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

  • October 2017
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for October 16th, 2017

Back in the water after 5 1/2 weeks

Posted by contentedsouls on 16/10/2017

It was Friday 1st September when we came out of the water and the first week, largely, disappeared on fire watch and the associated dismantling and re-assembling of our sleeping and cooking arrangements (but you already know that). Then the weather turned nasty on us, so work continued inside and G even patched the hole in our ceiling  (which he pulled down last year whilst trying to source and fix a leak around the window). By the 3rd week we were able to get into a pattern, with G outside working and me sorting dogs and our food for the day; then working outside with him after lunch, before getting us both fed and walking Muttley again in the evening. This seemed to be the most efficient way of working as I, obviously, do not have G’s strength to wield heavy power tools for very long to do the rubbing down. You would think we would both have slept well, but we didn’t really; it was just head down and work. Even walking Muttley gave me little respite as the options were to turn left down the road to the sewage plant and back, or turn right up the road to the town bridge and back. Neither option was traffic free. I think, in those first 3 weeks, they only respite was Friday evenings when the yard owner put on a crate of free beers at 5 o’clock and everybody knocked off early and nattered about boats, life and the meaning of the universe. Given the number of boats coming in and out of the yard (not just on the hard); Friday evenings introduced us to diverse and ever changing crews. Due to our presence, and always a few other non-Dutch speakers, the language swapped seamlessly into English – imagine the French doing that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



When I said the weather turned nasty, I meant it. G enquired if I was cold; sometimes a girl has to go a bit OTT to get his attention (I haven’t learnt the art/skill involved in lighting the Old Dutch stove that we put in last winter and, even if I had, I would have forgotten over the summer). How many times we went up and down those bloody steps I’ll never know; not to mention the intermediate and low ones that we went up and down and dragged around with us as we painted.P1240263P1240265 - CopyP1240266 - CopyP1240266P1240268 - Copy

By the end of the 3rd week we had pretty much finished our ‘out of the water’ stuff, although we had plenty more we could do. Looking around the yard at the boat of fellow ‘large crane’ sharer, it was clear we wouldn’t be going back in a rush


His rudder was unattached, his engine was up the corner of the hangar and his new cooling system needed welding on under the entire length of the boat before blacking/painting. Given our previous experience of boat dismantling for fire watch, I was intrigued how this was going to work (he lives aboard too) – simples; they flooded him!!!!!!!!!!!! Just a ‘small’ matter then of him pumping himself out afterwards. He was such a nice chap and never stopped working until late into the evenings; very aware that he was the one we, and two boats due in shortly, were waiting for. He was still working on his engine at 10.30pm when I trotted across to the loo one night. Getting the crane in just for Francoise was not financially viable for us.

The upside of this was that we could back off a bit and have some fun. We had a look around Franeker and it’s Planetarium on a day when a festival was on with loads of cars and tractors. Then went out with two sets of friends who had turned up and moored in Franeker. We had dinner out with Jean, Phil, Annie and Mike and combined a visit to Harlingen chandlers by taking the latter with us and having a look at the seaport and a spot of lunch.


G bought an electric outboard for the dinghy and borrowed a battery so he could go out for a test drive – happy to be back on the water in any way that he could!


Our good Dutch friends Gerrit and Gezina from Aldeboarne came out for supper with us and delivered our new debit cards (one of many things which we have had delivered to their address). Now, because of the gap in this blog, you know nothing – yet – of these amazing warm and lovely guys who have done so much for us; you will.

Friday 6th October turned out to be good news day with 2 bits of, potentially, amazing news; one I can’t tell you about until later this week (no, I’m not pregnant); the other was that the big crane had been booked for mid day on the Monday 9th – provided that the strong winds abated. Poor old Dower was going back in minus his engine which would be fitted in the water; he was still slapping paint underneath as the crane arrived. Gerrit and Gezina came out to watch the excitement and although there was a delay in the crane’s arrival, the lift out itself was uneventful. I hadn’t realised that the setting up, counterbalancing, etc of the crane took soooo long – on our arrival that process had already happened and we were lifted straight out. We then had to disappear along the river for a bit (which gave Gerrit another chance to steer Francoise) whilst they put Dower’s boat back in and oiked the other two out. A long, long day.


Just to finish; some of the sights seen whilst up on high.


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