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 June 2018

13th - 21st June 2018. The Canal de Bourgogne, from Montbard via Pouilly-en-Auxois to St-Jean-de Losne.

At Venarey-les-Laumes, 8 locks and 12 kilometres further on, there is a fine French cockerel by the church.

At Marigny-le Cahouët, this was one of several unique gîtes. We went up 29 locks today, covering 10.5 kilometres in just 5 hours.

The valley here is quite wide, and most of the cattle are charolais.
There are 189 locks altogether on the Canal de Bourgogne and today we have three lockkeepers to see us through as quickly as possible! Note the synchronised parking of their scooters.

Sadly, several of the lock cottages are empty.

Others, however, are in lovely condition.
Another avenue of plane trees, leading on up to Pouilly-en-Auxois. Once there, we are at a height of 378 metres, or 1241 feet, which is twice as high as at Standedge tunnel, which is on the Huddersfield narrow canal in England.

Pouilly tunnel is lit at both ends, but ahead of us can be seen the dark section in the middle. There are unused lights in this part. Possibly this is so that the passengers on the trip boat can have the experience of complete darkness in this section.

It is quite pleasant to be out in the sunshine again.
We had to wait for half an hour in the next lock, as the trip boat was following us through the tunnel. Once we were both down the lock, he turned round to return up the lock and back through the tunnel to Pouilly We have a mere 78 locks to go down to the river Saône, at St-Jean-de-Losne!

A few locks further on brings us to this unique lock cottage.

It is amazing how many different tools and implements can be found here on the walls.

The locks are so close together, that it is no hardship to walk from one to the next.
The port of Vandenesse-en-Auxois is full, but we can moor on the trip boat mooring at this end, knowing that this boat is back at Pouilly, and will not be here today. There were 5 hotel boats here, before we left on Sunday.

The next few locks follow the canal, as it curves round the hill, on which Châteauneuf sits.
The valley opens out on both sides of the canal, as we follow le Vandenesse river. Further downstream, it becomes l'Ouche, but is the same river.

This would be an interesting house to have, in la Bussière-sur-Ouche

Moving on, on Monday, this is a really pretty part of the canal.
After lunch, we met this hotel boat. We have been lucky to find them all coming towards us today. Following a hotel boat is very bad news, as they are so slow in locks, because of their size. This one was the second of four which we met today.

When Andy went to Roanne for the car, two weeks ago, he travelled over this viaduct.

It is such a contrast, seeing the high-rise buildings in Dijon. We did not stop there this time, but went on to Longecourt-en-Plaine, to be further out in the country.

This was the high point of Shannon's day, as a water rat shared a lock with us!

The mushrooms by the lock in St-Jean-de-Losne are very distinctive, as we descend on to the river Saône.

After filling up with fuel, from the floating pontoon, we moved on to moor on the steps. It was good to find 1000 Rivers there, with John and Karen.

Monday, 18 June 2018

11th - 12th June 2018. Fontenay Abbey and the Grande Forge de Buffon.

While we had the car with us, we drove over from Montbard to visit the Abbey of Fontenay, which was founded by Saint Bernard in 1118.

The abbey itself was built in the Romanesque style, and was deliberately simply sculpted, so as not to distract the eye or the mind from prayer.

The abbey was very wealthy from the 12th century to the 15th century, with a community of more than 200 monks. They all slept in this dormitory, on simple pallets.

The dormitory is in the top half of this building, with the chapter house below it. This is used for everyday business of the community.
This vast plane tree has seen many changes here at the Abbey de Fontenay. By the time of the French Revolution there were only 12 monks left in Fontenay, and it was sold, to be bought in 1820 by Elie de Montgolfier, a descendant of the inventors of the hot-air balloon. He transformed the property into a paper mill. However, it was bought back in 1906 by Edouard Aynard, and he undertook massive restoration work, removing all the buildings of the paper-mill. The Abbey de Fontenay is now classified as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Driving back down the Canal de Bourgogne from Montbard, we return to Buffon, an extremely pretty village.

