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
  • Meta

A weekend at la Cassine

Posted by contentedsouls on 28/04/2017

This female/male gender designation drives me potty. Le bateau/la peniche. Le Chesne/la Cassine (the last two places we’ve stopped). We were told (but it may well have been someone taking the pee), that when a new noun hit the dictionary someone – no idea who the ‘someone’ is – decided whether or not the ‘object’ was more male or more female orientated. So who decided that curtains (yep, the stuff at your windows) were male; as in, ‘le rideau’ – I’ve never yet met a heterosexual male that showed the slightest interest in either curtains or cushions and yet both have been assigned the male gender.

Anyway, I digress. The only reason I know about this curtain stuff is because, when we climbed the automatic lock flight, a VNF man in a van drove down and asked me to close the curtains across our big windows. I didn’t understand why, but our windows seemed to be giving him a problem; we wondered if the reflection off of the glass was upsetting the radar beams but, given that we had not had any problems with any of the locks – either prior or subsequent to the closure of the curtains – it will remain another of life’s many mysteries. On the upside, I now know the word and gender for both cushions and curtains.

We couldn’t drag ourselves away from this lovely mooring and it’s ruined Chateau, although it was bitterly cold on Saturday so Muttley and I didn’t explore a lot. We did, however, discover that the chateau was struck by lightning in 1697 and burst into flames – the chap that owned it deemed it to be an act of God and, thus, wouldn’t let the latter day pompiers put the fire out.

The only access into the ground now is on son et lumiere  days and the 3rd Friday of every month when there is a local farmer’s market. Where were we on the third Friday of the month? Here. Am I peed off about being here, not knowing and missing it? Yes. Very. Especially as our fresh food supplies are running low and we can’t replenish them for several days.


Returning from our walk, I noticed that G had moved the boat backwards


This was so that he could plug into the nearby lamp post … as you do


Sunday was glorious and Muttley and I had a lovely long circular walk whilst G made the Sunday roast.


A lovely weekend which ended in another fabulous sunset


6 Responses to “A weekend at la Cassine”

  1. andywindy said

    So I am guessing that you had either Goat or Beef for your Sunday Roast then? Seeing as you showed us your plentiful supply of both!
    Ahh yes, the French obsession with gender of inanimate objects, A lady sits upon a cushion or a lap… hence male cushions.
    One has to drag away the men to get a clear view of a lady’s beauty… hence male curtains. Seems for all my hatred of language lessons at school, I do remember the interesting meanings thought up by our Flemish teacher of French!
    (Didn’t stop me getting the Cane after written comments in my third year French test though.)
    As for the picky VNF man, maybe it was so he didn’t have to report to the Gendarmerie that he’d seen either your Bong in use at the table, or that game of Strip poker that was in progress? Or maybe he lives on a boat and was offended that Francoise shows his up? Could be anything with the strange race that populates that wonderful country!


    • Goat cheese tarts followed by roast beef on Sunday!
      Sounds like you had an imaginative and good teacher – if you still make that association it obviously worked! Dare I ask what the written comments were that you recieved the cane for?
      Even more scary, dare I ask what a ‘Bong’ is?

      Liked by 1 person

      • andywindy said

        I’m told that Goat steaks topped with melted Goats cheese are quite nice…. Maybe for some, I think they’d be a bit strong though!
        We had a VERY good Teacher of French, if I had been able to see the sense in learning the subject then I am sure that I would have been very good at it.
        It was the only foreign language taught at our school, and I didn’t see the need to learn it, after all it’s only arrogance that stops any Jonny Foreigner speaking English all the time, isn’t it? (Who’s ducking? I’m ducking, I can feel the outrage from other readers as I type! (Note to anyone that doesn’t get the Irony in that previous statement, You’ll never understand English Humour at this rate!)).

        3rd year French test at Secondary School, didn’t see the point of learning the Language, didn’t see the point of doing a test 2 weeks before the end of the School Year when I wasn’t even taking the subject next Year, it was a baking hot day and I was fed up to the back teeth………3/4 way through said test Andy loses it and writes ” I really cannot be bothered completing this inane drivel in a language I do not need to know so if You want it done, do it your bloody self.”
        2 lashes for being cheeky in written form and 4 for swearing.
        I hold no grudge, the deputy head (who had to administer all canings) was half French, the Flemish absolutely beautiful and very nice Teacher didn’t deserve me having a go at Her about the fact that the School chose to teach the wrong language, and I shouldn’t have sworn.
        If I had just had what is now considered a reasonable response, what else would I have gone on to do? and would it have deterred anyone else from doing similar? I think not.
        Half an Hour (ok 3 Hours) of pain and a very valuable life lesson learnt, that is, don’t put it in writing if the response going to hurt you, and revenge is a dish best served cold. (A German company took over the town’s largest employer some Years later, if you could understand or read basic German then (allegedly) you were not on the initial redundancy lists!)

        A Bong. Think of a Hubble Bubble pipe without the water or hose made of Glass and sometimes mistaken by parents of Teenagers as an Inhaler. (Generally used to cool the smoke from burnt leaves or Hash, Weed etc. before inhalation.) Never used one myself, mixing the said leaves with tobacco would have had to do us if we were ever to have tried that sort of thing back in the mists of time, I was intoxicated with Love so didn’t need to escape!


  2. vallypee said

    The gender of words drives me crazy in Dutch too! And here there are no clues as in Le and La. They are all ‘de’ but you have to know for when you want to use ‘it/its’, e.g de universiteit is feminine. How do you know? Sorry, no clues; it just is. Anyway, I won’t bore you more, but suffice to say I sympathise 🙂 The mooring looks wonderful, despite the odd request by the lock keeper!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ….and there was I thinking we’d escape the gender thing when we hit Holland! I probably will anyway as I doubt that I will progress as far as ‘it’ . ‘De’ will be good enough for me!
      That mooring was definitely up there with the best; a lovely long circular walk with the Muttley too.
      PS You never bore me

      Liked by 2 people

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