Saturday, February 27, 2010

Another Boater's Lunch At The Wild Pheasant Hotel

My Favourite View of Castell Dinas Bran

This week we had another get together at the Wild Pheasant, which is a short walk from town along the A5 towards Berwyn. We had a table for twelve reserved for us and the food and company was great. Soon some of the boaters are off on their travels never to return to Llangollen and others love Llangollen so much they have bought a house here. Moira and Mike on NB Blue Toad are returning to Tasmania after an enjoyable few years on the cut. They certainly livened us up by organising Christmas Eve and Australia Day Barbeques on the wharf. Angela and Trevor on NB Libertybelle organised our boater's lunches and will certainly be missed next year on the wharf although I'm sure we'll meet again as they will be living in Llangollen. The rest of us are going our separate ways but planning to return to our 'winter home' in November. Approaching Llangollen from Trevor with Castell Dinas Bran in sight always make me feel this is coming home for me after spending the last three winters here.

Eric and I are meandering along to Ellesmere where NB Bendigedig is going in the BW dry dock to have her bottom blacked. NB Shush is having the same treatment the week after- the lads are going to be busy. Eric says if it's too much like hard work then next time we'll get a boatyard to do it. Our only plan is eventually to go south at Hurleston Junction and have a leisurely cruise on familiar waterways. We have no planned routes as it's nice to be free to take each day as it comes -after all we've plenty of time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Birthday Girl- I'm An Old Aged Traveller!

Very early this morning I took Ben outside to relieve himself and surprised Alan and Eiddwen who were putting a birthday banner and helium balloon on the boat. They'd set their alarm for seven o'clock hoping to do it before I went outside but Ben must have heard them. I've had loads of cards and phonecalls as well as a nice lunch out with Eric. As you know if you read my blog I had a new camera for my birthday and today I had some new walking boots too. I can't believe I'm an OAP or should I say OAT! Now I can buy my senior railcard and get my free bus pass!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Surprise Surprise More Snow!

During the night it snowed again- I know it was forecast but you never know til it happens. It was still snowing when I took Ben out to investigate a mysterious snow covered thing- a bike. This was the same bike that had come along the towpath last night but the owner wasn't on it. Ben had a bark at him perhaps he frightened him off, afterall he had a strange light on his head!

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's Busy At Llangollen

Eric and Ben at Llantysilio Church

Waiting patiently

Lots of hireboats (Canaltime from Ellesmere) passing us this week on the wharf with it being half term. The hirers looked frozen at the tillers. The tea rooms on the wharf are open too. Thomas the tank engine is in town with his billowing steam engine and we spotted another engine with a face while walking the dogs near Berwyn Station, although I've no idea who he was! The walkers and dog walkers are back in their numbers tackling the mud along the towpath. In fact Llangollen has been busy all week.

This week has gone very quickly - we've had a bit of snow but it didn't last long and a few frosty mornings but the sun has come out most days convincing us it's warmer outside but it isn't really.Liz and I took the dogs along the canal to Berwyn then up Barber's Hill in a circular route back to Llangollen -a route we've walked many times before and still enjoy the beautiful views including Trevor Rocks, Dinas Bran and Velvet Hill. Eric came out walking too on a few level walks along the towpath to the Horseshoe Falls in on direction and Bryn Howell in the other direction. We stopped at 'The Chainbridge' for a beer on the way back and Ben waited patiently outside attached to the railings. He didn't have long to wait with our thirst suitably quenched we were soon walking back to the boat.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Walking Near Valle Crucis Abbey

Valle Crucis Abbey with Velvet Hill in the background.

