Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thaw Please........

A few days of slightly warmer weather has made little difference to the thick ice that surrounds the boat and I could do with a change of scenery! On Tuesday the paths were so dangerous with water lying on top of ice making walking difficult and me picking my way along the little bit of grass next to the hedgerows. Even Ben slid a few times and he's got four feet. Passing NB Ubique Chris and Debbie told us they were planning to throw a hose over to the waterpoint later so it turned into a busy day as Chris got a hose over to the water point and the hoses got joined together to fill up the boats. We're too far away for hoses so it was filling containers for us but Eric managed to get over 200 litres into the water tank. Lots of boaters chatting as the water tanks got filled, most of us can't wait to get moving again as we've been stuck in ice for a month now.

Today (Wednesday) we've been surrounded by mist and the towpath had less ice and more mud. You still had to take care as in places there was still ice. We walked up towards Ellesmere Tunnel planning to go for a walk alongside Blakemere but it was so icy we turned around and walked through the wood and into town where the paths were clear. The canal is still solid ice with a layer of water on top and the ducks are sliding along as they walk. All I can say is thaw please.................. I'm fed up with the view from my window!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rain Not Snow!

We had a very quiet Christmas this year as it was our first Christmas on the boat, we usually visit family in Wales but we had to made do with telephone calls. The noise at the other end meant everyone was having a good time. We nevertheless had a good Christmas- plenty to eat and drink and we know how the turkey feels- stuffed! Eric came walking on Christmas Day and we managed to stay upright despite the snow and ice. Ben enjoyed his presents and Eiddwen and Alan (NB Shush) gave him a wrapped parcel which he carried back to the boat. He unwrapped it himself and ate the doggy bone within ten minutes and wondered what was for pudding. He also had his own Christmas dinner including sprouts which didn't affect him in the way they always affect us!

The weather this morning feels a good bit warmer and it's raining which is good news as it means it's thawing. The forecast for the next few days is slightly warmer weather in Ellesmere so we are hoping that the ice layer on top of the canal will melt but it's so thick it'll take some melting. Until then we are stuck in ice in rainy Ellesmere not going anywhere.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Everybody

One more sleep until Christmas Day! As I look out the window this Christmas Eve at all the snow and ice I think of poor old Santa and hope he's got his thermals on! Click on this link for free Christmas graphics.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve ( according to Chris Evans)

A view from NB Bendigedig

Another very cold night but no more snow. Ben and I explored the woods as this is his favourite walk then it was time for the coal run. We needed a couple of bags to keep us going over Christmas so out came the trolleys and off we went. After that it was a walk into Ellesmere to get some brandy sauce for the Christmas pud. Walking past 'The Black Lion' we decided to have some lunch. This time we sampled the steak and kidney pie excellent value at £4.95 each for the smaller portions, and it tasted delicious. My £10 Christmas bonus on my pension paid for this! After lunch we did the last few bits of shopping as the last place I want to be on Christmas Eve is in the queues at Tesco.

Back on the boat is was time to resuscitate the fire as we hadn't planned to be so long. Soon it came back to life and we settled down for a cosy evening on the boat. Ben just wanted to play ball so we didn't get much peace. Two more sleeps until Christmas day!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lots More Snowy In Snowy Ellesmere

Ben in the snow

Overnight Tuesday we had about five inches of snow and it's still snowing so walking the dog was going to be fun. The good thing is that it feels a bit warmer. Ben waited patiently while I got up and off we went for our walk along the towpath towards Tetchill and the snow stopped. It was lovely to be out in soft, white snow with the sun making the snow glitter in the sunshine. Going was slow for me but Ben was enjoying running in the snow.

Back on the boat Eric had been to get two cans of diesel and now the tank is full at last. The crew of NB Ubique which is moored opposite the water point had managed to get a hose over to the tap and with the hoses joined together the boats nearby were getting full tanks of water. We lent them our hose as one of the boater's hoses was frozen and then we took down some containers and did four trips and added 200 litres to our tank as we are too far away to connect hoses. We can see water so we'll be OK for a while. It was two o'clock before we finally sat down so we decided to get the coal tomorrow!

Countdown: It's only three sleeps to Christmas Day! (not counting afternoon naps!)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yippee- A Boat Safety Scheme Certificate

Today I am delighted NB Bendigedig passed her first BSS examination. Mark Edwards aka as the Yellow Van arrived this morning through ice and snow and did it for us in Ellesmere. Anyway all my worrying about whether it would pass and it did. We'd sorted out the batteries by covering them and strapping them down so they were immobile and the gas locker was rust free and painted with Comastic as it's always wet at the bottom. Apparently these are two of the things that cause a failure. Anyway we're OK until now until January 2015.
After my delight it was back to normality by taking the washing to the laundrette while Eric went with the trolley to get some water and got rid of a bag of rubbish. It 's so cold here in Ellesmere we were glad to back in the warm on the boat. Ben doesn't seem to mind the weather he's been charging through the snow in the woods on our walk earlier today.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brr It's Cold!

A snowy scene - Llangollen (21/02/2010)
Snow fell on Friday and I was so glad I came back to the boat before the travel chaos on roads and trains. We had more snow on Saturday with overnight temperatures about minus 12 degrees and the canal froze over once again. Listening to the weather forecast it's very cold in Shropshire. Overnight we leave the diesel heater on set at 5 degrees C just in case the temperature drops too much and last night the heating came on at 6 am. The noise it makes wakes me up but at least it kept the engine a bit warmer overnight. In the morning we needed a bag of coal for the stove and some diesel to keep that heater going but we were in luck as a boater was going on a diesel run to Grindley Brooke so he brought us back some at 65p rather than 91p a litre as it is in Blackwater Meadow Marina.

Nothing much happening today other than dog walking in the snow through the woods and alongside the Mere where the soft snow made easy walking and a careful walk on icy pavements through Ellesmere back along the Arm to the boat. I then did some food shopping as we're having Christmas on the boat as our plans to go to Newport have been postponed until the weather's better and much much warmer.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snowy Ellesmere

More snow!

Yesterday I came back after a visit to Newport delivering Christmas presents as it doesn't look as though we'll be able to get there for Christmas. It was also a dreaded dentist visit as I needed fillings! I was glad I came back on Thursday afternoon as the weather steadily got worse as we travelled further north. The train got colder and the snow began to fall. In Shrewsbury the snow was falling as I waited for the bus to Ellesmere and in Ellesmere there was a covering of snow when I arrived. The paths were icy so it was a slow and careful walk back to the boat in the dark. I did have a torch but it was getting dimmer and finally died as I got to the boat.

In Newport I bought a fold up Christmas tree which works on the same principle as those spiral wired laundry baskets- mainly because it fitted in my suitcase once I'd got rid of the packaging. It's a good idea for the boat as it doesn't take up much room when storing it for next year. So NB Bendy looks a little bit Chrismassy!

