Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moored At Ellesmere- A Quick Update

On Tuesday Ben and I walked while Eric steered the boat to Ellesmere where we moored up.We passed  bloggers NB Beefur mooring up at Colemere and shouted our hellos.I packed my rucksack and headed off to catch the bus to Shrewsbury for t athe train  to Newport in south Wales.  My blood pressure reading was required by my doctor and it was nice to go visiting. On my trip I had a little retail therapy, a visit to the seaside  at Porthcawl with my dad and a visit to see my daughters and granddaughter. Paula also brought the post including a package with some alternator belts .......just in case the generator chews up another one!

The seaside trip was an epic journey as we used our free bus passes to get there. First it was 45 minutes to Cardiff and then an hour and a half to Porthcawl stopping at every stop of course. We got there in time for a fish and chip lunch and it was a beautiful sunny day so it was very busy. We didn't walk very far, mainly because Dad was quite happy to sit in the sun. After a while I found a shady spot. The journey back too even longer but despite the journeys my dad  enjoyed his day out. The bus was very full, most of the passengers were free bus pass holders with very few fare paying customers. 

Today, Thursday it was another journey taking two and a half hours by train and bus back to Ellesmere.........a much more comfortable journey! The train wasn't packed and it was a pleasant journey with my MP3 playing some of my favourite Cd's.

Nice to go away but nice to come back, I always miss my man and my dog!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wrenbury To Grindley Brook

Yesterday we woke up to the sound of rain , so it was a very leisurely Sunday start. We waited for the rain to stop and made our move at 11.30am, Ben and I walked to Marbury Lock after upsetting the locals by lifting the Wrenbury Lift Bridge. There wasn't a car in sight as I shut the road barrier but as I waited patiently for the bridge to raise the queue built up and by the time the three boats went through a dozen vehicles were waiting. Perhaps because it was Sunday I wasn't shouted at today!

As we approached Marbury Lock the gates opened as a waiting boater above the lock saw the lock was empty and ready for us. Not long after that we pulled in for a stop as Eric wanted to watch the Singapore Grand Prix. The dot in sky found and he only missed the first three laps. We decided to move on after the race as the sun was shining and I wanted a Sunday paper. So it was three more locks to the moorings below Grindley Brook, where a walk to the garage got me a paper.

A nice quiet spot once boat engines were turned off at eight o'clock. We did however get hit by a tidal wave as a private boater speeded past in the dark. The waves that followed him were like the sea! It took a while for normality to return after all the rocking and rolling.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Five Locks And One Lift Bridge To Wrenbury

Ben and I walked today, first of all past Swanley Marina to the first of the two Swanley Locks. We were following a hireboat with four Americans on board and as they were unsure of the procedure we helped them through.  We caught up them at the next lock closing the gate on an oncoming boat, so I reopened it after I refilled the water that had leaked away through the leaky bottom gates.

Ben and I continued our walk reaching  the three Baddiley Locks and some boats coming towards us made life easier. It was back on the boat then to avoid the stretch of wet and muddy towpath just before Wrenbury. The first lift bridge was open and the lady let us through after her boat and we thanked her. We managed to moor up before the electrically operated lift bridge.

We locked up the boat and headed for the Cotton Arms for lunch and had a pleasant surprise to find it was a Lunch Club day, with two courses for £5. Eric had garlic mushrooms and I had a prawn cocktail for starters with Eric having rabbit stew, while I had chicken with a sauce for the main course. The food was delicious and  the other customers were friendly and chatty to, so it was a very pleasant lunch.

Back on the boat we ended up playing ball with Ben the dog, who was very pleased to see us. They do allow dogs in the pub but I prefer to eat my meal without sad eyes looking at me wanting some of my chicken.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Up The Hurleston Flight

Going up the Hurleston Flight
Today started with a cycle ride from our moorings above Cholmondeston Lock to Hurleston Junction  with Ben the dog. The locks were very busy but nearly all the traffic was going up. At one point there were two boats waiting in the first pound and two boats changing places between the locks......chaos! For a change boaters were helping each other opening a paddle to speed up the climb through the flight.

