These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for nearly seven years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and have enjoyed our winter in this friendly port.
Sunday, 27 November 2016
It was raining in Norfolk, but that did not deter this squirrrel, as he ran along the fence. He is just to the right of the gatepost. All is well here, after the flood in June.
On the River Yare there were a few cruisers on the move, near to the sugar beet factory.
Back in Roanne, most of the leaves are down. Shannon loves to walk here, alongside the canal. She had a lovely holiday with her friend, Escot, while we were in England.
In the port, it is time for the final leaf collection. At one point, there were five men with blowers, organising the leaves, ready for the leaf lorry to arrive.
Meanwhile it has been raining! On Tuesday the River Loire was rising, after a great deal of rain.
By Wednesday 23rd Nov the river was right around the HEP plant. We have never seen it as high before.
What power there is here, coming through the bridge!
Monday, 7 November 2016
26th October - 5th November 2016. Back in the port of Roanne, for bridge, stitch and bitch, happy hour and walks by the River Loire.
On into Roanne lock.
As we go on out into the port, we feel as though we have come home!
Looking to the left, the port looks as full as ever.
That same afternoon, we went to the Roanne Bridge Club, where it was nice to see all of our French friends again.
Cedric arrived by The Puzzler very soon for his piece of apple.
On Wednesday I went to Stitch and Bitch which, of course, is ladies only and again, it was good to catch up with everyone. We continued to do this at L'Authentique Happy Hour on Thursday. There are a lot of new people in the port, so we started to learn the new faces, and who is on which boat.
The circus arrived in town on Wednesday, and is on the car park at the far end of the port.
We went to the show on Friday, not having been to a circus with wild animals for many, many years.
The River Loire looks as good as ever.
Further on, the stepping stones are clear of the stream today.
Monday, 24 October 2016
Later on the weather cleared, so that we could look across the valley of the river Loire. Our canal runs parallel to the river, all the way to Roanne.
It is quite tight, sharing in these deep locks. Monsieur VNF can be seen up above the bottom gates, as he winds them shut. These locks are completely manual, but we can help with gates, once we are up in the lock.
We stopped at Bourg-le-Comte, and climbed up the track to the village. The Puzzler can be seen, to the right of the white cottages.
This is another old church in Bourg-le-Comte.
We moved on to Artaix for lunch, and stayed overnight, as it was so nice there. There was even a table tennis table, which was a bonus.
We walked to the village of Artaix, and met these big donkeys on the way. Shannon was not impressed!
The church at Artaix overlooks the canal.
Inside the church there are many interesting carvings.
The bridges on this stretch of the canal are all made using these unusually shaped stones, and look really attractive.
The leaves are all changing colour, and look wonderful.
Even as late as this in the year, the towpaths are kept in good repair.
Shannon is very fluffy, and is in need of a trim.
12th - 21st October 2016. Along the Canal du Centre from Ch to Digoin, mooring just before the junction with the Canal de Roanne à Digoin.
We are enjoying being on a canal again, after the river Sâone.
The first section of the canal is very pretty, with vineyards on the hills to our right.
The weather forecast was correct, as we spent a couple of days at Santanay in extremely wet conditions.
On past Montchanin.
The picture on the control box adds character to this top lock.
We carried on past the summit level, to moor on the corner above lock 4 Océan. This is a quiet mooring, as there is very little traffic on the road, and there is a pleasant walk round a fishing lake too.
Most dogs curl up forwards!
The autumn colours are improving day by day.
On to Génelard, where we caught up with our touch-up painting for the autumn. The bank was just the right height!
This cutting, above Génelard lock, has long had these words built into its sides, and at last they make sense!
On past Parail-le-Monial, where it is unusual to see an empty mooring.
The canal after Parail is lined with plane trees, making good reflections.