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

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

The bin man cometh

Posted by contentedsouls on 02/08/2018

Before we left Sue’s boat for the other Sue’s boat, I put a mail re-direction in to divert my (NHS) post from NoProblemXL’s winter mooring address to my friend Sally’s in Norfolk (Sally has been our postal address for years and provides us with a service second to none). I had to use NP’s address as I needed a GP and to be living in that hospital catchment area (little did I know at the time that, once in the system, I could have just changed my address with the hospital …. sigh). The hospital letters still kept going to NP, so I rang the Re-direction customer service line knowing that, by this time, Sue had moved NP off her winter mooring. I was advised that they couldn’t re-direct my mail from Sue’s mooring address as the address ‘didn’t exist’ (despite the fact that I had been receiving mail there regularly) and that hey had sent me a cheque to reimburse me. “Where did you send it?” I enquired – yep, you’ve got it; to the non existent address 4 weeks after the date I’d given for redirection. It took nearly 3 months and two more phone calls before I finally got my refund. Whilst I’m having a moan, I should mention that I still haven’t managed to get the results of my cardiac tests that were carried out on 4th and 6th of May – as its now the 2nd August I presume everything was OK; especially as I’m still here and have had no further black outs.

Anyway, here’s some of what we’ve been up to during my prolonged silence. We spent an entertaining wet and windy weekend moored by the bend in a river watching the sailboats tacking back and forth at almost 90 degrees to the bank to get round the bend – this was particularly entertaining when hire cruisers and hotel boats came the other way from around the blind bend. Sorry, I missed the shot of one of those big hotel river cruisers coming around the bend and trying to do an emergency stop as two sailboats cut across his nose from opposite directions! Quite a few of the sailboats didn’t hack it either.


Then the bogey man arrived and I thought he was coming to get us – but, fortunately, it was the bin that he was after and not Francoise. Nearly all of these Marrekrite free moorings – even the islands – have waste bins and we wondered how they were emptied. They put down spud poles, grab them, empty them and then they dunk them in the water to clean them before putting them back in a slightly different place to let the grass recover. The skipper says he empties about 60 a day. If you’re into boating then, being a bin man in Friesland, is a pretty cool job.


We set off in the general direction of Groningen again and our weather started to slowly improve, but until this last week or so we continued to have cold winds if you were out of the sun. We have only just started to experience the ‘pin you to the floor’ heat that most of the rest of Europe are still experiencing. We have had some amazing skies though.


We also had some stowaways on the tender which we liberated


We went into the industrial area of Drachten which, whilst not the prettiest of moorings, gave us good access to the town, supermarkets and parkland for dog walking. It also meant Gezina and Gerrit could park right next to the boat so that we could borrow their very large and heavy clamps when they joined us for a meal out one evening. We didn’t have to pay for our mooring either – but I realised later that we were camouflaged in amongst the van rental company, so perhaps we weren’t spotted! The town moorings  were a euro a metre (6th photo) and we didn’t think we’d get under this fixed bridge to reach them anyway (last photo); the height isn’t listed in any of our info.


We had a fabulous Lebanese meze meal out (it started off warm enough to sit outside) but, returning to the boat just after 10pm, we discovered that a refrigerated lorry had parked next to us and was running a very noisy generator. The driver was a very polite Polish man and we established he was on a 48 hour compulsory break – so we moved. Well Graham and Gerrit moved Francoise whilst Gezina and I trotted down the bank with the dogs. He did us a favour actually because, just a bit further along where we parked up again, there was a water tap which seemed to dispense unlimited water for a euro.


Our next lucky find was on a little canal through 3 low, narrow and oddly angled bridges at Opeinde; The Golden Wok restaurant. An amazing array of cooked and raw food, especially the seafood. Select what you want and take it to the griddle and wok to be freshly cooked to your liking. The puddings and choice of icecreams were to die for, including a chocolate fountain where I parked myself for awhile to dunk strawberries and profiteroles. Eat and drink all you like in 2 1/2hrs for 24.5 euros. I’m delighted to say that my appetite has, after some years, finally returned and I was able to get my money’s worth! The local cat was as attracted by all that seafood as I was. Nice little mooring too.


G insisted on moving the next morning; I think he was afraid I’d sneak back to the restaurant again. He was probably just being kind and thinking of my, rapidly expanding, waistline.

10 Responses to “The bin man cometh”

  1. Phyllida said

    Your life seems to be full of wonderful experiences. Who would have thought you do so much when you first imbarked on this adventure. How long ago was it?
    Jean and Norman hurren visited this week ( they canavaned with us every year ), it was good to catch up. The temperature is going up again, having had rain over the W/end.
    Take care
    Phyl x


    • 10 1/2 years since we bought the narrowboat and 4 years since we shipped her across the ‘pond’. Certainly doesn’t seem to be many dull moments!
      We met Jean and Norman; I hope they are both keeping well.
      Lovely to hear from you x


  2. Gillian Stollery said

    Thanks Jill. Wonderfully entertaining as usual!


    • Thanks Gill. Really am having problems finding the time to blog at the moment. I started writing this one about 6.30 am today after being towed down the road for nearly an hour by Mr Baxter in my PJs. He was a dog on a (no particular) mission very early this morning …groan


  3. vallypee said

    I’m not sure whether to congratulate you or commiserate for not having the ‘pin you to the mast, sorry, floor’ temps. We’ve been in Thuin for a week and apart from two days when it dipped below 30, it’s been above the whole time and very hot ever since we started. I love your sky photos…magic! Still, good to see you’re being your usual intrepid selves. Hope the mutts are well. By the way, we’ve just met Peter and Jo Hyndman in Thuin. Had a wonderful time with them and we miss them now they’ve moved on. I just hope we’ll run into you one of these days too! X


    • I think congratulate – it’s a nightmare for the dogs as well as us and it doesn’t do Mr B’s digestion any good!!!!
      I’m so glad you met the lovely Jo and Peter; they really are the kind of guys that leave a big hole when they leave. We’re hoping they’ll fit in a night or two with us before leaving at the end of the season.
      If we don’t ‘run into’ each other fairly soon I’m going to jump on a train and visit you – I feel like we’ve known each other forever


  4. andywindy said

    I think those Sailing Boats were pushing their luck quite a lot! If it had been a certain Captain from your past (In Southern France I think), there could have been a tragedy there.

    Ah, the Binman, all I could hear when I read that Headline was “Lily’s Wearing them!” Sod it I’ve got a Lonnie Donegan Earworm now!
    I like the pics of the Skies, it still amazes me that I got that one good one from our room on Holiday!

    Good job on releasing the stowaways, they looked far too small to eat anyway!
    That picture of the Yellow Gantry Crane, I’m sorry but your fishing pole does not seem to be in serious competition really!

    Blimey, those bridges look very narrow indeed, and The Chocolate Fountain, well, I’ve never had the opportunity to try one out! Very remiss of me I know, but there you go. I’m glad your appetite has returned, You were beginning to look a little undernourished, to say the least, not a problem that I’ve ever had, quite the opposite in fact!


    • Just in case your earworm has gone …he wears cor blimey trousers and he lives in a council flat.
      Not our Captain – it was Kevin that had the problem with him (unless I’ve forgotten an incident we had?).
      That bloody fishing rod sneaks it’s way into every photo if I’m not careful; drives me crazy.


  5. or maybe G was thinking of HIS waistline?


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