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

  • May 2018
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

Home, smelly home

Posted by contentedsouls on 31/05/2018

We arrived back at Francoise 11.30am (local time) on Friday and it’s fair to say we had a bit of a mould problem, pretty much everywhere; so our priority was to de-mould the bedroom and make up a bed on the floor and sort out what we needed for the animals and us for the day and in the morning. Our bedroom had been emptied so that Gary could fit a new floor for us and the spare room, therefore, wasn’t an option either – as you can see from the second photo. Fortunately Gerrit and Gezina made us dinner (they also offered us a bed for the night but it seemed easier to be home rather than uproot the animals again).


Saturday morning I set about washing walls, floors, cupboards, all our clothes, bedding, china, pots and pans, etc., an ongoing situation which still hasn’t been completely finished – but I’m getting close now. G set about building a new, higher bed (a very high bed) with a rather cleverly engineered lift up system which allows you to lift it from the top, bottom, or either side. Fortunately Gerrit (The Other One) was on hand to help out and, miraculously, they completed it in one day. The bedroom is complete with new bedding and curtains now; just new curtain poles/hanging system for the portholes, painting and carpet to fit. I also rather fancy sewing contrasting covered buttons to some of the curtain pleats.


I’ve also taken the opportunity to throw out a load of stuff we never use and have re-organised everything to leave surfaces clear (particularly in the galley). My triumphs’ have not been quite so dramatic as ‘the rise of the bed’ but are none-the-less satisfying to me. Just look at my drawers Matron!


Boats being boats we have had a few set backs along the way; last Friday we noticed that the hot water tank above the boiler was tilting at an alarming angle from the wall. In the evening it fell off. Due to limited access the fridge/freezer had to come out (not a simple job) and all the water drained down on the Saturday morning. G thought this would be a good day to invite both sets of Dutch neighbours (from both moorings) around for food and drinks to say a heartfelt thank you; not only for offering us safe harbour and regularly checking the boat and her batteries, but for countless other acts of kindness. My suggestion that Sunday might be a better day was dismissed (amazingly we are still married). By the skin of our teeth Francoise’s rear deck was transformed back into party boat, the salon made respectable and food of a fashion cobbled together – bolstered by very welcome contributions from Gezina. We did have a lovely evening in the most perfect weather and it was good to unwind and relax for a change; I also managed to stay awake beyond 10pm!

Sunday morning we had lost all pressure in the water system and discovered water pouring out of the connection to the boiler and filling the bilges (purely co-incidental apparently). Out came the fridge/freezer again and a good half a day was spent pumping out under the galley floor – maybe it was a good job we did entertain on the Saturday!

That first week wasn’t all work though. Apart from our little party, G had a day out with G & G off-roading/hill climbing in the mud and Gerrit and he went out playing with little boats looking for a tender to buy. G also managed not to miss the Grand Prix or qualifying.


I went to school with Gezina on the Thursday afternoon where Gezina teaches the children to grow veg on their allotments; the children’s English was excellent but they were too busy to chat for long. It was nice to be back doing a bit of weeding on the terre; I was an avid gardener in a former – pre boat – life.  I also took 2 hours out to go to the supermarket and check out a writing bureau that two of the three male Gs had seen in a second hand shop (whilst doing massive fuel runs to re-fuel Francoise). I have been looking out for a small bureau ever since we bought this boat and the one they found was perfik. I added the little red reclining chair whilst we were there; 32.50 euros for the two – result.


Not surprisingly, neither of us cooked Sunday lunch, so we retired to the village bar for an hour for a beer and a toasted sandwich. Regular readers may remember that G had been able to research some of Francoise’s history whilst we were on the hard in Franeker last September, but that we had reached a dead end tracing the second family, by the name of Mud. A chance remark, whilst chatting in the bar, and there was a chap in there of the name of Mud who had been researching his geneology (you couldn’t make it up). He said that, in the late 1800s, there had been a split in his family tree, with one lot going down the boat route and the other lot (of which he was one) staying on the land. He is now going to see if he can find a link between his family and ‘Pax’ as Francoise was then called. Extraordinary chance meeting.

