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.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

18th - 25th March. Shannon, Bowls and Bridge competitions.

Shannon has decided to sharpen her teeth on a log. As if they weren't sharp enough already!

She has big ideas here!

These two ducks are discussing the benefits of this pile of logs, that they have found on the roof of the Puzzler, as a suitable nesting site.

Shannon likes to watch what is going on from the front step.

This week the hall at St Macartin's is ready for the annual pairs competition, with all the mats out.

We came second in our game, but Janet and Maurice are studying this crucial head of bowls during their game.

Andy is in action again the next morning.
We set off at 6.30am on Friday, to avoid the wind and rain which was forecast for later in the day. The waves were starting to get up as we passed the Loch Erne Resort, which is just across the loch here. This will be the venue for the G8 Summit Conference in June, so no doubt navigation on this part of Lower Loch Erne will be severely restricted then.

It is nice to have a signpost to the hotel out in the loch, to make sure that we do not miss our destination of the Manor House.

We are at The Manor House Hotel for the annual Fermanagh Bridge Congress.

We are very lucky that the Manor House has its own mooring, so Shannon does not feel too abandonned. We will be leaving her on The Puzzler while we play five three hour sessions of bridge over the three days of the Congress.

This is the second session of the Intermediate pairs competition. Andy can just be seen, chatting to the two ladies on our table in the middle of the room. Our best result was fourth place in the Open pairs on Sunday.

On the way back to Enniskillen, after an early start again, we were lucky enough to see a wedge/ drift/ flight of swans high above us.

Shannon is helping to celebrate our success in winning the St Michael's Bridge Club Cup. Fortunately this cup is just big enough for her to fit into it, but it won't be for long!

Monday, 18 March 2013

15th - 17th March. Hurling at Brewster Park. St Patrick's day in Enniskillen.

Shannon specialises in looking cute. She has had her first injection, so will be allowed out in four weeks time. She is looking forward to that!
Mike arrived at the Round "O" with his Flyboard. It is really impressive, working on jets of water which are pumped through from the water turbine on the following jetski. On Saturday he was giving lessons on his machine, and he will take part in the display for St Patricks Day on Sunday.
We went to Brewster Park, the local GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) sports ground, to watch a hurling match between Fermanagh and Donegal. It is a fast and furious game, with no quarter given.

Fermanagh were well ahead in the first half, but Donegal came alive, and dominated the second half, to win quite easily.

On 17th of March steam engine Maeve is coming out of the Enniskillen Castle gates, on her way to join the parade for St. Patrick's Day.

As the third steam engine passes us, there is certainly plenty of steam about!

Meanwhile a helicopter, carrying St Patrick, lands on Castle Island, despite our commentator telling us that he would land on the football field. He suspects foul play!

St. Patrick emerges safely from the helicopter, but is captured by Vikings and taken to the far side of the island. Oh dear! What will happen to him?

The Viking boat appeared downstream of the island, but were turned back by the RNLI boats, in front of Enniskillen Castle, towards the waiting crowds.

There is a great cheer for St Patrick as everyone can see that he is unharmed. He comes ashore to bless all the children, before taking his place later on at the head of the procession.

This is the start of the longest snake in Ireland, being chased by St Paddy!

After a slight delay, while two buses came out of the bus station and briefly joined the procession, the brass band got everyone back into a festival mood.

Tractors are always part of an Irish procession.

There seemed to be fewer floats this year, but this group made a great noise.

We walked up to the Diamond, in the centre of town, where there was a great crowd out to watch the procession.

Friday, 15 March 2013

8th - 14th March. Bowls at The Royal British Legion. Shih Tzus at Crufts and on The Puzzler.

Throughout the winter we have been bowling at The Royal British Legion. Here Ruby is in action in our recent singles competition.

Here is the whole gang in early March. We have all been representing our club in the Fermanagh League this season, coming fifth in the final playoffs in our section.

With short mat bowls, someone has to roll up the mats at the end of the evening.

At Crufts, we were interested to see what Shannon will look like as an adult dog. This dog was the best Shih Tzu in show at Crufts.

Needless to say, this is not Shannon!

We will probably trim her hair before it grows to this length!

Shannon does not want to be left behind when we go to bowls.

It is much more fun to attack her toy dog though!

That was such hard work that now she is exhausted.

Shannon finds it quite easy to be a lapdog too.
Meanwhile, dredging is going on just upstream of The Round "O" mooring. There has been a sandbank developing here underwater for quite a while. Last year Waterways Ireland marked it with navigation marker, but this dredging is a better idea. It will now be much easier to get The Puzzler in to the inner jetty at the Round "O".

Thursday, 7 March 2013

3rd - 6th March. Shannon joins the crew of The Puzzler

We have had such a great winter in Enniskillen that we have decided it is too soon for us to leave the Emerald Isle just yet. We plan to stay for another year.

This week our crew has increased to three again! Here is the new addition when she was only a week old.
Growing up fast! Shannon is on the left, wearing the purple collar. There were seven puppies altogether in her litter.

Shannon is a Shih Tsu. She came from Craigavon, which is near Lough Neagh.

This is her introduction to The Puzzler.

Well, this is a bit different for a six week old puppy!

Having had a quick look at the jetty, Shannon proceeds to chew Andy's shoes.She is starting as she means to go on.

Less than half an hour after arriving, she was already playing with a toy.

However she was soon ready for bed. It had been a tiring day.

Shannon enjoys sitting on top.

Soon it is time to explore.

Let's sit down for another rest. Enniskillen Castle may look good but it does not impress a puppy!
Going down under Enniskillen Bridge created some interest for Shannon. This week is the first time we have been up through the bridge since before Christmas. Until very recently there has been too much water in the river for this to be possible.

What shall I do next?