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.