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

  • July 2016
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for July 22nd, 2016

The DBA rally and a touch of Delaney’s donkey!

Posted by contentedsouls on 22/07/2016

With Lesley, Sarah and Andy heading off towards the UK, there was just time to walk the dogs before heading into Briare market for our first assignment with the DBA rally – 11.00 am cheese and wine tasting.


The weather was perfect throughout; as was the company and the food. From this first event on, it was pretty much full on – so much so that I don’t have anything very much in the way of photographs. I have, therefore, shamelessly nicked most of the following photos from Ian McCauley and Gill Stollery.

The boat race started off as a race, but quickly degenerated into a plan to stay as close to the fabulous McCauley crew as possible; once it became known that they had beer on board! G and I came last and have the official wooden snail as our prize – we also had the McCauley’s beer. Lissette and Ian were such fun; I had been looking forward to meeting them for ages and it was worth the wait – it’s always brilliant to meet one of your blog readers. We made so many new friends although I didn’t realise that they were all coming back to party on Francoise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At one point there were 20 of us squidged into the wheelhouse and aft deck – I think that Debbie might have had something to with that.

File 18-07-2016, 09 44 34File 18-07-2016, 09 44 50File 18-07-2016, 09 45 10

The other thing Debbie had a hand in was a bit of skull duggery on our neighbour’s boat. They had a bottle of rose hanging off of their bow which was tantalisingly close to our stern! Inevitably, temptation became too much and it was swapped for a bottle of menthe syrop.


The weekend was crammed full of events and over far too quickly and we rounded it off with a birthday party and dinner. The only blot on the landscape was Diane’s accident, she managed to shuck her tendons and arteries as well as the oysters; requiring some pretty major surgery and an extra overnight stay for us. We heard, subsequently, that the oyster concerned had been humanely destroyed.

On Tuesday morning the plan was to move Francoise out of Briare, back across the aqueduct, to the hay meadow before driving Gill up to St Jean de Losne to collect her car and position ours at Decize (ready to collect my sister in law from Orly airport on 31st). The plan didn’t start well as the water level had dropped a bit and Francoise was nestled firmly and snugly in the silt! The 20 people onboard on Friday probably didn’t help either!

It was like Delaney’s donkey; they were pulling her, pushing her, shoving her and shushing her…. but she wasn’t moving.

Millie and Sojourn both tried towing her off whilst all the other crews pushed and pulled to no avail.

File 18-07-2016, 09 53 51File 18-07-2016, 09 54 37

In the end, we had to get Lennie in with his big barge, Elysium, with it’s 175 horse power Mercedes engine. Like the professional he is, he had us off in jiffy and the silt finally released us.


By the time we’d locked up the 3 locks out of town and moored up, the car manoeuvring plan was already rather behind schedule. Not helped by Gill’s battery being flat and then G lost her before Decize with one of them stuck either side of an accident. They eventually found each other again but Gill’s car wouldn’t re-start and so they had to wait for international rescue (never a Thunderbird around when you want one!). They arrived back at their respective boats just before midnight.

Sojourn had joined us in the hay meadow and, deciding to stay on Wednesday for a day of rest, Pam and Rob kindly invited us round for dinner. We had a lovely evening but not a late one and we are expecting Annette and Malcolm on Rachel to catch us up for dinner either tomorrow or Saturday – so the party still goes on.

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