So we're back on Eric's favourite canal on the first day of Autumn..........who knows what this winter will throw at us? It's a pity we still don't know about winter moorings as BW in their wisdom are making us wait until early October. This is gives us little time to make alternative arrangements.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More Polishing!

Ben before he went walkabout!

Today the sun was shining but not on the side that hadn't been washed and polished, so before we left our mooring near Aqueduct Marina we did the jobs. It looks so much better as there was an unfaded section where the side hatch doors go back but now it's looks the same.

While we were busy Ben went walkabout without us, I just saw his tail  ahead as he went out of sight. I know we usually have a walk in the morning but he could have waited for me. I went to find him calling him and eventually he ran speedily past me to sit back by the boat, perhaps he thought I hadn't missed him.

Polishing finished we had elevenses and Ben and I had a walk to Venetian Marine where Eric stopped to top up with diesel, buy a bottle of gas and some bags of coal. Just one lock to do before we moored up for a late lunch and the sun is still shining. Hopefully we won't need the coal now we've bought some. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Windy Middlewich Arm

Ben enjoying the grass!

Washing on the line (1)

Washing on the line (2)
Before we could go anywhere today Eric had to put a new belt on the 240v  Travel Power generator, it had lost the V's of the belt . This is the second one he's put on this year yet the previous Goodyear belt lasted four years. That done I could do the washing while we cruised the Middlewich Arm.

It's so windy today we decided to be green and dry the washing on  the rotary line. Eric hammered in the spike but after ten minutes the line was leaning over in the wind. Second try was putting it near the boat so we could tie it to the plank rank so it's not going anywhere. I expect it'll rain now!

Ben's sat outside for a while enjoying the grass but soon came in when I came back on the boat..............he didn't want to be outside on his own

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back To Middlewich

We decided to sit out the rain and it stopped at lunchtime so we cruised all the way to Middlewich working through the four locks and then Wardle Lock after getting water at the junction. Ben and I did have a walk in the rain before we moved but we didn't go that far and Ben was quite happy to turn around and go back to the boat.

Every lock was against us so had to be emptied before we could go up. I left Eric with the boat  in the lock with the water going up slowly while I went ahead to empty the next lock. By the time I'd done that the boat was level and ready to leave the lock. Ben had to stay on his lead while I did the locks as there were lots of walkers, dogs and bikes about.

We moored up on Middlewich Visitor Moorings, which wasn't empty this evening. We had a beautiful orange sunset, before we knew it was dark outside and it's only eight o'clock.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back Up The Anderton Lift

Anderton Lift
Today we cruised to Northwich as it's a place we've never visited by boat or by car.  First stop was the BW Services and then we moored up between the two swing bridges. There's an unusual sign which says 'Boaters wishing to moor have priority' so I take it to mean the anglers have to move! Lots of old timbered buildings in the old town but I didn't take the camera! I did find a M&S but they didn't have any long sleeved cotton jersey pyjamas which Eric likes just short sleeved good in winter!

We then decided to go back up the boat lift if we could and arrived on the holding moorings at 2.30pm just in time for the 3.00pm  lift to the Trent and Mersey Canal. I went up to ask if there was a space and we were in luck for the 3.00pm. If you prebook a space you have to pay a booking fee of £5, otherwise it's free.

So we're back on a canal and Ben is delighted as we jump off the boat to have a walk with the boat. It was good on the River Weaver but walks had to be completed before we cruised as  you can't just hop off the boat. Moored near the Billinge Flashes with four other boats, all spaced out of course!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cruising Down The Weaver In Pictures

Approaching Saltersford Lock

An old BW boat passing us by

Acton Swing Bridge is ahead

NB Roach is ahead of the two working boats

Approaching Dutton Viaduct

Today Ben and I followed some footpath signs and a much shorter route to the shop in Barnton to get a Sunday paper, there and back in under an hour. If you ever moor at Barnton Cut  take the first footpath sign you see heading back towards Anderton. You end up  overlooking the tunnel air shaft and then it's a right turn to walk over the tunnel mouth and it's  a left turn at the main road into Barnton village.