Given that Francoise is the third boat we’ve lived on in as many weeks it’s, perhaps, not surprising that we are living in some confusion. Wanting to check our water levels, I spent a considerable period of time looking for the water tank gauge before G pointed out that I needed to roll back the salon carpet, undo the cap and poke the dipstick in the ‘ole! I had similar difficulties when trying to turn the invertor on. Neither of us had any idea where we kept the dustpan and brush or the cat litter. Being a snail nomad is a doddle; being a boat squatting nomad is a lot trickier for my poor little, easily confused, brain. Each boat I’ve lived on has had specific things I’ve loved and the one thing that both NoProblemXL and Indigo Dream had that I really miss on Francoise is a side hatch. It’s so handy for letting Daisy out, emptying out your dustpan and having a thoroughly good nose as to what’s happening outside……now where do we keep the metal cutters?

By Tuesday morning we were just about sanitised, had food in the fridge and said our goodbyes; not for long this time though, as Friesland is a small place with a lot of waterways, so we’ll never be far away – time to go.



16 Responses to “Home, smelly home”

  1. Wendy Paskell said

    Busy busy Busy!


  2. andywindy said

    Congratulations on the Mould removal, also on the clear out and cupboard/drawer tidying… I give them 3 weeks max. Before they look their similar states again. (Not the mould.)

    That bed still doesn’t look that high to me, that or Graham is wearing stilts under them Jeans!

    Well done with the Bureau, we had one about the same style and size when I was a young child and I am told that as I had a bad habit of putting things ‘away’ when I was a Toddler, my Mum decided after the knobs on the two drawers underneath disappeared and She couldn’t find them anywhere to ask me. Away! was the answer, but I couldn’t tell Her where Away was. My Dad was working in a different part of the country at the time and when he finally came home, he opened the Drawers by using a stiff metal coathanger through the knob screw holes to find the knobs inside. Where else would you put them? I haven’t been tidy since. I blame it on an early traumatic experience of causing my poor Mum so much drama that it has changed me for life!


    • The bed doesn’t look that high, but we have deep mattresses – hang on; I’ll go and measure it ….. it’s 36 inches off the ground (or 91.5 cms to you modern young things). 2 inches too tall to climb into; as against up onto!

      I do so hope you are wrong about the cupboards staying tidy – the trick is to get rid of so much rubbish that things can be easily accessible; if they’re not easily accessible you rummage around and then that’s the end of your tidy cupboard. Hmm…we’ll see.

      I think the whole knobs on the drawers of the bureau story is just an excuse for you being an untidy bugger!!!!!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • andywindy said

        36″ ! That’s the height of a Kitchen Worktop in a House! Hard enough to climb up on when you’ve got a solid surface to grab onto, let alone a squishy Mattress.
        Not saying anything else about tidy cupboards, mine are organised but overfull.
        Look, I’ve been an untidy bugger for 60 Years since, I don’t honestly think I can change now.


  3. Carol said

    Not a brilliant homecoming then Jill, but still good to be there. Glad that you’ve nearly managed to get rid of the mouldy damp and things are getting sorted. In a week’s time you’ll not remember being away! BTW, how are you? Regards to you both xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill Archbold said

    Oh no to the mould! Awful stuff. G and G popped over this evening for coffee and a chat. love you blog xxx


  5. Kevin TOO said

    No rest for the wicked then Jill… LOL But none-the-less it must be great to back ‘back home’ again 😉 And it’s so nice to hear from you once again 🙂 BTW how wide/narrow are those quaint little canals, is there a ‘passing place’ for any boats you meet or is it wide enough for two to pass?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is lovely to be back home..NOW. I wasn’t quite so sure the first few days.
      We haven’t, yet, had to put it to the test but Francoise is about as big as you can get through there because the road bridge at the entrance to the village is very low and, therefore, boat limiting

      Liked by 1 person

  6. vallypee said

    Oh Jill, what a homecoming! Still, I’m glad you got sorted out and are settled in again. Mould is horrible, I know. We have used a dehumidifier on the HH all this last winter and it has really helped. It’s kept the boat really dry. Haven’t had the leccy bill yet, though. We might think differently then.


    • We use the de-humidifier if we’re on shore power or running the genny in the winter. I’ll be interested to know how much difference it makes to your leccy bill.
      PS Does trying to reclaim my chair from Muttley make me an irredentist?


      • vallypee said

        Me too, I don’t think we’ve had the bill yet, but since we don’t use anything else apart from a battery charger, I’m hoping it won’t be too bad!

        As for you being an irredentist…absolutely…you’re trying to regain territory that Muttley has annexed. I’d say that’s a perfect claim!


      • I still want it to be shiny teeth though!


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