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, 22 December 2016

27th November - 10th December 2016. A quiet week, playing bridge, then an activity filled week with Debbie and Matt.

We spent the last week in November putting up our Christmas lights, and playing bridge several times.

Debbie and Matt came to stay in early December. Toad came too, of course, dressed in his new Christmas outfit.
 As Debbie and Matt had hired a car, we were able to go further afield, and we started with the abbey at Charlieu, a small medieval village, which lies to the north east of Roanne.

The old streets in Charlieu are fascinating.

On Tuesday we drove to Le Crozet, another medieval village to the north west of Roanne.

This house in Le Crozet specialises in many different windows!
We went for an 11 kilometre walk in the hills and forests near to Le Crozet, so could look back at the village, with its commanding view of its surroundings.
Wednesday was spent at Stitch and Bitch for Sally and Debbie, while Andy and Matt played many games of table tennis in the park by the port. Honours were even by the end of the week!
By Thursday we were off again to Saint-Haôn-le Châtel, which is a walled town, lying to the west of Roanne. From the town ramparts we could look across the valley, past the vineyards, to the nearby town of Saint-Haôn-le-Vieux.

There were more medieval streets to be found here, in Saint-Haôn-le Châtel.

We also visited the medieval garden.

We made our way on to this dam, which lies on the River Renaison. This reservoir lies due west of Roanne, and supplies all of town's water.

Looking back up at the dam, it looks even bigger!

Driving back to the Loire valley, we came to Saint-Maurice-sur-Loire, where the keep stands up above the town.

This keep is in good condition, despite the ruined walls alongside it.

The view from the top.

I lost count of the number of steps on the spiral staircase, which we climbed, all the way to the top. Shannon was not too keen, as she prefers to take steps two at a time. Do our legs look as wobbly as they feel, having climbed all the way down again?

Our last visit of the day took us further south to Château de la Roche.

This castle is built in a stunning position on an outcrop of rock in the middle of the river Loire.

The sunset over the port was at its best that evening.

It seemed to move further south around us as the evening progressed.

Our week finished with a visit to the Foire Froide, which took place along the road on the far side of the port.

We would like to thank you, our readers, for your continuing interest in our adventures and hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.