Sunday, October 28, 2007

What A Day!

The day started quite normally other than the fact we were up earlier due to the clocks going back an hour. We planned to go up to the turning circle and then get some water and moor on the Ellesmere Arm so we could go out to lunch. But the best plans went a bit haywire today. Eric was feeling a bit off with a pain in his side but he thought he'd be OK! My middle daughter Clare is visiting so I walked Ben along the towpath while they were on the boat travelling. Anyway the pain got really bad and we had to moor the boat and call for help. Shropshire Ambulance Service were amazing they arrived within 15 minutes walking along the towpath to get to us as we were about half a mile from the road. They decided it would be easier to take us to the turning circle, turn around and go back to the ambulance by boat. The man from the hotel boat Willow helped my daughter moor up while I went to Wrexham Hospital with Eric. Some chaps from Canaltime at Blackwater Meadow Marina came up from the marina to help move the boat down to the visitor moorings alerted by some friendly walkers who had seen us going off in an ambulance. The paramedics were great, they enjoyed their boat trip and we were soon wired up and on our way to hospital. It turned out the excruciating pain was due to a kidney infection but it's better to be safe than sorry. Ben the dog also had a bad day - he has a plaster on his ear where a collie dog bit him! Clare bumped her head on the hatch trying to catch an escapee dog so I think that's all the bad luck we need for one day! Needless to say we never got Sunday lunch!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Winter Moorings!

We have spent just over a week in Ellesmere and the BW man is certainly taking his boat check seriously- he comes past everyday. We have been chatting to other boaters on this lovely canal and found that they have been told that as they already know about the stoppage at Grindley Brook they need a winter mooring to stay on this canal for the winter! What happened to being able to continuously cruise along the open section of the canal? One lady boater we know feels so harassed by BW that she is selling her boat and going back to living in a house. She's always followed the rules and stays off the visitor moorings so she can stay two weeks on the towpath, but doesn't want a winter mooring in one place. Are any other continuous cruisers facing hassle about staying the winter on other canals?
Before we heard about all the hassle certain continuous cruisers were having around Ellesmere, we had decided to spent the winter in Llangollen and rang BW to arrange it- apparently they allow thirteen boats to stay online for a mooring fee. You can stay on the arm at Ellesmere, it's cheaper but Llangollen has water and electricity next to each boat. We had tried to book two weeks in December in a marina but as the hire boats are all back it was impossible. Well I feel better after a moan!!
This week we've seen a big change in the weather here. It's been misty and cold most mornings but the sun has come out to cheer us up. Ben and I have enjoyed lots of walks on crunchy leaves. The nights have been really cold with clear skies and the heating has cut in , even though it's only set low. In the evenings we have lit the stove and toasted, while we watched TV. Ben has kept us busy throwing the ball along the boat as it's too dark for a long evening walk.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ellesmere- Just A Quick Update.

We are at Ellesmere again, Ben loves it here as there is a big field he can run in and lots of walks too. We arrived just in time for Sunday Lunch at The Ellesmere Hotel, which is under new management. All I can say is the food was delicious- beautifully cooked and it cost £7.50 each for three courses so it's a great price too. On Monday I rang the dentist to fix up an appointment as I had broken a tooth on Saturday and on Tuesday I travelled home via Shrewsbury for my appointment. It needs a cap so it will be two more visits before it's sorted. I stayed overnight at my dad's house and in the morning I went to the doctor and got my flu jab and then caught the train back to Shrewsbury. It was certainly a flying visit! While I was away all it did was rain in Ellesmere, but let's hope it clears up now I am back.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sorry Chas And Anne!

