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
  • Meta

The lady of the house speaking

Posted by contentedsouls on 20/12/2019

Our second night stop was in the woods just outside Luxembourg, with plans to walk to a bus stop and go into the city in the morning – we woke to a filthy morning and subsequent lack of enthusiasm. Rustling up plan B, we decided to drive through the city for a quick looksee and were glad we hadn’t made the effort to do more, as the entire city was being dug up – they appear to be installing tramways?


Not exactly picturesque! So we saw what we could and decided to carry on to Metz.

We have very fond memories of Metz from when we cruised there on our narrowboat 4 years ago and we were both keen to go back there. Park4the night suggested a spot just off of the river and we managed to ‘stealth park’ overnight in a little rural square without drawing attention to ourselves. Having given Muttley a good run down by the river and eaten dinner quite early, G set off on a mission to find the little bar that we’d had so much fun in last time we were there. Amazingly he found it – his memory of places is incredible – and it was disappointingly quiet at first. By the time we’d downed our first Picon beer, it was filling up rapidly. It’s a tiny place, so very intimate; you really can’t avoid socialising. Sure enough –just like our previous visit – we were soon involved in a number of diverse conversations in a weird mixture of languages. The evening didn’t disappoint.

The next morning we headed off towards Strasbourg, stopping for coffee in a little village tabac. Each person who entered did the usual round of bonjours and shook our hands; how I’ve missed that aspect of France – much as my head loves boating in the Netherlands, my heart really misses the charms of France.


Having, eventually, worked out how to get tram tickets for us and Muttley (although we strongly suspected that we paid way more than we needed to), a fellow traveller explained that the trams would not be stopping in the city centre for security reasons. Unbeknown to us it was the first day of the Christmas market and everyone had to be security checked before entering the city. Poor little Muttley not only experienced his first tram ride, but he had to endure over 30 minutes of being down amongst a throng of feet as we slowly shuffled forward towards the security checkers; we tried to guard a space either side of him but it was nigh on impossible, he stayed completely calm and I was so proud of him – we certainly wouldn’t have gone if we’d known.

on Sunday we arrived in Bresse and scrounged a bed for 3 nights with Marcelle and Gorge (well, Gorge wasn’t there for the first two nights); they’d come out to the boat for dinner with us previously in Friesland whilst they were travelling on their camper. Bless Marcelle for her wonderful hospitality, despite the fact that she’d only got back from a month’s camping safari in South Africa the night before! She lent us her car so we could go to the market and, at least, I could muster provisions a meal for her and Gorge whilst she picked him up from the airport. It was my first chance to cook on a woodburning range and I loved it – it goes without saying that I now want one! Somewhere around here my camera finally, completely, died so this is a picture of Marcelle’s Mum’s dog, and one pic from the livestock market – I have no pictures of Marcelle’s Belgian Shepherd but, as you can imagine, Muttley was somewhat dwarfed by his new friends!


Wednesday we stopped somewhere between Montpelier and Nimes before moving on to our first house sit, where we were due for supper with the home owner’s (HO’s) Thursday evening. We thought we’d visit Carcasonne during the day and have a light lunch but, even in the winter, there was nowhere we could park the van and the trailer. So we pootled through some villages and found a little restaurant for lunch in Fanjeau – France being France, a ‘light lunch’ wasn’t going to happen and we arrived at our new, temporary, home embarrassingly stuffed. Fortunately for us, our blushes were spared because the HO’s had also been taken out to lunch by friends and their stomach’s had suffered a similar fate. So we introduced the dogs and enjoyed a convivial light supper with them before they left in the morning.

So, yes, this is the lady of the house speaking and there is plenty of room for a Mercedes AND a pony.

We also have a river at the front of the house and that was about to make it’s presence felt!

4 Responses to “The lady of the house speaking”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    Excellent photos as usual Jill, and suitably enhanced by your expertly chosen words 🙂
    Please hurry on to Spain as all this French stuff makes me insanely jealous 😉


    • Thank you Kevin, but you’re going to have to endure quite a bit more French stuff yet; not leaving France until around the 8th of January ish; we have another house sit here first!


  2. Gill Stollery said

    Interesting as usual Jill. Such a pity you missed seeing Luxembourg City we really enjoyed it there! Come back to France!


    • We’ll go back to Luxwmbourg when they’ve put it back together Gill! we are both sorely tempted to come back to France with Francoise but if we don’t do Poland and Germany, before we come back South, I fear we never will


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