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

  • December 2019
    M T W T F S S
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On the road again

Posted by contentedsouls on 10/12/2019

Having, finally, got the boat generator fixed, we moved to one of my favourite dog walking moorings and Muttley and I filled our boots, with loads of playmates, for a week.


Then he had his op to remove a nasty growth, right on the bend of his rear elbow; so we had to curtail his excercise for two weeks.


So we went North in the van along the dyke to Den Helder for a bit of an explore


We spent a few days on our beloved Rabbit Island before heading into Koudum – where another boat had the audacity to join us! We quickly forgave their intrusion however, because they bought playmates for Muttley (we had taken his stitches out by then).


Koudum is also a lovely little town with nice walking, but it does seem to have a disproportionate number of cats which stop Muttley and I using the footpaths; having been under Daisy’s thumb since he was 8 weeks old, there is no way he’s going to try and squeeze past a hissing cat with an arched back. Even the ones watching us from a distance stared at him malevolently.



Before we left, we needed to re-insure the camper. We then discovered that the camper wasn’t registered with the British driving authorities as a camper; just as a transit van and, as a transit van, we could only get insurance for 180 days cover outside of the UK. To re-register it as a camper we had to fit a table, an awning, and have a minimum of two windows on one side (not including the windows in the driving compartment). G made an excellent table on a swivel stand which lifts off and clips to a cupboard and we found somewhere to get the retractable awning fitted not too far away. Cutting a hole to provide a second window is an issue still to be addressed before our 180 days are up,we also have the luxury of a proper diesel heater this year. We also have a new, dedicated, box on the A frame of the trailer to house the generator so that it can be run whilst remaining securely in situ (photo below). Our thanks to Oba for the welding and Gerrit for the construction and enhanced design mods.

We then jumped through hoops on the ‘phone to get our S1 reciprocal health insurance cards (yes, we are both now officially OAPs) only to find that they will only issue them two weeks before we get to Spain; by then, of course, we have no address to receive them!

A monumental amount of organisation was required by the catering, provisioning and domestic department. We were leaving for 5 months and covering 3 seasons, so I made copious amounts of lists. Summer and spring clothes were vacuum packed at the bottom of the trailer together with a basic store cupboard; winter clothes for our 5 week stay (we now have a second house sit) in the mountains of France went in next; then travelling provisions for 6 days in the cold, and meals I’d made earlier and frozen. The situation was not helped by the fact that we took the van into the garage for a bit of engine tuning on Monday and we didn’t get it back until Tuesday afternoon –my intention had been to shop and load over Monday and Tuesday – before leaving Wednesday late morning. Without transport we could do neither, so it was all a bit of a scrabble. I always organise everything in appropriate bags and G is forbidden to get involved in the operation, or pack anything into the van – we can’t both move on the van simultaneously, so the domestic and house keeping department has to know exactly where she can put her hands on things. As head of IT, G is responsible for packing ‘phone/battery chargers, conversion plugs and all the myriad of things that accompany modern technology, and all I ask is that he remembers where he put them and that the stuff we need in transit is accessible.

Having winterised the boat, he then lurks over my last 4 shopping bags which aren’t quite full (waiting for the last bits to go in) and could not contain himself whilst I left him alone to have a pee! He grabs the paperwork I need (not all of it, naturally), slings it on top of the jam and marmalade and hoofs it to the van. Knowing we are going to be living in a very confined space for a number of days and need to be really, really nice to each other, I try not to shout, ‘bring that bloody bag back – why can’t you just leave things alone?’, but I can’t help myself either; although I did try to modify my phraseology!

We did get away on time and found a nice quiet stop in Belgium for our first night – when we left last winter, we stopped in the south of the Netherlands the first night, and were dug out of bed and moved on by the police, so decided not to risk that one again.



9 Responses to “On the road again”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    Gill said “…whilst I left him alone to have a pee!”
    Kevin said “Thank goodness you let him do that by himself!” LOL

    Hope you enjoy your soujon to the warmer climes of the South 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bravebargeadventures said

    Hurray for organization!!! Three seasons… packing nightmare. Buenas suerte!!! X


  3. Love the division of duties Gill, we are exactly the same! We went to Scotland last month for a long weekend and on the morning we left I packed all the bags, laundry, what we’d need on the sleep-over that night and the rest. I knew what was where and where it needed to be in the car. I started to bring the bags from the bedroom to the hall ready to supervise the loading of the car when George said that he would take it from there (like you I was trying to be calm, it’s a long journey!) and said ok as I had a couple of other things to see to before we left. All done, we got into the car and I glanced onto the back seat; it was empty. Blimey I thought He’s packed the boot well. The following morning back at SR I was ready to upack and start on the laundry … no laundry, no small suitcase either. They were still in the bedroom back in Scotland! Note to self – do it yourself next time!


    • You did make me laugh – so glad I’m not alone! I am still wondering how you recovered your dirty laundery and small suitacase though?


      • Carol said

        The cottage that we stayed in was just a few minutes walk from our daughter’s house so I contacted the owner to arrange for family to collect them. Then another family member dropped them off at our son’s house and we will collect them from there at Christmas!! Talk about all in a days work … NOT! x

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We have a similar division of duties for both packing up to come to the UK to be on the boat, and also when we head away in the motorhome here in NZ. David is in charge of all the technology (for phones, laptops, internet) and I do everything else: in the motorhome that entails clothes and food, plus kitchen equipment, cleaning stuff, bedding, towels etc that have all migrated inside at the end of a trip away.
    David only has to assemble the techie stuff from one room, but can spread it all over the place, and still takes longer to decide what we need and collate it than I do for all the rest.
    I REALLY struggle not to lose it when I am ready, having done everything else by the time we have agreed we will leave by and he is still faffing. Aaarrrggghhh!!! And then he just dumps everything in shopping bags and expects there will be no comeback when they are strewn across the limited floor-space in the motorhome, while he rifles through the nest of snakes that is a cords bag for the little asp that he requires right now…
    Last time, I had a MAJOR meltdown, so we delayed our departure, I went back to bed for a rest and a restorative cup of tea, and we headed off the next day. I think I was still ready before him. I had unplugged the power cord and stowed it, done the ‘pre-flight’ checks and started the engine. I may even have tooted the horn …
    In a calmer moment, I did suggest that he assemble a set of motorhome techie requirements, or at least write a list so he can find the right things easily and not have to decide what is needed each time. As far as I am aware, that has not yet occurred…


    • Mariyln that’s you, Carol Palin and me. It’s so critical in tiny spaces that jobs are allocated and stuck to. It drives me crazy when he sticks into my stuff. I’m still discovering the consequences of his momentary ‘I’ll just stuff that in a bag and take it out whilst she’s not looking’, moment.
      We have left hardly speaking before now, but I’ve YET to have a go back to bed with a cuppa meltdown – so funny.


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