Ben exercised we were ready to cruise  and a quick phone call to the lock keeper meant the gates were open ready for us at Saltersford Lock.  Leaving the lock we let the old BW boat who shared the lock go ahead as we weren't in any hurry. We passed through Acton Swing Bridge and he pulled in onto the moorings anyway.

Two working boats were coming towards us and we recognised NB Roach with his coal on board. We arrived at Dutton Lock and once again the lock was ready for us as the previous lock keeper had phoned ahead. We continued our cruise under the magnificent Dutton Viaduct (built in 1837 by Joseph Locke) and  through some secluded wooded stretches of the river. We passed one boat moored at 'Devil's Garden', but I don't know where the name comes from.

We cruised near Frodsham and under Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge before turning round and stopping for lunch on the Visitor Mooring while the water tank filled up. We headed back to stay at the moorings below Dutton Lock for the night.......the lock keeper told us he starts at 8 am tomorrow but we won't be ready that early!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gwenllian Having Fun On A Carousel!

Aunty Sally and Gwenllian
My daughter Sally put this lovely photo on Facebook for me..........I just had to share it!

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's So Peaceful At Barnton Cut

Under a swing bridge
Going downstream to Barnton Cut
Moored at Barnton Cut Moorings
Down at the bottom of the Anderton Lift we turned right  and headed downstream to Barnton Cut recommended by the lady who arranged our passage down the lift. It's so quiet and peaceful and the water is so calm here with  no visible movement at all. Ben and I went for a walk to Saltersford Lock not far from our mooring, and on the way back the heavens opened and we got rather wet. Ben needed a rub down with a towel while had to put dry trousers on!

Down The Anderton Lift In Pictures

Waiting for the barrier to be rasied
Entering the caisson (tank)

Ready to go down
One tank up and one going down
The giant ram supporting a caisson
Nearly at river level
Today we cruised up the final stretch to Anderton passing Wincham Wharf where out boat first went in the water to be taken to Sandbach for fitting out. Arriving at the 24 hour visitor moorings we moored up and went to see if a passage down was available today. We were in luck so got the next passage down onto the River Weaver,

It's Amazing What Wax Can Do!

When the side of the boat cooled down in the evening we decided to wash and polish one side of the boat. First we washed the side  with Craftmaster Carnauba Wash and rinsed it off with clean water. Then we dried it off with a chamois leather, put on the Craftmaster Carnauba Wax and rubbed it off. We couldn't believe our eyes, one side of NB Bendigedig is back to it's original colour with the weathered paint removed and it's nice and shiny too!

Of course there's still some rust spots to tackle and the grass hides a multitude of sins.......the battered gunnels which need  paint. We'll have to polish the other side when its towpath side.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Moored At Billinge Green Flashes, Trent & Mersey Canal

Wardle Lock
Despite being all alone in Middlewich, it was fine. As I said yesterday lots of noise from a barking dog in nearby garden of a house but it didn't keep us awake as it eventually stopped. Everyone in Middlewich must walk their dog along the towpath  so we woken early by Ben seeing them off.

The boat felt cold this morning so I put the heating on for half an hour to take the chill off. Outside the sun was shining and it turned out to be a lovely day. Ben and I walked down to Wardle Lock , the lady who is normally in the cottage seems to be gone as all the brass plaques have been taken off her door.If she was there she usually came out to chat and help open a gate when she was fit enough.

We  turned left then reversed back to top up with water at the junction, and Eric popped over King's Lock Chandlery to get some oil. He came back with some Craftmaster polish so he must be going to tackle the sides of the boat. We had four more locks to do and I knew we were back on the Trent and Mersey Canal as the gates seem so much heavier and the  paddle gear is stiff. We waited at Big Lock, a double lock to see if the following boat was coming our way but there was so sign of them even though I lifted a paddle to fill each lock in readiness for them. They must have stopped to shop in Middlewich.

