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

  • November 2016
    M T W T F S S
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Should we go or should we stay?

Posted by contentedsouls on 06/11/2016

My last post was written in ‘real time’ whilst it was still fresh in my mind and I was still running on adrenalin!!!!

Picking up the normal course of our travels, I’m rewinding to the 11th October on the River Yonne and G getting back from the UK having escorted Matilda Rose to Iver to be sold.

Graham returned from the UK around 10pm on the 11th; with the Yonne being closed for four weeks from the 15th Oct to 15th November, that gave us 3 days to cover 85 kms and 17 locks – albeit downstream – or find somewhere to stay for 4 weeks. We had pretty much decided to stay for 4 weeks in the highly recommended Sens when we had another Avisbat through saying the Yonne would be closed from 30th Oct to 30th November – we don’t always understand the subtleties of some of these French notifications and, when they come through translated, their accuracy leaves a fair bit to be desired. We went to bed (G understandably exhausted) thinking that the stoppages would run concurrently so we needed to up and move first thing in the morning as we didn’t want to be stuck for 6 weeks. We did make ‘phone calls in the morning and try to clarify the situation but, to be frank, VNF are crap at answering the phone – even if you can get a number in the first place.

We were outside the first lock waiting for it to open; it was just a matter of finding it! I knew it was there on the left bank somewhere as I’d been down there whilst walking Muttley. Crazy, but we had to move. There was, also the odd obstacle lurking in the river.


Eventually the fog cleared and we, regretfully, shot passed the beautiful Joigny …. another time


The locks now have sloping sides – many of these were originally grass sided so the slopes were necessary to maintain the stability of the banks. The majority have floating pontoons that you tie off to and just descend gracefully with you as the lock empties – I still keep a knife though in case a pontoon becomes tempted to become a little disgraceful. Goodness knows how you get a rope on coming up in the ones that don’t have floating pontoons.


Somewhere around here we engaged a lockie in conversation and explained why we hadn’t stopped at Joigny, he lapsed into English (probably exhausted by our dire French) and explained that the stoppage wasn’t concurrent, but had been postponed until the 30th October through to the 30th November. Hurrah!!!!!!!!!!! We were missing that one little, but oh so important, word ‘postponed’, ‘remettre’. You cannot look up every word.

No rush now – too late for Joigny but all else was salvaged without getting stuck. So we spent a happy few days at Villeneuve-sur-Yonne which had a free day of music going on, from a one man band to brass bands and jazz. An unexpected bonus in glorious sunshine sat outside and having a beer. Nice indoor market too.


From there it was on to Sens which, whilst lovely, I didn’t enjoy as much as I expected – the dog walking was pretty dire too, so I was glad we hadn’t ended up staying for 4 weeks. I’m still trying not to hold a grudge that the trackie bottoms I bought off of the market were labelled XL!


Then it was on to Pont-sur-Yonne; now that’s a nice little town.


The sign on this fence amused me – they normally say, ‘beware of the dog’. This one said beware of the nasty dogs! A useful new word to add to my vocabulary.

My favourite photo of this batch


4 Responses to “Should we go or should we stay?”

  1. Veronica said

    Great photos and wonderful narrative… Thank you xxx


  2. ianmccauley2014 said

    Lisette translated it as ‘Beware Evil Dog’ which also conjours up some unsettling images!


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