Monday, May 31, 2010

It's Bank Holiday And It's Not Raining!

Time To Queue

The sun shone today which was unusual for a Bank Holiday. We decided to move up through the two Hack Green Locks to find somewhere where we could get closer to the bank. Ben's great at jumping though even when there's a big gap- he doesn't do gang planks. By the time we were ready to move there was a queue and we were number five. Ben and I walked up to the lock to help by working the one side of the lock with boats going up and down the locks. I get fed up with people who stay away from the lock afraid they might have to do something- they just wait until the lock gates are open with the boat coming out before they venture near the paddles. We finally moored up at Coole Pilate Picnic Area which very quickly filled up with boats.
Eric had some jobs to do so first of all he swept the chimney and then he checked the batteries which needed to be topped up with distilled water. After that we chatted with our neighbours, Dot and Derick who moor near Angela and Trevor's boat NB Libertybelle in Swanley Marina. Alan and Eiddwen on NB Shush were moored in front of us and Ben made sure Alan had some ball throwing practise.

Wind, Waves And Bumps

NB Shush and NB Bendigedig

On Sunday we had to move on due to the 48 hour restrictions on the Nantwich Embankment. It was extremely windy and the canal looked like the sea. Nevertheless Eric managed to cruise the three miles to Hack Green without any crashes or bumps. We moored behind NB Shush below Hack Green Locks. Ben and I enjoyed the walk as we had the towpath to ourselves.

As we weren't on a visitor mooring we had the Shroppie shelf problem which meant we banged and crashed whenever a boat came past. Eric managed to put down fenders between the shelf and the hull which reduced the bangs. We were hit by an old work boat when the boater had trouble with the wind- but no apologies! Finally the wind dropped and we had a quiet nice once boats stopped passing us by. It started again with a bang at 7.30am so no sleeping in for us.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Moored On The Nantwich Embankment

We moved down from our overnight mooring just south of Hurleston Junction bright and early on Friday mooring. We could have stayed longer but the weather forecast for Saturday was wet wet wet and we needed to get some food shopping done. It's quite a walk to Morrisons so we didn't fancy walking in heavy rain. Ben enjoyed a run and I walked with the boat to Nantwich and we were in luck just three spaces left on the 48's on the embankment before the aqueduct. Alan and Eiddwen (NB Shush) moved too but they stopped for water on the way and then filled the last space and it was only ten o'clock. We wanted to stop here as we knew we could get a satellite signal as Eric wanted to watch the Grand Prix this weekend.

First of all we left Ben on the boat while we did the food shopping, so now we have food. We did have food but we didn't have any biscuits or crisps, milk bread or any fruit and vegetables. We just had to have a jammy doughnut before we walked back to the boat and we also stopped for a refreshment break on the way as we needed a cold drink- my drink was a J2O while Eric had a pint!

The weather man got it right-this morning it was raining really heavily. Later it eased off and Ben and I walked towards Hack Green and back while Eric watched the qualifiers. I didn't get very wet but Ben was soaked and needed a good rub down with a towel which he was trying to eat as Eric rubbed him down. Of course now I'm back it's stopped raining.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back On The Shroppie

Bridge Three Llangollen Canal

Going Down- Top Lock Of Hurleston Flight

Leaving Lock Three

Turn Right At Hurleston Junction-Back On The Shroppie

On Monday morning I took Ben out for a walk much earlier than usual as I had a train to catch to Shrewsbury and then to Newport in south Wales. He then had another walk with Eric to the train station to see me off on my trip. The train from Wrenbury is a shuttle service running between Shrewsbury and Crewe- just a one carriage bus like train. The train from Shrewsbury was packed but I managed to find a seat in an air conditioned carriage, the other carriage was boiling as the air-con was not working.

Arriving in Newport I met one of my daughters Clare and we had a coffee and a chat before I went to the doctors for my annual checkup. They changed my asthma medication as I've had a cough for ages- so hopefully the new stuff will help. I left the doctors and walked down to my dad's house where I was staying for a few days.

The next day I visited my youngest daughter Lisa and my granddaughter Gwenllian. Gwenllian made me smile with her attempts to blow bubbles with a kit I bought her- she managed a few when Lisa said blow like when you blow out candles! Her other half Gerwyn gave me a lift back to my dad's house which was much appreciated. On Wednesday the train back to Shrewsbury was much quieter and a few hours later I was back on the shutttle to Wrenbury.

Eric met me at the station with Ben the dog and we walked back to the boat which was now near Baddiley Locks as he'd moved while I was away. It took us an hour to reach the boat and we had a cuppa before working through the five locks to take us to a lovely mooring a few bridges up from Hurleston- no roads just the sound of the birds!