Today I felt like a nice long walk with Ben the dog and we were out for hours enjoying the countryside with it's lovely views as well as the muddy footpaths. I met quite a few walkers which is quite unusual on the hill overlooking Valle Crucis Abbey. There's even some wooden seating and a picnic table on the hillside with a great view of the ruined abbey so Ben and I stopped for a breather. Behind the abbey is Coed Hyrddyn or Velvet Hill. It's called this because of the soft texture of the sheep cropped grass and moss. The welsh name means 'wood of the long man' which may relate to a tall skeleton unearthed beneath Eliseg's Pillar- a ninth century cross in memory of an early ruler of Powys. We walked about five miles in all and Ben really enjoyed running free in the sheep free places. It still makes me smile when all the sheep move away from the fences as he walks by. We did the usual diversion through the field used as an overflow carpet in the summer and Ben had a dip and a drink to clean off all the mud. I was mud splattered too by the time we got back to the boat. I've just realised the reason why more people are about it's half term- they certainly come around quickly when you're retired!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Llantysilio Church

Towards The Altar

Just One Of The Beautiful Stained Glass Windows

Snowdrops In The Grave Yard

Eric and I walked up to Llantysilio Church to look at the snowdrops growing in the church yard. Ben the dog came too. The church was actually open so we could go inside to have a look at the beautiful stained glass windows. It's a 15th century church dedicated to St Tysilio situated on the hillside overlooking the Horseshoe Falls. It's got lovely medieval roof beams and a medieval oak eagle lecturn.

On the way back we did a diversion through the field by the mooring basin so Ben could paddle in the canal for a wash and a drink. This time of year the mooring basin is empty unless a hire boat arrives for a free 48 hour mooring as there's no electric (it's turned off). One of the residents overlooking the basin keeps BW informed of overstayers! We are quite happy mooring at the canal side as we are near the facilities and the electricity posts have card readers so we can have elecricity rather than having to run the engine when moored up to charge the batteries.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Views From The Llangollen Canal


Velvet Hill

Horseshoe Falls on the River Dee


Today Ben and I went for a walk along the canal leaving Llangollen and walking along the feeder section where the only boats allowed are canoes or horse drawn boats up to the Horseshoe Falls. There were plenty of canoes about but it's out of season for the horse drawn boats. Nothing has been done of the work which should have started at the beginning of the stoppage season to reline the leaky section near the Pentrefelin Embankment. The stoppages update said a January start for the work! We were told when we came here that the water levels would be lowered and we would have to stay put until the work was done. All we have seen is a man in waders measuring the flow of water standing in the canal.

I've had an early birthday present of a Fujifilm J27 camera so I had to try it out. Ben was of course willing to pose to have his photo taken too. It's a fit in your pocket size and I am very pleased with it. This means my blog should have a few more photos if I can get them uploaded with an extremely slow connection.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Ben Has A Longer Bus Ride

Nap Time

On Friday Eric came with me to take Ben on a longer bus ride to get him more used to travelling on a bus. We waited at the bus stop and Ben was bit shaky as he didn't know what was going on but he was fine once we were settled on the bus. He just doesn't like the noise of the doors opening and shutting -in fact he's a funny dog when it comes to unusual noises! We travelled from Llangollen to Trevor and we had to pay 50p for Ben. At Trevor we got off and walked down to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and then along the canal towpath back to the boat at Llangollen. Ben stayed surprisingly clean but we were glad we put on over trousers as it was incredibly muddy in several places along the way and we managed to get rather muddy. Eric needed a sit down and a cuppa after our four mile walk but Ben was more than ready to play ball. Later he had a nap on the settee.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Ben's Birthday- A Short Trip On The Bus

Ben at 12 weeks old

Ben the dog is now three years old- he enjoyed some chicken as a birthday treat! I took him for a short bus trip in preparation for a longer trip later this week. He wasn't keen to get on the bus due to noise the doors make when they open and he couldn't wait to get off a few stops later. He just shook- I suppose it was all strange so he was frightened. We got off the bus at a stop near the canal and walked back along the towpath to the boat. I need to be able to take him on a bus as we'll be travelling by train for his first train trip quite soon and need to go by bus to the railway station at Ruabon.

The photograph is Ben at 12 weeks old when we'd had him just a few days. He's certainly grown you couldn't pick him up with one hand now. He was wearing a cat collar and we had to make some new holes as it was too big!