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 April, 2018

In pontificating mode

Posted by contentedsouls on 29/04/2018

When we left Francoise in the Netherlands on the 11th January with the minimum of ‘stuff’; little did we know that we would still be here all these months later. Staying on the van for a little while in winter (and the temperatures are still no better apart from 2 or 3 days of warm sunshine) was just about doable; but not for all this time.

For 16 weeks NoProblemXL has been our very comfortable and luxurious home and our heartfelt thanks go out to Vic and Sue for making her unconditionally available to us and our menagerie; not to mention my re-arrangement of their galley to accommodate my personal cooking style (ie messy!). Our time is ‘up’ on NPXL for the very best of reasons – Sue’s return to better health and they more than deserve to have their home back unencumbered by us squatters.

On Thursday we shall be moving onto Sue and Richard’s narrowboat, Indigo Dream and taking her cruising a little – I’m very excited about being back on the UK canals for a little while and Baxter will find life a little easier as the boat is kitted out to accommodate ‘ancient’ dogs and the ‘bank’ doesn’t go up and down so much on the canals! So our thanks to them too for taking pity on us homeless people.

At this point (and here comes some pontificating and reflecting) I want to say thank you to the many people that have offered us their homes, boats, electricity and clothes!! We have never been in the slightest danger of being homeless and have had choices and been able to choose due to convenience of location re my hospital appointments and, of course, we will always take any boat options over houses because we are out and out water gypsies. It has been said before, but I make no apology for reiterating it; the boating community is absolutely incredible. Once a bond has been made with a fellow boater, no matter how briefly in some cases, they are always there for you. Over our boating years we have always tried to help fellow boaters and the response to our ‘hour months of need’ has been overwhelming – so thank you each and everyone of you for your incredible generosity.

So that’s enough of all that sentimentality – I don’t want my regular readers (if either of them still do read these, currently, occasional blogs) to think I’m going soft in the head; now there’s a thing as I get the results of my brain scan and angio on Wednesday when I shall find out if there is anything soft in my head or, indeed, any brain at all!

George and Carol breasted up with Still Rockin’ overnight and we walked round with Muttley to the Bounty for an early supper – a lovely evening but my goodness it was cold. We did have a couple of good, hot days during which time Baxter shared the shade with next door’s Bassets, Matilda (he’s in luuurve with Matilda) and Arthur.

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This lovely day prompted Graham to cut off Mr. B’s winter coat which would normally happen sometime in March – we all know what happened to the weather then – pass the Superglue so that we can stick his hair back on. Poor boy is now spending life huddled up under blankets and fleeces to prevent him from shivering. I know he’s old – very old – but I was truly shocked to see him without his shaggy coat; although he seems much brighter in himself he does look really ancient poor sausage. Kevin and Sandra came over today with Herbie and Ralph (the new puppy). Ralph couldn’t understand why Mr B wouldn’t come out from under the blanket and play; in the end he tried to pull the blanket off him. Such a lovely, good natured pup – he’s going to be a cracking dog and was quite unphased by Muttley’s displays of disapproval towards him being inside the boat.

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Whenever Sue and Vic were able to come back to their boat, we always made sure that there were two more dog beds down for Meg and Penny; the dogs however made their own arrangements. Penny, of course, spends her whole time on Daisy cat watch anyway and doesn’t really need a bed.

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So that’s all my news. There might be more regular blogs once we’re on the move again on Indigo Dream.

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Still in Blighty on the River Thames

Posted by contentedsouls on 02/04/2018

Well here we still are and it’s the 2nd April – nothing much changes. Still it rains and all dog walks are a sea of mud again after a 3 day respite in the weather which let the ground dry out enough for me to walk right around the lake at last on a day when the sun came out; such a treat. There are signs of spring everywhere around me except for the weather itself.

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Meanwhile, back in the Netherlands, Francoise’s free winter mooring in Dokkum was about to convert to the visitor rate of 90 euros per week from yesterday. After a bit of juggling with dates when Sue and Vic could visit again and avoiding the inflated cost of Easter weekend ferry crossings, G managed to drop S & V back at Portsmouth on the Wednesday, then leave here late Thursday to catch the 2.00 am ferry for Dunkirk on Friday, leaving me here with the menagerie; did I mind? Was I jealous that he was going to get a two day cruise? YES; VERY MUCH! It just wouldn’t have been fair on Baxter though to drag him out and back and there is no such thing as travelling light or travelling quickly when we move en famille. It was awfully nice having the boat to myself for a week though with only Baxter’s tune to dance to.

Our good Dutch friends, Gerrit and Gezina, arranged for us to moor at the end of (the other) Gerrit and Saskia’s garden again in Aldeboarn and G and Gerrit had a two day ‘man cruise and sleepover’ to get there (you have to go a long way round due to low bridges). G & G spoilt my G rotten; feeding him and taking him out to ‘boys’ night’ cards. I tried not to mind, but I do miss Gezina’s hugs. In our absence, our friend Gary will be putting a new floor down in our bedroom and making good the wall linings which had been water damaged from small leaks when we bought her – at last the renovations commence. I shall be able to start decorating when I get home….hurrah!

Meanwhile, back on NoProblem XL, Muttley was happy enough playing chase with his neighbour Matilda; Baxter peed and slept (nothing new there then) and Daisy sulked because I wouldn’t let her out due to the fast flowing river and the fact that she keeps trying to run up and down NoProblem’s very narrow gunwhales – despite her diminutive size, she is not the most agile or sure footed of cats

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The river has risen over a meter in the last 48 hours as I post this; we now jump down off of the rear deck instead of up.

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