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.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

7th - 11th October. On down the Canal du Nivernais from the summit to Châtillon-en-Bazois, then on to Cercy-de-la-Tour.

Yesterday, Madam éclusier had told us that there was no bakery at Bazolles. This morning she met us at the first lock with two baguettes, even though it was not her lock. What a service! Locks 4-5-6 are a set of 3rise locks at Chavance, and today we have Monsieur éclusier looking after us.
This wide cill is under the bridge, in the top lock. There is no sign at the lock as warning of this, though presumably our éclusier was keeping an eye, that The Puzzler did not sit on the cill.
This lockkeeper was with us for nine locks altogether, including the 3rise and two double locks, presumably because it is late in the season. Normally it is less than that. Eventually we reached his own house, an attractive smallholding, with goats too among his livestock, near to Orgue lock.
We travelled on to Châtillon-en-Bazois, where we moored near to the Chateau, which is built inside a meander of the river Aron. The Nivernais Canal follows this river from the summit down to the river Loire at Decize, a distance of 66 kilometres. The gardens of the Chateau are very formal, with water features among the hedges.

Sadly, the Chateau itself is completely shrouded by scaffolding, but it is still quite imposing.

Some locks are surrounded with flowers, like lock 17 at Eguilly. A lot of work goes into these gardens, by the lockkeeper who lives there.

Our lockkeeper breaks for lunch from 12 until 1.00, but he had left lock 19 at Villard ready for us, so that we could wait in the lock.

The wall of the small building by the lock was a basking place for little lizards.

At Brienne lock we liked the small neat cottage with blue shutters.

Moving on, the trees beside the canal are still very green, despite the autumn feel to the air.

This heron was not upset at all when we passed quite close to him, as he stood serenely on a branch beside the canal.

Mooring below Bernay lock, we went lizard spotting again. Here they were much bigger, but our film star had lost part of his tail at some time. Despite this, he looked very healthy.

Approaching Cercy-de-la-tour, the 12th century Roman church towers over the houses. The blue narrowboat is also heading for Roanne for the winter.
Walking up from the canal, we can see the 13th century tower, to which Cercy-de-la-Tour owes its name. The original tower was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1795, but was rebuilt in 1883 by the Marquis of Pomereau. It could not be exactly as it was, due to houses which were in the way! However, it is still very imposing.

This statue of Notre Dame was built in 2008 to replace the original one which had been built in 1958, on top of the tower, to overlook the town.

The narrow streets of Cercy lead us up to the tower and the church. Sadly, Debbie and Matt are leaving us tomorrow, to return to England.

Never mind being too shy for us to see him out in the country, this kingfisher is sitting beside The Puzzler on the railing on our jetty in Cercy.
Meanwhile, Shannon is looking after Toad Rawnsley, who is wearing his new England Rugby top. He is a very important visitor, who has his own facebook page, having travelled all over the world!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a wonderful time on the Puzzler. It was lovely to see you all. Shannon and Toad look very cute together! Have a great winter in Roanne. Love Debbie, Matt & Toad xx