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

  • April 2017
    M T W T F S S
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33 kms and 13 locks–we did a Dolly; 9 ‘til 5

Posted by contentedsouls on 16/04/2017

Firstly, my apologies for stopping the last blog short (ran out of day) and not altering the ‘mega cruise’ title.

We were up early and at ‘em (courtesy of Mr Baxter sleeping through the night again), cruising straight through Reims (done it twice) to Berry au Bac.




The following morning we couldn’t travel far as we needed to collect important post and we were too far ahead of ourselves (doesn’t happen often). After 1 lock and 7 kms, G spotted this gorgeous mooring at Variscourt which we shared for the night with some horses and a red squirrel (latter pics taken by G).


Now, the observant amongst you will have noticed that I am wearing a rather posh headset in that picture of me above. It didn’t take us long to get fed up with screaming at each other from one end of the boat to the other whilst in locks or mooring up. Happy as I am to scream like a fishwife should the occasion demand it; it really pees me off in a routine situation, so G purchased these. Cheap they were not, but they are wonderfully comfortable and allow us to operate the boat with both hands free and ‘discuss life’ in a civilised manner; the mics are mega sensitive though so we have to be really careful about the volume of our voices; do not shout ‘bonjour’ to passing locals. We have a deal; I won’t sing if he doesn’t whistle!!!!!

After 11kms the next morning we – rather randomly in the middle of nowhere – move from the canal Lateral a L’Aisne to the Canal des Ardennes. The only thing which marks the transition is a lock; PK 0 one side and PK 60 the other; weird. 3 kms further on from this lock we had arranged to pick up our post at Asfeld and I was quite concerned that, with it being Easter and all that, we could be lurking here for several days waiting for this post. We all walked into the village thinking maybe lunch or a beer but there wasn’t as much as a bar/tabac – the post office was so well hidden down a back street that I was beginning to feel we had had our post sent to somewhere that didn’t exist. It did exist though and our post had arrived the previous afternoon – amazing, it only left the uk Tuesday and arrived Thursday.

So that was it; all done and dusted and it was only 12 am so I suggested we carry on to Rethel, another day’s tally of 35 kms and 6 locks. I tell you, I am a woman transformed; up at 7 am every day, waking (a very confused) G with tea in bed each morning and on a mission to Friesland.

That’s G listening to me attentively in the lock yakking with the VNF guys.



675 kms to go

8 Responses to “33 kms and 13 locks–we did a Dolly; 9 ‘til 5”

  1. andywindy said

    Yes Gods Girl, slow down or you’ll catch your Keel on fire! 😅
    I suppose you couldn’t really travel through that area without at least one picture of some Horses, and it is nice to see that the Tree Rats Oops Squirrels are the right colour over there.

    I thought at first your ears were cold, or maybe you’d started making a lifestyle film for Channel 4 or BBC2!

    I suppose that if one must build an ugly concrete kiosk in the town then getting the local kids to paint a forest scene on it is at least a better form of graffiti.😃

    It was very good of the local Mayor to colour coordinate the blossom on the trees bbc to match the restaurant behind it, you don’t see this kind of flair very often!
    You’d have thought that they’d have finished building the belltower though, corroded bell tackle is no good to anyone!
    Buggr it’s hard tryping comments on this kindle, serves me right for reading blogs in bed though!


  2. Kevin TOO said


    Jill said… ‘So that was it; all done and dusted and it was only 12 am…’
    Kevin said… ‘Now look early rising is not all bad… but 12am, really?’ 😉

    WOW don’t you look every inch of a Madonna look-a-like with your headset on, what style 🙂
    That water looks very clear where Mr Mutley is having his paddle and is there a theme
    developing here of only mooring next to picnic tables? LOL

    Good photos from you both 🙂


    • Bonjour Kevin – that’s exactly why we carried on until 5.
      I was pretending I was walking the grid, interviewing drivers at a Grand Prix – I’ll do Madonna next time!
      Just about every mooring seems to have picnic tables here

      Liked by 1 person

  3. vallypee said

    You are doing everything I want to do in reverse! It sounds marvellous. Will you be coming anywhere near Ghent? I suppose not, hey? You’ll go down the Meuse/Maas and then head north. I hope we can catch you at some point!


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