On Thursday we did the final four locks at Hurleston to take us back on the Shroppie where NB Shush was moored up at the visitor moorings. Time for a catch up chat! So now we've accomplished the only part of our summer cruise we'd planned- turn right at Hurleston Junction!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

On The Move-Ten Locks Today

Going Down- Grindley Brook Staircase

Grindley Brook Middle Lock

Job Share-Eric working the locks!

Today we were ready to move at ten am with the water tank filled, rubbish in the skip and cassettes emptied. It was already a scorcher of a day so at least we'd have a bit of breeze as we moved. We planned to get as far as Wrenbury so I could catch a train to south Wales from the station on Monday.

The lock keeper at Grindley Brook staircase was all ready for us and helped us by working the one side of the locks. Once down those three the fun began! The next lock was ready for the boat coming up but they were waiting for us- I explained we'd have to fill it to use it and it would be a waste of water. They hadn't been on a boat before so were unsure what to do. At the next lock a hen party boat left the lock and closed the gate behind them even though we were visible- so we had three narrowboats in a small pound- chaos which could easily have been avoided.

For the next locks we changed over- I steered the boat and Eric worked the locks and walked the dog. Finally we got to Wrenbury and held up the traffic as we used the electric lift bridge. There was just one space to moor- everybody was spaced out. Eric found the dot in the sky so I can watch 'Over the Rainbow' this evening- it's the final. Ben is sat watching all the people go by as we're next to a caravan site - I'll take him out later when it cools down a bit.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Whitchurch To Grindley Brook

Today (Thursday) we moved on just a short distance really but it involved passing through three lift bridges. Luckily one was lifted by another boater and he let us through before he lowered it gain. I waited for another boat to go through before lowering the one by the Whitchurch Arm so Eric carried on without us. The sun was shining as Ben and I walked from Whitchurch to Grindley Brook- I must admit I was all hot and bothered when we caught up with Eric at the water point. We decided to moor up on the visitor moorings and go down the six locks at Grindley Brook on Saturday. The first three are a staircase and two lock keepers are usually available to help the boats through. Lots of boats going past in both directions today so the locks have been rather busy with hire boats mainly returning to their bases. Hopefully it will be quieter on Saturday morning. Tomorrow I'll follow some footpath signs from the canal and take Ben for a long walk while Eric puts another coat of cream on the stern door panels. He also wants to touch up a few scrapes on the gunnels -an area which always needs a bit of black paint. I took the photograph of Ben in the fields last time we were moored at Grindley Brook a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On The Move Towards Grindley Brook

We've left Ellesmere behind and are on our way towards Grindley Brook. We stayed near Prees Junction after filling up with diesel at Whixall Marina and getting some oil for our next service. As usual I couldn't lift the first Lift bridge- Eric had to do the honours while I steered the boat. He said there was a loop of chain at the end of the chain which may help others lift the bridge.

The sun was shining so we moved on Tuesday and decided to stop just before Whitchurch meaning Ben and I could have some nice walks along the footpaths around Whitchurch. It was really amazing to be cruising in sunshine with no wind at all. We decided to stay put on Wednesday as Eric wanted to paint the cream on the stern door linings and I had washing to do. Out came the rotary line so the washing could dry outside but as the sun went in, it was still quite damp when I brought it in.

Ben and I left Eric to his painting while we walked along some footpaths near Whitchurch. He loves running in the fields although he did have to go on a lead as one field with a footpath through had horses in it- at least it wasn't cows! When we got back to the boat NB Cabinessence went past with Sue and Mac aboard returning to their mooring in Chirk. They had spent the winter moored up with us in Llangollen.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

NB Bendigedig On The Ellesmere Arm

NB Bendigedig on the Ellesmere Arm

It's Saturday and we're spending another night on the Ellesmere Arm before setting off on our travels tomorrow. Although we're moored at the end nearest town it was quiet here last night. During the day loads of people walk by looking at the boats and walking their dogs as well as boaters going past with their shopping- mostly Tesco bags. I expect the Co-op and Spar shops have noticed the difference in trade since Tesco arrived.

