Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Snow In Llangollen

Yesterday Liz and I took the dogs for a four hour walk following a route in 'Walks Around Llangollen' by David Berry. We'd been talking about tackling the route on the limestone plateau above the limestone escarpment called Trevor Rocks and today the sun was out so off we went even though there was a thin layer of snow and ice underfoot. We set off along the canal and followed a track upwards from the canal. The dogs thoroughly enjoyed the route up as there were deep piles of fallen leaves and they rolled around playing. It was then some road walking with Ben on a very short lead before we reached the start of the walk. We climbed steadily upwards with a bitterly cold wind in our faces- on went the hats and the gloves- stopping for a breather and checking we were going the right way.Lots of snow higher up covering ice so we had to take care to stay upright. There were brilliant views of Llangollen, the Dee valley, Lantisilio Mountains and we were even higher up than Castell Dinas Bran. The dogs enjoyed being off the lead but Ben didn't quite know what to make off the overhead motorised hang gliders- something he'd not seen before. He went back along the footpath for a short distance before deciding he'd better come with us. Further along the walk we turned right at the three way direction post and followed a marked permissive footpath eventually taking us down hill again. Back to road walking following the road back to the start of the walk and then retracing our route downhill to the canal. The dogs enjoyed a run along the towpath while we sauntered along- our pace was certainly slower on the way back. Back on the boat Ben has been asleep for hours- he must have been shattered!

IT'S SNOWING OUTSIDE! The snow started last night so it looks like our morning walk will be a pretty sight. Snow's lovely when it's all fresh and white- viewed from inside the boat! Although I love going for a walk as long as it's not too frozen as I'll end up flat on a back. I forgot to say I had a fall in slow motion on ice yesterday but no damage done.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Post Lets Me Down

I posted cards to my two daughters for their birthdays in plenty of time to get there. They were correctly stamped with first class stamps and addressed correctly and posted in the box outside Llangollen Post Office due to be collected Monday at 5pm. My one daughter received her card on Wednesday morning but my other daughter is still waiting and her birthday was Thursday 28th of January. Is it lost or will she eventually get it ? How much mail goes walkabout? You can do nothing about it unless you have a certificate of posting! It's not the fact the card wasn't delivered is now I feel I can't trust our postal service.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bowling For Boaters

Today a group of us went ten pin bowling in Wrexham taking advantage of a deal Nick and LIz discovered- £5 each unlimited bowling between 11am and 6pm. You were guaranteed at least three games but we had six games before we'd had enough. I am useless at bowling and my score varied between 9 and 0 although I did get one strike! Trevor (NB Libertybelle), Nick (NB Henry) and Mike (NB Blue Toad) were excellent ten pin bowlers and showed how it could be done. We had a great afternoon considering it's many years since Eric and I have been bowling.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day On Llangollen Wharf

Moira and Mike (Tasmanians on NB Blue Toad) invited all the other boaters moored at Llangollen to a barbecue to celebrate Australia Day outside their boat.The boat and towpath were suitably adorned with flags, koalas, kangaroos, snakes and balloons. There was even a blown up kangaroo on the roof! The barbecue was lit and we enjoyed 'snaggers & onions' also known as sausages & onions in bread followed by tropical fruit kebabs. The 'Mulled Grog Pot' provided alcoholic beverages and enjoyed by all- we needed something warm to keep the cold at bay! During the afternoon a visiting basking shark (blown up variety) came floating by and paused by NB Blue Toad. The dogs wondered what it was!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Doggy Playtimes

Thanks to Liz and Nick for the photographs of Ben and Connie playing together.

Not much going on here on NB Bendigedig although yesterday the sun came out and made me clean the interior brass after Ben had his long walk. Eric gave Bendy a birthday and washed the one side of the boat as well as giving the bow and stern a really good clean. The decks had a scrub as he'd bought a long handled scrubbing brush!

While he was busy washing the boat Liz and I took the dogs out for a nice long circular walk on a familiar route above Valle Crucis Abbey. It's a great walk for the dogs as they can spend most of the time off their leads. On his lead Ben is a pain so with Liz's help he is in the process of learning to walk next to me. It involves holding him back on a very short lead and saying back all the time. He is so strong it's hard work so lets hope he eventually gets the message! Liz says it may take some time!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Visiting Down South

Just come back to Llangollen after a visit to see family in south Wales. It was great to catch up and it was also my youngest daughter's birthday this week. Her daughter (my granddaughter)Gwen enjoyed blowing out the candles on the cake with her mum. Gerwyn (her other half)cooked a birthday tea and he even did all the washing up!

