Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Trip On The Llangollen Railway

A steam train (5199) originally from South Wales

A view from the train at Berwyn Station

A selfie of two seniors!

We've  been moored at Trevor Basin the last couple of days waiting for parts so the gas work can be done on the boat. It's been very busy with visitors to the Pontcysyllte  Aqueduct nearby, but all is quiet once the evening comes.

Today we caught the bus to Llangollen with nothing really planned. We spotted the steam engine at the station and went down to see about a trip. We took advantage of our  age and bought senior tickets. We were in time for the one o'clock and thoroughly enjoyed the trip in the heritage carriage. Nothing beats the noise and smell of the steam engine as it travels along the line. It brought back memories when Eric was a young boy and lived next to a railway shunting yard and went for rides with the drivers.

A toastie  and a cuppa at the Station CafĂ© finished the trip and after a quick shop at the Spar we caught the bus back to Trevor to walk back down the hill to the boat.

Tomorrow hopefully the work on the boat will be done and we can make our way across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct heading back to Whixall Marina.

Friday, September 07, 2018

We've Got To Llangollen

A quick stop for water
We got up Monday morning to torrential rain so our plan to go cruising was put on hold. Tuesday was better so we got ourselves organised to go. Fuel tank topped up too.

On our way it seemed so slow after road travel. Just one lift bridge on the Prees Arm to do as Sarah did the second one. We moved a bit quicker on the long straight towards Bettisfield.

It was slow progress  against the flow of the water. First stop was Ellesmere where we were lucky to find a space by the bridge at the top of the arm. With the children back in school it was quiet, just the dog walkers out for their morning walk. Yes I patted a few dog's heads during out stay  there.

Wednesday took us as far as the  New Marton Locks  where  it was very busy with hire boats rushing past to get to their next stop. We had waves in the canal!

Thursday was wet but we wanted to get as far as Chirk planning to get to Llangollen on Friday. Today is Friday and we made it. So  now we have a weekend on our old winter mooring spot. It brings back lots of happy memories.

It's great to be cruising again  but I am now chilling after the walks ahead of the boat to check the narrows were clear. I phoned Eric to say it was OK to come through and stopped boats who came later going through. One lad had no idea that it was one  way so I explained about a crew member walking ahead to see if it was clear before they went.  But they didn't bother!

I am taking advantage of the electricity  I have paid for at £12 for two nights and doing the laundry . Later we'll go and explore, it's great to be back here by boat.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

A Week In Wales

Gwen on the 'High Ropes' 
We've had a week in Wales as it's the school holidays and it's nanny duties again. The high light  of the week was watching Gwen on the 'High Ropes' at St Fagan's Museum of History. She was a star and wasn't  put off by a young boy ahead of her  being taken off by ladder as he panicked and couldn't move. The second photo gives some idea of the five metres up from the ground. At the end was a zip wire to finish.....Lots of screams at this point.

Friday, August 24, 2018

A Visit To Powis Castle

A view of Powis Castle from the grand lawn

Some amazing Yew hedges.

A rest in the Rose gardens
On Monday we had a lovely day out at Powis Castle near Welshpool. We enjoyed the ornate interiors with amazing tapestries, sculptures, furniture and paintings.Currently running is 'House of Portraits' with an audio guide on a handset telling us about twelve of the portraits. We had lunch in the Cafe before exploring the gardens.  The gardens were spectacular with beautiful herbaceous borders,  terraces and huge yew hedges and tumps, making the gardens high topiary.Apparently they trim it in Autumn using cherry pickers, We coped with all the steps and slopes with plenty of seats available to have a rest.

The Marina Cafe has been busy with boats calling in  for lunch or coffee and cake.  The local dog  walkers have called in too. Hopefully the Cafe will thrive. They've started Sunday Lunches at £8.95 but you have to book ahead. This week it's Lamb or Beef with Rhubarb Crumble for pudding at  £1.50 extra. We won't be sampling it this Sunday as we're off to Wales.  

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Marina Cafe Opens

On Monday the Marina Cafe opened and has  had lots of visitors since. The Whixall locals and the resident boaters have kept the staff busy  Boats and their crew have arrived too now that it's worth a visit with new signs on the Llangollen Canal telling them about it.

We can recommend the Skipper's breakfast  of a full English. The cake looks good and Phil the manager says the lemon drizzle cake is really  good.

This week we've been to Errdig a lovely National Trust property well worth a visit.  The carefully preserved   rooms are full of furniture and exhibit some of the families possessions accumulated over the last 250 years.  I loved the fully equipped kitchens giving an insight into the life of a  servant.

The attics are apparently full of stuff too One of the rare houses where contents weren't sold to pay any debts which happened in other National  Trust properties.

The gardens are  beautiful showing a restored 18th century formal garden with deep red anthiraniums  (snapdragons) catching my eye as my dad grew these in his garden. Well worth a visit.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Happy Anniversary To Us

We celebrated our 47th Wedding Anniversary with a lovely meal at Fouzi's in Llangollen. A busy place but we had a table for two once we waited on the higher seats by the window. The waiter made me smile when he asked if I could get up onto the seat! Yes I can, I am not that old!  Before we ate we went for a walk to look at the moored boats. The basin was busy with hire boats. Convoys of boats coming through the narrows were holiday boats too.

We went for a walk around the Mere at Colemere on Thursday and it was mud free due to the dry weather. It makes you wonder how the mere stays so full of water when it isn't  fed by streams. We saw lots of dogs enjoying the freedom of being off their leads. We were thinking of Ben the dog as we walked. A pleasant walk though as it wasn't as hot as it has been.

Yesterday we went to Aqueduct Marina to get some gunnel paint and we're pleased to find we could also get some two pack to tidy up the area between the gunnel  and the water line that gets contact with the metal pilings. Thanks to Aqueduct Marina staff for being so helpful.  So it looks like we'll be painting when we go out in September.

We're off to Anglo Welsh at Trevor in a few weeks to get the bubble tester moved from inside the cabin to the gas locker which is the correct place for it. The boat safety is coming up soon and it means we'll have the gas all checked for our peace of mind and a safety certificate.

This Summer is certainly flying by this year. We're lucky we could get out on the canal system in May and June before lack of water temporarily closed so much of the system. It's  certainly not  good for boaters  hoping to enjoy a cruise.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Out Cruising For The Day

Peter, Lisa and Gwenllian

Peter and Lisa 

On Saturday we took the boat out for the day with our crew Peter, Lisa and Gwenllian. 'Captain' Eric allowed 'first mate' Peter to take the helm although he stayed with him.

We stopped  at Hampton Bank for a picnic and then went on towards Ellesmere  to the next winding hole to turn around. Peter showed off his muscles raising and lowering the lift bridges on the Prees Arm at some speed.

For a change it wasn't windy getting  into our berth.  Lovely to have a little cruise  on such a lovely day.