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.
Monday, 26 March 2012
Our friends, Violet and Gerry, were kind enough to take us out for the day, and we went up the Navar Forest Trail. This leads through the forest to the top of the Cliffs of Maghoo, overlooking Lower Lough Erne. There are fantastic views across the lough from this viewpoint, and it was wonderful to look down on the waters which we had traversed last May on The Puzzler.
Looking on down the River Erne, as it leaves the Broad Lough, we could see the route we had taken through the islands on our way to Belleek. The Atlantic Ocean is just visible in the distance, or is this my imagination?
On Thursday evening we will be off to bowls at The British Legion.
It is obviously quite close here. Can they agree which team's bowl is the shot? At bowls we have not only had to learn everyone's names, but also the colour code on their bowls!
On Thursday evening we went to The British Legion for bowls until 10.00pm. Then we dashed across Enniskillen to the Cathedral Hall, to be in time to watch the final of the mixed pairs competition. In fact the final didn't start until 11pm!
Again the low water level can be seen by the steep angle of the ramp up from our floating jetty.
The Impartial Reporter did an article on local bridge players who were at the Congress, and we both featured in this. (Click on the picture if you want to read the article)
Inside the main part of the Marina the hire fleet of cruisers is to be found. These little day boats are also very popular.
On Monday we set off just as the sun was breaking through the early morning mist.
We were early again as we wanted to be back in Enniskillen in time to play bowls at The Forum.
I do not think that we have ever had a busier social life!
Thursday, 22 March 2012
This is the time to make sure that all boat windows are closed, as our boat will be washed while they are at it!
In front of us, the Irish flag is flying proudly over Maco's barge.
Inside Enniskillen Castle walls, there are two steam engines in steam. They both joined the parade through the streets of Enniskillen later in the day.
Sally tried out the crossbow, managing to hit the target.
St Patrick is due to arrive soon. He usually arrives by boat, but everyone has been told to watch the sky too.
When the sea plane lands, there is great excitement in the crowd.
He creates quite an imposing presence, as he emerges from the plane.
After the official photographs were over, St Patrick spent a long time meeting everyone in the crowd. It was all quite impressive.
Once St Patrick had moved away, there was a water demonstration by the Erne Wakeboarders. Here three of them are in the river, ready to go.
Once the boat accelerates, they are up on to their boards.
Each man puts up quite a wash as he weaves across the water.
They disappear off into the sunset.
Well, they would if it was the right time of day!
St Patrick heads the parade, which goes right round the streets of the town, finishing up at Enniskillen Castle.
Ballyreagh Silver Band lead the band section of the parade.
They are followed by Trillick Pipe Band.
Lakeland Players celebrate 25 years of entertainment on their float.
Green balloons seem to dominate several of the floats, and everyone is having a great time!
On the Derrylin Boxing Club float there is a boxing match in progress. It seems to be a fight to the finish for the young contenders!
More green for St Paddy's day.
No Irish parade is complete without machinery.
The Irish certainly know how to organise a good day's entertainment.
Sunday, 11 March 2012
At the end of January, a friend kindly gave us these hyacinths, which are now in full bloom. They have helped to keep us cheerful during any dull days.
We are still moving every 48 hours, travelling around Enniskillen. We keep busy going to bowls three times a week, as well as attending two bridge clubs.
Once the boats are assembled, the crews queue up to launch them.
Each boat is carried by its crew to the outer jetty where a lower pontoon has been added, for ease of launching.
The turn on to the outer jetty has been facilitated by the recent work which was done to lower the jetty-supporting poles. ( Black with white caps). The crews bring their oars down first, so that there is no delay, once each boat is in the water.
As soon as one boat is in the water, the next one is launched. There are sixty boats taking part today, but they are very efficient and it does not take long to get them all into the water.
The RNLI launch is at hand, should they be needed.
A crew of four boys from Belfast are doing well to keep the eight at bay.
After the race, the boats seem to be much heavier than they were when being launched!
We have been walking in the grounds of Castle Coole again on a glorious sunny afternoon. The Castle can be seen in the far distance, beyond the lake, which is a conservation area in the grounds.
We met Peanut, who is only seven weeks old. She is tiny!
She found something to eat, which we hope was puppy-friendly.