contentedsouls

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

  • September 2016
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Up to the summit and down the other side

Posted by contentedsouls on 09/09/2016

I’m so far behind again that I can’t remember what I’ve told you and what I haven’t. The Nivernais continues to enchant as it meanders through ever changing scenery – from very British looking tiny canal, to mini Meuse, to wide open river and craggy rock faces. We moored at the little village of Fleury where we met new boat owners, on barge Anfra, Kellie and Peter with their Collie, Pepsi. Sadly in a rush due to time constraints to get her up to Holland for some maintenance. We had an excellent Sunday lunch at the restaurant lockside too.

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The next place we moored was Chatillon-en-Bazois; not too shabby under the chateau with parts of the old gardens adjacent (it also had the added bonus of a decent sized supermarket and full rubbish and re-cycling). Baxter was quite happy chilling out the back – his favourite place on the barge now as long as it’s not in full sun.

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On our final push up to the summit pound we encountered several staircase locks. In the doubles they filled both chambers from the top – only closing the middle gates after you moved into the top chamber. I found crossing the cill between the two chambers quite disconcerting.

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There was also one 3 chamber staircase which, much to my relief, was operated in standard fashion

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After that we made our way, uneventfully, up to the summit pound at Etang de Baye, encountering very little traffic

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We were still experiencing baking temperatures (and still are) and our mooring next to the 25 acre reservoir which feeds the Nivernais was most welcome – not only for the breeze, but also for the swimming. We were also delighted to meet up with our blog follower Paula (who you will often see comment on here) and husband Phil from wide beam narrowboat Den Within Willows. We had a lovely evening; made all the better by knowing that we would catch up with them further on where they were moored at Chitry. Had a fabulous meal there at La Marin – I have no idea how they can produce that quantity and quality of food for the money.

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Leaving Baye we were in for a longish day; 3 tunnels, 16 locks, but only 8 kms. With nowhere to moor between the locks, the eclusiers leave you in a lock at lunchtime – by sheer good luck, our lunchtime ‘lock of the day’ happened to be outside a quirky little bar that provided us with beer and crepes; except the crepes were delicious, fat, proper pancakes.

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Our mooring at Sardy was newly constructed and very long, but occupied only by us, one motorhome, two horses and a man with a (cara)van. The village itself was full of art work. This stretch down from the summit is very arty farty and potters and artists abound.

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From there it was on to Chitry les Mines where we met up with Paula and Phil again, plus some other rather interesting individuals for drinks. Bit of a party place is Chitry – what happens in Chitry, stays in Chitry (hmm .. didn’t Debs and Kevin moor there last winter?).

Paula and Phil’s  boat outside the little cafe there.

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This really is a pretty little canal and, with it’s lift bridges, very reminiscent of the Llangollen in some ways – the big difference is that you don’t have to wind like a maniac – you just stand and look cool with your finger on the button!

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As we were approaching our mooring for the night at Cuzy, we spotted this monster in our rear view mirror – it’s only able to get under the bridges as it has no fixed wheelhouse. Unfortunately, the Germans in the hire boat had just pulled pins and were leaving for the bridge ‘ole – I shouldn’t laugh really, but they were like rabbits frozen in the headlights. The owners of the peniche were the delightful Giles and Sabrina and G was able to re-unite them with their car later in the day; we’ve been bumping into them (not literally as they are much bigger than us) ever since.

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We had planned to eat at the, thoroughly recommended, hotel restaurant behind the hire boat but it had been closed for over a year. Instead we found a delightful little bar up in the village; 4 courses and a glass and a half of wine each for 12 euros – you really can’t go wrong with these ‘workmen’s lunches’. Whilst there was a pretty patio out the back we elected to eat in the main bar and engage in a bit of banter with the locals and a Dutch couple cycling with their dog in the basket on the bike.

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I find I keep using the word quirky and having to change it to something different; but ‘quirky’ seems to sum up not only the canal, but also the people we are meeting along the way.

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10 Responses to “Up to the summit and down the other side”

  1. Yvonne said

    You really are a lucky lady. We’ll be joining you in the spring. Moving onto our barge on Tuesday complete with L plates while we learn how to drive it x

    Like

  2. Tony Scriven said

    I wonder what word the locals would describe you and Jill. Hope you are both well🤗

    Like

  3. Kevin TOO said

    Jill said “I find I keep using the word quirky…”
    Kevin said ” I really hadn’t noticed to be honest, and yes I do read every word. But I keep repeating myself with comments about your wonderful photographs, each of them worth more than a thousand words each, so who’s counting the odd quirky LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always write this blog off line and, often, have to wait to post it for several days – the WiFi signal on the Nivernais is particularly bad. Before I hit the publish I re-read to try and remove typos. I changed the word ‘quirky’ 5 times before I posted this blog. I’m glad you enjoy the photographs; I so enjoy taking them and it gets me out! x

      Like

  4. andywindy said

    I AM going to repeat myself over your photos Jill, “I agree with Kevin TOO.”
    Thanks for the update, and from what I have experienced and read the French really do fit the term Quirky with both their actions and constructions, Their arrogance too. I am coming to the conclusion that this is the reason for our two nations having such a strong Love/Hate relationship, We are so alike!!
    Enough of this philosophy, it’s hard enough typing this on my phone in the Cafe patio without having to think as well! Breakfast Roll,Pot of Tea and a Butterfly Bun.. Yummy.

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    • It’s this particular canal that keeps bringing the word ‘quirky’ up – it’s all arty, farty and …well…quirky.
      It is sooo lovely to hear that you like the photos (and Vallypee too) thank you. I wish you’d stop talking bread and cakes to me though

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  5. vallypee said

    It all sounds too lovely, Jill! Like Kevin, I love your photos and I keep saying that as well, so at the risk of repeating yourself, if it’s quirky, that’s what it is and your photos are still lovely! The Nivernais sounds just up my alley…or canal! Lovely post! By the way, do you have éclusiers to help with all the locks there?

    Like

    • We have traveled through some pretty amazing countryside since we’ve been here. The Nivernais is, well, …..quirky and, yes, eclusiers all the way. I have only ever worked one lock myself and that was around the back of Besancon on the Doubs (sorry, this keyboard doesn’t have the French alphabet, so I can’t put the appropriate bits above and below the letters). Although coming down from the summit, after Clamecy, we have found the eclusiers surprisingly disengaged and unhelpful for the first time ever.

      Poland …. you’re going to Poland! Wow, so excited and envious. Friends of ours have done it twice in a narrowboat before the Germans went all silly (but I’m repeating myself – I told you that on Facebook).

      Liked by 1 person

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