An email from BW tells us the canal will not reopen until the morning of December 22nd but with a four mile stretch of ice from Trevor to Llangollen nobody is going anywhere. So we'll have Christmas in Ellesmere unless there's a considerable thaw. Nick and Liz on NB Henry are on ice watch!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We're Floating!

The good news-this morning most of the ice has gone and we're floating again, but the bad news is more bad weather is forecast for this weekend so we're staying put. We certainly don't want to be stuck somewhere miles away from water, food, coal, diesel and elsan facilities. We have arranged our Boat Safety Inspection for next Monday so fingers crossed after that we'll be off to Llangollen. Lots of ifs involved here- if the stoppage is finished, if we can get there as we'd heard the ice is thick along the section from Llangollen to Trevor where the feed from Horseshoe Falls was turned off. The water has been pumped from the River Dee near Trevor to keep the canal in water and feed the reservoir at Hurleston. We're just in limbo at the moment with nothing much happening to make an interesting blog so apologies for boring you.

Today it's cold again so it's a case of wrap up warm and take Ben for his walk, after that who knows what the day brings. Perhaps we'll move the boat to fill up with water rather than filling containers!
Update: Bendy had a short cruise today as we went to the waterpoint and then reversed back to our mooring with some difficulty as we moored around a corner past lots of moored boats. As the waterpoint is slow and the tank was very low, Eric went to get two cans of diesel while we filled up the water as it wasn't quite so far to walk.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Brief Thaw Then Its Cold Again

Nothing much happening at NB Bendigedig, we're still warm and cosy and would love to be cruising but it's not to be. Saturday gave us a considerable thaw with the towpaths turning from ice to mud, but Sunday morning they are solid again. The canal has thick ice which failed to melt completely yesterday and a thin layer of new ice where it fell below freezing point last night. Even the ducks are confused as they land on water and discover it's still ice and skid along on their webbed feet.

Yesterday I did the Christmas shopping in Shrewsbury, travelling by bus it takes about 45 minutes. I managed to get most of the gifts as I'm planning to take them with me to Newport on Wednesday as I have a dental appointment the next day. I'll leave them at my dad's just in case we don't get to Newport for Christmas. Looking at the long range forecast it doesn't look good! It's all in limbo awaiting news of how the ice is up towards Llangollen and whether the stoppage is over on December 17th as planned.

Meanwhile we carry on with our water carrying today. We'll need coal and fuel tomorrow. We're lucky being stuck here at Ellesmere because we are in easy reach of everything we need including food- it could be a lot worse!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Cold And Frosty Morning (Again)

A frosty fishy sculpture

Look closer at the frost

Today started with an unbelievable frost outside, everything was white with a thick layer of frost. When I went for a walk with Ben the dog I took some photographs of one of the towpath sculptures. The iron fish was totally transformed by the thick layer of frost on the metal. The fog which covered Ellesmere yesterday disappeared in the night and the clear skies with no cloud cover made it extremely cold overnight. Even with the fire in all night the temperature inside dropped to just 10 degrees C about 5am. We soon warmed it up with the central heating on.

Eric's been busy topping up the water tank with 100 litres of water but we still can't see water as the tank holds over 400 litres. He had to make four trips and it took half an hour each trip. Anyway the cassettes are done so we just need some coal and diesel tomorrow. I've been to the launderette to do a load of washing rather than carry water to use the machine on the boat. While it was washing I had my hair done at 'Ceri's ' killing two birds with one stone. I feel pampered because it's not often I have my hair washed, cut and blow dried!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Icy Days And Nights!

A View From NB Bendigedig at Ellesmere

Nothing much happening here in Ellesmere except loads of boats going nowhere. For some reason the boat in front has a bit of clear water but we're iced in and the boat creaks and groans when we move on the boat. Yesterday morning Eric went to Blackwater Meadow Marina to get a can of diesel and the bloke there said it was -10 when he started work, now it's -2 degrees C. No problems getting 100% as we can't go anywhere unless you want to icebreak. We're on water saving and using as little water as we can and filling containers to top up the water tank. Our batteries don't like the cold and are low in the mornings so we can't use our Mikuni heater until the engine's running to give the batteries the necessary boost need for ignition to happen. Today it's coal we need so it's off to Blackwater. Life is so much easier when you can cruise, it's hard when you have to wheel water, diesel and coal to the boat.

Nick and Liz (NB Henry) visited Llangollen by car and tell me the water level is down about a foot with very thick ice on the canal- it has footprints on and they're not ducks! it- big human prints. Looking at the weather forecast it'll be ice for a while.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

December's Here- A Little Snowy Weather In Ellesmere

What can I smell?

We're not going anywhere at present by boat anyway. The canal is still frozen! We needed water so we collected some in 25 litre containers and wheeled it back to the boat. Luckily one tap at the BW was leaky so we were able to fill them up as the tap hadn't frozen.

Coal is running low but Blackwater Meadow Marina has some so Eric went to get a bag and wheeled it back. They were expecting deliveries today and tomorrow to keep all the boaters nice and warm while we're iced in. Those on winter moorings on the Ellesmere Arm are well and truly iced in so they can't move to use the BW services either.

The boat seems a good bit warmer with the Ecofan working away on the stove so we're pleased we finally got one. It's whizzing around as I write and we haven't got the extra heat at ceiling height anymore. The bedroom end is also warmer but we've also blocked the gaps where our large hatch lets in drafts and covered the back doors with a blanket. No we haven't blocked any ventilators!

Ben's not bothered by the snow and runs ahead happily while I carefully walk behind - I don't want another fall. It's so easy to slip when it's icy underfoot so I took my walking pole out with me this morning. We had a lovely walk looking at the snowy landscape but it was also nice to be back in the warm boat.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ice, Frost But No Snow Yet

Last night it was very cold outside, so cold that the Llangollen Canal froze at Ellesmere. The boat creaked and groaned in the ice too. Out came the hot water bottles to warm those toes. We put the Mikuni heating on while we charged the batteries until 8pm but the bedroom end got very cold last night even though I fed the fire coal at regular intervals. As usual I am not sleeping that well but it has it's advantages as at least the fire doesn't go out. The heating refused to come on this morning but came on fine once the engine had topped up the batteries. Next spring we are going to need new batteries at this rate.
This mornings walk was up the canal towards Frankton Junction as I wanted to walk somewhere where Ben didn't need a lead. It was crunchy underfoot and the canal was frozen except for short stretches underneath the canal bridges. Nobody about and well wrapped up it was nice to be out walking. After that Ben went back on the boat while Eric and I got some cans of fuel to top up the tank for the heating. We won't be cruising until the ice goes as we don't want to be stuck in the ice miles away from the BW services. We bought ourselves an early Christmas present- an Ecofan- in an attempt to spread the heat on the boat which seems to be at head height when you stand up.
We think we must be old and feeling the cold more. this morning a couple came off their boat in little jackets and the bloke had his sleeves pushed up. We had hats, scarfs, gloves and thick coats!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Good News! Update On The Wrist.

