Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Weekend At Whitchurch

The sun has returned to the Llangollen Canal so we decided to move. We meandered up the Prees Arm mainly for a look and a bit of exercise with two lift bridges to lift and lower. We were able to fill up with water and do the loos at Whixall Marina (free of charge). It is now a BW Marina. We wanted diesel but the pump was out of order. Eric had to negotiate a sunken fibreglass boat on the narrow bend approaching the marina , I would have thought BW would have shifted it!
After that we went off to visit to Whitchurch. I was looking forward to a change of scenery and the chance to stock up with essentials at the town centre Tesco. Tesco kindly gave me a list of local taxis to ring and finally Tony's Taxis obliged and brought me and the shopping back to the boat- I had visions of borrowing a trolley and pushing it back to the boat!
Ben and I also enjoyed some long walks in the sunshine including a walk down to Grindley Brook and back of several miles. The Whitchurch Arm was not busy just two other boats- everybody has jetted off to Llangollen. We saw the dog walkers of Whitchurch pass our boat as well as young couples out for a stroll in the sunshine.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Floods Haven't Affected Us

Just a quick update as several people have been concerned whether we were OK with all this dreadful weather. We're fine- just floating on the boat along with our wet weather gear on. As British Waterways have a system of sluices and weirs to get rid of excess water on the canals we are fine on the Llangollen Canal. Anywhere near a river is not a good idea as this means floods. Looking at Narrowboatworld shows news affecting boaters- a very useful site! I do feel really sorry for all those people affected by the floods and still waiting for life to get back to normal.
Ben and I were enjoying a walk along a narrow muddy towpath and he decided it was time to find out if he could swim! He often goes for a paddle at the shallow soft canal edges but this time he actually he fell in backwards while messing around on the towpath. He swam towards me and I helped him out holding onto his harness- a new purchase to help with the pulling on his lead. We had the usual fight with a towel back on the boat to dry him and as he'd rather play with the towel! He wasn't at all bothered by his dip and at least we now know he can swim!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sun, Rain, Thunder And Lightning!

On Monday I escaped to Shrewsbury to do a bit of shopping and meet Lisa off the train. Some good shops in Shrewsbury- there was even a Hawkshead with a sale so I bought another waterproof jacket half price at £25! Lisa and I caught the bus to Ellesmere where Eric and Ben the dog were waiting for us. The bus seemed to travel extremely fast- I'm certainly not used to speedy travelling along narrow country roads.

We found the boat near the Ellesmere Arm all ready and waiting to set off on a trip to Llangollen with our youngest daughter. Ben greeted Lisa with an enthusiastic lick, someone else to play with! Our first stop was near Frankton Junction and Ben enjoyed a walk down the Montgomery Canal. He thoroughly enjoyed a run off his lead and had his usual paddle by the soft edges. When bedtime came Ben thought great a big bed for me but did come and sleep in our bedroom until we were all asleep. In the morning he was all curled up on top of the duvet fast asleep,and Lisa was fast asleep underneath it.
We decided to travel as far as we could regardless of the weather and finally made Llangollen about 7 o'clock. The rain managed to stay away for us to cross the aqueducts in convey following two other boats. It was quite tedious following them as the boat in front of us travelled so slowly and had great difficulty steering in any thing resembling a straight line (and it wasn't a hire boat!). The narrows proved to be very slow too , we lost count of the times the boat ahead got stuck. We found the last space on the towpath with electric and water and moored up for the night. It was a good chance to give the batteries a boost! We still had to put on the engine for an hour in the morning as it heats the domestic water.

We decided to move down to the basin as we could turn around and get satellite TV there. It amazed me that the pontoons at this basin are so short, it means we had to go in bow first and use the centre rope to tie up as the stern is too far away. Locking the boat up means a walk along the gunnel's to the pontoon. We enjoyed Llangollen after all it was sunny for the two days we were there. Thursday came and we had to head back towards Ellesmere and that night the weather changed with violent thunder and lightening. Ben was unhappy about the loud noise but he didn't make any fuss, just stayed close by us and wouldn't leave the boat!

