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 and 2017, returning to Roanne each winter.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Christmas Bridge in December 2015, then on to January 2016, both in Roanne and England.

A friend at the Bridge Club sent us some photos of us in action at the bridge table. We look very serious here, playing against Dominique and Marcel in the Téléthon competition! The Téléthon is an annual fundraiser, with various activities throughout Roanne.
Just before Christmas we played bridge at the club, then moved on, with the whole Bridge club, for our Christmas dinner, which was held at Le Château de Champlon at Villerest. This was a superb five course meal, which was enjoyed by all. We look happier here!
This was our last sighting of Cedric, or it might be Cecile, in early January. We thought that these were suitable French names for our tame(ish) coypu friends. We are told that they are now probably in hibernation for the rest of the winter. The warm weather here must have been confusing for them, as we haven't really had any cold weather as yet.
There are usually several camper vans at the Port of Roanne, but in the second week in January we had an unusual arrival. It was a horse drawn caravan, owned by Barney Maurice, of, who was travelling with his wife, Katya, and his young son, Madog. Both horses are tethered on the grazing beside the port, near to the caravan.
Both horses are very calm, but built for strength. I saw this one being shod, and Barney told me that one set of his shoes lasted 400 miles, but for another set it was only 250 miles.
They have travelled a long way from Penrith in Cumbria in this caravan.
The sign on the side of the caravan tells us about Barney's business, with horse drawn holidays in Cumbria.
Barney is travelling with his wife, Katya, and his young son, Madog.
After a couple of days, these intrepid travellers left our port, to travel further south in France. Madog can be seen at the front window.
By the middle of January the weather is much colder, and snow can be seen on the hills beyond the port of Roanne.
Shannon has a new scarf to wear.
Meanwhile, Andy has been spending a couple of weeks in England. He went to Slimbridge Wildfowl Centre with Debbie and Matt.
Feeding the geese is an essential part of your visit here!
They also went to visit the Rococo Gardens near to Painswick, quite high up in the Cotswolds. This splendid carving of a castle, out of a living tree, had been recently completed.
This imposing maze was planted to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Rococo Gardens, as can be seen here.
There were also a series of follies built in the gardens. This one is called the Red House, not surprisingly!
Shannon is just checking out her new sweater. After I clipped her on 10th January, she certainly needed the sweater to keep her warm at night. She has, however, managed to stretch the neck, so that she can pull her front legs in, then out through the neck. This creates a sort of body stocking from which it is easy to escape! Shannon would do this during the night, then wake me up to tell me that she was cold!


  1. The coat is looking good! Baxter has stretched his too but it does make it easier to get it on and off him as he's not very good at standing on 3 legs for more than a second or two.

  2. Shannon was not too keen on the getting dressed bit at first.