This morning Nick and Liz took me to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital to check my wrist at the Outpatients. They took one look at my heavy weight plaster and sent me to have it cut off with a saw as it was too thick for scissors. Then I had 3 more X rays and waited for the doctor. He said it's not a fracture, but pain and swelling caused by overstretched tendons. So the weighty cast has been replaced by a wrist brace for support- good news indeed!
Back in Ellesmere Eric met us for lunch in 'The Black Lion' and it was a lovely meal too. I had chicken tikka as I could easily eat it with just a fork. A few drinks and lots of chat before we came back to the boat and Liz and Nick drove back to their boat further down the canal at 'Poacher's Pocket'.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Falling About But Not With Laughter

Just turning around

Well the day started ok, it hadn't snowed all we had was a hard frost. We decided to go up to the turning circle and turn around so we could do the filling and emptying so we would be ok when the snow finally came. The shallow part of the turning circle was frozen so the boat did a bit of ice breaking. Ben and I walked and got back on the boat to get across to the waterpoint where we had a nice chat with other boaters servicing their boats. Everything done so I took Ben for a walk through the woods and across the now empty cow field and that's when the trouble began. The ground was frozen and I slipped ending up flat on my back with a very sore wrist where I'd put my hand out to save myself. Ben's reaction to my cries of ouch, ouch was to give me a good lick as I lay there! Thank goodness there were no cows. As my wrist was swelling with a lump the size of an egg we walked quickly back through the woods to the boat.

Ellesmere Info Link in Wharf Road came up trumps when we asked about about a hospital, ringing the Minor Injuries Unit in Oswestry and arranging a taxi to take us there. Waiting to be seen we watched the snow falling and five hours later I'm X rayed and in a plaster with a scaphoid fracture and a fracture clinic appointment in Shrewsbury tomorrow- all I can say is what a day and my wrist hurts!! A big thank you to Alan (NB Shush) who let Ben out while we were at the hospital. Liz and Nick (NB Henry) have kindly offered to take me to the hospital in Shrewsbury and we're having lunch afterwards.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just Hanging Around

Ben loves a paddle!

Not doing much this week with the boat moored up near Ellesmere and Eric has gone to Newport for a hospital appointment while I stay here with Ben the dog. I haven't done anything worth blogging about - just the usual dog walking, food shopping, reading a book and plenty of time 'silver surfing'.

It got cold on the boat and the heating cut in about 3.00 am when it fell below 10 degrees C. I was warm and cosy and the other end was warmer with the coal fire. Perhaps we should have had a central stove on our boat. I've heard various stories on how good/not so good those eco fans so I'll just have to try one one day! I was pleased the Mikuni diesel heater actually came on as it can be a bit temperamental and refuse to come on if the batteries are a bit low. Also we seem to have less trouble with it if we put it on for an hour to give it a good blast rather than let the programmer keep putting it on and off.

The temperature outside was -1 degree C at 9.00 am this morning so Ben the dog will have to wait a bit for his walk. I know he's got a fur coat but I haven't! No I don't want one I'd rather see the fur on the animal it belongs to. I've been telling Ben what a lucky boy he is to have a nice warm boat rather than the drafty barn he was living in as a puppy with the farm dogs. He loves to stretch out by the fire so he likes his creature comforts. No kennel for Ben, although I don't know what the fuss is about in the John Lewis ad- it's only and advert and it's probably fake snow anyway.

We're off for a walk around the Mere and no doubt Ben will paddle in it unless of course the edge is frozen!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another Weekend In Ellesmere

A sculpture in Castlefields with the cows!
The trouble with not cruising so much in the winter it that when you need to fill and empty things you have to move. We also needed to run the engine to get some washing done. Once Eric was at the waterpoint I took Ben for a walk and by the time we got back the boat had moved- Ben had his puzzled look. We walked along the towpath to find the boat as he hadn't gone far. On Saturday morning we took Ben for a walk through the wood and across the field to the Mere and we were in luck as the cows grazing in the field were a long way from the footpath. The picture is one of the sculptures we passed in the cow field. In the afternoon Eric did a few boaty jobs, first of all he topped up the batteries and then made a wooden cover which is secured by a ratchet strap to keep the Boat Safety examiner happy. Basically the batteries have to be prevented from moving if the boat tips or overturns and covered to stop metal items falling on the battery terminals.

On Sunday morning I put a casserole in the oven before taking Ben for a nice long walk. There were lots of dogs already in the wood so we went along the towpath to the road which leads into Ellesmere alongside the Mere and then checked to see where the cows were before going back through the field to the wood. He had a lovely run in the wood before we walked back along the towpath to the boat. The spaniel on a boat who wants to eat Ben was inside his boat on the way back but he'd already had a go at him as we passed earlier. He's not a nice dog and he chases Ben with lots of snarling and teeth and Ben can't get past enough.

So it's lunch then I'll read the papers while Ben has a snooze.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Back Onboard

I've been back to south Wales for a few days but as much as I love to see my family I am always glad to be home on the boat. For starters a bed on dry land always feels so flat! As I arrive in Newport I always feel a bit overwhelmed by all the people everywhere compared to my comparatively quiet boaty life. I was pleased that my daughter Clare could meet me for lunch and we had a great catch up chat. Later I got a bus to my dad's house where I'd booked B & B -his little joke- he always checks his diary to see if there's room. Lots of hugs followed by a noisy evening as he's rather deaf and he has the TV on very loud. Back in my childhood bedroom again and I'm trying to get some sleep but I can hear traffic and other noises I'm not used to and as I said the bed feels too flat.

The next day it was a visit to the dentist for a checkup and I knew I'd be coming back as I'd lost a couple of fillings. Later in the day I caught a bus to visit my granddaughter Gwenllian and her parents Lisa and Gerwyn. It's always great to see them and Gwen is such a lovely little girl but all grandparents say that! She loves books and brings me some to read to her. Soon it was time to go back to my dad's house and I was in luck at Gerwyn gave me a lift home on his way to work.

In the morning it was up bright and early to catch the ten o'clock train to Shrewsbury and then a bus trip to Ellesmere. With only nine minutes to get from the train station to the bus it was a rush but I made it. Now I'm happily back afloat- both Eric and Ben were very pleased to see me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hello Shush!

Cold and frosty NB Shush

Ben was keen to go out for a walk on Monday so I was walking through the woods at nine o'clock- far too early for me. By the time we got back Eric was ready to move a little way to use the services at BW Ellesmere. We then moored up in front of Alan and Eiddwen on NB Shush. Ben was delighted to see Alan and went to get his ball for him to throw. NB Shush is having engine troubles with a head gasket gone and the new one has to come from Holland. As you rely on the engine for all your power it's not easy. Tesco had a power cut too early on Sunday morning which caused havoc with the tills as the card readers were playing up. Luckily I'd enough cash to pay for my shopping as the cash machine was not working either.

