Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Home Again

Dinas Bran From Sun Trevor

We travelled back to the boat in time to miss the snow expected in south Wales and our daughter told us it has arrived today. The journey was uneventful with the roads much clearer than when we travelled down to Newport and we watched the outside temperature on the car display as we travelled getting colder the further north we went. Ben travelled in the back with the seat folded down covered in a blanket to make room for luggage and dog. He was a very good boy and he just went to sleep unless we negotiated a roundabout when his head popped up to see what was going on.

First job when we got to our boaty home was to warm it up- on went the central heating and the coal fire was lit. An hour later the temperature had gone up from 6 to 20 degrees C and we were toasty. Soon the bags were emptied and the washing mountain added to. The washing machine will be busy this week! We made use of the hire car to get some shopping in as the weather forecast is not good- snow, snow and more snow.

Walking the dog today was very slippery- a lot of the towpath is just ice so you end up picking your way along the grassy bits and even Ben stayed off the ice. At present it's raining hard interspersed with sleety rain but the weather forecast says snow tonight so no doubt we'll wake up to a white Llangollen.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Everybody

We are away from the boat for a few days celebrating Christmas with family in south Wales. The boat is being watched over by friends at our Llangollen winter mooring. We survived the journey but the weather was horrendous- the car temperature showing an outside temperature of -4 decrees C as we headed southwards. Ben was glad to be out of the car in snowy Newport. The next day was the Christmas food shop and our daughter Clare looked after Ben for us once he'd had a good run around the park. To say it was busy is putting it mildly and it took ages to get what we needed with the number of people shopping and the checkout queues. We picked up the mail from Paula-Eric's sister including lots of Christmas cards and then back to Clare's house where Ben was waiting looking out of the window!
Soon it was Christmas Eve- one more sleep til Christmas and we were looking forward to seeing our granddaughter Gwenllian after we'd had our Christmas dinner. We had turkey with all the trimmings but it was quite strange this year as it was dinner for four or should I say five as Ben had some turkey with his dog food! Lisa and Gerwyn wanted dinner in their own house and Sally and Bob had other plans too. Eric as usual was the taxi service and he went to pick up my dad for dinner and he spent the rest of the day with us. It was great to see Gwenllian opening presents - at 20 months she's quite a sweetheart and we were entertained with her favourite songs until she was so shattered she needed a nap.
Ben was having a quiet hour or so while we did the visiting as he's too big and boisterous for Gwenllian. He'd also like to help himself to her soft toys. He was a very good boy while we were out considering he'd not been alone in a house before. He's used to being left in the boat which is a little different. It was three to one decision to watch Doctor Who although my dad had other ideas. We're now lounging around- eaten too much, not drunk enough yet and 'Gavin and Stacey' has just started on the TV- so its bye for now!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowy Llangollen December 2009

A View From A Window

Bendy In The Snow

Ben In The Snow

Sunday morning came and we woke up and peeped outside to find the snow had arrived in the night making the view of Llangollen from the boat a very pretty sight. Ben and I went outside to take a picture of NB Bendigedig in the snow- useful for next year's Christmas cards. It also made seasonal desktop image for my laptop. Ben doesn't mind the snow and Eric and I were soon all wrapped up off on a walk along the towpath with Ben the dog. We slipped and slided but managed not to end up on our backsides with the ice hidden beneath the snow. Ben charged around as usual in the snow staying firmly on his four feet.

The Snowman On Dinas Bran

Nick and Liz (NB Henry) went walking yesterday with Connie and found this snowman but he was feeling the cold wind without a hat. So Liz kindly lent him her Christmas hat and Nick took a photo!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Boater's Lunch At The Wild Pheasant Hotel

Today we sampled the menu at another £5 lunch venue and you wouldn't believe the difference in the food. The Christmas Lunch was beautiful - real slices of turkey rather than a thin slice at the other venue and basically much more for the money and included all the usual trimmings- stuffing balls, pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce! Well worth a return visit. We all wore silly Christmas hats provided by Liz and Nick and had a very pleasant time. While we sat eating lunch the snow came down leaving a sprinkling on Dinas Bran which we could see from the restaurant. A few hours later we walked back along the riverside walk to town and then back to the boat after a little bit of necessary food shopping. Ben the dog was waiting for us and greeted us with enthusiasm.

A Little Christmas Spirit

What have we been up to this week you ask. On Monday Liz and I tackled a circular route involving Trevor Rocks and Dinas Bran as we felt like a long walk with the dogs- we were out three hours. It could have been even longer as Ben freaked and froze on the way down- he must have heard something we didn't notice. I think it was the bang of a van door at the edge of the field and it took two of us to drag him out of the field- he just didn't want to move! When he did finally move in his haste he caused me to trap my hand in a gate but luckily it's only bruised. We finally walked though Dinas Bran School following a footpath diversion and he was soon happy to be back in his safe place- under the bed on the boat! He's a strange dog- very easily freaked out by noises.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Liz and I took the dogs Connie and Ben for a lovely walk in the Ty Mawr Country Park next to the River Dee. You can access it from the steps down from the Pontycysyllte Aqueduct on the same side as Anglowelsh. We actually did a circular walk going over the aqueduct and along the towpath , along a road to the entrance of the Ty Mawr Country Park near the Cefn Viaduct and then alongside the River Dee back to the Pontycysyllte Aqueduct. The dogs had a great time chasing each other and paddling in the shallows while they were off their leads. They needed a rub down before they could back in the car- and Connie didn't really want Ben in her space- he takes up too much room.

