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, 15 February 2016

1st - 14th February 2016. Dogs and seagulls, both in the Port of Roanne and by the River Loire. The Bridge Club of Roanne.

The days are cooler now, and the mountains in the distance are covered by clouds, giving the port of Roanne a ghostly appearance.

I have reknitted the neck of Shannon's sweater, and it seems to have worked! She has not yet repeated her Houdini “escape from my sweater” act!

Our bridge club has its own premises in an apartment, not far from the port. Each room has a king of a different suit, overlooking the play, with all four rooms in use on competition days.

Moving on to the dining room after play today, there are plenty of bugnes (pancakes) for everyone.

A flock of seagulls have moved to our end of the port, and can be extremely noisy. One morning they woke up at 5am and had a long, loud discussion before setting off for the day.

Shannon was fascinated by the cats versus dogs programme on TV.
This afternoon we had planned to walk across these stepping stones and on along beside the River Loire. However, there was just too much water for it to be safe. The stones usually stand up, right out of this tributary.

Yesterday, Mick's two dogs decided to go rabbiting, down the bank towards the river, and were missing for a couple of hours. Luckily, Meg was coming along the path, between rabbits, just as we got there, so she was happy to come to be caught. Billy was a little further on, way down on the river bank, but decided that perhaps he could manage to climb up to join us too. They were even more pleased to see their master, but we did not hear them promise never to do it again!

Monday, 1 February 2016

21st - 31st January 2016. Galette de Roi at L'Authentique, and Bridge competitions, both on The Puzzler and at le Chateau de Champlong.

Every Thursday all the boaters, who live in the harbour at Roanne, meet at L'Authentique to catch up on all the local gossip. On 21st January we celebrated the Galette de Roi with all our boating neighbours. This is the French equivalent of Epiphany, or The Coming of the Kings.
We all had a slice of the special almond pie. As Jill found the small figurine in her slice of pie then she was crowned as Queen of the day. We are her loyal subjects!

Last week all the harbour flags were replaced, using a cherrypicker to reach them. Now, when they are blowing in the wind, they look great.
We prepared The Puzzler for an evening of bridge last Friday with six of our friends from the Bridge Club, but then forgot to take any more photos of the event itself!  We all had a very enjoyable evening. (J'ai oublié de utiliser mon appareil-photo, mais notre amis ont dit que la soirée était très sympathique.)

However, Marcel brought his phone, so here we are, looking at pictures of The Puzzler in construction. Merci bien, Marcel!

On Sunday all of the Bridge Club de Roanne went to the Chateau de Champlong, at Villerest, for another competition. Isn't this a wonderful room?
(N'est ce pas une salle merveilleuse?)

Both Simone and Michelle were with us on The Puzzler on Friday.

After the competition we had a very smart French finger buffet, with champagne to drink.
Raymond, on the left, is the Director of our club, with his wife, Renée, sitting between Andy and me, with Marie-Claude on my left. Raymond won The Puzzler bridge competition! (Raymond est le Directeur du Roannais Bridge, et aussi il a gagné le tournoi de peniche.)