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 and 2017, returning to Roanne each winter.
Sunday, 25 September 2016
17th - 25th September 2016. Along the Embranchement de Nancy, and on to the canal de Vosges, visiting the vet at Charmes, and painting The Puzzler at Nomexy.
The summit level of this canal is fed by water pumped up from the river at Flavigny-sur-Moselle.
On the Embranchement there are new lock gates. We had been told that this canal would close tomorrow but it did not do so, so we need not have rushed!
The canal de Vosges crosses the river Moselle at Flavigny.
It is a wider valley here, looking across to the lakes alongside the river Moselle.
The next section has an avenue of plane trees along the canal.
This is the 15th century church of St Nicholas in Charmes.
This part of the church was rebuilt in the 1950's after being bombed during the Second World War. These stained glass windows were finished in 1963
This Entombment in the church was sculpted by Mansuy Gauvain in 1516.
We moved on to spend a few days at Nomexy, where there was a boules competition on Saturday, with about 20 teams taking part.
There seemed to be men's and women's competitions, with the ladies on this rink.
Meanwhile we are repainting the cratch area of The Puzzler. This will complete the repainting of The Puzzler, which we started in Ireland in 2013!
Andy is working on the locker lids.
Sunday, 18 September 2016
Back through Arzviller tunnel, but no trains this time.
The approach to Niderviller tunnel is in perfect order – those strimmers have been out again!
What a lot of goats! We bought some goat cheese from this farm, and it is very tasty.
The church at Xouaxange had an unusual tower, which goes quite well with the unusual name of the village. We have not yet discovered the correct pronunciation for it!
Another pleasant mooring at Xouaxange.
It was busy at Rechicourt lock today, with three boats going down ahead of us, and another three waiting to come up.
Did we really come in through those gates up there??
Friday, 16 September 2016
9th - 11th April. Back along the Canal de la Marne-au-Rhin to Lutzelbourg, where we climbed up to the castle. We explore the Valley of the Lockkeepers, then Andy and The Puzzler go up the inclined plane again at Arzviller.
The Château of Lutzelbourg stands high above the village.
We walked up from the village, on a marked track through the forest.
There is more to the château than appears from the canal. It still looks a long way to climb up there!
Looking back down to the canal from the chateau, but no boats there today.
At last we are seeing a busy canal, with a great many hireboats about too. The canals have been so quiet this year that this makes a nice change.
At lock 14 the lock cottage is now a gîte, overlooking this wide pound in the flight.
The top few locks hold water, but not enough to be used again.
It is time for The Puzzler to ascend the inclined plane again at Arzviller.
In the next caison, three boats are going down.
It has been all too much for Shannon!
Monday, 12 September 2016
31st August - 8th September,2016. On to Crévic, up the 50 foot rise in Réchicourt lock, through Niderville and Arzviller tunnels, down the Arzviller inclined plane and on to Saverne.
The flowers on the bridge in Crévic were the best yet!
Shannon was very apprehensive about these feral cats. She was probably wise to keep her distance!
Réchicourt 2 lock, ahead of us, is the deepest Freycinet (standard) lock in France, at 15.385 metres, or just over 50 feet. This lock replaced 6 locks in the 1960's.
There are two small cruisers in with us, so Andy has a floating bollard by our side doors, while I have a rope round a tall steel pole at the front. The lock is quite gentle though, so we had no need to worry.
Looking up at the top gates is enough to worry anyone! My steel pole is just on the left.
Shannon had no problem with the plank, when we needed it on a sloping wall mooring.
The countryside in this summit level is fairly flat. The canal has a lock free pound of 33 kilometres, between Réchicourt 2 lock and the inclined plane at Arzviller.
There are a few boats about, but this hotelboat is certainly the biggest so far!
Moving on through Niderviller tunnel, there is a deep cutting before Arzviller tunnel.
The railway tunnel is parallel to the Arzviller canal tunnel, rather like Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield narrow canal in the UK.
Here we go!
Looking back up, the black guillotine gate, through which we entered the caisson, can be seen, firmly closed.
Some of the lock cottages are very attractive. Shannon is minding The Puzzler in this lock!
Lutzelbourg stretches along the canal, and is a lovely village. We are saving it for our return journey, in a few days time.
This is a very pretty valley. We are sharing locks with a locaboat of friendly Austrians.
Saverne lock is lovely, and we were impressed by the whole town. There are flowers everywhere. Saverne is our destination on this canal.
This horse pulls a water cart, which travels the town, looking after the flowers.
There are a variety of attractive buildings in Saverne.