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.

Monday, 1 May 2017

17th - 28th April 2017. Having eventually descended Bourg-le-Comte lock, we continued on to Digoin, joining the Canal du Centre there. Then it was on to Génelard where narrowboat Quaintrille joined us. Continuing on the Canal de Centre to Savernay.

Bourg-le-Comte lock should have had its new gates fitted two weeks ago, but they are now ready to use, although there is still work to do round the lock
On Monday morning we went into the lock, which was then emptied. It is a very deep lock.
Madame Eclusier then tried, and tried, to open the bottom gates, but failed. Eventually the lock was refilled and we backed out, to return to our place above the lock. I then had to walk round to the other side to retrieve Shannon, who had hopped off in the lock while we were busy minding The Puzzler! A couple of hours later we were again in the lock, with a hireboat too, while the bottom gates still were not opening. They attached some webbing strapping from the top of the right hand gate to the crane, and winched it tight. Monsieur Eclusier climbed on top of the gates to drive a wedge in, and forced the gates open. The problem was that the wooden seal between the two gates had swollen in the water, and it seemed that the winding gear had then been damaged by enthusiastic use! It was a relief to be able to continue.
At Digoin we walked by the river Loire, where the vegetation caught on this tree shows how high the floods were last year.
Sailing on over the aqueduct.
At Génelard we were joined by narrowboat Quaintrille, with Aileen and Mike on board.
After a pleasant evening on Quaintrille, we shared locks on Sunday.
There are some commercial boats on this canal, making a narrowboat look very small.
We are about to be eaten by this crocodile-type lift bridge!
We moored here at Montchanin with Debbie at the same time last year. The reservoir for the canal is reassuringly full, after a dry spring.
Our flowers are now in the big pots, but have to come inside at night still, because of the frosts. It was minus 2.6 last night, but the days are really warm. Here we are starting down the Mediterranée locks.
This last week has been one social whirl! After a pleasant evening with Jake and Rachel at Saint-Julien-sur-Dheune, we moved on to Saint-Léger-sur-Dheune, mooring by Owlpen apartment. First it was a quick(ish) drink with Gill and David there, then back to The Puzzler where Aileen and Mike joined us for the evening. Next day we caught up with them at Santenay.
On Friday we walked down to Santenay, then up through the vineyards on the other side of the valley. Every possible part of the hillside is used for more vines. They are just starting to grow.
Further on, Santenay can be seen below the vineyards.
We have reached our destination! After only one wrong turn, where the windmill was hidden behind a tree, it just took two hours to get here. It seems to be in good condition, although it is not currently in use.
We walked back down the road and then everyone had a much needed rest.
Later on Jake and Rachel arrived on Catherine Clark, and we all had a very enjoyable evening round the picnic table. Trigger and Shannon are becoming friends, though he is more enthusiastic than she is. Our pre-dinner drinks lasted until 10.30 pm!

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