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

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Archive for January 19th, 2017

Maisons Alfort and good news

Posted by contentedsouls on 19/01/2017

For two weeks now (instead of the intended two days) we have languished at Maisons Alfort. This is a great mooring for a night or two, but a bit depressing for a long stay as, under the trees, you see little sunshine even when there is some. No satellite signal either for the same reason. At only 800 metres away from the Metro, it also provides free mooring with superb access to central Paris – not a lot of use to us though when we were feeling so wretched.

A lot of different shipping has passed by our big picture windows in those two weeks and I haven’t tired of watching them – there would have been a lot more examples but my SD card dumped all of my photos.

Although the track runs along the river it’s, as you would expect given it’s proximity to central Paris, busy with joggers and dog walkers – many of the joggers run with their dogs and, for reasons unknown, Muttley has taken exception to this practice so I have to be very careful when I let him off lead. The main culprit of course is me, as I haven’t been well enough to give him the exercise he needs and is used to.

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Despite the big commercial vessels pounding up and down at speed for 15 hours a day, they disturbed us very little. Because we strapped ourselves amidships to the tiny floating pontoon, we tended to rock ‘n’ roll and bob up and down – a motion I rather enjoy (providing it doesn’t get too extreme). There was no banging, creaking or groaning which is what drives me nuts.

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Monday evening we picked ourselves up and decided that we were, at last, fit enough to move on. The even betterer news is that our recuperation co-incided with the perfect weather to do a ‘drive through’ with Francoise passed all the iconic city centre landmarks.

Timing is all for this trip as, around Notre Dame, passages upstream and downstream are allowed in only one direction at  timed intervals. We worked out that we needed to leave on the hour – the first hurdle was that the engine needed a considerable amount of priming and persuasion before it capitulated. The second hurdle was the ropes: as there were no tie off points on the pontoon (why would you install a pontoon without tie offs?) – and due to commercial traffic – just about every rope we possessed was wrapped around, under and over anything we could find and every one of them was frozen solid.

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My super hero destroyed his hands and endured great physical pain whilst dis-entangling us and I stood in the heated wheelhouse. We reckoned that if we could get a quick passage through the (only) lock, we should be able to get a wriggle on downstream and make the green light. Finally the gods had stopped playing with us, there was a gap in the traffic and the eclusier actually answered the radio first shout and immediately started prepping the lock for us. we dropped down from the Marne to the Seine and headed for central Paris in glorious sunshine – it felt so bloody good!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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