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

An unexpected visit from the family

Posted by contentedsouls on 19/08/2018

On our way to Groningen – again – and we had a phone call saying that our friends Malcolm and Annette on barge ‘Rachel’ were not that far behind us on their way up from France. So we turned around – again – and went back to meet them. Both the small boats either side of the last, not quite big enough, mooring space happily moved along a bit so we could moor and be  ‘friends re-united’.

It was only a few days later that they called on the Thunderbirds Rescue team. They toddled off in their tender to visit other friends of theirs moored a few kilometres away and ended up running out of fuel for their outboard – right in the middle of a dirty great lake and a sailing race (I bet they weren’t very popular!) Rowing all the way back wasn’t an option, so they ‘phoned Thunderbirds and we formulated a rescue plan. G would set off in our tender (with electric motor) with spare fuel on board for them; it was likely to be a one way trip for him as the battery wouldn’t have enough power for the return journey; the idea being to top them up and then they could tow him home. Just as he was setting off they turned up – a lovely man on a houseboat spotted their predicament and they rowed across to him and he gave them fuel for their return journey. Thunderbirds was back on stand down.


We shared several pretty and remote moorings with them over the next few days.


Whilst out walking Muttley, I came across a small brocante with a lovely little chair for sale – the perfect size and shape for our bedroom. The only problem being that I had to walk it (and Muttley) 2.5 kms home along a busy cycle track.


No problems; when I got tired or cyclists were coming, I just sat on it and called Muttley back to me which caused much hilarity amongst the locals – the irony is that, had I been competent enough to cycle with it under my arm, nobody would have batted an eyelid! ‘Re-furbing the chair’ is another job now added to my list, although G says, “why bother; you can’t see it buried under discarded clothes anyway’’. Hmmm…..he has a point.

On the subject of decoration and refurbishment, I have added a new skill to my repertoire – picking spider poo out of curtains. I took down the 8 large, very pale, cream curtains in the saloon to see if they could be salvaged from the water stains. They came up remarkably well, apart from the copious black marks of splattered spider poo. Spider poo picking is, I’ll have you know, a very skilled job so, if you want expert advice on the subject, I’m yer man woman. During the heatwave I had to iron those curtains before re-hanging them (having first found the iron and unpacking it); I’d just hung the ones by the dining table when Jill and Gary popped by. Jill sat at the table to eat her lunch and had a bit of a mishap whilst opening a sachet of salad dressing – yep; straight up the curtain! The look of horror on her face was pricelessly funny, but at least the curtains and dressing were a very similar colour. Not wishing to be ‘outdone’, two days later I opened a bottle of pink beer which, unbeknown to me, had partially frozen in the fridge. It exploded as I opened it, so I shoved my thumb on the top as the contents headed towards the window; this ensured that the sticky pink liquid spread over an even wider area; running down the window and, literally, dripping off the ceiling. Bloody Murphy!!!

There has been a fair bit of discussion on previous blogs about our bed being a long way off of the ground – in addition to the additional storage created below it, I have found another advantage; you can paint the bedroom ceiling whilst lying on your back – no more arm ache; how cool is that? Gezina has given me a new nickname, ‘Jillyangelo’!

Anyway, enough of all that or you’ll be moaning that there aren’t enough pictures. I’m bemused by the, apparently, random gate posts (taken from a cycle path which isn’t wide enough for a car) and notice that Graham and Gezina have been throwing dog leads into the pot again.


One afternoon, G popped his head outside (for the first time all day) just in time to see a familiar name on a yacht passing by; the same as the name on his cousins’ UK based yacht….of all the yachts in all the waters…. it was his cousin Robert and Alison. One minute either side and we would have missed them altogether (nice try guys; you nearly got away with it!).


We had a good old natter over coffee and a promise to meet up with them in Franeker in a few days time – as it happened they kept popping up almost everywhere we went. In the end, we enjoyed a great meal out together one evening (also joined by Jill and Gary) and various cups of coffee, before they headed off out of our area. Great to see you guys; we really enjoyed your company.

