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, 28 February 2013

14th - 28th February. Tree Cutting and Zone bowls.

Sometimes boats go past quite fast on this stretch of the River Erne, ignoring all moored boats. We will certainly know about it when this wash reaches The Puzzler.

More trees are being felled behind the Police Station. Rumour has it that this is all in preparation for the G8 summit.
Another tree going down! Most people feel that this "tidying up" is being overdone, with so many mature trees being felled.
Compare this view, which was taken two weeks later, to the one directly above it, to see the number of trees which have now gone. They used to hide the fence of the Police Barracks.

However, we cannot complain about all this timber, which somehow finds its way on to The Puzzzler!
Short mat bowls is very strong throughout Ireland. Fermanagh forms the main part of the Western Area in the Zone Competitions, and Western has been very successful in the Shield competition this year. Both the Ladies and the Mens Western teams qualified for their respective finals, which were held simultaneously in the Union Hall in Enniskillen. They both won their matches! Janet's team are studying this close head of bowls, during the competition.

We moved back to the Round "O" after dark one night, passing the Police launch, moored outside the Police Station.

The Round "O" looks quite different after dark. Click on this picture to enlarge it and get the full effect!

Friday, 15 February 2013

1st - 13th February. Winter in Fermanagh.

Not all the puzzles which occupy our time are flat ones! Andy is just putting the last piece into the globe.

Time to feed the birds!

Is there room for one more?

At this point the River Erne becomes one again, having separated to go on both sides of the island of Enniskillen. The Puzzler, moored at the Round "O", is just visible on the right of the river.

These two swans come and peck at The Puzzler every day, to ask for food from the galley window.

On February 5th we awoke to snow, our first of the winter!

The park at the Round "O" looked really pretty, but by the evening all the snow had gone.
There are very few boats moving this week. Waves are breaking in the centre of the river, as the strong winds try to halt the flow of the water. Our satellite dish blew over, and had to be set up on the jetty, where there was a little shelter from the wind.
Five days later, the water was calm enough here for a flotilla of canoes to set off safely. There have been few dry days this year so far. There is a well known saying here that for half the year Fermanagh is in the lough, but for the other half, the lough is in Fermanagh!
We went to a tea dance at The British Legion with Gerry, Violet, Dessie and Angela. There was live music, with plenty of dancing and good craic. It was a great afternoon.

Friday, 1 February 2013

13th - 31st Jan. Inter Zone bowls. Devenish Cup. Wood collecting.

When the seagulls and the pigeons are about, the ducks have to move quickly, to get any bread at all!
We went to watch the Irish Indoor Bowling Ladies Inter Zone Shield semi-final between Western, which is this area, and Northern. Western had a terrific win, with 77 shots to Northern's 41. This quote is from our local paper, The Impartial Reporter:- " What can only be described as possibly the best ever performance by a Western Ladies team took place in the Unionist Hall, Enniskillen last Saturday. - - Janet Brown's rink was never overawed by being drawn against the Irish International and TV personality Margaret Johnston and really cruised to a very easy win by 13 shots to 4." In this picture, Janet can be seen, showing her next player exactly where to put their bowl.

Other boats come and go at the Round "O". Beyond the mooring a Waterways Ireland working barge is going past.
We attend The Devenish Bridge Club at Irvinestown every Wednesday and our performance week by week has been adequate. However, on 16th January, everything went right for us and we won The Devenish Cup, with Mollie and Renee coming second.
Having heard a chain saw working, we made our way across the River Erne, and managed to tie to two of the fishing jetties there. We were given permission to take a lot of wood, as the undergrowth was being cleared.
All three Police boats were out today. This one seemed to be quite heavily laden! The bigger police boat followed ten minutes later, and certainly exceeded the speed limit. He really threw The Puzzler about with his wash!
It was quite tricky loading the wood on top of The Puzzler, as our only access was along the gunwhale from the fishing jetty at the bows. Tidy stacking can come later!

Last December there was a lot of undergrowth in this area where we have been collecting wood.

Look at it now. What a difference!

Meanwhile we have been chainsawing and chopping our wood to make The Puzzler tidy again.

It is a good thing that we are not going sailing in rough waters, when the logs are stacked as high as this inside the cratch!