These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight 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 enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, returning to Roanne for a second winter.
Monday, 11 September 2017
3rd - 9th September 2017. On to Meaux, still on the river Marne, and on to Lagny-sur-Marne. In Paris we turned left on to the river Seine, then upstream to join the river Loing at St. Mammes.
We visited the 13th century abbey of Notre Dame des Argents , which was also visited by Joan of Arc in 1430. It is interesting how the houses here are built directly on to the abbey.
The sun is shining in through all the stained glass windows, and reflecting on to the pillars.
The pictures are painted on to the glass in these older stained glass windows.
We were told that these windows are more recent, with each piece of glass being a different colour.
While on the next canal section, a barge, carrying containers, filled the waterway. Barges do not seem so big out on the main river.
Back on the Marne, we are now in the outskirts of Paris, with trees everywhere, and some very fine houses to be seen.
As we approach the River Seine, this sand barge is a sign of things to come!
The junction of the rivers Marne and Seine is dominated by this enormous Chinese restaurant. We have just come down the Marne, from the left, and are now going up the Seine, to the right of the restaurant.
Further on, there are many smart houses along the banks.
There are also large communities of residential barges.
When the wind blows, it can be quite bleak out on this river!
I think that Endurance is the largest barge we have seen on the Seine.
There was an interesting sunset over the lock that evening.
Next day we completed our journey on the Seine, turning on to the river Loing at St. Mammes, to moor at Moret-sur-Loing. Last June this mooring was under water.
Monday, 4 September 2017
16th August - 2nd September 2017. On along the canal Marne au Rhin(est) to Vitry-le-François, followed by the canal Latèral à la Marne to Condé. From there it was up the Canal de l'Aisne à la Marne to Reims by 25th August. Debbie and Matt joined us to return to Condé, cruising on to join the Marne at Epernay, finishing their trip at Isles-les-Meldeuses.
We continued slowly along the canal Marne au Rhin(est) to Vitry-le-François, then on the canal Latèral à la Marne to Condé. From there it was up the Canal de l'Aisne à la Marne to Reims, where we met our daughter Debbie, and her partner Matt. They were delayed for four hours by fog in Paris, but made it safely, being in time to enjoy the Son et Lumière at Reims cathedral.
We started their trip by retracing our steps, southwards, and Matt was straight on to rope duty at the first lock!
We stopped in Sillery to visit the war graves there.
Sunday was extremely hot, but the water was good for cooling the feet!
Having come through Mont de Billy tunnel, it is downhill all the way. Debbie is in charge of lifting the blue pole to operate the lock.
In Epernay we started with a walk round part of the town, and visited the cathedral. It is quite a long walk to even get to the town from the mooring, due to the railway being in the way.
We found this ancient arch, but I am not sure of its name. The gang are all there anyway!
Next it was a visit to the champagne cave of Georges Cartier.
Back upstairs, we tasted four different champagnes, which all tasted slightly different, as they should!
Toad thought it only right that he should have a taste too, even though he missed the tour.
Moving on, Matt found a better view from the roof of The Puzzler!
At Reuil, the vineyards stretch up the hillside behind the village.
The grapes certainly look ready for picking!
This stunning stained glass is to be found here. Christ watches over Joan of Arc and Saint Michael, who are surrounded by angels and allied soldiers.
We climbed the 105 steps to the top of the monument, and looked down on the ossuary, far below us. It contains the bones of about 1500 soldiers from both German and allied armies.
Looking out on the other side, the vines stretched away into the distance.
Moving on downstream, we passed Chateau-Thierry. We chose not to stop, as we are tending to stop at villages, rather than towns.
Mooring above the lock at Azy-sur-Marne, we enjoyed playing pétanque. It is a good game, even if played on grass.
The sky is threatening now, but Debbie and Matt are still enjoying themselves.
Stopping for lunch at Nogent-l'Artaud, we walked round the village, which has this splendid mairie, or town hall.
It is now 1st September, and we can see people picking grapes in the vineyards on the nearby hills. We were told that all vineyards begin to pick on the same day, but are not sure if this is the case.
By 4pm we are in a heavy downpour. My clothes may not be fashionable, but I am dry!
We liked this mooring above Courtaron lock, and again it was time for pétanque.
Matt and Debbie are now at ease on the tiller as we head for Isles-les-Meldeuses, for their train tomorrow morning.
Thursday, 24 August 2017
11th - 15th August 2017. A wonderful French weekend at Mussey and Revigny-sur-Ornain. Un merveilleux weekend français à Mussey et Révigny-sur-Ornain.
Bernard organised a game of quilles on Saturday afternoon, especially for us, and fifteen people turned up! Bernard a organisé un jeu de quilles l'aprés-midi samedi, particuliarèment pour nous, et quinze joueurs sont arrivés!
Later on, Denis arrived at the boat, to take this photo for his newspaper, L'Est Républicain. His article was in the paper on Sunday morning! Plus tard, Denis est arrivée au bateau, pour prendre cet photo pour son journal, L'Est Républicain. Son article s'est trouvé dans le journal dimanche matin!
Meanwhile, Bernard et Romain are helping Andy with the steering. Pendant ce temps-là, Bernard et Romain aidaient Andy à diriger le cigare anglais – quelle entente cordiale!
Our trip has finished at Revigny-sur-Domain, perhaps too soon! La fin du voyage est arrivée à Revigny-sur-Domain, peut-être trôp tôt!