It's another cold and frosty morning but the antifreeze in the engine has been changed so we're all prepared for another cold winter. We bought too much antifreeze as we were unsure how much we'd need- the Beta 43 Manual doesn't tell you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Little Further To Ellesmere

'The Plantation'- a walk in the woods

On Saturday we cruised a little further, Ben and I walked with Liz and Connie from NB Henry until we reached Colemere. We left them mooring up and continued our walk passing the beautiful lakes Colemere and Blakemere before going throught Ellesmere Tunnel to moor up near the entrance to 'The Plantation' on the 14 day moorings. ( If you click on the picture you can read all about it.) We've got dental and hospital appointments in Newport and we can easily get a bus to Shrewsbury and a train to Newport. It's a good time to go visiting too as Arriva Trains have a Club 55 deal on at the moment allowing you to travel anywhere on their trains for £15 return or £13 with a senior railcard.

Eric has some jobs to do- he needs to change the antifreeze as we wake up to cold and frosty mornings once again. This morning there's ice on the bow and the grass outside is white with frost. The batteries also need a top up as usual and he needs to make a cover for them with the boat safety inspection coming up in December. The boats looking a bit battered after a busy Summer but I expect we'll have to wait for warmer drier weather to get any painting done outside.

Not much planned for today just a walk with the dog, read the Sunday papers, cook dinner and then laze around- just a normal Sunday!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hello Henry!

NB Henry

On Friday we moved on towards Ellesmere, Ben and I walked until we'd passed through the two liftbridges. It was certainly windy and cold but we had no trouble with leaves until after Bettisfield when the canal was like leaf soup. We'd stopped at Bettisfield to top up the water and get rid of some rubbish. We cruised for about three and half hours and we said hello to Liz and Nick on NB Henry as we passed them near Hampton Bank. Connie was a bit put out that we didn't stop and started to follow us until Liz called her back. Ben was whingeing as well - they obviously wanted to play together. An hour or so later Nick and Connie came visiting so Ben and Connie got to play together.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Stormy Weather Rocks The Boat

NB Bendigedig after the storm
On Thursday we didn't move far but we needed to get some coal as we were down to the last bucket full. It was extremely windy which made moving hard going especially as the wind was pinning us to the bank. We finally got going and then had to negotiate the moored Viking boats, mostly moored three abreast to moor up three boats out from the fuel pump. In fact we blocked the canal so it was just as well nobody else was mad enough to move in this wind. Eric then had to back up to get the coal which was passed across two boat bows by the boat yard blokes to me on the bow of our boat. They were put on the roof when we were moored up. We didn't move far at all because after working through two lift bridges we had some sleety rain. So we're back moored opposite that old tree, hopefully a bit sheltered by the hedgerow alongside us. Ben and I did have a walk for an hour once I'd put on my wet gear and it certainly blew the cobwebs away. So we're sat here waiting for the storm to blow over, looking at the barometer which can't go any lower, but we've everything we need at the moment.

After a very noisy night with the winds and rain rocking and battering the boat, it was a lovely sunny Friday morning, although it was still a bit breezy. No fallen trees near us although I saw an ivy covered trunk fallen across the towpath a few hundred yards away but the canal was not blocked. So it looks like we'll me cruising a little further today and I'll be walking the dog.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

About Turn- Back To Whitchurch

Wednesday dawned a nice dry day so Eric turned the boat by the locks and headed back to the waterpoint to fill up with water. Connie and Ben played while Liz and I chatted before it was time for NB Bendigedig to head just a little way and moor near the Whitchurch Arm as we wanted to pop into town. Ben and I walked ahead to open the Whitchurch Lift Bridge so the boat could go through, it's one of the bridges which seems to take forever to open and close. We left Ben on the boat and walked into Whitchurch. One thing we wanted was the ceramic sealing strip used to seal the fire glass on our stove and you just wouldn't believe it- the shop was closed on Wednesdays. Of course all the other shops were open. We sampled the bacon baps in one shop before getting a few necessities in Tesco and walking back to the boat.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Short Cruise To Grindley Brook


After a very stormy night with rain and howling winds we were lucky it was a bit calmer on Monday morning. We decided to move down to Grindley Brook to meet up with Nick, Liz and Connie on NB Henry. Liz and Connie walked up to meet us in the rain so I had some help with the lift bridges. Ben and Connie had a great time getting filthy dirty in the process as it was very wet and muddy on the towpath, but Connie managed to get herself clean by falling in the canal by the boats (no doubt helped by Ben). Liz had to yank her out! It took a while for Eric to thaw out, he'd got really cold on the back of the boat. We had hot soup for lunch and watched the heavy rain from the nice warm boat.

On Tuesday the boat stayed put while Liz and I went walking on the footpaths near Whitchurch with the wet gear on as it was raining again. Some of the empty fields had sheep in them usually they are empty when I've walked those footpaths previously. Liz had just noticed all the sheep footprints and then we saw the sheep so it was back on the leads before Ben tried out his herding skills. Lots of work has been done on the footpaths putting in kissing gates instead of stiles. Loads of mud today so the dogs needed a wash when we got back to the boats. Ben didn't knock Connie in again!

The Mikuni heater didn't stay on long so we knew we needed diesel- it aways fails when we've about 80 litres left as the outlet is higher up the tank so you don't run out of fuel for the engine. Eric got a couple of cans of red diesel from a local garage to keep us going. The heater started after a few attempts. Phew we thought something else had gone wrong!

Monday, November 08, 2010

A Little Further- Moored Opposite This Tree

Early Sunday morning it was cold- I was very glad I'd set the heating to come on at 7am as it was only 13 degrees C (about 55 degrees F). I knew the boat felt cold as my nose was cold! Looking outside there was a low mist on the canal. Taking Ben outside proved it was cold but by the time the sun had come up we had another sunny day.