There's some pretty places on the Shroppie- we loved Audlem. We actually found a space to moor at Nantwich too near the aqueduct, which makes a change. We went into town to do some shopping and have a wander around, sometimes it's nice to see lots of people. From Nantwich we headed for Hurleston Junction and the Llangollen Canal. We passed a boat and realised it was NB Moore2Life and Chas and Ann were waving at us from a bridge- sorry we didn't stop Eric was on autopilot!
Hurleston Locks were quiet but the lockie had had a busy morning- already three boats had got stuck in the first lock and the pound was low as she had to lower it to get them out. We passed through without any problem , but the next boat got stuck- what a bad day for the lockie! Above the locks we used the services and Ben enjoyed a run around on the towpath.
We continued on our way and did Swanley Locks where Ben decided to try and get on the boat while he was still on a lead, he ended up in the canal but he was none the worse for his impromptu swim. He got dried off and promptly tucked into his food. We continued on through locks until we got to Wrenbury. We wanted to stop here and do the black topcoat on the gunnel's as the towpath was about to change to the other side. We forgot about the church clock which chimes every quarter hour so I didn't sleep that well and ended up having a few cups of tea during the night.
At Marbury Lock we met Michelle from North Carolina on NB Shilling- she told me she reads my blog. I hope I heard your name correctly - otherwise sorry! We are still on the lookout for NB No Problem, who are heading our way. Ben and I walked to the next lock and Eric steered the boat. We got on board at Willeymoor Lock as we wanted to get past Grindley Brook Locks and get some fuel at Viking Afloat in Whitchurch before Saturday. As we approached the third lock who turned the corner and was heading towards the full lock but Sue and Vic on NB No Problem. This time the name was newly painted on the bow so they were easy to spot. A coffee break and a chat followed, as usual Vic made the coffees! Nice to see you both again- we look forward to meeting up again next year!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Onwards And Upwards!

An Autumn Tree
Bridge 39

We continued on our way up the Shroppie, Ben enjoyed his usual long walk as we followed the boat for an hour or so, but we remembered to go on board before we got to Grub Street Cutting- it's just so wet and muddy. The picture is of bridge 39 in the cutting- I love the mini telegraph pole from the days when telegraph poles were alongside the canal. All around us the trees are changing too! A kingfisher accompanied us along the cutting, even staying on the branch to have his photo taken.
We spent a quiet night near Tyrley Locks and in the morning we went down the five locks- the canal is definitely quieter now that it's October. Market Drayton was our next stop to get some food, we ended up shopping in Iceland. I looked like a granny with my shopping trolley but who cares! Lots more boats here at the visitor moorings but still very pleasant. We did the five locks at Adderley and then stopped- we needed a good night sleep before we did the Audlem 15! Someone in Adderley had a firework display, so Ben was upset by this- he really hates unusual noises. As we approach November 5th no doubt we will hear many more firework parties and have to reassure Ben that its OK!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Heading North- Up The Shroppie

We had a few hours in Stafford and then moved on to the peace and quiet of the countryside above Deptmore Lock- no roads or railways near here. We intended to visit Midland Chandlers near Penkridge but forgot it would be Sunday and they were shut. Near Penkridge the canal gets noisy as the M6 is so close, but we watched the cars and lorries whizzing by we were glad we were taking life in the slow lane. At Coven we stopped for fish and chips, we remembered from our previous visit how good they were! After lunch we headed off to Autherley Junction and through the lock onto the Shropshire Union Canal.

Now we really were heading north This canal is a series of cuttings and embankments running north to south and as it is rural it's one of our favourites. Its so straight after the meanderings of the Staffs and Worcs Canal. The days are getting shorter and the trees are definitely starting their autumnal change. It's also cold in the mornings too but we can always flick the switch and put the heating on. Most of the time we use the solid fuel stove as it keeps us warm all night without the noise of the heating system. We moored on an embankment a mile or so outside Brewood, only us there but by teatime we had eight boats with us. In the morning we did a bit of shopping at 'Coopers' in Brewood, then moved onto Wheaton Aston to fill up with water as I did the washing while we were on the move. At the visitor moorings we carefully selected a space away from the big oak tree- we remembered how we were bombarded with droppings under this tree! The satellite television worked but no luck with the laptop, so I took Ben the dog for a walk instead