We moored up opposite Billinge Green Flashes  and the view out of the window is below. There's a few other boats moored here but we're spaced out enjoying the peace and quiet.

Billinge Green Flashes

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Moored At Middlewich

While we were moored last night we had a surprise visitor, Tom owner of NB Waiouru currently residing on NB Kelly-Louise. We had a great chat before he set off to find some friends on a hire boat on the Middlewich Branch. He obviously found them because he passed later on a hire boat.

Today was a busy day, down one lock and first stop was at Bob's at Venetian Marine to fill up with diesel. They were fine with self declaration too. After that I cycled for a bit with Ben the dog to the next lock. It was an incredibly bumpy ride so I put the bike back on the boat at the lock.

It's been pleasant cruising the Middlewich Branch as the weather has been so much better. Also there  are not many other boats using this stretch of canal. Arriving in Middlewich there was plenty of room to moor. There's a few noisy dogs barking opposite the Visitor Moorings so that may be why it's so quiet. We moored up and headed for  Tesco to get some food before we cruise up the Trent and Mersey Canal tomorrow towards Anderton. Last time we headed that way shops were few and far between.
NB Bendigedig at Middlewich

We couldn't stop in Middlewich without fish and chips from the shop at King's Lock and yet again they were delicious! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On The Middlewich Branch Of The Shropshire Union Canal

Going down the Hurleston Flight
A view down the locks.

Ben and I walked to the waterpoint while Eric battled with the wind, it felt worse than yesterday!  We watered up above Hurleston Locks, a hireboater asked how long we were going to be but I didn't know the anwer to that!  We then went down the flight of four locks. The lock keeper was chatty this morning and made a big fuss of Ben the dog. He doesn't usually have much to say  but he was telling me my favourite lockie at Hurleston Linda now runs Cheshire Cat Narrowboats.

A  left turn and we were heading for Barbridge Junction with a right turn on the blind corner to take us on the Middlewich Branch of the S.U.C. Of course we sounded the horn, heard nothing from any other boats and nearly met a boat in the bridge hole. We had to go backwards, great fun in the wind and then we were passing long lines of moored boats.We moored up above Cholmondeston Lock. Tomorrow we need diesel at Venetian Marine which is below the lock.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Very Windy Cruise

Today despite the wind we decided to cruise, it certainly made an interesting afternoon as a few times the boat tried to escape the lock moorings with the force of the wind. We were in luck as the automated Wrenbury Lock was open when we got there so we just slipped through in convoy so to speak. Ben and I then went on ahead to use the windlass to open to Wrenbury Church Lift bridge and let the convoy through.

Then it was back on the boat until Baddiley Locks as the next section of towpath is a mud bath! We were following a pair of single handed boaters, but they both fitted in the lock so it wasn't too slow. Ben and I walked between the locks while Eric battled the wind. We did meet a few boats coming up the locks but most of the traffic was towards Hurleston.

Back on the boat until Swanley Locks and between the locks we passed NB Kelly-Louise, but we didn't see the crew. We'll look out for you when we return to Llangollen in October.

NB Kelly-Louise

After that it was stop at Burland Stores to get a few bits of pieces.......and some chocolate! The shopkeeper lives on a boat so it was good to shop there. We moored up a couple of bridges further on with the wind pushing us against the towpath side making mooring easier. Relaxing, battered by wind but we're OK!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend At Wrenbury

On Saturday we left our mooring below Grindley Brook Locks with an overnight stop in Wrenbury in mind. I cycled on ahead with a windlass and Ben the dog getting some exercise. It worked out well if  a boat was leaving the lock so the gates stayed open for us, otherwise the lock was  ready by the time NB Bendy got there. Sometimes people just don't look to see if another boat's coming, they just close the gates. Coming towards Marbury Lock on the bike I waved, but the crew still shut the gates!