My daughter Clare and I had a train ride to Ikea in Cardiff to get a few bits and pieces. I came back with some glasses and dish brushes as I had to carry anything I bought back to Llangollen on the train. We've been thinking about changing the bed settee for some chairs so I enjoyed trying them out at Ikea to find which ones I liked.

Ben the dog kept Eric busy while I was away and he was so delighted to see me I got jumped on and licked. Eric was pleased I was back too as he's now off dog walking duties. It's colder in Llangollen than south Wales so I was glad to get warm on the boat after a chilly train journey. Tomorrow I'll wrap up warm and take Ben for a good walk so I hope it's not raining!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Boater's Lunch At The Aqueduct Inn

A View Of The Ponty Aqueduct From Anglo-Welsh At Trevor

Since I last blogged I've been out slipping and sliding in the snow and ice but today most of it has been washed away. I hope it's the last of snow for this winter but I doubt it. The river Dee at Llangollen is very ferocious with all the melt water.Today Ben enjoyed a game of ball in the field and a large area was actually grass, which meant he didn't have to find his ball and dig it out. But to get there was very slippery with lots of slushy icy stuff underfoot. It couldn't have been too cold in the canal today either as Ben went for a paddle twice to have a drink and give his ball a wash.

This week we had another 'Boaters' Lunch' and this time we all arrived by car thanks to the car owning boaters. We tried 'The Aqueduct Inn' and when we got there Angela (NB Libertybelle) told us it was her birthday. The company and food was very good and a crowd of boaters together always have plenty to talk about. It was definately a place to go back to when we're in the area. The pub actually overlocks Fron Lift Bridge where the canal makes a sharp turn onto the embankment leading to the Pontycysyllte aqueduct itself and is next to the A5 .

We've been doing the usual boaty things like filling up the water tank but it's easy with the tap next to the boat and it's less than a hundred yards for the elsan. It's great not having to run the engine with a shoreline connection. We feel really spoiled compared to those of you really struggling in this bad weather. A narrowboat has some advantages in very cold weather as we have a coal/wood burner as well as central heating. I must admit I'm glad to be moored up in this weather but by March I'll be more than ready to go off on our travels.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lots More Snow Today

Strange Snowflakes!
NB Bendigedig At Our New Mooring

A View from The Bow

About three inches of snow had fallen overnight and it was still coming down when I took Ben out early this morning. The photo I took was strange in the flashlight as the tiny snowflakes caught the light. Eric took the others in daylight while I was out walking the dogs with Liz from NB Henry.

Today the coal man delivered coal to the boats moored up at Llangollen for the winter. It was a case of many hands make light work as the boaters helped each other bring the coal to each boat. Now we've enough coal for a fortnight and then he'll be back with another load. Ben and Connie were patiently waiting to go for a walk so on with the layers to keep warm and we set off for a two hour walk to Horseshoe Falls and back in the snow. The snow was still falling and getting deeper as we walked along the towpath. In the field by the falls there was about ten inches of snow and a couple of boys with sledges enjoying the snow until Ben decided to bark at them. He'd not seen bodies hurtling down the hill on sledges before. He wasn't keen to leave them be but followed us to the other side of the gate so they could carry on without his noise. Back on the boat now in the warm, a casserole slowly cooking in the oven for tea so we're all sorted for another day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Melting Today

Eric and Ben the dog(ball in mouth)

Today the canal ice melted and the water is flowing freely again although large chunks of floating ice have banged into the boat. With the thaw came problems for BW as the pipes in the ladies toilet sprung a few leaks- Nick to the rescue to turn off the stop cock - it was too hard for me! We'll be able to use the elsan disposal without taking a bucket of water with you to flush it! Also the heaters are fixed which means the pipes shouldn't refreeze. It was nice to see the return of the ducks as they paddle by on the lookout for breakfast- open the side hatch and they're there straight away. The mandarin duck and his mate are still around with the mallards.

