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.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

4th - 10th August 2015. Map of France. An exciting week for Shannon, as we sail on to Baume-les-Dames. Next stop Laissey.

As we are only a few kilometres from Switzerland here, it seems the right time to locate us on the map of France. Access to the internet is poor here, so apologies for the delay with this post.
Since turning round, we have been making our way slowly back down the Doubs navigation. We had one very wet day, moored at Colombier-Chatalot, before shopping and refuelling at Isle-sur-le-Doubs. Then it was on to moor below La Goulisse lock, where we originally moored the other way round. In the evening we walked about half a mile further on, when Shannon decided it was time for her evening dip in the river. Ignoring the fact that there was no way down, she launched herself over the edge, to land in a heap in the shallow water below. That was fine, until she tried to climb back up to us, and failed! If either of us had gone down to her, then we too would have been stuck, so eventually Andy went back to get The Puzzler, as it was getting dark. Shannon was even more upset at this point, feeling abandoned, so cried loudly, until she realised that I was still there, above her. Andy returned in about twenty minutes, and beached the bows of The Puzzler, just downstream of Shannon. She refused to swim to the boat, so he climbed into the water to retrieve her. By now it was pitch dark, which is why we moored the other way round, on our return to the jetty!
Next day we located the bank where all of this happened. It was a brick wall, supporting the bank, which had created the problem. Twenty yards either way would have been OK, but it was too dark to see that last night.
She spent Friday afternoon relaxing on the front of the boat, with Andy. Later on that evening we were treated to the best display of sheet lightning we had ever seen, with thunder rolling all around us. Saturday brought more thunder too, so we stayed put. The cyclists keep on coming past on this long distance cycleway from Nantes, on the Atlantic coast, to Budapest. Today a couple went past on a tandem, with a trailer containing two sleeping children.

In each herd of cows, there are a couple with bells on. These bells are not very big, but can be heard for a long way.

Another picturesque village, which spreads up the side of the valley, is Hyèvre-Paroisse.
This is Grand Crucifix lock, with the weir behind it. Shannon dropped the apple she was carrying over the edge of the concrete slope, at the near side of the lock, and reached too far for it, with the predictable result! She went head first down the slope to the reeds below .

Here are her skid marks, outlined in black! It has been an eventful week for her.

Monday was a misty morning, giving the forests an eerie look.

In Baume-les Dames we visited the old part of the town.
In the old Abbey there was great anticipation, as the World Cup of Draughts, Round 5, takes place here this week. There are 16 competitors, of whom 12 are French and two are Russian, with one each from Poland and Germany. The afternoon competition was a friendly speed draughts contest, with 24 draughts and twelve minutes each, in which to beat your opponent.

After passing the village of Ougney-les Champs, the forest continues ahead of us, along the valley of the river Doubs.
We had a very enjoyable evening at Laissey, drinking champagne on our new friends boat. I even received my first kiss from a Frenchman, who was seven today!

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