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.


Saturday, 5 May 2018

1st - 5th May. On to Clamecy. The story about The Floating of the Logs.


Having been at Villiers-sur-Yonne for five days, and done all the local walks to explore the village, we felt that it was time to move on. We were also running out of food, as there is no shop in Villiers. Shannon is practising her best photographic smile!

So it was on to Clamecy, where once again we were the only boat in the port. It is a luxury to have decent internet, so this is my third post in as many days!


Here the old timbered houses really look old!


The cathedral, St Martin de Clamecy, stands proudly in the centre of town.


There is so much detail around the main door.


Inside, it is an imposing cathedral.


There is such detail in the stained glass windows.


This rose window, half way down the cathedral, was more impressive than the one above the organ at the end.
We visited the museum, which we missed when here in late 2015. There was quite a lot of archaeology and art, but we were fascinated by the story of The Floating of the Logs. This began in the 16th Century, reaching its peak between 1785 and 1816, at which time Paris consumed a million cubic metres of firewood per year. All timber producers upstream of Clamecy would cut their logs to the standard length of 1.14 metres, mark them with the owner's mark, and float them downstream during November to one of 22 “casting ports”which were spread along the upper reaches of the Yonne. The logs were stopped by barrages, removed from the water, and piled up on the river banks to dry, awaiting the “Great Flood”. The following March, the logs at all 22 ports were all cast into the river at the same time. When the dammed up waters were released, the resulting flood carried all the logs to Clamecy, where they ran up against dams, and were again taken from the water, to be sorted by the owner's marks, and built into log “trains”, like the model shown here. The 22 small dams built along the length of the Yonne were successively released, at the beginning of the summer, to create the current required to transport the trains downstream to Paris. This journey took about 11 days. However, by 1881, coal had superceded wood as a source of energy, and the last free log float arrived in Clamecy in 1923, almost 400 years after this saga began.

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