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.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
25th - 27th July. On to Woudsend, across Slotermeer to Balk, then down the Luts canal to Wyldemerk Dragonfly reserve.
The pretty canal to the south of Balk reminds us of the narrow English canals. We moored along this stretch and enjoyed a walk in the woods.
This is the only typical canal bridge that we have found in The Netherlands.
In the dragonfly reserve we saw several frogs on the water lilies, but not many dragonflies!
We found really good walking in the woods here.
There were no streams in the woods so Shannon was delighted to be back at the lake.
Sunday, 27 July 2014
The weather is almost too hot for comfort. Sally went for a swim, and was then joined by Shannon, who was glad of a lift back to The Puzzler.
Our chairs on the roof give a good view over the island to the course on the main lake.
Fourteen skutjes are lined up at the start.
The skutje from Joure was in the lead for much of the race, but finished fifth.
What a contrast the next morning, with few boats to be seen!
Having left our mooring, we sailed across yesterday's course on Sneekermeer.
The procession of all types of craft goes on and on. Hundreds of boats passed us today, going to and from the race.
Not all skutjes have such a large vessel with them.
The skutje from Woudsend is dwarfed by the crane barge, which is there at the races in case it is needed.
A nearby thunderstorm today was followed by another glorious sunset.
Sunday, 20 July 2014
14th - 20th July 2014. Still in Friesland. From Akkrum to Grou, Sneek, Heeg, Woudsend and Sloten again, then back to Heerenveen.
Saturday evening brought another lovely sunset, after an unremarkable day.
This stork, standing by the water's edge, was very regal.
This modern skutje was built just a few years ago. It is really beautiful.
The builder of the boat insisted we all sat in the stern for a photo opportunity!
As the chart shows, there is a great deal of water available for cruising in this park.
There are plenty of idyllic moorings to choose from too.
There are so many hydrangeas in this area. The Dutch are real flower gardeners, and it is lovely to see.
We cruised on across several different lakes and eventually reached Sneek. The houses in this part of town are very traditional.
This lift bridge in Sneek is very decorative.
Shannon is finding the weather almost too hot for comfort. It is good that she was trimmed last week.
On Heegermeer there were a great many sailing dinghies to be seen.
We moored on the long stretch, leading up to Sloten. There were at least forty boats of different types here.
It was a good place for a game of boules.
This was our best head so far, with all eight boules round the jack. On this length of grass we use a tennis ball for the jack, which does make it much easier to see.
This is our favourite view down the centre of Sloten, from the end bridge.
We cross the Prinses Margriet again, so once more it is "barge ahead!"