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.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

31st July - 5th August. On along the Canal de L'Oise à L'Aisne to Pinon for shopping, fuel and table tennis in the park. We join the Canal Lateral à L'Aisne from Bourg-le-Comte to Berry-au-Bac, then the Canal de L'Aisne à la Marne to Loivre.

Guny lock was beautifully kept, with flowers everywere, including the bridge and the lock gates.
The sun set very majestically over the bridge at Pinon, still on the Canal de L'Oise à L'Aisne.
Early next morning we were treated to the sight of mist over the water. It was an extremely busy day, starting with table tennis in the park, followed by two trips to Carrefour supermarket. As we were moored near enough to bring the shopping trolley back to The Puzzler, it was a lot easier than the normal heavy rucksack loads. Andy did two fuel trips too, at 40 litres a time.
After lunch we moved on up four locks to Pargay-Filain, mooring opposite the Monapteuil Reservoir, which can be seen here beyond the canal. On the far side we could see a lot of people on the large beach, so thought we would walk round the reservoir, passing the beach at the end of our walk. All went according to plan at first, as we crossed the canal and found the track on the near side of the lake. We walked the full length of the lake, then left-handed across the end, before returning back on the other side towards the beach, which starts by the red arrow. Disaster then struck, in the form of a high metal fence, designed to prevent nice people like us from visiting the beach! With no alternative, we had to retrace our steps round this 40 hectare lake, making a much longer walk than we had anticipated.
Our resident kitchen spider had been busy again, but this evening's catch had him sitting there in the middle of his web outside the window, thinking, “Wow!”
Carrying on on Tuesday, it is a really deep cutting on the approach to Bray tunnel.
A heron made the mistake of flying into the tunnel ahead of us, then had to continue all the way through. Each time we caught him up, he would fly just a bit further until eventually he reached the other end safely.
We think that this ventilator fan is used as needed, as it was not put on for us.
We met Ton and Yanne, with Juultje, another Shih Tzu, at Bourg-et-Comin, and spent a pleasant evening together. The dogs do not seem to have realised that the table should be out of bounds! We are at Bourg-et-Comin, where the Canal de L'Oise à L'Aisne meets the Canal Lateral à L'Aisne.
This unusual craft came to spend the night on the mooring too. It looks rather like a raft, but they have cruised in it all over France.
Maizy was an interesting village, with a variety of different houses to be seen.
These were two more different ones.
It is harvest time again, with the champagne grapes growing on the far hills.
At Loivre, unusually, there are two lock cottages. However, the one on the right belongs to the “conducteur des voies navigable”, rather than a regular lockkeeper. We are now on the Canal de L'Aisne à la Marne. From here we went on to moor at Courcy, beside the Dutch Tjalk, Johanna Maria.

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