Today we had a good walk of about two and a half hours, along the canal to Berwyn Station and climbing up the hill opposite Dinas Bran overlooking the Dee Valley. Lots of fresh snow so the dogs had a great time running and rolling in it. Most of the walk they were able to run free which was good as Ben pulling me along when it's slippery is not good. I managed to stay on my feet today. The trees in the woods were covered in snow giving a picture postcard scene but we couldn't see Dinas Bran clearly on the hill opposite us from the viewpoint due to the misty weather. A good phone signal up there so I rang the coal man to order some coal while I remembered.

Back on the boat Eric had made us lunch of nice hot soup and bread and after that I was decidedly lazy and so was Ben- he actually went to sleep. Update on Eric - he is feeling a lot better now although the very cold weather is not good for his chest.

Friday, January 08, 2010

A Frozen Canal At Llangollen

Connie- Ben's Best Pal (photo by Liz & Nick)

Last night was noisy on NB Bendigedig as ice formed on the Llangollen Canal. The water level covered by thick ice dropped about 6 inches too and caused some unusual noises. Morning came and we looked out to see the canal frozen- we've never had a frozen canal here in the last three years so it was an unusual sight. Every time we moved the boat groaned and crunched so Eric used the boat hook around the boat to free us from the ice.

Today we went for a walk up to the Horseshoe Falls and back with the dogs Connie and Ben. It wasn't too slippery as the snow was still soft and fluffy along the path. We were glad the sun had come out to warm us up a little. Maggie from NB Blue Diamond joined Liz and I for the walk. Along the way we saw some lovely snowy scenery and great icicles hanging down the rocky walls where the canal was cut. The dog's had a great time playing in the snow- not that it tired them out!

The ice is all around the boat again so everytime we move it crunches and groans. Outside another very cold night is ahead of us but inside we're warm and toasty.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Very Snowy Llangollen

Bendy in the snow!

A view of Llangollen from the boat window

Last night the snow came giving us ankle deep snow. Ben has a new game catching snowballs! It looks lovely from the window and is great as long as you don't need to be anywhere else. We need to cruise a few hundred yards to find an electric hookup that works as the one next to our boat refuses to spit out the old card. This means we can't put another one in. BW have been informed and I won't hold my breath as to how long it'll take them to fix all the ailing card readers. Now I'm off for a walk with Ben the dog- who's whinging by my side waiting to go out.

Monday, January 04, 2010

It's Cold Outside!

Today was the first walk of 2010 with Liz and Connie from NB Henry. We decided to brave the treacherous towpath and take a walk which overlooks Valle Crucis Abbey. We did manage to stay upright although on the sections where Ben needed to be on a lead it was a close thing for me. The dogs thoroughly enjoyed a long walk and we enjoyed a good natter while we walked or should I say slid!
We had a problem with the shore lead and socket on the boat which basically shorted and melted probably due to a bad connection. Mark from M & L Canal Services came today and replaced the faulty bits and checked out our electrics - so now we're back on shore power which is great as it means we don't have to run the engine for hot water or battery charging
It's very cold outside but we are warm and cosy- I hope you are too.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Out With The Old- In WIth The New Year

I've just been to town and bought some new bath towels as some of our were rather holey because Ben used to like chewing towels when he was a pup. I had a look around Dunelm and found really good sized ones at £9.99 each so it was out with the old towels- actually they've been demoted to 'dog towels'. Eric had a new thermal vest and a new woolly scarf to keep him cosy. I bought some really cheap ear phones at a pound so I can listen to my music Cd's without annoying Eric- he doesn't like Robbie Williams or Phil Collins- being a new country music fan.

The dreaded lurgy has reached our boat. Eric must be poorly as he avoids going to the doctors like a plague.The doctors at Llangollen were very good - they fitted him in to be seen straight away. He now has pills more suited to a horse- I didn't know that antibiotic capsules came that size. He's been tucked up in bed this morning but got up later. Needless to say he was asleep as the New Year came -first time he's not been awake to see it in. The fireworks woke him up with the fireworks said 'Happy New Year' and went back to sleep. I enjoyed watching them all from the boat while Ben was in his usual place under the bed, his refuge in times of trouble.

New Year's Day brought a constant stream of walkers past the boat keeping Ben amused before I took him for a walk up to Sun Trevor- that's as far as he wanted to go, he just turned round and looked at me as if to say 'can we go home know?' It started to snow quite heavily but it didn't stay. You could see walkers on top of Dinas Bran, I hope they were equipped for the weather after reading of various people needing rescuing in other places!