We decided to move as I wanted to get on the Internet and couldn't where we were. Another hour and a half cruise with Ben and I walking along the towpath. Only a few boats on the move today but you always meet them in a narrow spot. Lots of fishermen with long poles across the towpath so Ben went underneath them if there was room, otherwise he jumped over. They moved them out of the way for me! I don't suppose they were too thrilled to have to move them out of the way of the boat as Eric crept slowly past trying not to disturb the water too much. We moored in a nice quiet spot opposite the field with the bare branches of a dead tree. Eric wanted to watch some football and the Grand Prix so the dot in the sky was found.
After a phone call to Liz and Nick on NB Henry I found out they were just two miles away from us at Grindley Brook, so I decided to walk down to see them. Of course Ben was delighted to see Connie again and they rolled around and chased each other. I didn't stay long as Eric was concerned about me walking along the towpath in the dark. Most of the way back it was fairly light - it was just a case of follow that white tip on Ben's tail, but the last ten minutes I was glad of my torch. The Grand Prix was still going when I got back to the boat and Ben just went to sleep.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Meandering -Ellesmere To Prees Junction

Autumn near Lyneal Wharf

On Friday morning (Nov 5th) we made our way to the BW Services and did the filling and emptying jobs before leaving Ellesmere behind as planned. We needed to be away from houses so Ben wouldn't spend a night hiding under the bed as he hates the noise of fireworks. We didn't travel far, just an hour and a half cruising giving me the chance to walk the dog before we moored up. Just in time too as we'd just moored up and the rain started. We had a lovely quiet night with no bangs nearby. The only downside was no Internet but the mobiles and satellite TV were fine.
On Saturday we decided to do another short cruise as Ben and I walked while Eric steered the boat. It was dry and sunny so I enjoyed crunching through the leaves. More walkers and dog walkers about being the weekend but only one dog wanted to eat Ben, but he was a very good boy and we continued our walk. We got back on the boat just before the long straight alongside the Nature Reserve and we moored up just after Prees Junction. We're giving the Prees Branch a miss this time as I was avoiding the 'swing on the chain' lift bridge which is a nightmare. Once again we stopped just in time because the rain came down. Soon the fire was lit and we were warm and cosy so we didn't mind the rain. Just as well as the forecast wasn't good.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Back In Ellesmere-There's Room On The Arm!

NB Bendigedig on Ellesmere Arm

On Tuesday we decided to move from above New Marton Locks with Ben and I walking on to open the locks gates in readiness for the boat. There were no queues today. Ben and I walked for a while along the muddy towpath before getting back on the boat. It took far less time to get from New Marton to Ellesmere going with the flow of the water, although Eric had to give short bursts in reverse every so often to get rid of leaves on the propeller. We only met a couple of boats on the move as it was quite cold in the wind, in fact we had cups of Mulligatawny soup to keep us warm.

I should never have same the pump problem was fixed- it started leaking again this morning. We decided to head for Ellesmere Arm as it would be easier for Mark aka The Yellow Van to come to us to sort out the problem. He replaced the pump protector , a filter which hadn't been replaced when the new pump was installed three weeks ago. So let's hope it's sorted....fingers crossed!

Wednesday morning came but we had a noisy night with the wind and the rain lashing on the boat, with the added noise of drips and little bits fallen off the overhead tree. Ben wasn't quiet either he must have heard something to start him barking. The tree noises were our own fault for mooring under a tree but to get a satellite signal Eric knew where we needed to be.

While we're here in Ellesmere we both need to get some haircuts, I keep telling Eric he's like Freddy Boswell from 'Bread' in the morning- if you're young enough to have seen the TV program! Ben and I will be walking some nice familiar walks too viewing the Autumn colours. So it's just restocking of the fridge before we're off cruising again to that nice spot out in the countryside for November 5th.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Weekend In Llangollen

We spent a couple of days in Llangollen and things went a bit pear shaped as far as the boat was concerned. First of all the carbon monoxide alarm went off one evening so it was open all the windows and doors and let the fire go out! Hopefully it's sorted with new rope on the fire door and seals on the fire glass. Then the new water pump was making strange noises and the shower wasn't flowing freely so it was investigate under the sink again. It seems to be leaking!Luckily Eric was able to fix it after I'd emptied the cupboard.

It wasn't all bad, the weather was warm and dry and we got some 'dragon sausages' which are chilli sausages from the butcher next to the delicatessen- delicious! He had some tasters of various sausages and they were delicious too. We were also delighted we didn't have to pay £6 a night as the electricity was available using a card reader. With shoreline the batteries had a welcome boost.

We enjoyed our 48 hours on the wharf but had to leave Monday lunch time. One thing was in our favour there weren't any boats on the move at all all the way to Trevor, although I walked ahead on the narrow sections just to check it was OK to go through. We had to wait at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct for one boat to come across and then we were on our way back to stop out in the countryside for some peace and quiet.

Ben loved being able to play ball in the big field by the mooring basin and some lovely walks in Llangollen but he didn't enjoy the bangs in the nights (fireworks) and had hid under the bed for the last two evenings. So it looks as though we'll be as far as away from civilisation as we can be next weekend when loads of noisy fireworks will be going off!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Over The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Or 'Bendy' In The Sky

Emerging from Whitehouses Tunnel

Across the aqueduct by canoe!

NB Bendigedig ( aka Bendy) in the sky!

On Saturday we were woken early by the trains being quite near the line going to Chirk. We were in luck the wind had dropped and it wasn't raining. First of all it was walk the dog while Eric cruised alongside- progress was slow being against the flow of the canal and the dreaded leaves. Ben and I walked through Whitehouses Tunnel and took a picture of NB Bendigedig as she emerged into the sunshine.

We continued on our way as the canal towpath becomes part of the Offa's Dyke Footpath stopping to work a lift bridge at Froncysyllte before getting back on the boat to cross the aqueduct. I was a bit of a chicken I didn't fancy walking across with Ben the dog. The boat looked as if it was flying in my photo but it was very slow progress, the canoes following us across were being held up by us.

Then we turned left onto the final very shallow stretch to reach our weekend mooring spot- Llangollen Wharf. Ben and I walked ahead to check if any boats were coming through the narrow sections, luckily we passed the trip boat in a wider section. The children on the boat were having a great time waving at everyone. Now we're moored up we'd like to stay but it's 48 hours only- nevermind we'll be back.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Trip To Wales- Across The Chirk Aqueduct

On Friday morning it was rather blustery, it was a case of untie the boat and get blown away. Lots of leaves about meant the propeller needed reverse every so often. Ben and I walked for a while but I was soon back on the boat as remembered the mud near Chirk Bank. Approaching Chirk Aqueduct with not a boat in sight so we crossed towards Chirk Tunnel and as the sign shows we are now in Wales. Progress has been slow against the flow of the canal so we decided to moor up near Chirk Marina where we knew we could get a good satellite signal. I heard a shout of 'Hello Elsie' from the marina which is the home mooring of Mac and Sue (NB Barney). We had a chat across the canal! Now it's raining as well as blowing so we're glad we stopped. Let's hope the weather's kinder for the 'Pontcysyllte Aqueduct' crossing on Saturday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Short Cruise To New Marton Locks

Going in New Marton Bottom Lock

What a night, it poured with rain last night and the trees dripped on the boat all night so it was noisy with the wind as well. In the morning the boat was covered in leaves, but at least the rain had stopped. We headed for New Marton Locks and there were no queues towards Llangollen but a long queue going the other way. Ben and I walked as usual, rather muddy underfoot but I wasn't surprised after all that rain. We worked quickly through the two locks and then stopped for water as I'd done a load of washing. We finally stopped on the Visitor Moorings. We can see hills from the boat windows - the Berwyn Hills.
We decided to walk up to Stan's Supermarket in St Martins but it was uphill so it took us about half an hour, we're not used to hills spending so much time walking the towpaths. Nice views of more hills at the top. Plenty of choice in Stan's but we only we did a bit of shopping (two rucksacks full) before the easier downhill walk back. It didn't seem so far with a bag of chips from the chippy on the way back.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Slowly Does It- Just To Hindford

