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.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

15th – 29th February,2016. Port outing to Auberge du Précontent in the Montagne Bourbonnaise. The stepping stones are in use again, near to the River Loire.

Our life continues quietly here in the Port of Roanne. We like to walk along by the River Loire, and play bridge three times each week, with the social catch-up on news of the port every Thursday at the L'Authentique café.
Last Thursday though, we had a port outing up into the mountains, to have lunch at Auberge du Précontent, which is high up in the Montagne Bourbonnaise. We met at the port, then went in a convoy of six cars. Dickie and Anton kindly gave us a lift, and they knew the way, so we were in front. At one point we thought that we had lost a car, but then decided that the yellow car had not been one of ours! Unfortunately it was not very good weather for our outing, and we went through snow and clouds, up the narrow forest road in the mountains, to reach the auberge.

There were 22 of us and we were treated very well at our lunch.

All the usual suspects were there!

After the meal, Dave entertained us from the piano, by both playing and singing.

L'Auberge du Précontent is an impressive stone building, surrounded by the forest
We took a different route back to Roanne, visiting the cave of J.B.Clair, where fine champagne is made, (although we are not allowed to call it champagne!) The low cloud created some atmospheric views on the way. What a wonderful place to live!

Next we went to visit the barrage, or dam, at Renaison.
We climbed to the top of the dam with Dickie and Anton, then across. and back down on the other side. This reservoir is the water supply for Roanne, and the low water level is unusual at this time of year. It certainly gives us cause for concern about the water level in the canals of France this summer, but hopefully we will not be caught out with stoppages this year. You can live on hope!

Francis and Elizabette live in an apartment on the other side of the port, so we were treated to this different view of The Puzzler from their balcony, in the early evening.

Walking along near to the river Loire, we were pleased to be able to cross the stepping stones again. .

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