Friday, December 30, 2011

Another Trip To South Wales

Yesterday Eric caught the afternoon train back to Newport as he had another hospital appointment Friday afternoon. So it was just an overnighter at daughter Clare's house. They had a chinese take away so they didn't have to cook. Clare is suffering at the moment with a bad back........what a family! I've just spoken to Eric on the phone and he's on his way back to north Wales. But the bad news is he's got another appointment at the Eye Clinic next Friday afternoon as they're not very happy with how his eye is progressing and need to keep an eye on it!  

Today Liz was feeling better so she came walking in the woods with Connie. The dogs had a good time even though it started to rain, running in the woods while we took our time as it was a bit slippery underfoot and we weren't feeling particularly energetic. As usual Ben was interested in big sticks and Connie was following scents.

Now I am going to make a beef curry for tea- with a jar of Patak's sauce of course, so I know it'll taste OK. Ben will get a taste of the beef before I add the sauce, I know I spoil him!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back On NB Bendigedig

Yesterday after an uneventful journey we've returned to Llangollen. We had a few hold ups around Hereford but as our route was A roads rather than motorway it didn't cause us any problems. Ben was a very good boy travelling in the boot area (with the parcel shelf removed) just looking out of the rear window. I was surprised he didn't curl up and go to sleep but he did that when we were back on our floating home.We stopped on the way for comfort breaks and to pick up milk, bread and a cooked chicken for tea. It's nice to go away but it's always nice to be back home. We need a couple of days to relax after a hectic week. I expect our daughter Clare is glad to have her house back!

Today it was back to normal with a walk with Liz and Connie, not a long one as Liz is suffering with a cough and a cold. The weather further north is certainly cooler than down south, with a cold wind.  I've been busy catching up with the washing, it's just as well we've got a drier  although the shirts get hung up on coathangers so it still looks like a laundry. They soon dry with the heat from the fire.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve In Rainy Newport

Since we came to Newport it's been hectic and today was no exception, first I had to collect the presents from my dad's house. I'd bought and wrapped them on my last trip to Newport  and left them at his house until today.

Ben with his Christmas squeaky didn't last the day! (photo by Clare)

Next it was  Ben's walk as he needed to be exercised as we were out all afternoon at our daughters Christmas Eve Party as she was working over Christmas. The weather was wet wet wet and there we were playing ball at Tredegar Park........we must be mad. There were other dog walkers over there too.

The dummy tree ( photo by Robin)

We had a lovely afternoon made extra special by granddaughter Gwenllian opening some early presents. The Christmas tree was a little unusual as hanging on it were numerous dummies. Her mother's idea  was to let Father Christmas have the dummies in exchange for a pet so Gwenllian is swapping her dummies for a pet rabbit. 

I took some photos but didn't bring the lead to download them onto the computer......we always forget something! All that remains for me to write is we hope you have a................................

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mudlarking In Wales

Ready to paddle.....plenty of mud
Apart from shopping and visiting family I've been walking some familiar haunts including the Alt-yr-yn Nature Reserve area which runs alongside the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. You may have seen the canal if you've travelled the M4 between Brynglas Tunnels at Newport and Tredegar Park roundabout and you've certainly heard about that section of the M4 if you listen to Radio 2 as it's notorious for accidents. It was strange for Eric to drive along as it's now got variable speed limits on this section of motorway.

There was certainly plenty of mud about and it was a case of me squelching with the boots getting heavier as the mud accumulated but Ben light footed through it. Luckily I'd planned our route back to include a paddle in a shallow section of canal and a bucket of water, a cloth and a towel were waiting outside Clare's house to clean the dog and my boots!

Eric's been busy with an appointment at the eye clinic and the specialist said 'oh dear' when he looked in the offending eye, followed by 'the iritis is back with avengeance'. Eric wasn't thrilled either as it can be painful and it means weekly visits from north to south Wales  for about six weeks. Luckily the one set of drops dilate the pupil and therefore ease the pain.

Today it's more visiting and a cleaner walk over Tredegar  Park with a ball thrower in the rain. Ben will be dirty but we'll be cleaner as there's hard pathways rather than mud. My dad will have to provide the bucket and the cloth when we get there!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Back Home For Christmas

On Tuesday we did the journey by car rather than going by train to stay with our daughter Clare in Newport for Christmas. We weren't sure whether we'd actually have a car after a phone call from Enterprise telling us they didn't have a car although we'd had a booking since the beginning of November. They knew another firm so they gave us their number to ring them up and it was all arranged. Enterprise did actually pick us up as arranged and take us to the new place called 'Jolly Good Van Hire'.....they also hire cars! We ended up with a VW Golf with just 6,000 miles on the clock and as we only needed to show a driving licence it was certainly less fuss than Enterprise who always ask for several proofs of we'll probably be using them again.

