Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sunday At Deptmore Lock

We arrived above Deptmore Lock in the peace and quiet. Usually we are the only boat moored here but this weekend there were five moored up. It's far enough away from the M6 to just hear only the faint buzz of traffic and away from Stafford. Ben enjoyed his walks in the countryside and we managed to miss getting wet in the rain, usually getting back just when it emptied down. We even had some thunder and lightening.
Monday morning came and we were moving on, and I heard the heating cut in at 7.30am to heat up the water for our showers but stayed in bed until 8.45am. I let Ben go out to relieve himself and then showered and dressed. Eric was not disturbed until Ben decided to give him a big lick. By 10.30am we were ready to go with the washing machine set to work off the travel generator while we travelled. Alan and Eiddwen (NB Shush) were all ready too and we helped each other through the lock. We didn't go far as I need to go to Newport next week and Stafford has a train station.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Pub Lunch And A Visit To Midland Chandlers

Ben safely tethered at the locks

After a good nights sleep moored below Gailey Lock we set off with NB Shush for a pleasant day's cruising. Ben enjoyed his morning run and was able to run free as we worked four locks as there are no nearby roads until we neared Penkridge. Eiddwen and I went to find some bread and milk at a store near Bridge 84 while our other halves went to the pub next to the bridge. We joined them at the pub (we workers need liquid refreshment too) and had some lovely crusty baguettes for lunch.
Our mission after that was to work three locks and get to the chandlers before they closed (5.30pm) as they are shut on Sunday's. We bought paint to touch up the crash marks, some pipe fenders , some light bulbs and a new bucket- we could have spent a fortune but we were trying to be thrifty! Two more locks later and we had found a quiet spot away from traffic noise to spent the night. Good satellite reception so us telly addicts are happy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Eric At Autherley Junction

Click on any picture for a larger image.

Onto The Staffs And Worcs Canal

NB Shush Turning

Today we left the Shroppie behind and turned left onto the Staffs and Worcs Canal and headed towards Great Haywood along with our travelling pals Alan and Eiddwen on NB Shush. Lots of boats about today and we were lucky not to meet anyone coming towards us at 'Pendeford Rockin', which is old boatmen's name for a shallow, narrow cutting through a solid belt of sandstone. BW has been busy there is a lovely towpath along this section although it says the towpath is closed. We kept going away from the M54 motorway and back into the peace and quiet of the countryside to look for a mooring for the night. Having travelled this way several times before we knew a good spot where we could get a great satellite reception.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Together Again

A beautiful sunset

After two beautiful sunny days cruising the Shropshire Union Canal we finally caught up with Alan and Eiddwen on NB Shush at Wheaton Aston. They had been dragging their heels staying 48 hours in each visitor moorings. I rang them to say we'd see them in the afternoon and Alan had his binoculars out looking down or up the cut to see us approach but Ben the dog and I got there before the boat as we needed to be sure there was a space. We then had a cuppa and a long chat. Eric was a delighted when a boat trader actually sold him a pin to make his dragon tiller and it was soon finished and proudly in place.

On our travels from Norbury Junction we met an Australian couple on a boating holiday who read my blog, sorry didn't get your names but you can post a comment and tell me!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Locks, Locks And More Locks!

A bright and early start (for us) and we worked the 15 locks through Audlem pausing to stay the night at Coxbank where the visitor moorings quickly filled up. In the morning at eight o'clock we woke up to find only two boats left, everyone else had a very early start. We did the last two locks of the Audlem 15. Then Ben and I set off for our morning walk , we worked the Adderley 5 locks and then got back aboard to avoid the muddy, boggy path at the cutting before Market Drayton. We filled up with diesel at Bridge 65 ( 66p a litre) and stopped at the visitor moorings to go shopping. I needed sewing machine needles as the last one had broken while I was making some loose covers for our breakfast bar chairs. We also bought some shopping in Iceland which is in the town centre. Ben had a new rubber ball from the pet shop for when we can find a big space to play in. I posted a postcard to my dad to add to his collection and then we were on the move again. We worked the Tyrley 5 Locks and set off into the countryside for a peaceful place to moor for the night.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Church Minshull to Coole Pilate Leisure Area

