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.


Thursday, 26 September 2013

6th - 16th Sept. On along the Shannon Erne Waterway to Aghalane, then Belturbet. Sally goes visiting in England to Norfolk and Cheltenham.

Carrying on along the Shannon Erne Waterway we saw very few boats, except this penichette, a hire boat from Ballinamore. Bridges still attract boats!
Moving on through Ballyconnell, we had a very wet trip to Aghalane, where the local IWAI branch were having a party in the rain. Once their eight boats had moved on, there was plenty of space for us. Later on the weather cleared up, and Shannon tried out the ornamental ball for size.

At Belturbet there were plenty of boats to be seen, on the private moorings on the opposite bank.
On Monday Sally caught the bus to Dublin airport, and left sunny Ireland to fly to rainy England. Three trains later and I was in Norfolk for some intensive gardening, which was great fun.
Next it was a long bus ride to London, passing close to the Shard, which has been designed as a "vertical city". It is 87 stories high, and is the tallest building in the European Union, with a height of 306 metres (1004 ft). There is a viewing platform on the 72nd floor, and it is worth going to the Shard website to see this view.
On to Cheltenham, where I was lucky to be with Debbie and Matt for a Heritage Weekend. We started with a guided tour of Cheltenham College, which is a co-ed public school, founded in 1841. The chapel is very impressive.
In the Gustav Holst Museum we saw the piano on which Gustav Holst composed The Planets. He lived in this Regency terrace house for the first 7 years of his life, being born in 1874, and the house is furnished in the style of the time.

We all went to see Pittville Pump Room, which is an elegant Grade 1 listed building and is the most famous example of Regency architecture in Cheltenham.


Spa water can be drawn by tap from behind this pump, and is the only alkaline spa water to be found in England. I suppose you could describe the taste as "interesting". It was certainly not to our taste!
From the balcony upstairs, we could see some of the runners competing in the Cheltenham Half Marathon. The fastest time was 1hr07min, which seemed very good to us.


The chipmunks in Pittville park were very lively.
Cheltenham Town Hall was built in 1902-03 to provide a venue for the many balls and concerts which made up the town's social calendar at the turn of the twentieth century. It is still used for many performances, with the Japanese Drummers an eagerly awaited event, coming in early October.

Our last visit of the day was to the Cheltenham Synagogue, which was built in 1839. We were interested that all men have to wear a scull cap inside the building, whereas in other religions it is often women who have to cover their heads. The sacred scrolls, the Torah, are at the far end of the Synagogue.


While I was in England, Andy and Shannon took The Puzzler back to Aghalane and enjoyed the week there.


Although I have enjoyed my visit to England, it was good to see the coastline of Ireland appearing from behind the clouds.


Safely back to Belturbet again.

1 comment:

  1. It was lovely to see you and I look forward to your next visit. Really enjoyed Heritage weekend; fun to see inside buildings I see all the time. Love Debs x

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