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

  • January 2017
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for January 14th, 2017

Christmas and New Year; then more doom and gloom

Posted by contentedsouls on 14/01/2017

Well it was certainly a social whirl. Christmas Eve with us. Christmas Day on Bella Fortuna. Boxing day on Piedaleau (with another WOB) Jenny, Adrian and their respective children and grandchild. New Year’s eve on Francoise and New Year’s Day on Sabrina with David and Anje. Not surprising then that one or two boaters became a little confused about where and when they should be. Friends of ours were quite surprised when their boat door opened and a couple wandered in with a plate of nibbles and made themselves comfy on their sofa – meanwhile, G was on a different boat where the owners couldn’t understand why their guests hadn’t turned up; it was several hours later before we put two and two together.

My one big regret was that I couldn’t eat enough of Voirrey’s food; so woeful has my appetite become. Boxing day en masse was hilarious as we played charades and throw quoites at the reindeer’s antlers – Andy came dressed for the party spirit.

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I am not, as well you know, a fan of pontoon living (although this Kingfisher was quite happy to sit on our lines for awhile), but the marina is set within acres of parkland and lakes. We also thought we’d make several excursions into Paris – but we can’t leave Baxter on his own for more than 2 or 3 hours so that didn’t happen. Instead, G and Andy went in and –amongst other things, took in the new Star Wars Movie. Voirrey and I went in together another day and mostly just walked and talked and browsed; sadly we couldn’t get into the Dorsey Gallery as a visiting Art Deco exhibition attracted such a queue that we wouldn’t have got in before it was time to leave. We wandered around Montmartre (which has replaced the old funicular with something ‘functional’), which I always enjoy (plus a bit of nostalgia for me as last time I was there it was with Mum and Dad for their 60th wedding anniversary) and I fell hopelessly in love with a painting there. It was too much money though, but I did think I might go back another day and see if I could haggle him down to something more reasonable – it’s big and I have the perfect space to set it off on Francoise. However, it was not to be as things turned out, which will become clear shortly. I also went into a Desigual shop without buying anything (so much money I saved that day)! We rounded off the day with a trip to M & S Simply food; oh joy!!! After nearly 3 years out of the UK I came way loaded with a much as I could carry – crispy bacon, plump pork sausages (and a loaf of naff bread to wrap around them and make toast with), crumpets, hot cross buns, crispy lemon chicken, pork pies, hummus, taramasalata and pitta breads, etc., etc.

Daisy fell in luuuuuuuurve –unheard of; especially with a man. Muttley reverted to puppyhood (if he ever grew out of it) and found a new game called lets create a snow storm out of the liners we put down at night in case Baxter doesn’t quite make it out of the door in time – hmph; new plan required.


Not that many Parisian pictures I’m afraid as it was too bloody cold to take my hand out of my pockets and the Eiffel Tower was shrouded in cold fog!


So that was it really; we left the following morning with G expertly negotiating the very tricky exit from the Marina out onto the Seine, passed the world’s biggest Chinese restaurant (supposedly). Our destination one lock up on the Marne. Before we leave the area we want to take the boat up through the city centre; so the following day we decided to stay put, as the forecast and visibility were awful, and go for it on the Friday. G had already started a cold and, by Friday, he was quite bad and then deteriorated with each successive day – by then, of course, I’d joined in. So here we are still; 10 days later – mind you, look on the bright side; we’ve lost a lot of weight; even G stopped eating for 2 days. Both exhausted and just trying to keep body and soul together whilst coughing and spluttering and maintaining Baxter’s nocturnal toilet trips plus another 7 or 8 diurnal trips and give Muttley enough exercise to stop him boiling over and eating Baxter. If it wasn’t for the dogs we could just be ill.


I was definitely feeling somewhat better yesterday after some drug induced sleep; so prioritised giving Muttley a decent walk and trying to rescue some of the food that I’d stocked up with before we left. Today I must go shopping and only managed 3 hours sleep again. G has managed to get 2 canisters of fuel for the generator – we are heavily reliant on it to run our heating at the moment. i know there are many far, far, worse off than us but it doesn’t stop me feeling very fed up.

So here we sit until we are feeling up to ‘coping’ with a busy waterway in central Paris and you, dear readers (I’ve always wanted to say that) are up to date. I bet you wish you’d never asked now.

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