In the morning it was still raining so we donned our wet weather gear- it's only water!- and headed back to Ellesmere. We needed to get back as Lisa was going home, the time had certainly flown by and we enjoyed having our daughter to stay.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Stop At Frankton Junction

After a week at Ellesmere we visited the services at the BWB Maintenance Yard to fill up with water and use the Elsan disposal point. We have been getting rid of the rubbish daily as when we left the black sack on the bow overnight we had visitors of the four legged variety. Ben heard the noise and woke us up with a loud woof-his bark is very deep! We had never heard him bark before.

We decided to set off to Frankton Junction as we needed a change of scenery and we had a week to go before Lisa our youngest daughter was coming to visit. We moored just past Bridge 1 on the visitor moorings and had some lovely walks down the Montgomery Canal. Ben has a new game- he drops the ball at the edge of the canal and then gets it before it floats away. Sometimes we have to fish it out as he hasn't yet gone into deeper water, he just paddles and splashes in shallow water.The photo was taken of him waiting for us to throw the ball.

Lots of people are on the move today- the sun is shining! They pass us at various rates of knots, rarely slowly! Some smile and say hello, others ignore our cheery greeting! Oh dear I'm moaning again!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A Visit To Newport

Once again I caught the bus from Ellesmere to Shrewsbury where I caught the train back to Newport. First stop when I arrived was a haircut to get rid of all those wavy bits! After that I did a bit of retail therapy. Believe it or not Newport has some good shops compared to some of the places we have visited. My daughter Sally came to pick me up in her MX5 and take me to her house in Abercarn-after 4mph it was whizzing! Sally's other half Bob was home already and they treated me to a lovely meal at The Rhiwderin Inn. We had some unusual visitors in their garden, who obviously knew their way around - four sheep nibbling away at the greenery. Sally wished they had stayed longer to get rid of a few more weeds! Obviously strange things happen in the valleys! My bed was particularly inviting as travelling always makes me tired.
The following day was certainly hectic, prescriptions to collect then a visit to my dad. Later Sally and I went to Ikea, where we enjoyed lunch and a bit more shopping. We managed to fit in visits to Wendy (lovely cream cakes), Paula and Danielle ( latte was great) and my other daughters- Clare and Lisa to catch up on all the news. After a good night's sleep I got up at eight as I needed to get to the dentist for my checkup in Newport, and then catch the train back to Shrewsbury. Soon I was back home with Eric and Ben the dog in Ellesmere, after all home is where the boat is!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Changed Plans

We decided to go to Nantwich as it had a railway station and travelling to south Wales would be easier but it was not to be! The weather was disgusting so we donned our wet gear and I felt like the Michelin man but at least I would stay dry. But we couldn't find anywhere to moor- lots of the visitor moorings places were filled by boaters not moving because of the weather. Decisions, decisions- what shall we do?
We decided to head back up the Llangollen Canal towards our favourite place Ellesmere, knowing that I could get a bus to Shrewsbury and the train from there. We headed off top Hurleston Junction and arrived just as the lockie was letting a boat out of the bottom lock, which was just as well as the wind was up and it was difficult enough getting the boat in the hole without having to put off any crew! She locked us up and then I got off to help go through the rest of the locks. We kept going with food on the move and after several hours moored near Wrenbury.
In the morning we were up early as it meant about 8 hours moving but we got there, through lots of rain- passed a few meandering 'Stella drinking' holidaymakers, who kindly let us overtake. We should have had the camera ready as firstly we spotted a squirrel sat on top of a fence post eating nuts and then a large owl surveying the area sitting on top of a telegraph pole, waiting to have their photos taken. I don't know what sort of owl it was, I'll have to get the bird book out! Ben had a nice muddy walk as I walked the towpath just about keeping up the boat to give him some exercise! When we arrived at Ellesmere there as a space and we set up the satellite and tucked in to the curry which had been bubbling away as we travelled- what more could we want?