Coole Pilate Leisure Area

Ben the dog and I set off from Church Minshull in the wind and the rain. Eric caught us up after battling with a big stick (the boat pole) to push the boat far enough out so that he could get back on before the wind blew it back to the side. It was a pleasant enough walk but rather muddy in places. We did the two locks on this stretch of the canal and finally crawled along past all the moored boats and reached Barbridge Junction. Lots of boats here and a blind corner but we were the only ones to use our horn and somebody even had the cheek to tell us which side we should pass him on- as if we didn't know! Turned left at Barbridge onto the main Shropshire Union canal and passed Hurleston Junction to the services at Nantwich. The moorings near the aqueduct were nearly empty and we intended to moor there but it difficult to get a stake in as the rings are not in the right places for our boat. We tied up had our dinner/tea and moved through Hack Green Locks to moor at Coole Pilate Leisure Area. Again it was very quiet with just a few boats moored- a lovely place to stay the night. There are even stands to put disposable barbecues on. After a very quiet night we moved on- lots of locks today!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Along The Middlewich Branch (Again)

We moored for the night at a pleasant quiet spot just above Bridge 160. In the morning we headed back up the Trent and Mersey Canal and worked the six locks to reach Middlewich. The wind was icy cold today and didn't make boating easy. We did make a 'fish and chip' stop at Kings Lock as it was lunch time! We moored the boat at the visitor moorings in Middlewich (totally empty) and shopped for a few essentials including a new lump hammer which leaped into the canal by Bridge 160. After our shopping we headed out into the countryside again. The wind is wild outside and the Virgin trains pass speedily by but the satellite signal is good and we are warm and cosy. NB Shush with Alan and Eiddwen is way ahead of us slowly going down the Shroppie- lots of locks for us to work before we catch them up! See you both soon!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Introducing Gwenllian

I have just spent five days in Wales while our narrowboat had a shower refit to replace some water damaged wood. It gave Eric and I the opportunity to spend some time with our new granddaughter Gwenllian, so I thought I'd show you how beautiful she is- but I am biased. Lisa and Gerwyn have had loads of presents - thanks to everyone concerned. Sally and Bob let us stay with them with Ben the dog. Luckily Ben got on well with their puppy Sam the Jack Russell and he did prefer Sam's food! They enjoyed morning runs in the park with Ben chasing a ball and Sam chasing after Ben. Enterprise Car Hire provided an excellent service as they collected us from Northwich Boats and returned us at the end of our hire period. We returned to the boat to find our list of jobs completed and the interior of the boat had been thoroughly cleaned. Thanks to Northwich Boats for an excellent service.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Change Of Plan

From the comment on the blog I now know it was Sarah on NB Greyhound who reads my blog. Hi Sarah pleased to meet you, I've just had a look at your blog. Ben is the usual mad collie but he's got used to being tied up and waiting while we do the lock.
After a quiet night we decided to move on from Middlewich as we couldn't get a satellite signal and normal TV was useless too- it was BBC 1 or nothing. At Wardle Lock the heavens opened - a hail storm and I didn't have my wet gear on. Yesterday I had it all on and it didn't rain all day. At Wardle Lock we had trouble opening to gates, and the boat was grounding at the stern. We missed our pals on NB Shush- we needed you today!

A quick stop at Kings Lock Chandlery as I'd seen some oven shelves and our boat only has one. I took my shelf to get one the same, of course I had to give it a good clean first, not easy when it won't fit in the sink. It was nice having an extra shelf in the oven as I could actually cook two things at the same time.

Soon we were off again through Rumps Lock and at Booth Lane Locks I decided to give Ben the dog a walk. As we passed the boatbuilders at Sandbach we met up with Les on NB Valerie and his pal on NB Tui. I said Hi but I don't think they recognised us until until they saw our boats name. We last saw them at Middlewich Locks just after Middlewich Festival 2007. We headed off to the BW Services at Wheelock to do the cassettes and fill up with water and turn around above Lock 66. Good job we remembered we could turn here from a previous trip as it's not mentioned in the Pearson Guide. Now Eric's got a great satellite signal and is watching the Ospreys in the Anglo-Welsh Cup Final and they are winning and I am on the laptop writing this blog.
Not a bad spot to moor not too much mud but there's a dual carriageway near which was surprising noisy. I do like peace and quiet to sleep.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Middlewich Branch

We were ready to move by ten am and arrived at Middlewich by midday. Ben and I walked from near Church Minshall(spelling!) with just one lock to do. At the lock we met NB Greyhound with its five greyhounds who stayed on board. Ben was tied up as we worked the lock as we are always concerned that locks are dangerous places. We also met Graham and the Tibetan terriers from NB Matilda Rose who recognised us as fellow bloggers. Don't worry about your pup- Ben would have ended up in the lock if he wasn't tied to a post. I had a look at your blog when I got back on the boat.