Frankton Staircase Locks (Montgomery Canal)

On Tuesday Ben and I walked down the Montgomery Canal in the rain. There were a couple of boats waiting for their booked passage between 12 and 2pm but few boats about otherwise. What a change from the Llangollen Canal this week where boats are passing us every few minutes in their rush to get to Llangollen. We are not in a rush so we decided to stay put as the weather wasn't good. Ben still needed a walk so off we went down the Montgomery Canal with Ben enjoying a good run along the towpath with nobody else about. The wind in my face made it quite cold but with the wind behind me I was fine. Ben got rather wet but after a rub down with a towel he was fine. Later in the day NB Poppy, a fellow blogger's boat passed us by on their way to Ellesmere and I shouted hello to the steerer. We had a quiet enough night once the boat traffic stopped apart from wind and heavy rain in the night.

On Wednesday we didn't go far briefly stopping at Maestermyn to get some black paint to touch up the scrapes on the gunnels. Ben and I walked with the boat as far as Hindford, where Jack Mytton's pub is canalside. We met NB Shush on their way to Ellesmere and moored up for a chat. Boats continued to pass us by heading for the locks at New Marton. Alan and Eiddwen mentioned the queues to go through the locks so we decided to stay put at Hindford. Perhaps it will be quieter tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'Manic Monday'- Ellesmere To Frankton Junction

This morning we woke up to see a thick frost covering everything outside the boat but as the sun rose in the sky it melted away. We'd decided to turn around, fill up with water, and use the services and do a Tesco shop. First of all I had to walk the dog. But it turned into a manic Monday with boats everywhere, of course it's half term! First of all there was no room on the water point so we went down the Ellesmere Arm looking for a mooring to stop and shop, but again there was no room. Two boats at the end of the arm sporting 'For Sale' signs and one now also has a patrol notice attached as well as they chose to ignore the 72 hours signs. Some of the winter moorers are already there too, although there's another week before the winter moorings start.

We managed to moor up just outside the Arm and did the shopping so we won't starve. As we moved off to the water point there were boats everywhere, so our spot was soon filled again. Amazingly we had the water point to ourselves for all of ten minutes. Everything emptied or filled so we're OK for a week or so. Loads of boats on the move and of course we met them in awkward places as usual. Ben and I jumped off at a bridge hole so we could walk as far as Frankton Junction where the Bridge Numbers begin again 1W where the W stands for west. We moored up on the visitor moorings as the boats continued to rush past us. We are hoping they will have been and come back from Llangollen before we even get there.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back To Ellesmere- Meres And Sculptures

We decided to have a long cruise today from Grindley Brook to Ellesmere, it took about six hours but the weather was great although it did go off cold when it clouded over. At Whitchurch a boater lowered the lift bridge in front of us rather than wait a few minutes and let us through- I always wait if I see a boat coming!

We pulled in to Whitchurch Marina, home of Viking Afloat who were pleased to see us as we needed coal, gas and fuel. Very helpful- he even put the coal on roof for us. Ben and I walked for about four miles but it was my arms that were tired after the number of turns needed to raise and lower the five lift bridges on the way. The leaves are falling so Eric had to clear the propeller every so often. He was all wrapped up as it gets cold on the back of the boat but I was warm walking the dog.

Back on the boat it was great to be heading towards Ellesmere, passing the meres (lakes) of Cole Mere and Blake Mere which are alongside the canal. There are seven meres around Ellesmere, formed in the Ice Age as the glaciers retreated and melted waters collected in the cups of land according to the 'Pearson's Guide'. Ben thinks Blake Mere is a great place to paddle in the shallow edges. Through the Ellesmere Tunnel (without crashing) and we're nearly there- there's some new sculptures along the towpath too. We passed a line of moored boats, had a look down the Arm but it looked full and then carried on to moor up near the BW yard. I popped down to Tesco's and knocked on NB Derwent 6 and stopped to chat. I ended up walking back to the boat in the dark but I had a torch in my pocket as I didn't want to end up in the cut.

Ben and I have been out walking today while Eric serviced the engine and topped up the batteries. I took some photos of some of the Ellesmere Sculpture Trail while we walked familiar territory. It's busy here at Ellesmere with a few of the winter moorers already in position on the Ellesmere Arm. It's a popular site which sold out straight away. We are waiting to see when BW finish the work on the Pentrefelin Embankment as we like it in Llangollen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nine Locks Today- Above Grindley Brook

Willey Moor Lock
This morning there was a mist lying on top of the canal but it soon went as the sun came up to give us a lovely sunny day. You can see the lovely blue sky as we worked through Willey Moor Lock with the pub of the same name alongside. It was closed as it was only 11.30am, we've never timed it right yet. Ben and I enjoyed our walk in the sunshine although it felt much colder in the shade of the trees.

After three locks we were at the bottom of Grindley Brook just in time to stop a boat crew turning the lock against us -they hadn't looked to see if a boat was coming. It was a bit chaotic as a Middlewich boat has damaged it's rudder on a lock cill and was moored in a pound. Also a very inexperienced crew on another boat was unsure how to do the staircase of three locks. The boat was in the bottom lock and they were puzzled as how they could raise the boat as they hadn't filled the top two locks with water. There is a sign telling you what to do, but it was all new to them. I explained and filled the locks for them as the lock keeper was at lunch.

Soon it was our turn as there were no boats coming down and we were up above the staircase using the services before we moored up on the Visitor Moorings. There was excellent pressure on the water tap so it filled up really quickly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wet, Wet,Wet -Wrenbury To Quoisley Lock

The weather didn't look at all promising on Tuesday morning but we needed a change of scenery or should I say greenery. We'd spent a week at Wrenbury just off the visitor moorings so we were itching to move. Any way wet gear on and off we went in the rain- showers it said but it was heavy rain with very short dry sunny bits! Ben and I squelched (I need new boots!) along the towpath while Eric sheltered under the large umbrella which was soon discarded after the wind got up. It felt really cold too.

Arriving at Marbury Lock we pulled in for a cuppa and then worked through the lock with the rain still hammering down. Ben and I had got wet enough so it was back on the boat for the final stretch to moor on the visitor moorings before Quoisley Lock. The rain hammered on the roof all afternoon and the boat looked like a laundry as the washing had piled up because we weren't doing any washing until we could fill up the water tank. I should say we had plenty of water for our personal use! Luckily Wrenbury Mill allowed us to use their facilities when we had the gas work done, as the next services were above Grindley Brook. Once the rain stopped we had a quiet night out in the countryside.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No Leaks At Wrenbury

Moored at Wrenbury

Gas bubble tester

Ben was in a funny mood yesterday as he just didn't want to go for a walk past the 'Dusty Miller' as yesterday they'd emptied the bottle banks and frightened him with the noise! So I left him on the boat while I went to check they were ready for us at the boat yard at Wrenbury Mill. Eric manoeuvred the boat into the space and then Ben and I went for a walk to Marbury Locks and back. Ben enjoys this walk as there is a clean stream running alongside the canal and he enjoys a paddle- and shakes all over me!

