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.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

10th - 28th November. Ardhowen Theatre and League bowls.

There was a special service at the Enniskillen War Memorial on 8th November this year to commemorate 25 years since the Enniskillen bombing here. The building to the right of the war memorial was built on the site of the bombing, which happened just before the laying of the wreaths on Remembrance Sunday in 1987.

There are 11 doves on the War Memorial, one for each person who died then. It is very moving to see it.
The Puzzler has a new chimney, and we are on our way upstream to the Ardhowen Theatre mooring for the weekend. Last week a man came to ask if the smoke came from our engine. He seemed to be disappointed that we were not a steam boat!

Walking again at Castle Coole, Andy paused for a rest. All the autumn leaves are on the ground now.

Castle Coole itself is as impressive as ever.
Pike fishing is very popular here on the River Erne. This monster fish was brought out of the blue barrel (keep net) for a photo call, but the fisherman would not tell us where he caught it. He was planning to release it in the same spot, ready to be caught again, in his next competition!

Having been back at the Round "O" mooring, we headed upstream again. It is harder each time to get up through Enniskillen Bridge, against the current.
This time we are sailing straight past the Forum, where we play bowls. The Forum is a very active sports centre, with a swimming pool and fitness room, as well as various sports halls inside. Outside there are several pitches, most having an all-weather surface.
At the Ardhowen Theatre again we are joined by Janet and Maurice and all enjoy a fantastic sunset over the river, before going to see Lady Windermere's Fan, by Oscar Wilde. It was a very good performance. 

We stop at the first part of the mooring at Broadmeadow, as this is the best place to chop the rest of our wood for the fire, with a short walkway to the jetty here.

Once again there is a tidy stack of logs in the cratch of The Puzzler.

On Mondays we bowl at the Forum, using three mats, and it can be taken seriously.

However, not everyone does this! Look at this pair.
Tuesdays at the Forum in the Fermanagh Bowls League is very serious though, with 20 teams fighting to avoid relegation. As there are eight bowlers in each team, this means 160 people on the mats. We play for the Royal British Legion, with our club night being on Thursday.
We are sailing downstream past Enniskillen Castle for the last time this year. There is now too much water in the River Erne to come, safely, through Enniskillen Bridge, which can be seen just beyond the castle.

1st - 9th November. Bridge, bowls, and river reflections in Enniskillen.

The police launch is about again today.They always manage to look very busy.
The Erne mooring by the shopping centre looks very bleak, when seen across the water. We usually tie up on the long end jetty, as there is just room for The Puzzler to fit there.

We can bring the trolley right to the boat at this mooring, and can then use the side doors for unloading the shopping.
Back to Broadmeadow for bowls at the Forum in the morning, followed by bridge in Enniskillen in the evening. The cygnets here are growing up fast. Andy saw them flying for the first time today.
The mooring at Riverview is our next call, for bowls at the Cathedral Hall. In the evening we have a lift to Irvinestown for bridge again. Many thanks to Jackie and Angela.
Reflections today, across the river from Riverview, are outstanding. These riverside mooring are a traditional part of life in Enniskillen.

A sleepy heron watches us go past him.
The trees are still holding their autumn colours, beside the old Erne Hospital, which closed in June. There is now a new state of the art hospital on the outskirts of Enniskillen.

Heading back across to the Round "O" in the morning, there are more reflections in the river.This stillness of water is more usually seen on canals, rather than here on the river.

Later in the day at the Round "O", the reflections move to the other side of the River Erne. A rowing eight is out for training, with their coach in attendance.

Finally, in the evening, the sun sets behind the trees of the Round "O" park.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

20th - 31st October. Autumn in Enniskillen. Snakes too!

Autumn is here. We are back in Enniskillen again, looking across to the far side of the River Erne from the Riverside mooring near the library.    

More Autumn colours can be found everywhere.

The geese are happily sleeping among the fallen leaves at the Round "O".

The underneath of our back fender is falling apart, so needs attention.

Renovated fender! Sally has been at work, using some old rope for the repair, followed by a coat of blacking.

Woodcuttting among the reeds! Low water levels in the River Erne have uncovered the last fallen tree trunk here, making this possible.
We came to the Ardhowen Theatre this weekend to see The Three Irish Tenors. They were extremely good.
The early morning mist gives a ghostly look to the river.

An hour or so later clouds add character to the scene.

By Monday morning we are alone on the mooring. Those logs are coming in handy!
On Tuesday there was great interest at the Erne Shopping Centre in a live display by the Reptile Village Conservation Zoo. Andy is getting friendly with a Californian Kingsnake.

Sally held it too.
We had to be rather more careful with this Burmese Python. She is four years old now, but can eventually grow to a length of 20 feet, with a weight of 14 stone.

Rather larger than the spiders we normally find on The Puzzler, this is a Chilean Rose Tarantula.