The journey down was uneventful with no hold ups other than slow traffic through Hereford. Ben travelled in the luggage area with the parcel shelf removed so he was a very good boy. Basically it will be easier to keep the car hair free if he travels in the boot. He was quite comfy with his blanket and he had a few comfort breaks as it took us four hours to make the trip. It's quicker by train but not as convenient due to the lack of transport over the holidays and the fact that lots of taxi drivers in Newport don't want dogs in their cabs. The evening was spent relaxing, Eric's got achy arms as he's not used to driving a car on a long journey.  We had a chinese take away and Ben sampled the chicken in batter.

On Wednesday it was time to face the Asda crowds and fill up the cupboards and fridge ready for the Christmas festivities. First of all I needed to exercise Ben the dog so we headed for Tredegar Park with plenty of room for him to have a good run. We had the company of a 16 week old pup who wanted to play chase and come with us rather than her owner. Eric stayed with Ben in the car while I filled a trolley with lots of nice food. He thought I'd got lost I was so long but I had to make sure I got everything on the list as I wanted it to be my one and only trip to a superstore.

Eric woke this morning  with a sore eye so I made him an appointment at the doctor's in the afternoon. It's uveitis (again) and he's off to see the specialist at the eye clinic tomorrow. You can't fault the NHS in this case. I'm glad the shopping's done as Eric won't be able to drive with the drops they put in his eye.

We've been visiting our granddaughter Gwenllian this evening whose counting down the days or should I say nights until Father Christmas comes. Only four sleeps to go! It's great having a youngster in the family again as it just makes Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Lunch At 'The Cowshed'

We've been lucky, we've had rain, hailstones and sleet but no snow on the lower ground although it's certainly cold enough for snow. Our walk this mornings  took Liz and I through the town and up to Pen-y-coed woods following tracks new to us. The dogs had a lovely time as  we did a circular route before coming back through the town. The views were great as we could see all the snow on the Llantisilio Mountains as well as views of Castell Dinas Bran and Trevor Rocks. It was a change to walk new territory as the dogs could run in the woods which were so peaceful. We'd passed the kissing gate leading to the woods  but hadn't ventured through before. We try to avoid the towpath walks at the weekend as it can be very busy.

Dogs walked we left them on the boats to have lunch at 'The Cowshed'. I had no idea where we were going at Liz and Nick were taking us there. We arrived at the Plassey Shippon and found the restaurant to be a converted cowshed with the tables having the names of cows in each individual stall. Our table was in Ethel's stall! A lovely meal with good friends, although we were surprised to see the restaurant was really quiet with lots of unfilled tables even though it was Sunday lunch. Now I know why Liz told me we were going to 'The cowshed!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Connie's Back After Her Holiday

Ben pinned down by Connie (taken 2009)

On Monday Connie returned to Llangollen with her owners Liz and Nick and Ben was first to spot her return by whining at the window. They were soon reunited and Ben was delighted as they played as Connie was in chase me mode.  It was great to have our neighbours back, it's been very quiet here on Llangollen Wharf.

On Tuesday  Liz and I took the dogs to Horseshoe Falls along the canal towpath, it was very cold wind so we didn't fancy taking to the hills. Plenty of water in the River Dee and the water was certainly crashing over the weir. It was a good walk with lots to talk about as they'd been away a few weeks. While we were out walking and talking the coalman delivered some coal so we're prepared for the forecasted bad weather now.

Overnight we had loads of rain which meant it was hammering on the boat roof so I resorted to ear plugs. Today we were out for a couple of hours as we walked the Valle Crucis Abbey Walk and we didn't meet the ram on the hill which was good news. Connie was soon head down on the scent of something once we'd walked through the sheep fields, but she didn't go too far. It was incredibly muddy after all the rain, so we squelched along. Our route back was via the mooring basin so Ben and Connie could have a wash in the shallow canal to get rid off some of the dirt they'd managed to cover themselves in.

We came back to the boats to find NB Henry across the canal on a long rope as Nick was decorating a Christmas tree on the offside bank, it now looks very pretty. I wonder if we'll wake up to snow in the morning, we've escaped it so far.

