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 2018
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

Things that go bump in the night

Posted by contentedsouls on 23/10/2018

Before leaving Aldeboarn, we couldn’t help but spend a happy hour enjoying the antics on passing hire boats when they arrived at the low bridge adjacent to us. This lot tried to use their hands on the bridge to assist their braking power.


We were heading off to Sneek to meet up with Annette and Malcolm, on Rachel, before they returned to the UK for winter. Annette and I had planned a girly day in town before heading back out to moor outside the Chinese restaurant for dinner in the evening. Whilst wandering around the town we bumped into Susi and Austin who I hadn’t seen since we were in Toul in France. They were leaving their boat in Toul for the winter before returning to Australia (we had met earlier that year) so were very busy but, despite that, had walked the dogs for me for the two days before their flight home when I broke a bone in my foot and my collar bone whilst home alone. To just bump into them like that was amazing – we’d lost touch and I didn’t even realise that they were in the Netherlands; even more weirdly, Annette and Malcolm had met them the previous week but hadn’t realised the connection to us. Already late for our promised return to our boats to leave at 4pm, I could do nothing more than quick hugs and a commitment to contact them in the morning. So we waved goodbye to Annette and Malcolm in the morning and – feeling rather like a young Spanish Lothario – headed back into town to moor up next to Susi and Austin. A good time was had by all and we had hoped to meet up again in Meppel; but it was not to be!


We trundled off toward Lemmer ahead of the forecasted weekend storms – we didn’t want to be caught out either crossing, or mooring on, the exposed lakes. Everybody seemed to be scurrying about to get moored up safely and we stopped on rabbit island; one of our favourites



Boats and plans, of course…… on the outskirts of Lemmer we lost nearly all power on the engine and G managed to limp to the bank in an area designated specifically for commercials to load/unload their cars.

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We rang our ‘go to man’, Nieko, from the yard in Franeker who promptly dispatched a friend of his who lived locally. He struggled to find us, so G set off (with Muttley, at my insistence) to meet him, but he had a new car so wouldn’t give G a lift back with the dog (how I laughed). By the time G walked all the way back, he had been down the engine ’ole whilst I ran the engine, confirmed G’s diagnosis, whipped off the fuel injector pump and was leaving! As Muttley had had a good walk (still chuckling) and we could go nowhere, I decided to get in my PJ’s and slob out after dinner – after all, we weren’t going to see anyone stranded on our ‘dead end’.

Just as it was getting dark there was a knock on the door!

It was the local waterways jobsworth: “You have to move”. “We can’t”. “You have to”. “We can’t”. “You’ll have to get a tow then”.  “At this time of night we can’t”.“ You have to”. “Can you get us a tow then?”. “I can’t”. As this conversation was doing nothing to expand my Dutch vocabulary I was getting a bit bored and chilly, stood there in my PJ’s, so I left the men folk to their repetitions and went and watched a bit of telly. Eventually the jobsworth man rang his boss and, it transpired, that the problem was that we were in an area designated for ‘hazardous cargo’. The fact that we had a ‘dangerous cat’ onboard didn’t qualify us, apparently. They were concerned for our safety, despite the fact that there were no boats moored there carrying hazardous cargo. So it was decided that we should pull Francoise back 20 metres around the corner where we had to tie up to railings and the scaffold poles laying on the bank. Hey ho – off he went happy; in the end.

The next morning, at lunchtime as promised, our efficient engineer returned with our 1965 injector pump having found the parts and replaced the ball bearings overnight. Within 30 minutes we were on our way again. That’s service. Square ball bearings are not to be recommended.


When we, finally, arrived in Lemmer we found that everyone else had decided to take shelter there too; made worse by the lock (there is the odd one about!) being closed for the day, so nobody could get out the other side. Inevitably, everyone ended up breasting up. We had to wait awhile to get into town because they were working on the bridge as well as the lock.


Hadn’t been moored for long before a yacht came along asking to breast us and inviting us around for G&Ts. Frank and Diana and their puppy. It started early and finished late. At some point during the evening it was discovered that my 2.99 reading glasses came complete with headlights. Two of us and two dogs blew the cobwebs away on the beach the next morning; two of us (plus Baxter, of course) didn’t!!!!!


En route I had been chatting to a Facebook friend, Marcha, and trying to arrange a meet. At first it looked like we wouldn’t be in Lemmer at the same time but, in the end, we managed it and I know we will remain firm friends. Marcha and Peter have two little dogs like mini Baxter and Muttleys; we shared a lunch and a dinner together and, the next day, I saw little Joep running after a lady with a dog.Thinking he’d escaped from their boat, I called Joep to me to catch him and take him back to Marcha’s boat. The lady whose dog I was trying to kidnap wasn’t best pleased, but recovered her sense of humour when Marcha and Joep appeared and she could see the likeness.

Our nights in Lemmer were not without incident. One night somebody decided to ‘dance’ on our roof. Another night we were breasted up by a hire cruiser occupied by a load of blokes in their 40’s – instead of just getting off and going out to dinner, they were  backwards and forwards half the bloody night. At 2am they took another couple back to the boat with them; ended with the couple falling off their boat onto ours … grrrrrr.

I like Lemmer a lot; great little town and I do love a beach


The predicted storm, when it arrived, hit hard. We won’t talk about the Lemmer Webcam!


2 Responses to “Things that go bump in the night”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    I can understand the ‘local waterways jobsworth’s’ attitude though… you wouldn’t want a leaking petrol tanker moored up behind you… 😉
    Lemmer certainly looks a nice place, even on the webcams (ssh, I won’t mention them again)
    Love the car parking arrangements, you’ll have to get one!! LOL


    • We have so much ‘stuff’ on our roof now that we can hardly get up there to set the satellite up! Ssh – don’t mention the webcams! We got kicked out of Sneek and went back to Lemmer; deliberately moored elsewhere to avoid the webcams!


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