking into sunshine and showers which is altogether better (especially for the solar power) but the only problem with this mooring is that it is in a hay meadow with no path. Every time we step off of the boat we step into wet grass up to our armpits and we all know about Baxter’s opinion on wet grass; he also loves the sun on his tired old bones – his brain is still functioning though, as it didn’t take him long to find a happy solution … gotta love him! Neither G nor I had a dry pair of shoes left on the boat between us by the time we left – despite my efforts with the wax, polish and waterproof spray.


Our nearest neighbours were just delightful, one of the babies thought my jokes were hilarious and they were so curious about the dogs – fortunately Daisy didn’t get involved in the mix – I bet they were chilly having just had their coats harvested.


As for the aqueduct itself, it was pretty special. I think Francoise looks quite majestic cruising across this structure which was opened just 6 years before she was built.


We were planning to leave Tuesday when points north (up as far as the breach) officially re-opened, but then there was a strike so G decided to take the train to Roanne; paid 12 months rent on the garage, checked up on MR and brought the car back to within half a mile of the boat. Our plans were to leave in the morning for Ouzouer-sur-Trezee (try pronouncing that when you’ve had a glass or two) but, at gone 9.30 pm (nearly dark), we were joined at our wilderness mooring by the hotel boat Horizon II who said they had scuttled down here to avoid getting cut off by the rising river Trezee and advised us to stay where we were for a bit longer – more radio gunwales. So we went shopping in the morning; our first decent shop in weeks and we have coffee for our machine, fresh milk for tea and cat litter again – whoopee! We humped as much as we could through the half mile of wet grass and left the heavier, non-perishables, in the car.


We had some interesting visitors – this coypu had 7 babies and this other splendid chap is a, rather unimaginatively named, Bar Headed Goose. We Googled this Goose and it is not meant to be anywhere near Europe, ever! He seemed quite happy, albeit very noisy, with a couple of common or garden ducks for company but he’s not going to find a mate this side of India any time soon.


No case of mistaken identity over this one!

5 Responses to “Briare and it’s Pont Canal”

  1. andywindy said

    Oh your poor soggy doggies, they’ll be quite relieved when you get to move on, though Gosh knows when that will be!
    I always think that Alpacas look strange when shorn, we have a few herds around here and they always raise a smile.
    You are right about Francoise on the Aquaduct, She looks made especially for that location!
    Can’t do a Bar Headed Goose, but we’ve got a pelican now living on the estuaries of west Cornwall, Strange times indeed.


  2. Kevin TOO said

    Clever lad is Baxter, using the plank as his personal sun bed 😉

    Excellent photo of Francois on the aquaduct!
    So good in fact that you should incorporate it into your blog header imho 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. andywindy said

    OK, Senior moment here, just remembered, Where’s your Wellies then? Didn’t you know it is compulsory for all Brits to take a pair wherever they go, Especially to France! Mind you, they’d probably have been full of water by now as well!


  4. kwade said

    Lets hope the locals don’t treat the goose in the same way Ely did with the Black Swans.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. vallypee said

    Oh I’d so love to go to Briare! Maybe next time, but I think I’ll need more than a month off work 🙂 That bar headed goose is very pretty, but sad that it’s so alone! I wonder if it will mate with another type? I don’t know if geese will do that but it would be an interesting mix.


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