These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight 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, returning to Roanne for a second winter.
Monday, 22 May 2017
15th - 18th May 2017. On through the villages of Cusey, Piépape and Heuilly-Cotton to reach the summit of the Champagne – Burgundy canal.
Cusey church is unusual, with this circular part at the east end.
There are several old houses in Cusey like this one, with the barn built into the house.
By contrast, this is part of a new development in the village.
The Champagne to Burgundy canal is very attractive, with tree lined sections alternating with views over the wide countryside.
The River Vingeanne has run alongside the canal, all the way from the River Saône, but is quite shallow here, as we are nearer to its source. Shannon thinks that it is a great place to retrieve sticks!
The church at Piépape has an unusual round tower.
Balesmes tunnel lies ahead of us. This tunnel, like most in France, is one way only. It is 4820 metres long.
There are lights throughout the length of the tunnel. Fifteen seconds after passing each green light, all the white lights behind us go out, so then that looks very black!
It was raining before the tunnel, but this end is quite dry.
This heron sat quietly, watching us pass by close to him. He does not see us as any threat.
Friday, 19 May 2017
6th - 14th May 2017 Games on the boats, then the Marché de Fleurs at Auxonne. Off the River Saône on to the Champagne à Burgundy canal, visiting various small villages on our way.
The cathedral in Auxonne is having a face-lift, and looks much lighter in colour than it did when we last saw it.
Moving on up the river, we visited Pontailler-sur-Saône.
The lavoir here is in working order, and Andy can be seen winding the chain, thus lifting the wooden platform which hangs over the river.
We stopped first in Maxilly village, where a fellow boater kindly gave me a spare marigold plant. Then it was on to Renève, where as usual nothing was open. We liked this house though.
With the flowers now quite happily back on the roof, the Viaduc d'Oisilly can be seen behind us. It is 293 metres long and was built in 1886-7.
Mooring near to Beaumont-sur-Vingeanne, we completed a circular walk through two villages, but the castle is only open to visitors in July and August.
These turrets in the farmhouses are most attractive, and we saw these in both Beaumont and in Dampierre-et Flée.
Our mooring here looked out over open fields. Yes, this is the towpath – most of them are of this quality in this part of France.
Shannon has a new place to travel, on top of the long coiled rope, on the bows of The Puzzler. This rope is used when going up locks.
The donkey on the left is as big as the horses, being a French Poitou donkey.
Some of the lock houses on this canal are uninhabited, so Andy is taking a quick look inside.
Another wild mooring – at least the bows are well in!
Sunday, 7 May 2017
29th April - 6th May 2017. On to Fragnes, then up the Saône to Saint-Jean-de-Losne, before moving on to Auxonne, meeting our friends at every port.
Shannon will accept Trigger if she is safe on Andy's knee.
The rain started just as we went out on to the Saône, but Shannon didn't want to be inside. The rain is too heavy for some of our plants.
Once the rain cleared, the river looked more inviting.
We moored at Gergy, then on to a rural spot at Chazelle, which we found last year.
Walking round this small village, I thought this wall needed a helping hand!
On Thursday we moved on to Saint-Jean-de-Losne. Beyond the trip boat, the next five boats all overwintered in Roanne!
The Puzzler can be seen outside Catherine Clark, where Jake and Rachel have all three dogs near at hand.
Dare I go any nearer? Most boats have dogs.
Friday was a lovely day, with all the trees looking really green.
Mooring outside Lumacona at Auxonne, there was a superb sunset.