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, 2017 and 2018, returning to Roanne each winter.

Monday, 11 August 2014

9th - 10th August. Our location in Holland. Horse driving competition. On to Franeker, to visit the Planetarium.

The orange dot shows where we are now in the north west of Friesland, the Lakeland of Holland. 
This horse driving competition took place on Saturday, just near to our mooring. Each team had to complete seven different timed obstacles. The black Friesian horses are our favourites, and are aptly described in Friesland as Black Gold.

The teams come in all shapes and sizes.
Driving today there were singles, tandems, pairs and also the teams of four, which really show the power of the horse.

On Sunday we moved on to Franeker. This was an important University town from 1585 until 1811, when it closed due to a shortage of students.

The Planetarium in Franeker attracts 44,000 visitors each year. It was made by Eise Eisinga on the ceiling of his living room, showing the movement of the sun, the moon, the stars, and the seven planets which were known at that time, 1774 - 1781.
The workings of this planetarium can be seen in the room above, all driven by a mechanism made of wooden hoops and discs, with more than 10,000 handmade nails serving as gear teeth.

Once out of town we turned on to Franekervaart, and moored in a field just before the first low railway bridge.

This sailing boat arrived with their mast up, but are now lowering it, for the 2.4 metre bridges on this waterway.

Shannon decided to practise her meerkat impression, as she watched sails passing by on a nearby canal.


  1. She is just soooo sweet! Looks like you are all having a great adventure. Sally from Flying Hawk (Ireland).

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. The horse driving competition looks great. Shannon is so cute when she does her meerkat impression :) Love Debbie xx