These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight 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, returning to Roanne for a second winter.


Sunday, 3 July 2016

18th - 30th June 2016. On up the river Oise. So many barges – we counted 32 on one day. Moving on to the Canal du Nord, we shared locks with a double barge.

We continued on up the River Oise to L'Isle Adam, and were invited alongside this Dutch cruiser, Festina Lente. These were very friendly people, who are heading for Paris. The small seagoing yacht in front of them told us that we were too long, and our boat was not suitable for these waterways. They were heading for the Bourgogne canal, so we refrained from saying that their boat was possibly too deep, and they could get stuck there, as we thought that this would sound unfriendly. Their difficulty could be in mooring – well, they could stay in the middle of the canal all the time, where they can't offend anyone – possibly the best place for them!


The town of L'Isle Adam is very pretty.
This unusual coloured coypu spent an evening just beside our mooring. We saw him the next day under a bush, eating some bread, while fending off two swans who also wanted some. Obviously he was quite a character.
There are a lot of barges about, with several of them being double headers, with one barge pushing another. When they are fully laden, as these two are, they do not look so impressive.
There are not so many moorings on the Oise, but this one at Boran-sur-Oise was lovely. The white writing says No Mooring, but we were allowed to stay here for a couple of days. Thirty two barges passed us today!
This is our first real sunset this year.
The next section of the Oise is completely lined with trees, with few moorings. We moored below lock 2 at Verberie. A single barge arrived behind us, to be followed later by a barge and pusher, which moored outside the first one.
From inside The Puzzler, Simba looks enormous! Moving on the next morning, our VHF radio would not work, so Andy phoned Madame Eclusiere to arrange for us to come on into the lock. A barge exited the lock, so we entered it, and tied up. After about ten minutes Madame came out to complain that Andy had not waited for the green light, and denied all knowledge of his phone call. She then eventually let us ascend her lock! What a fuss!

The next night we moored above lock 1, and heard noises outside, so went to investigate. A man was there, and asked the way to the station. It was not until the next morning that we found that he had actually been trying to steal the bicycles off our roof! Fortunately, they were locked securely. We shared the next two locks with a barge and pusher, tying on to the barge in the lock.



Further on, we found a better mooring near to Ribecourt. The barges just keep on coming!


Shannon is doing her meerkat impression, to get a better view of things.


Moving on to the Canal du Nord, commercial traffic has priority, so we must wait.
These locks were built to take two freycinette size barges, or one with a pusher, and are very long and thin, with a guillotine bottom gate. There is no room for anyone alongside here!
The Canal du Nord was started in 1907, and two-thirds finished by 1914, but it was then destroyed during the First World War. Construction work began again after the second World War, to be finished by 1965. It has sloping sides, so mooring has to be at recognised sites.



At Panneterie tunnel there was a red light, but a touch on the intercom changed it to green, without Andy having to say a word!


This tunnel was 1.058 kilometres long. It is always good to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Sadly the upper Canal de la Somme is now permanently closed, but we will join the Canal de la Somme tomorrow at Peronne.

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