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, 2 October 2017

18th - 30th September 2017. Along the Canal de Loing and the Canal de Briare, to join the Canal Latéral à la Loire. We harvest walnuts and sloes, but buy wine in Monetréol-sous-Sancerre.


To the south of Souppes the Canal de Loing has a very attractive section through the trees.

By lunchtime Sally is on the roof again, collecting some more walnuts.
The bottom gates at lock 35 have been damaged by a peniche, which must have come up underneath the walkway. It was lucky that he did not lift the gates too!

The approach to Montargis reminded us of Utrecht, in The Netherlands. We are now on the Canal de Briare.


At last we have found some sloes! Andy is going to patent our “sloe pricker”, which makes the job much quicker than by using the forks.


Shannon has spotted a cat in a tree by a lock.
We had to wait over lunchtime at Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses. The mooring on the other side was a bad height for us, but this side was shallow, so the plank did a good job. The swans were very hungry.

These are the original seven locks of Rogny, while the new flight of six, starting to the right here, each rise over 4 metres.

We had a proper walk round Briare this time. We were here two years ago, but did not stay here then. The church of St. Etienne is lovely.

The rose window, situated behind the organ, is very unusual in that it shows all the signs of the zodiac.

We are leaving the Canal de Briare as we cross the aqueduct to join the Canal Latéral à la Loire.

The river Loire is far below the canal here. We will travel near to the Loire all the way to Roanne.


Forty kilometres further on, we find vines again, near to Sancerre.
Monétréol-sous-Sancerre is an old village in the heart of the vineyards, with wine 'caves' to see. Both the ones we visited were based in farmyards, but we preferred the wine tasting room of Lepresle, which was a basic outbuilding of the farm. His wine tasted better too!

Looking back towards Monétréol, the hill town of Sancerre can be seen above it. We visited Sancerre in early September two years ago, and really enjoyed it.


Someone needs a haircut!


By the weekend the sun was hot enough for sunbathing, although the mooring was a little rural.

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