These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine 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 and 2017, returning to Roanne each winter.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

4th - 6th April. Lift Out and Blacking at Riversdale Marina.

Graham has arrived with the trailer. Are we going to be safe up there?
The trailer goes right under water, with guide posts to show where it is. Do click on this one to enlarge it. The tractor wheels are half under the water too.

The boat having been steered forward over the trailer, it was a careful pull by the tractor to get it safely up the slipway.

What a relief! We are safely on to the trailer and up the slipway.

Our first job was for Andy to pressure wash the whole of the blacking, removing all green slime and any loose bits of paint.
I had to scrape off any zebra mussels, which were living on the boat. This is just a sample - there are lots more underneath. I had to lie on my back and wriggle backwards under the trailer to get to them, which was not very comfortable! We are guessing that The Netherlands do not want any of these imported by us!

Next it was time to touch up any bare metal with red oxide anti-rust paint.

The slipway here is also used for the ponies to have a paddle.
We used a roller to apply the main coat of blacking. This is the first time that we have used a roller for this and it worked very well, only needing a brush for any corners, and fiddly bits round the edges.
These steps make access to the stern of The Puzzler very easy, while we are up on the trailer. Everything is thought of, here at Riversdale Marina.
By Saturday evening all the blacking was completed and we are now ready for our continental adventure! We leave on Tuesday morning.


  1. Good luck to you both. I have really enjoyed your time in Ireland, it has really tempted me to maybe.. well only maybe given the latest news from there about the waterways.. But bon voyage to you all! :)

  2. I am so glad you are safely out of the water. The Puzzler looks great, all ready for your next adventure. Safe journey to Holland. See you all in June. Love Debbie and Matt xx

  3. Best of luck with the next part of your life afloat. We look forward to sharing a bit of it with you in July. Martin and Jenny

  4. Best of luck and Bon Voyage. I have to admire you, you are very brave. From the trafficless river laneways of Ireland to the motorways of juggernauts in Holland.
    I think I know where Debbie gets her sense of adventure from!
    Tiger says woof with luck to Shannon.
    We look forward to envying your journeys via your blog.
    Angela and Tiger.

  5. All the best to you both and Shannon! Safe journey tomorrow and good luck on your new chapter. No 2 day rule in Holland!!!
    We look forward to reading about your continuing travels.... keep in touch. From the Mardler crew.