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, 30 April 2016

22nd - 29th April. A week spent at Fragnes, waiting for the flooded Saône to go down, then up the Saône to Chazelle, which lies to the south of Seurre.

We have enjoyed our week at Fragnes, doing all those little jobs that always need doing. The boulangerie is closed for annual holidays, but Celine, our helpful capitaine, sells bread every day. Fragnes is a very pleasant village, with a good restaurant, and many lovely houses. We found a table tennis table in the park too, so put it to good use!
Holes have been dug for new mooring bollards to be fixed in place. The metal bollard, currently lying on the grass behind the hole, will be held in place by the wooden pole, once the concrete fills the hole.
This man is levelling the concrete, but there is not quite enough around this bollard, so he has called for more.
The tipper truck is full of concrete for the next hole, but stops here so that our man can take a few more shovels full, to level off the base of his bollard. However, the ground is too soft to take the weight of the full truck, and the front wheel slowly sinks up to its axle! At this we thought that we should leave them to it!

Our last painting job this year is the roof. We had thought that this was a task too far, but our enforced stop at Fragnes has made it possible. After washing the roof, we started the painting with grey gloss around the edges. Two days later, having masked this, Andy is now adding the nonslip surface by roller, while my job is to keep the tray full of paint of the right consistency. This seemed to work, apart from a break for rain, half way along the roof!
On Thursday 28th April we set off from Fragnes at last, to go 3km and stop for shopping at Le Clerc at Crissey, which is very near to Chalon-sur-Saône. This mooring, with its own garden, is very convenient for the supermarket. The lock can be seen at the end of the canal, but we stayed here overnight. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!

We had planned to be at the lock for a 9am descent, but were foiled by two Le Boat hireboats, which shot past us to take the lock. They too had been stuck at Fragnes, while their hirers had to taxi back to the hire base for their cars. Obviously the hire company had sent crew out to bring them home! This lock at Chalon-sur-Saône has a drop of 10.76 metres, being the deepest on the Canal du Centre.
The water in the Saône is still flowing quite fast, and we have to look out for obstacles, like this log which was held across a marker by the flow of the water.
We paused briefly at Gergy, beside barge Eendje. The water level here has been halfway up the fencing above the jetty.

There are a lot of floating logs, wedged to the right hand end of the jetty, here at Gergy.

This fine house overlooks the river, upstream of Gergy.

Spring has suddenly arrived, and all the trees are green!

Ecuelles lock would hold about 50 narrowboats, but we are the only one today!

After 36km on the river, we had had enough, and found a friendly bank for the night, near to the hamlet of Chazelle, just to the south of Seurre.

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