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 July 2nd, 2017

26th May Helmond to Beek en Donk

Posted by contentedsouls on 02/07/2017

12 kms, 2 locks, 1 LB in 2.15 hours

We couldn’t have moored at a more opposite place from the lorry park. There was no way out behind us and we were a long way down the track (several kms) from in front, which meant we were troubled by nothing and no one although, of course, I couldn’t get into Helmond to explore. Sometimes that’s a good thing because you can catch up with chores without feeling resentful because you’re missing out on something. We had a lovely quiet day followed by a pretty sunset. A gang plank existence is fine except getting it back on again when trying to leave. Ropes have to be released and pins removed (in this case just untied from trees), gang plank untied from boat, the untier back across the gang plank and gang plank recovered before both fall in. At the time of our carrying out this procedure we checked on the AIS that no big stuff was due to cross the end of our cut on the main river in front of us. What we didn’t know was that a little speed boat was about to pass by kicking off a major stern wave and a, subsequent, tsunami down our cut. Amazingly G leapt on board still clutching the gang plank without both of them going in! Another 5 seconds and it would have been a different outcome as the boat bucked violently.

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As we turned left back onto the main river and reached the lock, we found the speed boat (he couldn’t possibly know the havoc he had nearly wreaked), Jantina and a rather bored looking Bilbo resting his chin on their gunwales. They were staying there the night as it was a nice spot and they could reach the supermarket in Helmond from where they were.

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We shared the last lock of the day on the starboard side of a commercial and we needed to cut across him to moor immediately on the left bank. He didn’t answer so we asked the lock controller to convey the info – this he did and the commercial politely held off from coming passed us until we were safe and secure …. what a nice man.

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The cruise was lovely and as stress free as the previous days’ cruise had been stressful. I was actually able to sit out the back in the sunshine and enjoy it. Beek en Donk was an uninspiring little town architecturally, but had everything you needed within a stones throw although, yet again, the mooring was against a quay which Baxter needed lifting up onto.

I was highly amused to find that the local supermarket opened at 12 on Sundays; just the time when everything shut down in France. So civilised darlings; a nice lie in on Sunday morning before listening to the Archers omnibus and then nipping into town to pick up your food for Sunday lunch!

So many of the words here sound like sexual innuendos out of Carry On movies! Winkelwagons; priceless. Muttley parked himself outside of the doorway of the local pet shop until the owner succumbed and fed him treats. Then Jantina turned up and the men did some boat shuffling. Apparently there nice ‘peaceful mooring’ had been consumed by teenagers trying to jump off boats to swim on a sunny Saturday.

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Good walking in the adjacent park for Muttley and I too – loving the NL parklands

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Starting to notice some of the differences now and, whilst wine is dearer and only 15% of the alcohol aisles are made over to it, diesel prices are much cheaper. This balances in our favour as, contrary to some people’s opinion, we consume more diesel than wine – just. Meat and fish are also a great deal cheaper. You can also buy a selection of lovely bread and rolls with a choice of soft or hard crust and bread that will actually toast without turning to concrete; one can even buy pitta and garlic bread. It’s possible to buy a bag of lovely mixed rolls just in their dough state which means you can have fresh rolls every day without finding a shop – they keep for a week.

Notice to all potential guests and pirates – Waving a loaf of Warburton’s Toastie outside the window will no longer gain you automatic right of access

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