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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Archive for April 21st, 2017

Rethel to Attigny on a mission and then to the summit of our journey

Posted by contentedsouls on 21/04/2017

Only 18 kms and 4 locks away was a lady I have become very friendly with on Facebook. She is the only other bargee of my acquaintance that, like us, travels through the winter over here and is doing exactly the same journey as us, but in reverse. We have been following each others journeys and today was, finally, the day we would meet – so I was more than a bit excited. I nearly took G his tea in bed at 6 am, but thought that was pushing it; so I restrained myself until 6.45 and we left just before 8.30. We are going up the locks and I was quite disconcerted to see that the push and emergency stop rods didn’t even reach lockside, let alone down into the lock, so my superhero volunteered to clamber the ladder with a rope and push the ‘start’ rod up. Half way up the ladder he realised that there were another pair of rods set behind the ladder within reach. It doesn’t matter how long you cruise are here, they still throw new stuff at you. We’re on our 4th year now.


Loads of traffic coming against us, but none held us up and we were mooring at Attigny by 12 with a lovely welcome from Rod and Anne.


We spent most of the rest of the day together and were joined by a young German couple on the most beautiful sailboat. I did take an hour out to walk Muttley and watched a peniche cruise gently passed Viator and Francoise, the gap between us is due to a pine tree dropping cones. The sailboat moored there later in the day and I suspect that that they may well have been kept awake by things that went bump in the night. We waved Anne and Rod off in the morning and we decided to spend another day in Attigny prior to heading off up the big flight on Wednesday. That puddy cat is 20 years old and has just moved onto the boat; cats are far more resilient than we give them credit for.


On that Tuesday we must have seen at least 6 boats coming down so I kind of thought the season had started. We set off on Wednesday; 28 locks and 17 kms knowing it would be a long day, but we never saw another boat. Every lock sets the next lock and all were already in our favour; it took us just 6 and a half hours – we probably lost 30 to 45 minutes due to doggy needs but, other than that, I don’t think it could be done quicker. Despite the sun though, it was perishingly cold and, walking with Muttley, I quickly called for a scarf and gloves.


There was one place in the flight where you can stop with a canalside restaurant and I had high hopes of lunch, but it wasn’t to be; it was well and truly closed but reminded us of our friend Dave’s narrowboat, also named Sans Souci – no worries.


So we continued onwards and upwards to Le Chesne. This is the summit of our journey – it’s downhill all the way now.

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