Back on the boat the friendly engineer had fitted the gas bubble tester and we were waiting for the 'Gas Safe' engineer to turn the gas back on and check the system for leaks. I'd had to empty the kitchen cupboard next to the cooker as this was where the gas isolation valve and testing point are. It's surprising how much stuff that cupboard holds. Anyway all tested and the gas cooker checked and we passed the Gas Safety Check and have the certificate to prove it. Then there was unexpected power cut putting the payment system out of action and the Lift Bridge out of action but it didn't last long and soon we were on our way with much lighter pockets.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Cold And Frosty Morning At Wrenbury


We met up with Alan and Eiddwen at Wrenbury (NB Shush) as planned and moored in front of them. We had a catch up chat and tried to get a satellite signal ending up moving the boat along a boat length to get a good signal. After getting a bit of shopping we popped in the boatyard at Wrenbury Mill to ask about a gas safety certificate- one step towards our Boat Safety Certificate (BSC). Our engineer had told us we needed this for the BSC as we live aboard. We're also going to have a gas bubble tester put on the system for our own safety. So we are hanging about at Wrenbury to get it done.

Eric's been visiting in Newport as there's a station at Wrenbury. Arriva Trains have a good deal on at the moment called Club 55- travel on their routes for £15 return or £13 with a senior railcard if you're over 55. He stayed at his sister's house- thanks Paula for putting him up- and was able to visit my dad, our daughters and grandaughter Gwen. The picture was taken by her dad Gerwyn, put on facebook and pinched by me!

I had a quiet few days walking Ben the dog, reading a book and spending time on the computer of course. I passed the NB Kate/Katy who moor at Swanley (sorry can't remember which!) while out walking the dog and had a chat, they knew us from my blog. It's surprising how quiet it can be when you're on the boat without your other half. So he's back and we're waiting patiently. This is one of the places with a 'Designated Winter Mooring' sign but not a place I'd want to stay for five months unless I had a car.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hurleston Junction- Hello NB Shush

NB Shush & NB Bendigedig at Hurleston Junction

Going up!

After a phone call to Alan & Eiddwen on NB Shush we decided to head up towards Llangollen while we still could. BW work is due to start November 8th on the Pentrefelin Embankment between Llangollen and the feeder at Horseshoe Falls which means the section between Trevor and Llangollen will be closed to boats as the water levels will be too low. It is due to finish by December 17th but who knows how long it will take. This is the planned work for Winter 2009 which never happened.

We left Nantwich and headed towards Hurleston junction, while NB Shush travelled from Calverley. We worked through Hurleston locks before stopping for water, rubbish and sanitary station. NB Shush finished before us and had to free up the water point so we decided to meet up at Wrenbury. Lots of boat movement making locking easier especially as the other boat crew came up to help. It's nice when that happens but it's not so common now and some people find it very difficult even to speak to you.

Hello to the boaters which passed us on Nantwich Embankment and said they read the blog- Eric asked the boat name and then forget before he'd even told me!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sun Rise At Coole Pilate Then Water Troubles!

Sun rise on NB Bendigedig

Early this morning the central heating cut in- it was 12 degrees C on the boat and my nose was cold. I waited for it to warm up a bit before leaving my warm bed to take Ben out to water the hedge. We'd had a frost and the roof was white, there was a low mist and the sun was rising shining on the side of the boat, so I took a photograph.

Back inside I wiped the dripping windows before getting up. Eric said 'Have you put the washing machine on 'cause it looks as if it's emptying?' Then we realised it was the wrong side of the boat and it was the cabin bilge was pumping out water like we'd never seen before. Where do we start to find the leak? Well we started at the water pump under the sink and yes it was leaking rather a lot. A phone call to Mark Edwards and he came to us at Nantwich with a new pump that afternoon. Eric was worried if he tried to fix it we'd end up with a flood!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Moving On - The Audlem Flight

Going Down Audlem Locks

This morning we were sat having our breakfast in our dressing gowns watching a few boats go by- one called NB London Future caught our eye and they waved. A few minutes later there was a knock on the window as the rear of the boat was stuck in the mud and they needed help to pull it off. There we were pulling in our drssing gowns- what a sight.

We finally got up to begin our descent down the Audlem Locks- fifteen in all. Leaving it until 11am to leave had it's advantages as there were boats coming up meaning the majority of the locks were ready for us. We stopped before the last three to get a few bits and pieces at the Co-op before going down a lock to moor next to 'The Shroppie Fly' to fill up with water and use the service block. The sun was shining and lots of people were about walkingg.eating and drinking.

Two more locks and we were on our way to Coole Pilate Leisure Area provided by the Shropshire Union Canal Society. Basically it's a mooring with picnic benches with barbeques out in the countryside. We passed 'Overwater Marina' which is a lot fuller than a few months ago. A boat passed us which we didn't recognise crewed by Sue and Mac. NB Cabinessence is for sale in Chirk Marina and they were out in their new boat NB Barney.They usually spend the winter on the Llangollen Canal too.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Visit To Audlem

The Shroppie Fly

We had a few days at Coxbank above Audlem doing a few jobs on the boat while it was dry. We had a walk down the locks to Audlem with Ben the dog and had a look around the Audlem Mill Canal Shop before going for a walk around Audlem itself. It was lunch time and the 'Village Fryer' was open so we had to sample their fish and chips- very nice too. We ate them sitting on a seat under 'The Old Butter Market' outside the church watching the world go by.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Onwards And Upwards To Coxbank

We had a fuel stop at the boat yard near the water tap and bought some coal too. We then filled up with water, used the sanitary station and got rid of the rubbish. Ben and I then started our morning walk which proved to be very muddy and boggy alongside Betton Wood. The forecast rain came in the early hours so we walked in sunshine as far as Adderley Locks where we stopped for a short time.It rained when we stopped but it didn't last long. We planned to stay overnight but realised it could be a noisy night with the Shroppie shelf. Every time a boat went past we banged and crashed and ended up on the shelf even with the long fenders between the shelf and the boat -so we moved.

Adderley Locks were against us but at least there were only five. The top lock provided some goodies in the form of fresh scones. There was also fruit pies, fresh bread and free range eggs. They are definitely free range with hens running around on the lock side. The lady operates the stall with an honesty box and she told me she'd been having troubles with people basically taking everything on the stall or putting in pennies and taking what they like. Once down the locks we continued our cruise stopping two locks down the Audlem Flight at Coxbank. Here we could moor next to the piled bank which means a much quieter night.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It's Autumn- Norbury To Market Drayton

Autumn sunshine!