In the evening we went to see a 'Seasonal Schools Concert' at the Royal Internation Pavilion in Llangollen, featuring pupils from five local primary schools. I enjoy hearing the school choirs sing and it was nice to be in the audience rather than the teacher hoping that everything goes to plan. We joined in with the singing as requested in three of the carols but luckily the choirs drowned out our voices. We walked back to the boats with Nick and Liz enjoying the sight of very tasteful Christmas lights in Llangollen. We certainly felt a lot more Chrismassy after the concert.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Dry Day In Llangollen

Ben Waiting For Me

Dinas Bran
Trevor Rocks
Saturday morning and it's still dry so I decided to take Ben for a walk up towards Sun Trevor even though it was guaranteed to be a mud bath. I put on the waterproofs as protection against the mud and set off. The sky was blue as my photos show! Nobody else was walking as it was only ten o'clock so we had a lovely walk despite the muddy sections. The first photo shows Ben waiting for me to catch up. From the towpath there are good views of Dinas Bran and Trevor Rocks places we like to walk to when we are feeling more energetic.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It Didn't Rain In Llangollen Today!

Dinas Bran

We woke this morning to blue sky with just a few clouds- we just didn't believe our eyes we've had so much rain. I planned to go for a nice long walk along the canal as far as the Motor Museum and then along a farm track , through a field of sheep over a few stiles past Valle Crucis Abbey and up a gentle slope in the hills overlooking the abbey before heading back down to the canal- a route I've walked many times before. Eric decided to come too although he wasn't feeling that energetic. Valle Crucis Abbey is one of the points on the Llangollen History Trail.

It was great to walk without rain but there was plenty water, mud and puddles underfoot. We took it slowly and Ben had a great time jumping the stiles like a pro- he didn't attempt to get over stiles until Connie ( Liz and Nick's dog) showed him how last year. We finally got back to the boat a few hours later just in time for lunch. We came back via the marina as Ben enjoys a paddle in the shallow canal and he certainly needed a wash! Connie swims in this bit of the canal but Ben just paddles with no attempt to go into deeper water where he would need to swim.

Ben had a good sleep so he must have had a good walk and Eric certainly needed a sleep. After lunch we had a quiet afternoon -no playing ball as Ben was sleep.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Boater's Lunch At The Chainbridge Hotel

Today 14 Boaters set off for a 45 minute walk to the Chainbridge Hotel along the towpath to have lunch. This included the crew of NB Blue Diamond, NB Shush, NB Cabinessence, NB Libertybelle, NB Blue Toad, NB Henry and of course NB Bendigedig. The path was full of puddles and mud but the rain managed to stay away until we were nearly there. We sampled their £5 lunch menu including Christmas Dinner and Christmas pud for afters-not particularly big portions but you get what you pay for! (To be quite honest we were disappointed with the food!)As the meal was booked a table was laid ready for us. I should have taken the camera as it's the first time we've all got together although we have winter moored at Llangollen for the past three years. We enjoyed the chat before we had a walk back to our boats.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Christmas Comes To Llangollen

Today Eric and I took Ben to play ball up the field which he enjoyed! It wasn't raining which made a nice change and not as cold as it has been. Ben had a few dips in the canal complete with his ball and came out dripping wet. On the way back we paused to watch the Christmas Parade led by Father Christmas himself but didn't stay long as Ben freaked out when the band started with a bang of the big drum. He really doesn't like strange noises and this becomes a problem when we're out walking and the guns can be heard from a shoot. He just can't wait to return to the safety of the boat.
The lights are up in Llangollen as they are in Wrexham when I went to do a bit of Christmas Shopping. I never know what to get for presents -it seems to get harder each year. The cards are all written ready to be posted next week. I'll have to get the decorations out and put them up so I'll begin to feel like Christmas is coming. The boats along the wharf usually look really Christmassy and Ben avoids going anywhere near the inflatable Santa's and snowmen which makes going for a walk a challenge.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Not Much Going On!

The weather has turned much colder with the first frosts covering Llangollen. The muddy towpath became crunchy which was a bonus as far as dog walking goes. Eric's gone back to Newport to visit family and see the doctor as he has some new tablets which were giving him a bad headache when he took them. So I'm home alone except for Ben the dog who keeps me company.

Today I went to Aqua Aerobics which was good fun although I certainly knew I'd been exercising. The water was lovely and warm too! Once you're over sixty it's free on Wednesday mornings so that'll be an added bonus along with free bus travel and cheaper rail travel- something to look forward to! Ben and Connie had a couple of walks today but it was bitterly cold so out came the woolly hat and gloves- for me not the dogs. It was warm enough walking but I was quite glad to be back in the warm on the boat.