Plenty of room and mud at the visitor moorings so we moored up and went shopping at Somerfield. As they deliver to boats we did a big heavy shop and left it all in the trolley for a very nice man to deliver. We couldn't come here without sampling the fish and chips from the shop at King's Lock- the best fish and chips I've ever tasted! It started to pour down so we'll stay here for the night before we head off towards Sandbach to see the boatbuilders to get the leaky shower sorted out.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

On The Move

After my excitement with a trip to see my new granddaughter it was back to cruising again. We travelled down the Llangollen Canal with Alan and Eiddwen, helping each other at the locks. We are certainly not used to working the locks. At time it was cold and very wet but we still had fun. Lots of mud too! It's great seeing new places and new scenery as we travel along. We finally reached Hurleston Locks and went our separate ways as we are having some work done on the boat in Cheshire. We plan to meet up again with Alan and Eiddwen in the next few weeks. Tonight it's quiet out in the countryside but we are fine- the laptop works, the satellite reception is good and we are well fed and warm. Ben has walked miles today but he still wants to play ball on the boat- he's woofing at Eric because he's stopped throwing it to chat on the phone!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Our First Grandchild!

Just a quicky to announce the safe arrival of Gwen weighing in at 7 lbs 6 oz. She was keen to come into the world and arrived two and half weeks early. I was able to see the new arrival just a few hours old with her mum Lisa and dad Gerwyn after a three hour journey by rail. I enjoyed a cuddle and agree with her parents- she's gorgeous!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Few Days At Ellesmere

We have just spent a pleasant few days at Ellesmere- it's one of our favourite places. Ben loves it too as there's a big open space to play ball and lots of walks along well-marked footpaths. BW has been busy gritting the towpaths, which is better than mud and puddles. Lots of work was also being done to restore the damaged canal banks in this area. The BW Services at Ellesmere were very clean and we filled up with water after I'd done a few loads of washing.
Clare our daughter came to visit while we were on the Ellesmere Arm. She parked her motorbike next to the picnic table outside the boat overnight. We wondered whether BW would notice and complain but nothing was said. It was lovely to see her.There's lots of clearing work going on by the Arm so it was rather noisy during the working day and soon it will be unrecognisable with lots of new buildings. The hard sides gave Eric a chance to do a bit of touching up of the black paint on the gunnels. It's very cold today, rain, sleet and hail stones. Let's hope the snow stays away.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Cruising Again Yippee!

Trevor and Angela on NB Liberty Belle

Eric crosses Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

NB Shush with Alan & Eiddwen

I actually manged to post some photos as the connection is much better than in Llangollen, so here they are. Our first day of cruising took us over amazing aqueducts and through dark, wet tunnels. It was strange to be moving and we felt like new boaters after five months at Llangollen. NB Shush led the way from Wales back into England. Ben and I enjoyed a five mile walk along the towpath with lots of mud. Eiddwen from NB Shush got off at Chirk and joined Ben and I on our mudlark! We had a good natter while Ben investigated the new smells along the way. We moored for the night near Chirk Bank on the 48 hour moorings. It was quiet and we slept well after all the fresh air and exercise.

In the morning it was great to have a new view out of the window. Soon we were on our way but it was extremely windy and the boat was blown around as soon as we needed to manoeuvre. I walked the three miles to New Marton Locks with Ben the dog and Eiddwen came too. As the boats approached the locks it was very hard to moor up and wait in the queue with the strong wind blowing the boat to the other side of the canal. The pull of the weir didn't help either and some lads from Danes School were a great help in pulling in the boat when Eric and I struggled with the wind. They also helped us through the locks- thanks boys- we really appreciated it. NB Shush stopped near Jack Myttons (Hindford) and we moored up together. Later we had a few drinks in the pub which had a log fire, comfy seats and a friendly landlord. Hopefully the wind will have died down by tomorrow.