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.
Saturday, 31 May 2014
26th - 31st May. Passing the Amsterdam-Rijn Kanaal on the way to Breukelen. On down the River Vecht, then a detour to an island mooring on the Wijde Blik, for three sunny days.
Moving on down the River Vecht in better weather, we took a detour into the Wijde Blik lake and found our own island. We have had three glorious days here.
Shannon was delighted to have her own swimming pool.
She retrieves well from the water.
Andy spent Saturday washing The Puzzler. It gleams now!
Sally made time to repair the back fender. This job was long overdue!
A white heron came near to The Puzzler, and caught a fish too. He was much bigger than an egret.
Thursday, 29 May 2014
The lower street level, beside the canal, is full of cafes.
In the evening light, the great tower of the Dom looks very impressive. At 112 metres, this is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands.
Early on Sunday, we set off to cruise round the Singel, a circular route round the edge of the inner city.
Access to the Singel is restricted by the height of the bridges.
The bridges just get lower!
Back on the main canal, going through the centre of the city, there are very few boats about this morning. The canal here is much wider.
The street lies up there above us, behind the cycles, with the houses towering even higher.
At one point, the canal goes right under the street. There is a wide bridge above us at this point.
On the way back, we found this narrow street. No space wasted here!
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Tree surgery is a real art in The Netherlands, with many interesting shapes being created, by training the branches.
Now on the way across, we should have plenty of time to be clear before the next barge gets to us.
We are safely across before the barge passes, well behind us.
In Utrecht we moored to the south west of the city, on Singelgracht, where there is plenty of room for boats.
Sunday, 25 May 2014
22nd - 23rd May.We have a garden! On past Uithoorn to Zomerlust. Down the Grecht, the Oude Rijn, and Dubbele Weiricke to rejoin the River Ijssel, then upstream to Oudewater.
We found a garden centre beside the canal and planted all our pots. We have never had such a good selection of bedding plants to choose from.
We moved on down the river Grecht and came across this lovely mooring quite early on Thursday, but it was too good to pass by!
Upstream of our mooring was a DIY ferry, so we just had to go across and back!
The Rope Museum 'de Baanschuur' is also to be found in Oudewater, and it was thanks to the rope industry in the 17th Century that the town became an extremely rich city. The many beautiful gables in the town still show that wealth. This area was very suitable for the growing and production of hemp by the local farmers, although now the raw material is imported from the far east. The great ships of the east India company, the men-of-war of the Admiralty and the fishing boats of the herring-fleet, all went to sea with rope and sails from Oudewater.
We were sorry to be leaving this fascinating town.
Thursday, 22 May 2014
17th - 21st May. To Halfweg, to see a steam powered pumping station., and on past Schipol Airport. A visit to Aalsmeer flower auction.
Out in the country, we found a lovely quiet mooring near some woods. Unfortunately Shannon fell into a drainage ditch!
We moored opposite Schipol Airport that night.
Continuing southeastwards, we reached Aalsmeer, where there are very many marinas.
We cycled to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, which was fascinating. The flowers for sale are moved about in these trolleys.
In the auction room the flowers can be seen, moving across below the bidding screens. Each buyer has his own computer, linked in to the screen.
On the other side of the hall it is rather like organised chaos, as all the different orders are collated.