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

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

Hitching a ride

Posted by contentedsouls on 20/11/2018

From Lemmer we went on to Workum to spend the day at their annual cattle market and horse racing through the town. Finally, I managed to find a restaurant that sold the famed local mussels which certainly lived up to their reputation; I think they were the best I’ve ever tasted – which is saying something having lived in France for 3 years. We were joined by Gerrit and Gezina after lunch.


I love the fact that, within an hour of the event finishing, the town was cleared of straw, sawdust and manure. A nice little town with bags of character and open spaces


Then it was onto Koudum where we had been offered a berth at a small boatyard whilst G was away. Gary and Graham arranged a van recovery trip (thank you guys) whilst Jill and I drank wine and danced in the sunshine to some big band sounds. We stayed there for a few weeks (even after G arrived home) because it was so nice and there was no reason to leave; excellent dog walking too. Yep! Chula IS asleep in that position. Whilst there, Vim welded our hoist onto the roof (to make getting the dinghy on and off a lot easier) and we enjoyed several evenings in Vim and Anne’s company.


We also drove back to Workum to join in the celebrations and watch the start of the annual shit race; First one to Rotterdam with manure for the tulip bulbs wins (in a nutshell). It is forbidden to use engine power so everyone had to bow haul themselves out of there – one helluvva lot of boats in a small space with a terrific atmosphere; a great day out.


Toilet facilities were provided by the local penis fountain. Everytime the toilet is used they squirt water out! I love the humour.


When we, eventually, dragged ourselves out of Koudum, we headed slowly back towards Sneek where we intended to provision the boat and pick up John and Gill (so many ‘G’s’ and ’J’s’ in my life) who were coming out to stay with us for a few days.


We moored up in Sneek and, come evening, the friendly young harbour master turned up to collect our mooring fees. He remembered me from our previous visit and I teased him about the exorbitant charges, given that it was the 30th October. He replied that after that night it would be free as it was the last day of the season, which was jolly good news as we wanted to stay a few more nights; we needed paint and curtain fabric and a big supermarket shop, and we had had a great lunch at a restaurant that we wanted to take Gill and John to for dinner the night they arrived.

Sat outside in the sunshine the next morning, the man in a van from the council turned up. He wound down his window and shouted across that we had to leave today. I said that the harbour master said we could stay (not, strictly speaking, true but….), to which he responded, somewhat grumpily, “one night then, the port is closed for winter now” and drove off before I could respond. So I took a wander in to the town hall to let them know we wanted to stay until Monday morning….this didn’t go well. The nice lady wasn’t a boaty person and, unusually, her English wasn’t that good. She phoned somebody at length and reported back that we had to leave because the bridges would be closed from 7pm that day, but that we could stay one more night. Some of the bridges are operated by the waterways and some by the towns but all (according to our nav systems) are bookable in advance; she just shrugged and gave me alternative places to stay (which we knew about and were not any good to us) repeating that all the bridges were closed at 7pm but that we could stay one more night. Completely confused now, we decided we couldn’t risk getting trapped for the winter; so I did a frantic dash to the nearest supermarket and we left; having decided to pick up our friends back at Lemmer instead. That was quite a bit of money we would have spent in the town had we not been evicted.

It was around this time that G started to find pictures of Francoise on Facebook; posted by J-M and Leona on a commercial ship, ‘Syracusa’. Turning out onto the PMK (the Dutch boating equivalent of the M25) the next morning, we found ourselves behind Syracusa. J-M called us up and the fellars switched to the chat channel whereby he invited us to come alongside so we could meet properly. So he slowed down, we speeded up and went alongside tying off to them, switching off our engine and going on board the commercial; all whilst we were both moving and with other commercials around. It’s a bit difficult to get an idea of the scale of things from the photos but think of an ant on the side of an elephant; Francoise has never seemed so tiny. So thank you Sneek for evicting us; if they hadn’t, we would have missed out on the experience of a lifetime!


As we approached the big lock (still not wide enough for us to be alongside), we returned to Francoise, untied and went in behind them. After the lock, we peeled off into Lemmer, waving them on their way with their cargo of salt to Amsterdam and Rotterdam (they passed us again 2 days later on their way back!). Our thanks to J-M and Leona for a truly memorable morning.


10 Responses to “Hitching a ride”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    WOW, you wait ages and ages for a little blog to come along… and then you get a huge big one smack in the face 🙂
    So many words, so many pictures and such good fun being had by one and all by the sound of it, how great is that? LOL

    Can’t wait for the next instalment 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, I am a bit unpredictable at the moment! I love your comments though, they do keep me going with the blog; albeit a bit spasmodic this last 12 months.

      We did have the best fun that morning, especially as it came out of nowhere!

      Next instalment won’t be anywhere near as exciting I’m afraid, but still lots of pretty pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. andywindy said

    89! (Unless I’ve miscounted, very possible this!) Boy, I’m glad I don’t pay for your data Plan (Unless of course, you’ve found Free WiFi).
    Wonderful diverse journal entries and photos Jill, it must have been a sight watching all those Shit Boats, Hand Hauling themselves out of Port!

    How much weight will your new Crane take? At a guess, I would say about 250kg, it looks very similar to those seen on the back of Commercial Tyre Trucks (Mobile tyre fitters for Lorries) and they are usually rated around that figure. So now when you go shopping with the trailer and fill it with ‘liquid provisions’ you can lift it aboard loaded instead of lifting carrier bags or wine boxes individually, MUCH better for your backs!

    A bit of a bummer having to leave Sneek in a hurry, (instead of sneaking out (sorry, couldn’t resist, and I’m surprised Kevin didn’t get it in first)) but then you wouldn’t have met up with Syracusa and Her Crew. My, does Francoise look small, though you do have windows at the same height I noticed, and you don’t have to have a Lift as a Bridge! I noticed that as well as their Car they have a Tender on the Rear Deck, but I don’t see a crane arrangement unless that is what is on the same deck to Starboard? Anyhow, I have a sneaking suspicion that you have met a couple of Fans who are dreaming of following your example in the future!

    Thank you for this post, Jill, it was definitely worth the wait.


    • Spot on with the weight for the crane. They do have one of their own.

      Interestingly they are fans at some level and have been taking photos of us and posting photos recently. We did actually meet up with them once at a Women On Barges (WOB) party on a boat over a year ago with many other people but that was, until recently, our only contact. Strangely, I remember his very shiny shoes (in particular) and how very smart they both looked! Extraordinary to see a WOB flag flying on a commercial ship.

      They work 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off the commercial; have a house here, and an old Luxemotor to play on.

      Glad it was worth the wait.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. peter said

    Forget the rest.. I read it again just for the bit about hitching the ride! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Brian said

    A truly exciting time and just think, if you hadn’t got thrown off the moorings (they remembered you from last time) you wouldn’t have saved all that diesel with the engine off.

    Liked by 1 person

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