Update on Eric- he's much better after the doctor prescribed antibiotics for his chest infection.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Little Bit Of Christmas

A little bit of Christmas has come to NB Bendigedig with some dangling baubles and twinkly blue lights adorning the windows and a tiny live tree with lights and baubles on. Ben's not sure what to make of it so he just sniffed it. It's not big enough to be the kind of stick he likes to carry when we're out walking.  Ben's walk this morning was later than usual as the rain was hammering down. It stopped for a while so he managed a walk without getting too wet although he usually manages to find some mud and puddles to splash in. I'd prepared a beef casserole which was simmering nicely when we left ready for Sunday lunch.

After lunch Eric's caught the afternoon train back to Newport as he's suffering with a nasty cough and it's getting worse not better so he needed to see a doctor. If he goes to our doctor he doesn't need an appointment in the morning as it's an open surgery while in Llangollen it's an appointment which may be days away. He took advantage of the Arriva trains Club 55 deal £18 return between two Welsh stations but the deal finishes on the 14th of December. It's a pity because the fare is over £50 unless you've got a railcard or book in advance.

So tonight it's quiet on NB Bendigedig, Ben is stretched out on the sofa having a little sleep after a ball playing session with a squeaky ball.  I can't believe he still hasn't destroyed it as he usually bites through and tears any soft toys. Eric's staying with our daughter Clare but will be back tomorrow so I'm only home alone for one night!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Wind, Sun, Rain, Hailstones and Sleet

Llangollen- a view from the canal

This week we've had lots of windy weather but we seemed to have escaped the dreadful storms seen on the news. There's been rain most days so it's been a case of donning the waterproofs for dog walking. This morning the sun was shining, the sky was blue and it looked as though it was going to be a lovely day and then suddenly the weather changed just as I was going out with the dog.  Hail stones, sleet and rain but no snow yet! Ben didn't mind having his coat covered in hail stones as long as we went for a walk.

We headed towards the Horseshoe Falls  walking along the towpath which overlooks the town of Llangollen. In the photo you can see 'The Bridge Inn' which does lovely Sunday lunches. On the walk we met some people enjoying canoeing on the canal, Ben was very interested in their floats marking out their course as he thought they were balls and he loves a ball. The River Dee was very fierce with lots of white water but nobody was mad enough to be canoeing on the river.

Can I have that ball? (it's a float)

Back on the boat it was time to dry off Ben the dog and leave him with Eric while I walked down to change my library books at Llangollen Library and picked up a loaf of bread to make a sandwich for lunch. After that we had a lazy afternoon and Mr Tesco did a delivery for us at four o'clock including  some bags of dog food. It certainly nice to have the heavy stuff delivered to the boat.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A Sprinkling Of Snow On The Mountains

Hoar frost on an Ellesmere Sculpture
This time last year we were iced in in Ellesmere going nowhere and the above photo was the view from our window. Although the wind is icy here in Llangollen and there's a sprinkling of snow on the mountains, we have only had a few sleet showers.

Today I wrapped up warm and headed up towards Castell Dinas Bran with Ben the dog. He was all for climbing the zig-zag paths to the top until I called him as  my route skirted the hill side with lots of slippery mud. Back through a sheep field and then we walked down the road to pick up a footpath through some more sheep fields taking us back down past Dinas Bran School. It was a lovely walk as we didn't meet any people or peaceful! As we came down past the school we had a heavy shower, it could have waited until we were back on the boat.

Ben needed a bowl of water to wash his feet and legs, he was filthy!  Soon though he was clean and fairly dry curled up by the fire with his head on my rag rug. My boots needed a clean too as I'd brought plenty of mud back too. At least we weren't slipping and sliding like this time last year. I've bought some spiky things to go on my boots to improve grip as I'd like to stay upright this year. Last year I had a fall and hurt my wrist which was painful for quite a while.

Friday, December 02, 2011

A Quick Update- It's December!

What I have been up to this week........nothing earth shattering. Ben and I have been walking our usual haunts taking in the scenery around Llangollen. One day we climbed Castell Dinas Bran , another day I did the round the hill route and we've been on a few walks along the towpath towards Sun Trevor as well as playing ball in the field by the mooring basin. Some days it's been busy  and other days we didn't see anybody. It's certainly colder today and out came the scarf and gloves.

Today Eric and I went by train to Shrewsbury to do a little Christmas shopping, with planning we got back in four and a half hours as Ben was OK home alone. He didn't even want to go out for a comfort break (a wee!) when we got back. Sometimes he's an odd dog easily freaked out by any strange noises, flashing lights and this means we can't get him off the boat unless we both take him!  We had to stand on the train going to Shrewsbury as there's Wales v Australia Rugby International tomorrow in Cardiff and Arriva trains put a two carriage train from Holyhead to Cardiff.......are they mad? Luckily we had seats on the return journey.