In Woodseaves Cutting- Bridge 57

Leaving our mooring at Norbury was delayed waiting for a space at the waterpoint then a boat went past us and pulled into our space so we waited again with me on the waterpoint. I managed to change loads of books at the BW Information Centre so I've got reading matter for quite a while. Ben and I walked until we reached Grub Street Cutting as I didn't have my wellies on. Back on the boat I checked my emails knowing that the winter moorings were coming online today.

The Shroppie is reknown for it's high embankments and deep cuttings and we cruised along Shebdon Embankment where the breach caused chaos last year. Ben and I jumped off the boat at a bridge hole and had a lovely walk with the Wrekin in sight and the hills beyond visible too. Back on the boat for Woodseaves Cutting where the canal narrows in places and is cut through solid rock. Ferns flourish in the damp atmosphere and the towpath's very wet too. At Tyrley Locks progress as most of the traffic was going down, further delayed by a boat getting stuck on the cill- no not a hireboat. They were lucky as they put some water in the lock and floated off the cill. We moored outside Market Drayton where everyone walks their dogs so it certainly wasn't quiet spot.

Monday, October 04, 2010

A Day At Norbury Junction

A view from the boat

We found the night much quieter than our previous mooring place as there are no major roads or motorways in ear shot. The forecast rain arrived but had eased a little by ten thirty so Ben and I set out for a walk heading south along the Shelmore Embankment. About twenty fishermen were out so our path was blocked by the long very expensive poles/rods and large umbrellas. I had to duck to get under the umbrellas and wait for them to move the poles if they weren't happy for me to step over them, but Ben just went over or under depending on the height of the pole. A few were grumpy telling me that they cost £1,500 pounds so wait for me to move it. I thought it would have been easier to fish from the other bank as that's where the end of the line was! Some were chatty and one said he was happy to sit in the rain all day to be out of the way of his wife. As Ben and I turned around to walk back to the boat we had to go past them all again.

Back on the boat Ben had a rub down while I hung up my wet gear to dry. I read the Sunday paper and then began to cook some lamb for dinner. I always enjoy a Sunday roast and I don't mind cooking it. We had a lazy afternoon and then the sun went down with a very pretty sky which made me think of the rhyme 'red sky at night shepherds delight'. The weather forecast is good so we'll be moving in the morning.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Rain Stopped Play -Cruising and Golf !

On the Visitor Moorings at Bridge 8 we could see the lovely heart on the back doors of NB Derwent 6. Del was making us feel guilty as he was cleaning brasses. Not long afterwards it started to rain! We checked the weather forecast and it confirmed the next day was going to be dreadful so we decided we were going nowhere. Ben and I did venture out in the morning and I didn't get too wet as I had my wet gear on. Ben just had a rub down with a towel when we came back. Derwent 6 decided to stay put too!

After a day watching the rain, which also stopped the Ryder Cup Golf in Newport,the following day was dry so were on our way again. The Shroppie has long straight sections, with high embankments and deep cuttings where the greenery flourishes. I took this photo in June of this year when it was very hot but today you needed a jumper. Ben and I had a lovely walk as far as Brewood but it was very muddy in places. Ben looked after the boat while we popped into Brewood for a few essentials. Then we were on our way again.

We planned to stop just outside Gnosall but as usual there were boats already moored in the only spaces where satellite was possible. A few spaces in Gnosall Visitor Moorings weren't any good as there were trees everywhere. So we carried on and finally Ben had a walk along the Shelmore Embankment and we were at Norbury Junction. Luckily a boat was leaving so we had a place to stay as the weather forecast is not good for Sunday either.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Back On The Shroppie ( S.U.C)

Waiting at Autherley Junction

Autherley Stop Lock at Bridge 1 (S.U.C)

We left our mooring below Gailey Lock and I went on ahead to do the lock. Of course it was full and I had to turn it with no boats in sight wanting to come down. While the lock emptied Eric popped in the Canal Shop in the Round House to get some milk. The waterpoint was full of boats so we decided to get some at Autherley Junction - the people moored on the Gailey waterpoint were just chatting with not a hose in sight.

Ben and I walked for few miles before getting back on the boat to make bacon butties for lunch-very nice too. Not that many boats moving which was great because we didn't meet any boats in the narrow section at Pendeford. We finally reached Autherley Junction and planned to turn right to go on the Shropshire Union Canal going through the stop lock. First we had to wait as a boat came out and another went in the lock. Soon it was our turn and we went under Bridge 1 of the Shroppie and into the lock. The water level difference is small but we were raised up onto the Shroppie and back on one of our favourite canals.

The Shropshire Union Canal Society has provided lots of visitor moorings which makes finding a mooring easier so we moored up before Bridge 8. Off the visitor moorings you often have the 'shroppie shelf' which the boat bangs against unless you put long fenders down. With heavy rain forecast tomorrow we won't be going anywhere by boat but Ben will get a walk regardless of the weather.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Deptmore Lock To Gailey Lock

Gailey Roundhouse

We left our mooring above Deptmore Lock and Ben and I walked with the boat as far as Park Gate Lock where I popped in to Midland Chandlers to return some battery terminal covers bought a week ago which were of no use to us. They happily accepted them back and I used the cash to buy some loo blue so they didn't lose out.

At Penkridge Lock we stopped to use the sanitary station and fill up with water after catching up with the washing. We moored up the boat on the towpath side and headed off to the Coop for some fresh food. We came back to find bloggers Del and Al and NB Derwent 6 on the waterpoint and we had a nice chat. Today we also met the couple on NB Padworth ( I think that was the boat's name) who read my blog. She thought she recognised Ben and I but said nothing until she saw NB Bendigedig waiting below the lock. So hello to you both.

Four locks later we were moored below Gailey Lock- a good day with lots of boats moving which made locking a bit easier. We had a funny high pitched noise from the engine during our cruise but everything seemed OK but on closer expection when we stopped we found a very worn belt on one of the alternations. Luckily we had spare belts so Eric was able to change the belt. This morning NB Derwent 6 passed by again and Del waved, Al stopped and chattted leaving Del to moor up for the lock. I am sure we'll meet again as they're going up the Shroppie.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Tixall Wide (Staffs & Worcs Canal)

NB Bendigedig on Tixall Wide

We've been moored at Tixall Wide but this morning it was time to move on. We turned around in the Wide as we wanted to go back along the Staffs and Worcs Canal rather than the Trent and Mersey Canal route. Ben and I enjoyed our walk, first of all working the boat through Tixall Lock. Rather a damp and dull morning but we had the muddy towpath to ourselves. We got back on board near Radford Bank and cruised another mile to Deptmore Lock. I had to turn the lock but we were soon through and moored up above the lock. A good spot as I had a 3G signal to download the trial version of Microsoft Office 2010. Now I can read some boaters' blogs- the signal was very slow at Tixall Wide.