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.

Monday, 2 May 2016

30th April - 1st May, On up the Saône to St-Jean-de-Losne, then on to the Canal de Bourgogne.

There are very few craft on the Saone, but isn't this barge a beauty? Her tonnage capacity is 3034, which makes her the largest barge we have ever seen.

The reflections of the trees and the field of rape are very clear today, seen in the river. It is good to see such calm water for a change!
By 11am we are approaching St-Jean-de-Losne, having made good time this morning. The white cruiser, just to the left of centre, is on the fuel point.
Apologies for the blurry picture, but it does show the fuel jetty. The cruiser was finished, so moved off the jetty as we approached. Having pulled in between the big blue posts, still going upstream, we found that the fuel hose would not stretch to our stern, so had to think again. Moving forward, the bows swung out too far, so we moved off to turn round and face downstream. The bows came in nicely this time, but our engine was not strong enough to fight the stream, which was determined to sweep The Puzzler past the jetty. Turning round yet again to come upstream, I was quicker to get the middle rope off, then the front rope, from the upstream side of the post, came back to the jetty to be tied to a handy sign. Safe at last, refuelling could commence!
It was a relief to leave the River Saone, and come up the lock at St-Jean-de-Losne. The lockkeeper was kind enough to let us through, even though we did not enter the lock until 5 to 12. His lunch hour is 12 until 1, and we were not through until 10 past 12. We found barge Inevitable in the basin, so it was good to catch up with them. After lunch we went to buy more green paint, so that the inside of the cratch can be finished. It has taken us three years to repaint The Puzzler!

Even though the rain was now pouring down, we left the basin of St-Jean-de-Losne, and continued on to the Canal de Bourgogne. Tomorrow is a public holiday, and we have already lost a week at Fragnes, but still hope to be at Montbard by the middle of next week to meet our visitors.
The locks are fairly fierce but, by opening up the cratch, and using only the front rope, together with the engine, it feels very safe. The locks come every kilometre, so it is hard work today, in our wettest day since arriving in France.
We moored after lock 69, ready for our compulsory day off for the May day holiday. Shannon is watching the birds catching flies, very near to the boat,

This bird came into The Puzzler through one of the bedroom porthole windows, then flew through to the galley window.

He flew away while I removed the top window for him to escape, then came back to perch on the edge. He watched us, but was not afraid at all.

After a couple of minutes, he thought that perhaps he would fly up to the roof, and eventually flew away.


  1. Looks like a wire tailed swallow, have you found out what it was?

    1. He isn't in our bird book. but that sounds like a good description of him.