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

  • March 2017
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

Finally we leave Meaux and cruise to Mary sur Marne

Posted by contentedsouls on 26/03/2017

Waiting in Friday afternoon for our man to come and fix his leak (our leak, but he caused it) we received a text to say he would be delayed until between 6pm and 7pm. Fall over in shock and amazement – a Frenchman working after 4pm on a Friday and actually informing us that he would be late. I shouldn’t be bitchy because he put everything right and stayed to make sure all was well; except our dinner which, by then, had become fairly rubberised.

Once we knew he wasn’t coming until later, G shot off to the local Brico and I was surprised by the arrival of a British couple on a wooden cruiser trying to find a space to moor. It might sound strange that I was surprised, but I had forgotten that other boats start to get out and about at this time of the year – we become so insular over the winter months.

We couldn’t invite them around for a drink with our engineering guy coming, so G arranged to drive Tim up to get a new gas bottle (it’s one helluva distance on foot/bike) before we left in the morning. It does make me laugh here – anyone turning up and speaking English pretty much gives/receives an invite; potential robbers and fraudsters please note that the boating community in Europe is a soft touch!

Whilst G was running Tim up for gas, Muttley and I couldn’t resist one more walk around our glorious Parc Nature where spring was sprunging before our very eyes and we could practice our Bear Grylls skills


Back to the old language issue stuff – whilst my French is crap and my grammar non existent, i have frequently been told that my accent is pretty good. However, we have learnt off pat a number of phrases which we know are ‘correct’ and/or are colloquial because we have had French people teach them to us. These include ‘ can we come in here with the dogs’, ‘these are not my onions (none of my business)’, ‘it’s raining like cows that piss’, ‘is that not what I just said?’ and ‘he loves the ladies’. Here I should be quick to explain that this is normally used with reference to Graham’s Muttley’s antics.

On this particular trip to the park, Muttley ran up to two ladies who had paused whilst one re-tied her walking boots; Muttley charged in between them and snuggled up for a cuddle (as he does) and they were clearly enchanted by him (someone has to be). I apologised and trotted out my best rendition of, ‘he loves the ladies’ and without hesitation, repetition or deviation; the lady replied to me in perfect English, “quite rightly too”. There is, clearly, no need to hang a sign around my neck saying, ‘beware English woman abroad’.


With 3 hands between us, we headed off on our 1 lock 20 km journey in gloriously sunny but windy weather. The stream was running and we struggled to make 5 kph against it – not good for our fuel consumption using 3.75 litres of fuel per hour; the alternator didn’t kick in as the solar panels earnt their keep though, so it could have been worse (there you go; one for the techy peeps!).

Mr Baxter, who we didn’t think would make the end of the summer at one point let alone the winter, was quick to demand a space on the sheltered rear deck in the sun – he is like a pussy cat and basks in the sunshine; it looks like we are going to have to clip him out again.


The approach into the lock was pretty horrendous, what with the wind and the water pouring over the adjacent weir – I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with two hands, let alone one. Needless to say my super hero brought us safely in and did the ropes, leaving me to do some one handed twiddly bits which weren’t too demanding.


A lovely cruise passing the most magnificent tree house – look at the height of that ladder; my Mum would never have let me go up and down that; quite rightly because, with my penchant for self destruction there would have been many more hospital visits.


We moored up at the delightful Mary-sur-Marne around 3.30pm


2 Responses to “Finally we leave Meaux and cruise to Mary sur Marne”

  1. andywindy said

    Trust Muttley to go and chat up the Ladies, He’s no shame that Boy! (Good tactics though, it is hard to run away with your boots unlaced!)

    Lovely pics again Jill, thank you. Very good pics of the Lads, The ones of muttley in his Bower and the one of Baxter looking out over the water with the wind is his hair would make good Calendar photos!

    That treehouse has about the same footprint at my place! I do like Treehouses but that one is more than a little too high.

    Look Mum, a mooring pontoon with a Gangway! Obviously the locals don’t care if you get vandalised!


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