George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, was born in Montbard in 1707. He was a reknowned naturalist, the author of a monumental 36- Histoire Naturelle.
Louis XV, the King of France, asked him to undertake studies on the smelting and treatment of iron ore in Burgundy. These resulted in the Grand Forge de Buffon which was built between 1768 and 1772, and this was the first time that the three processes of furnace, refinery and foundry were concentrated in the same place.

Two of the three waterwheels at the mill are still there to be seen.

Friday, 15 June 2018

7th - 10th June 2018. On to Montbard, then Andy retrieves the car from Roanne. A weekend of Quilles in Mussey.

Andy had planned to catch an early train tomorrow, to retrieve the car from Roanne. Fortunately he checked at lunchtime, to find that it had been cancelled. As it was the only train of the day this was not too good! However, there was a train this afternoon, so an hour after we arrived at Montbard, he was safely on the train to Roanne, returning at midnight with the car.

We were delighted to have been invited by Bernard and Blandine to stay for the weekend of their annual Quilles competition in Mussey. We took part last year, when on this canal with The Puzzler, but this year it took us three hours in the car to get here.

Don't forget me!

Quilles is a French outdoor game rather like ten-pin bowling, but with 9 big wooden skittles.

Andy at full stretch. The Marne au Rhin Canal  runs right behind the two cars, up above Andy.

If you knock down all nine quilles with three balls, then you have an extra shot at all nine again.

In the evening we went to play pétanque too. This has been our busiest day for a long time!

After playing pétanque, it was lovely to relax with Bernard and Blandine in their garden. Evelyne is here for the weekend too.
On Sunday morning Bernard was hard at work, preparing batter for waffles to be consumed later today.
The vegetable garden shows much care and attention too.

Before going to the Quilles alley, we went to pick strawberries, which were grown at a very good height, making them very easy to pick. We got some fresh asparagus too, which was very tasty!

We should all have hairpieces like Evelyne, then we too might win the Quilles, as she did!

Sunday lunch in the marquee.

Andy is working on his technique.

Sally was in the playoff for second place, with three others, but only managed to come fourth.

Encore une fois Denis était là pour L'Est Républican.
Nous avons eu un très bon weekend. Merci bien à Bernard et Blandine. Bisoux, bisoux!

Thursday, 7 June 2018

1st - 7th June 2018. Cruising on the Canal de Bourgogne, with visits to Tanlay, Ancy-le-Franc and Cry.

It is nice to be on the canal de Bourgogne again. This wooded section is just south of Germigny.

This makes a good pillow for Shannon. She much prefers the canals.

The valley opens out near to Charrey, making a lovely wild mooring with a view.

We have been so lucky with the weather!
As we approached the wide canal at Tanlay, another boater summed up the mooring for us. “On the left you have electric and water and you pay. On the right you get nothing, and it is free!” He omitted to tell us that we would have to moor a metre from the bank, due to lack of depth, but then again, it was free!

The chateau at Tanlay is impressive, but was closed to visitors. Monday again!

St Vinnemeer is another picturesque village. The roses by the lockside cottage were the best yet.
In Ancy-le-Franc we followed signs to a viewpoint, up a track behind the church. It was quite a climb, and would have been a very good view when we got there, if someone had kept the bushes trimmed! The wild strawberries on the way up were delicious anyway.

The lock before Ravières was very well kept.

There is a big quarry, taking a lot of the hillside, before the mooring at Cry. Two long distance cyclists pitched their tent on the far side of the canal inlet here, arriving as darkness fell, and leaving at the crack of dawn too.

Some of the houses in Cry had real character.

Here's hoping that someone will harvest these cherries! We liked the garden wall.

Out in the country again.

These locks can be quite rough. We have three éclusiers travelling with us today, showing how few boats are on this canal.