The initial reason for going to Franeker was to introduce Malcolm to Nieko at the shipyard to discuss the work he wanted doing on ‘Rachel’ this winter. By the time we got to the shipyard, Francoise was also in need of Nieko’s expertise. Our old engine has always smoked a bit on start up but, normally, settles down once it’s warmed up a bit – not anymore; you couldn’t see us for the clouds of smoke and the fumes were actually rolling down into the cabin. We appeared to only be running on a fraction of our 6 cylinders. Rachel carried on for a few days whilst we sat about in the boatyard getting fixed. How I hate the noise from that bloody wind turbine overhead. Interesting boats and work going on though but not much fun getting Baxter across the boat we were breasted up to.


A few pictures of Rachel following us and our trip to, and through, Leeuwarden and the art work under the lift bridges


9 Responses to “An unexpected visit from the family”

  1. andywindy said

    Fancy having a High Bed just so you can be a lazy Girl when painting the ceiling! Wasn’t even the part you threw the beer at either.

    That’s a pretty little Dressing Chair, what colour are you thinking of I wonder? ‘cos that’s a lot of gathers to get looking even!

    Those Gate posts you’ve shown obviously once had gates on them, and from the tyre tracks look like they are still in use, probably for loading/unloading cargo boats with supplies for the Farm.

    Wind Turbines are great if you’re driving past, but bloomin noisy if you are unlucky to be stuck right underneath as You were again! Lovely pics right through again Jill, Thank You, You have a knack of showing us Vicarious travellers a flavour of just what we are missing!

    Oh, what was up with the Engine then?


    • I thought I’d cover the chair with patterned fabric and plain braid – you’re worrying me now; is it going to be a big/difficult job?
      Glad you’re still enjoying the pics.
      The engine was no ‘single’ thing – just a good overhaul really; injectors, timing, etc.
      Re the gate posts; even if they had a gate on, they’re not attached to anything either side

      Liked by 1 person

  2. vallypee said

    Washing curtains…All good fun, hey? As for spider poo, we have blinds you can’t wash and picking just leaves more stains…any ideas for removing the poo other than giving up and buying new ones? I love it that you change plans to meet friends. No wonder everyone loves you both! X

    Liked by 1 person

    • andywindy said

      Personally, I’d try an Oxygen releasing agent, Peroxoid based, as this would ‘eat’ the protein stains. Make up a sloppy paste of Vanish or similar and lightly brush or Daub it on carefully, I wouldn’t try and use the Liquid versions as these would not be practical on blinds as you want to leave it in contact for Ideally 10 to 20 minutes.
      It SHOULD be ok with all colours, but Please test first. You may get a very slight bleaching effect, so go over the whole blind lightly after with a weakened solution afterwards and make sure you rinse it well as the Sun (Ultraviolet) will continue the bleaching effect for a long time afterwards if you don’t.
      DO NOT GET ON YOUR UPHOLSTERY ACCIDENTALLY, You won’t notice until the Sun has bleached spots after a few months, Cost me a fortune once!
      If that doesn’t work, try ‘Dabitoff’ or similar (from Dr Becker I think) Solvent-based ‘Dry Cleaning fluid’ That’s IF you can get it, in parts of Germany it is illegal as is thought to be a soil contaminating Carcinogen?

      I Hope this helps, as usual, I make no promises, but 38 Years of keeping my ears open in Laundries tells me it should!

      Liked by 1 person

      • vallypee said

        Wow, thanks Andy! That sounds well worth a (careful) try! Excellent. I’ll let you know if it works for me! Not sure you can get Dabitoff over here, but Vanish is definitely available…and I always have hydrogen peroxide in store, but I’d try that on a tiny spot first.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Val if you can dampen it with water, the poo ‘lets go’ a bit. Once it’s dry again you can pick it out. Don’t try and pick it out when it’s wet; it smudges everywhere and make it worse.

      Andywindy’s version sounds a lot more scientific.

      Have to change plans to meet up with friends else they try and avoid us!

      Liked by 1 person

      • vallypee said

        I love this…we’re all talking poo 😀 I’ll try your method too, Jill! And I so don’t believe that about your friends….we HAVE to meet up sometime soon!


  3. since i never wash my curtains I wouldn’t know if there’s fly poo or any other poo on them! love the picutres. What an amazing encounter with G’s cousin, small world eh.


    • Curtain washing is not something I make a habit off, but these (not my choice) are a very pale cream and were covered with mould, water stains and goodness knows what else in addition to spider poo.

      G had just stuck his head outside for the first time that morning! Another 30 seconds and they would have got away with it!


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