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

  • July 2019
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

Hello! do you remember me

Posted by contentedsouls on 13/07/2019

Where was I? oh yes, we had just packed up the camper again and headed off back through the Netherlands, Belgium and (a bit of) France again,to get the ferry back to the UK to see the family, MOT the camper, and the minor matter of G’s knee replacement.

Due to G’s obsession with never being late, we were put on the midnight ferry instead of the 0200 – this would have been grand had we not arrived in Sue and Richards’ village about 0300 and so, not wanting to ruin a treasured friendship, we pulled over and had a few hours sleep. We were due to spend the night with them before picking up the boat keys and heading off for our sojourn on narrowboat Indigo Dream on Sunday. Despite the sleep, we still arrived at an ungodly weekend hour and woke them up. They seemed to forgive us and made us a spectacular roast in the evening and a slap up breakfast in the morning to see us on our way – thank you guys for your enduring hospitality; not to mention somewhere to live!

We did as much as we could, and saw as many as possible, before packing and heading to Oswestry, staying at a great little site within 10 minutes walk of the hospital. G was out of theatre 4pm Friday and ready for discharge by 11am on Sunday morning. That sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Not for me it wasn’t – it’s several years since I’d driven at all; more than I can remember since I’d driven regularly and never a long wheel base vehicle with no rear view mirror. I was bricking it and then was hard pushed to get the damn thing started as the battery was nearly flat.

The drive from Oswestry to Northamptonshire passed amusingly, with lots of ‘helpful’ information – mostly incorrect -regarding which side of the road I should be on and the colour of traffic lights, as he was as high as a kite on morphine. In many ways this helped to soften my tension and stress by making me smile. The amount of traffic on British roads!!!!!!

Daisy wasn’t overly happy when she got put in the cat carrier instead of, what she thinks of, as her rightful place on my lap. More, I feel, by luck than good judgement, I got us home in one piece and, thank goodness, Antony arrived to help us unpack – he’d done the bulk of it for us too when we first got there. I’m too far behind to go into detail but, suffice to say, we had some tremendous help and lots of giggles from and with the kids, I got to see G’s Mum and some friends (but nowhere near enough) and we did some gentle, pottery cruising pub crawls. I tried (not to say succeeded) to take on my new job roles with good grace so that G could concentrate on his physio 100%. He worked extremely hard and I am extremely proud of him – he reaped the benefits.

Having said that, I had to update my cv as follows:

Chauffeur, provisioner, cook, dish washer, cleaner, dog walker, refuse disposer, water tank filler, nurse, waitress and skipper (that lasted for about an hour!). I also refuse to discuss the urgent pump out mission and my fall down the steps and cracking a rib!

However, I began to hate his ice machine with a passion (although, joking apart, it was a godsend and worth every penny) as it linked itself across the narra and G for 80 % of our waking hours. This meant that I had to keep moving him or run up the front, down the towpath, and back on the boat to fetch something, and then retrace my steps – he and it, effectively, divided the narra in half. My afternoon walks with Muttley sometimes incorporated a pint! No doubt, being driven about by me, equally brought on G’s own alcohol needs! He did rather like my dropping him off at the pub, going off to do the shopping and then picking him up again, though.

So how many people can you get on a narra for a short cruise over lunch?


Daisy always seems to be in her element on this boat; even more so than on Matilda Rose and Muttley loved the plethora of houndie dog beds


Talking of Matilda Rose; there she was up for sale and sold again 2 weeks later


We cruised to places with fond memories


and Muttley and I revisited some favourite walks


We, literally, watched these guys hatch, thrive, and follow us around


For all our travels, there really is no finer place than England on the waterways in the spring

21 Responses to “Hello! do you remember me”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    Welcome back to Merry England… yes I know you’ve already left… but it was nice of you to drop in 🙂
    So how is Graham getting on recovery-wise and are you over your driving jitters yet? 🙂


    • sorry, I couldn’t get to the computer because of the ice machine and i have become a bit obsessed with my Spanish studies since we’ve been back – plus parties and visitors and….


      • Driving jitters? It terrifies me, OK on either side of the road but manoeuvering in hospital car parks and stuff ended with me in tears; more than once


  2. Kath said

    The only comment has to be Gosh!
    Kath (nb Herbie)


    • how lovely to hear from you Kath, I didn’t realise you followed my (occasional) ramblings, how are you?


      • Kath said

        I always enjoy it when you have a ‘rambling’ for me to read 😁
        We are fine, a few health scares in the first part of the year but then, we are getting older, OK now.
        Did you get tempted at all to buy MR back when you saw her for sale? I imagine not, you are having such a lovely time abroad – most of the time 😂
        Hope G is soon back to full knee use.


      • Kath, sorry to hear about the health scares but so long as all is ok now.

        I would have loved to have bought her back – after October we may need a uk home as we might only be allowed 6 months in Europe at a time!!!!


  3. vallypee said

    You are so in your element on an NB! Lovely pics of England in spring. Bravo for all the driving! I remember when I saw you, there was already some anxiety building about that. Hope to see you soon!


    • vallypee said

      PS I didn’t know you and the Herbies knew each other!


    • driving in busy England terrifies me. Narrowboats are just so …. right! tillers move boats precisely and accurately, as do centre ropes. All continuous cruisers know each other pretty much, but how do YOU know the Herbies? xxx


      • vallypee said

        Haha, I’ve been reading commenting on Neil’s blog for about 12 years. We’ve never met, but I count him and Kath as friends because I just know we’d get on well. I’ve read both his books too. Great fun!


  4. Most of us know each other Val


    • WE do, but how does Val (in Rotterdam) know the Herbies?


      • Perhaps the same way I know Val Jill, via your blog introducing Val and her wonderful books. x


      • Kath said

        Val started reading our blog, we started reading hers, bought her book ……..
        Sadly we have never met.


      • vallypee said

        It’s all down to blogging, isn’t it, Carol and Kath? I found Carol’s blog through the Herbie blog and I’ve been following them(you) both for years now. I would so love to meet you in person. I have at last met Jill, and it was as if we’d known each other for years. Lovely!


    • I was fortunate enough to meet Val in Amsterdam – albeit way too briefly – last December. We’re planning another meet up in Rotterdam (or Zeeland) later this year


  5. andywindy said

    Thank you for (eventually) posting again. If it were not for FB I’d have thought that you’d have dropped off the world!
    You certainly did pack a lot in during your visit though, and thank you for documenting it.
    It must be quite a daunting experience to be suddenly driving a Luton Bodied Van at all after never having driven one before, but even more so after not having driven for so long and being under so much stress as well. A tripping passenger and another in a Wicker Cage must have ramped up your blood pressure as well.
    As for the Family visiting, Sardines in a Tin seems a good description! Wonderful pictures again though.


  6. ianmccauley2014 said

    We certainly do remember you and only yesterday were swapping stories about you with Mick Foster in Mailly-la-Ville. Something about one of his dogs having a mouth full with Daisy?


    • I’m glad you met Mick, it was more like both of his dogs but I didn’t mention it on here because he felt so bad about it, even though IT WAS TOTALLY OUR FAULT. she made a fully recovery from the shock, no physical damage.


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