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.
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
12th - 21st June 2017. Shopping at Fains-les-Sources, then on to Tronville, Givrauval, Pagny-sur-Meuse, through Mauvages tunnel to Toul, where Andy fixed the engine.
The village of Tronville was a much more pleasant place to spend the night.
The fortified church has been there since the 12th century.
On the far side of the village there were several lovely properties.
For a couple of kilometres we battled our way through this thick weed. Andy says that it is the worst weed that he has seen in 50 years of boating, with the whole canal a solid mass of it
At Givrauval the word mansion comes to mind!
We found a long walk up through the woods behind the village.
It was an attractive place to stay, on our own privare jetty.
I know! I must try and remember to take photos before we are leaving!
Our walk took us to the other side of these woods.
Boats used to be towed through Mauvages tunnel, but now it is Monsieur on his bicycle!
At Pargny-sur-Meuse we had our own aquarium, with all sizes of fish. Andy ordered a new hose for the engine, to be collected at Lorraine Marine at Toul.
Most tunnels have lights, but we came through Foug tunnel before 9am, hoping that no-one was coming the other way! Luckily, no-one was.
In Toul our engine was again too hot to continue, so we drifted in to wait on the city walls.
Saturday, 17 June 2017
7th – 12th June 2017. At Pargny-sur-Saulx, with American yacht Tsamaya, then on to Mussey for a weekend of Quilles (French skittles).
Pargny-sur-Saulx looks really good in the distance. Close to, though, we were unimpressed.
Lock 55, just past here, is the first time we need to use our telecommand, but it is not working. Usually, after a phone call, Monsieur will arrive quite quickly, but not this time! One hour, and four phone calls, later, he turned up. He continued on with us, which was a good thing, as our doofer failed us again, two locks later. This time he replaced it with a different one, which has been very good.
We moored at the start of Mussey village, up above this street. The church is on the hill, behind the village.
We walked round the village and visited the churchyard, though the church was locked.
Coming back, The Puzzler looks impressive up there!
We moved on through the lock to the other end of Mussey, and went to find the Quilles competition which we had seen advertised. Yvonne and Leslie were also visiting from England in their campervan.
As each boule is thrown/ rolled, it is collected and sent back via the tin chute.
This is before his bowl arrived , with all 9 skittles still standing.
And this is after his best shot.
Sally had several goes too, but neither of us won! We each had a best score of 7 skittles down.
On Sunday, the club invited us to share their lunch, which lasted from midday until 2pm. It was a very good lunch, and everyone was extremely friendly.
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
28th May - 6th June 2017. On through weed to Joinville and Vitry-le-Françoise, then a right turn on to la Marne au Rhin canal (Ouest) to Bignicourt.
There are a great many dragonflies about.
It was a little tricky, getting near enough to the water tap. We did not have the correct hose fitting, so could not use our long hose, but luckily no other boats came along, while we blocked the canal.
We operate the locks with this telecommand, and Shannon is trying to help.
We spent the rest of that day playing games, and had a very pleasant barbeque beside the boats.
Bignicourt was an interesting village, with many different styles in the houses.
Their letter boxes are in groups, instead of each being beside individual houses.
The weather was threatening, but we enjoyed exploring the village.
Shannon made friends with a sheep. Neither of them was really sure what to make of each other!
The grounds of Bignicourt Château were open to the public for the weekend. As this only happens once each year, we are lucky to have come now.
As we are not in a hurry, we have stayed at Bignicourt for six nights, which is our longest stay anywhere, during the summer months, since arriving in mainland Europe. It is a lovely mooring.
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
26th - 27th May 2017. A visit to the laverie at Vouécourt and a thunderstorm, with hailstones the size of marbles at Villiers-sur-Marne.
The lock cottages are very pleasant on this stretch of the canal, with all of them in use.
Most trees have straight trunks, but this one was really different!
Vouécourt is an attractive village.
In Vouécourt there were bells on the outside of the church tower. However, having waited ages to see them ring, they didn't move at all, with the sound coming from inside the tower.
The laverie at Vouécourt is one of the best preserved that we have seen.
Inside, it probably looks the same as it did when the ladies of the village used to do their laundry, many years ago.
A frog joined us in a lock, next morning. These frogs are not enormous, but do make a loud noise at all rural moorings.
At Viliers-sur-Marne a thunderstorm began, pelting us with hailstones. It continued for nearly an hour.
It was as though we had been in a snow storm.
These are a few of the hailstones which Andy collected over an hour after the storm.
They weren't very happy!
Next morning it was as though the storm had never been!