Going with the flow of the water on the Llangollen Canal is so much easier and by lunch time we were moored up before the Wrenbury Lift Bridge. Eric found a satellite signal and just caught the qualifiers for tomorrows Grand Prix. The visitor moorings were soon full, you could hear stakes being hammered in when there were no more rings.

We've decided to stay put tomorrow so Eric can watch the Grand Prix. The weather forecast isn't good but Ben and I will still have a walk to Marbury Lock and back  before lunch. After that we'll have a lazy afternoon.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Down Grindley Brook Locks

Grindley Brook Bottom Lock

This morning it was a walk with Ben the dog  doing the three lift bridges on the way to Grindley Brook. A lovely warm day although Eric didn't like the wind blowing the boat making it hard work. At Grindley Brook we topped up the water tank and then made our way to the top of the locks to  see the lock keeper. We had to wait for a boat to come up and one go down, then it was our turn down the staircase of three. Then we did the three single locks with no boats came up the locks so every lock had to be filled so we could go down. At the bottom of the locks we found the Visitor moorings and stopped for lunch. After a leisurely lunch it was already two o'clock so we decided to stay put rather than do any more locks today. We'll see how far we get tomorrow.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Moving On To Whitchurch

Up in the morning and  I decided to ride the bike with Ben the dog, even though the towpath was bumpy. We did about four miles before Eric stopped so we could back on the boat just in time for the first lift bridge of the day which is the road bridge to the scrap yard. I had to put the bridge down even though a boat was about 400 metres away as there was a queue of traffic.

Lots of speedy boats about in a hurry, some moaning about having to stop at a bridge as we were coming through, but we managed to have a very slow Viking Afloat boat ahead. It didn't really matter as we weren't going far. We stopped on the outskirts of Whitchurch opposite the dead tree near the motte and bailey marked on the map as it's usually a quiet spot away from road noise.

The boats continued to rush past, one going so fast we banged and crashed as the attachment to the Armco moved along so we were away from the bank. Eric got ashore and retied us! Peace came with the onset of evening, although the heavy rain in the night woke us up.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The First Fire Of Autumn

Eric's back on board so things get back to normal. We decided to move on after using the BW services but before we could escape from the very busy Ellesmere we had to wind the boat in the wind. Eric used the wind to help him turn around and soon we were heading towards Blakemere through the short Ellesmere Tunnel. We met two Black Prince boats coming through the tunnel so had to wait but not for long.

We passed Colemere by and Lyneal Wharf before mooring by a wooden seat all on our own. Hopefully here we won't be woken by dog walkers and hedge cutters and grass cutters which is what woke me this morning.

I lit the fire this evening, the first one of Autumn! I know it's not officially Autumn until the 23rd but it certainly feels like Autumn! So it's warm and cosy and oh so peaceful out in the countryside on NB Bendigedig.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Eric's Visiting In Newport, I'm In Ellesmere

 Lisa &  Gwenllian
Clare and Gwenllian

Sally and David at Wales v England Rugby Match

Eric's in Newport visiting while I'm here in Ellesmere with Ben the dog. He's been lucky this visit as he's met up with our three daughters  Sally, Clare and Lisa and grandaughter Gwenllian. Today he's catching up with his sister Paula whose been feeling rather poorly lately, but he says she's looking a bit better today!

Ben and I have been busy exploring Ellesmere, we've walked lots of walks we've done many times before. Today we did a circular walk including a walk through the Woodland Trail by The Mere, of course Ben loved it but after two hours walking I was tired. We were lucky it didn't rain while we were out but it's extremely windy at the moment.

Ellesmere is getting ready for the Ellesmere Festival at the weekend and signs have gone with reserved mooring for boats who have paid handsomely (£50 so I'm told) for the privilege to moor for the weekend. There's going to be lots going on but we've decided not to stay as there's a fireworks display and  Ben gets so frightened it's not fair to put him through it.