Today (Saturday) Eric watched the F A Cup Final and tomorrow it's the Grand Prix so he'll be quite happy. I can still remembered going to see 'Grand Prix' a film in the cinema when I about 17- Eric's idea of a great date- I was bored to death! After the Grand Prix we'll be filling up with water at the services before leaving Ellesmere for a while- we need to get some fuel at Whixall Marina.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Still In Ellesmere

Don't know this one! Anne says it's Ground Ivy

Red Campion

Don't know this one! Anne says it's Borage


This week has been a funny week as we've not moved far as NB Shush is still in the dry dock and Eric is helping Alan black the hull- it's the second coat today (Friday). After that they need 48 hours so that the hull is thoroughly dry before it hits the water again on Monday morning. I've been stocking up the cupboards ready to continue cruising on Monday and first stop will be at Whixall Marina for diesel. The diesel is cheaper than at Blackwater and we can self declare so it's cheaper still. It has some drawbacks going to Whixall because it's at the end of the Prees Branch and involves working through two lift bridges, one of which I can't shift as it's a pull the chain variety and I end up dangling on the end of the chain getting nowhere fast. Eric has to do that one while I steer the boat. Ben and I have been out walking and it's been great to be in Ellesmere when there are leaves on the trees and different flowers visible in the Nature Reserve. I love to see the bluebells and some are growing pink or white. I don't remember the names of some of the flowers so I'll have to have a look on the Internet and add the names later. Perhaps some clever person can tell me what they are.
Thanks Anne for telling me what they are.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Changing Places

NB Shush entering the dock

NB Shush in the dock

The BW men arrived and lifted a plank to allow the water to flood in the dock. Ben wondered what all the noise was so he came to have a look. Soon the boat was afloat again feeling quite strange after a week of a boat sat on blocks perfectly level. Alan was waiting on NB Shush ready to come in as soon as we vacated the premises. Soon the water was emptied and NB Shush was left sitting on the blocks with the BW man brushing the floor to get rid off some of the mud.

Bendy Has Her Stripes

Bendy has her stripes!

Monday has finally arrived and NB Bendigedig sits waiting for the water to be let in so we can leave the dry dock. She looks posh with her stripes (tunnel bands). First job will be to clean off the swallow droppings and then find a space to moor for a few days while Eric helps Alan black his boat. One good thing is he isn't using Comastic so the smell will be better.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Bottom Blacked - Ready To Leave

Plenty of room for NB Bendigedig in the dock.

A nice black bottom!

The last two days have been a waiting game as the boat needed 48 hours before going back in the water. But Eric has been busy painting the tunnel bands and the gunnels as well as replacing the rusty chains and shackles on the bow and stern fenders. NB Bendigedig looks so much better! Tomorrow we'll be up bright and early as BW start at 7.30am!

One disadvantage of being in the dry dock has been no satellite TV signal so we've missed our favourite programs. BBC I player is no good to us as the signal is not good enough to watch a program- you get part of a sentence a delay while it downloads and then another part of the sentence. It would takes hours to watch a 30 minute program. We've been listening to the radio and watching DVDs in the evenings instead.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Work In Progress

Just one swallow on the rope!

On Wednesday we finished the preparation work on the boat hull and Eric managed to get a coat of very smelly Comastic on the hull with the help of Alan (NB Shush). Eric and Alan had face masks on but they could have done with oxygen cylinders! The extractor fans were all on too. As the coating dried the smell went.

Today (Thursday) Eric and I took Ben for a walk through the Nature Reserve before work started on the hull. Eric wanted to paint some tunnel bands as our boat hasn't got any pretty colours on its stern and then paint the black on gunnels while he could do it standing up. We haven't any work to do on the roof which is just as well as we share the dry dock with swallows nesting in the rafters. It's strange to see the swallows sitting on the ropes along the walkway next to the dock and soaring overhead. They are obviously used to seeing boats and people in the dry dock.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

In Ellesmere Dry Dock

Ellesmere Dry Dock (or is it a tunnel?)

In The Dry Dock

Where's The Water Gone?

This morning we were up bright and early- much earlier than usual and waiting outside the dry dock at 8.30am. We knew it wasn't a tunnel but we were told someone had asked a previous occupant how long they were going to be as he wanted to go through the tunnel. Soon the previous occupant vacated the dock and we were in with the water level going down. The man from the hire shop brought us a pressure washer and soon Eric was busy with it cleaning the hull.

Before I could help him I had to take Ben for his walk but he didn't want to get off the boat as it involved steps and he didn't like the noise of the pressure washer. Eric turned off the noise and carried him down the steps so off we went on our familiar route through the Nature Reserve, over the hill to the Mere and then back to the boat. He went up the steps quite happily to get back on the boat and settled down for a nap while I helped Eric scrape the boat. It took a long time with scrapers and wire brushes to get it ready for painting and we've only done one side.

Anyway tomorrow's another day , so cheerio from two tired boaters.