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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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.

9 Responses to “The DBA rally and a touch of Delaney’s donkey!”

  1. vallypee said

    Now that sounds like a fun weekend? Lovely photos, Jill, and some beautiful Dutch barges too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Met loads of WOBs and contracted a few new ones! Remember those white cushions on the deck – any ideas how to clean them?

      Liked by 2 people

      • vallypee said

        Splutter….sorry. Oh dear, is it that bad? Are they fabric? Canvas? If so, that’ll be hard 😦 Maybe rub some clothes washing liquid into them and leave it a while before sponge/rinsing them off?


  2. andywindy said

    I bet after your almost enforced inactivity over the last few weeks due to being almost stranded, the rally must have seemed even more hectic than maybe it was, though in reading this account maybe not! I had read of Debbies swappsies escapade on Her own blog, She’s a little Minx when she gets Ideas I think.
    Thank you for sharing the photos Jill, I did have a smile at the one of Graham looking like he forgot to have the cheese to go with the wine!
    And as for the beautiful Francoise being a stuck-in-the-mud, “If you’re going to treat me like a party pontoon, maybe i’ll act like one and stay put” ,,, Imagine trying to accomodate that crowd on MR! Maybe your suspicion of another one of ‘Wades whimsies’ is somewhere very near correct? ( I have to be careful, I wouldn’t notice another Motorhome arriving in Cornwall for retribution, we do get more than a little inundated.)


    • It was hectic, trust me!
      I think all those people sunk her.I bet you’re inundated with the big white vans now

      Liked by 1 person

      • andywindy said

        Lots and Lots and Lots of big white vans and ‘bisquit tin’ trailers getting in the way, though we have to remember that without the Holiday trade this part of the world would go bust VERY quickly!! (And I’d be out of a job of course.)


  3. ianmccauley2014 said

    We had a whale of a time, significantly due to yours and Graham’s ‘party till you drop’ lifestyle. I wouldn’t recommend Francoise to the quiet types wanting a rest, or those with weak livers.

    Waiting out a minor flood after heavy overnight rain at Geraardsbergen on the Dender, after our Canadian friends have just left – they were great company.

    It sounds like the donkey work did not have serious consequences – phew!

    Happy and safe cruising!


    • It was brilliant and we so enjoyed your company; can’t wait to meet up again. I’m now just coming to the end of 11 days on my own in the middle of nowhere with not so much as a shop or a rubbish bin and NOT ONE DROP of alcohol has passed my lips (just intravenous injections).

      Liked by 1 person

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