So Eric will be back tomorrow and we'll empty and fill as required and be on our way. We're heading for the River Weaver via our first experience of the Anderton Boat should be fun.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Slow Boats To Ellesmere

Today we left Grindley Brook at 9.30am hoping to get to Ellesmere before the forecast rain came. The journey involved raising and lowering five lift bridges, some not particularly easy but I got there in the end. Only one,  across to the scrap merchant was a road, and of course two happy smiling car drivers waited patiently for the bridge to come back down. Not true of course they looked unhappy to have to wait! Ben and I enjoyed our walk but I was glad to get through all the lift bridges and get back on the boat.

After that progress was incredibly slow, we followed a very slow Viking Afloat boat from Prees Branch all the way to Ellesmere. Passing Blakemere a little Maestermyn Boat pulled out in front of us and they were even slower, we cruised on tick over as they couldn't decide which side of the canal to use ..........any slower we'd have been in reverse!

Yes we nearly beat the rain, it started as we pulled in to moor at Ellesmere.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Above Grindley Brook

Today we had a  busy day with nine locks to get through. I cycled ahead with Ben the dog to get the locks ready but it didn't make any difference as boats  were coming down.......I was just there so the gates were left open for us to go up. Another lovely day  so I cycled to the bottom of Grindley Brook with Ben. He still tries to eat my feet when I start off but a shout of no usually does the trick.

We queued at Grindley Brook with two boats going up ahead of us but some were coming down so it worked quite well.  At the staircase we were in luck no one was coming down, so I asked the lock keeper if it was OK to come up. I can't say he's the happiest lock keeper we've met on the system. Finally above the locks we filled up with water as well as emptying the cassettes and got rid of a bag of rubbish. After that we found a space to moor although the wind wanted us to moor on the non towpath's always windy above Grindley Brook.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The First Day Of September

A canal side house at Burford
A beautiful  start to September with a glorious hot sunny day. It started well with a pleasant walk with Ben the dog as I thought the towpath was too bumpy for cycling. No real queues at Swanley Locks just one boat ahead of us and a few coming down. NB Kelly Louise was moored in this area and gave us a shout as the boat passed by, they read the blog.......Hello again.....perhaps we'll see you again on our way back. This is only a fleeting visit to Ellesmere Festival and the Llangollen Canal as we're off to the Anderton Boat Lift and the River Weaver to tick off two more places where the Bendy boat hasn't been.

Approaching Baddiley Top Lock
Five locks later I was back on the boat as I remember well the mud of the towpath before Wrenbury. A kind boater waited for us to go through the first lift bridge before we moored alongside the caravan park in Wrenbury. That bridge takes forever to wind up and down so it was lovely to just go through it. The boat was moored in the shade of some trees  to keep Ben the dog cool as Eric wanted lunch out. We decided on 'The Dusty Miller' and the food was really good too.

After lunch we decided to carry on was such a lovely day. First we had to work the electric lift bridge, when we started there wasn't a car in sight but by the time it was back down there was quite a queue.......sorry folks for holding you up.  Leaving Wrenbury we spotted the Combermere Abbey Monument in the distance on the towpath side of the canal, not that I know anything about it.....I'll have to Google it.

At Marbury Lock the stern button decided to droop as the weak link decided to give out although Eric didn't notice the button  catching on anything, it just touched the back gate. So we had to fix that as it was interfering with the rudder. At the lock chatting to the crew of the boat behind found us talking to  some people from our part of the world, their welsh accent was very strong yet we never notice our own. One man said we haven't got an accent....everybody else has! 

It had been a lovely day but a wasp came and spoiled my day when he crawled on my back and stung me........ouch! As the lump started to grow it was time for antihistamines and a dollop of bite cream. We decided to moor up near Marbury. Tomorrow there's three more locks before the six locks at Grindley Brook  so it'll be a busy day.......let's hope the sun is shining.