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.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

22nd - 23rd September. South on the Ruiten Aakanaal to Ter Apel, where we joined the new Veenvaart, which opened in 2013.

On Monday we were the first to leave, at about midday, after an extremely wet morning.

Cees and Sam caught us up with Sambucca, below Zuidveldsluis, and we spent our third evening together. A good time was had by all!

Cheetah called round to see if Shannon was coming out to play.

Potatoes are now on the move, in from the fields. This was the third trailer load to pass us, on its way to the farm.

Further on there were three lorries queueing up to be loaded with sugar beet, another product of this region.

By Ter Apel sluis this marker told us that we were 10.5 metres above the Amsterdam water level .
All the locks on this canal were against us. We have a special key, so that we can work them ourselves, and each one took at least 30 minutes, from the first turn of the key. Electric motors do most of the work, but they work extremely slowly. Once the top lock gate is open, or nearly so, the bridge also has to be operated. Some are push button, once you have closed the road barriers, while some have to be wound up with a wheel. Sally takes The Puzzler out of the lock on those ones!

The canal continues to delight us, with its lining of trees.
After a brief shopping stop in Ter Apel, we carried on out of town. We left our special key with the bridge keeper in Ter Apel, as we do not need it any more, reclaiming our 25 euro deposit.
We had mentioned to the lock keeper that we were in need of diesel, and he told us what to do. The trouble was, he told us in Dutch! Our understanding of the language is not too good yet, so we were surprised to be ushered to the left, through this large bridge, on to the Haren-Rutenbrock canal, which leads into Germany. We had not planned to take The Puzzler into Germany!

However, just through the open lock beyond the bridge, before the German border, was a diesel point on the canal. The garage lady brought us a bucket of cleaning goodies too, in case we made a mess! This diesel was the cheapest we have found in Holland. We then backed back through the bridge, to rejoin the Stads-Compascum canal.

We are now joining the new Veenkanaal, which was opened in 2013. This has been our destination for the last month, and it is good to get here at last.

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