Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Last Days of February

On Monday the lines in the Beatles song 'When I'm 64' came to mind as Eric had his 64th birthday. Thanks for  the cards and presents. We know grandaughter Gwenllian is bringing a birthday cake when she comes to visit next week!  We're looking forward to seeing our daughter Lisa and Gwen is counting down the days until she comes on the train to see nanny and grandad.

Gwen taken by her dad

Yesterday Eric and I took Ben to play ball in the field by the mooring basin and walking back we saw Mo and Vanessa (bloggers) arrive in the basin on NB Balmaha. Coffee and macaroons followed sitting at the picnic bench in the sunshine......very nice too! We'd last met up with them on the Coventry Canal so we had a catch up chat discussing where we've been and of course our plans for this year's cruising. I say plans loosely as they can change, especially as the water shortages may affect where we can cruise. Just as we were walking back to our boat Graham and Jill on NB Armadillo arrived and gave us a wave.....more bloggers!

Boats are certainly on the move here at Llangollen with boats passing us at 8 am in the morning, not that we're asleep with the birds singing and the ducks pecking at the greenery living on the boat hull. I am sure the birds are singing earlier, they're up well before the dawn chorus. There's about eight narrowboats in the basin  now taking advantage of the free 48 hour off season mooring as it's currently £6 a night in season. as well as the unseasonal warm weather.  Llangollen is so busy in the Summer, it's not a place I'd like to be anyway, but we enjoy our Winters here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Walk On Trevor Rocks

Velvet Hill & Llantisilio Mountains

Castell Dinas Bran from Trevor Rocks

A bit closer!

Liz and Connie.....enjoying the views
Today we started a walk with Nick taking Liz, the dogs and myself by car to our starting point below Trevor Rocks. It meant we could climb up a path leading to a rocky gully about half a mile  north of Castell Dinas Bran without having to start off at Llangollen on foot. We crossed the rocky route across the stream  and enjoyed a walk along the escarpment, passing groups of climbers getting ready to climb the limestone slabs. Marvellous views is all I can say and the sun was shining so it was a great day for a walk. We came down a path,  walked back along the road to the back of the castle ruins where we made our way around the hill and back down to Llangollen.

While we were walking we thought about Sunday lunch and decided to try the Wynstay Arms. Nick and Eric agreed and a very nice meal followed. We decided against desserts as the icecream shop was open and a rum and raisin ice cream had my name on it! Delicious!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Walking From Trevor To Llangollen

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Trevor

Todays walk started with a bus ride to Trevor with Liz, Connie and Ben. From there we began our walk by walking down to Trevor basin and following the canal towpath across the Pontcysyllte aqueduct to the lift bridge at Froncysyllte. We then crossed the A5, climbed up Methodist Hill and followed a sign posted footpath through a wood and alongside Pen-y-Graig Quarry to a view point. We continued to climb and then the track levels out before reaching a road and it's uphill again. The next stile is hidden from view but we knew where it was, so we continued our climb until we crossed a field to climb another stile onto a bridleway leading to Croes yr Esgob. From there it was all down hill and we were very pleased about that. Here are some views on the way making it worth the climb. Detailed walk routes can be found in 'Walks Around Llangollen' by David Berry......a Kittiwake Guide.

Looking northwards.....Trevor Rocks
Connie in the sun
Castell Dinas Bran
Across the valley to Trevor Rocks and Castell Dinas Bran

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me

Yesterday was my birthday, I've reached the age of 62! I woke up to sunshine and a lovely warm day.The day started with cards, presents, phone calls and text messages wishing me a happy birthday. First of all I had  a walk in the woods at Pen-y-Coed with Liz and the dogs to exercise them before we left them on the boats for the afternoon.  Back on the boat to get ready to be taken out to lunch at 'The Hand at Llanarmon' by Liz and Nick. The food was absolutely delicious, we all left the restaurant feeling very full and my birthday treat wasn't over yet.

A view of us at the waterfall- taken by Nick
With the help of satellite navigation our next stop was Pistyll Rhaeadr, a waterfall in the Berwyn mountains with  an amazing drop of nearly eighty metres. Some lovely scenery on our journey-even better in the sunshine and that's the first time I've been on a road that goes through a farm yard. The farmer looked a bit surprised to see us when we drove through on the way back. It was great to go somewhere different, many thanks to Nick and Liz for helping to make my day so special.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Walking In The Rain

Ben by Horseshoe Falls

Yesterday Liz and I took Connie and Ben for a circular walk taking in the footpath around the back of the hill which Castell Dinas Bran sits, a short stretch of road going downhill and then back along a track across a field to return via the footpath next to the school. The weather was beautiful with clear skies and no rain in sight.We always enjoy the lovely views of the hills and the  dogs enjoy being off their leads with no sheep about.

Today was different it's been raining that misty rain that seems to get you rather wet, so it was on with the wet gear before we could go anywhere. We decided on a walk to Horseshoe Falls and we didn't want to end up covered in mud, although Ben had other ideas when he jumped up on me with his muddy feet. It wasn't cold at all and the dogs enjoyed chasing sticks in the shallow edges of River Dee near the falls. Ben wanted all the sticks so we had to throw two at the same to give Connie a chance.

We walked back via the field next to the mooring basin as the dogs were filthy again and definately needed a wash. We found some more sticks to throw so Connie had a swim but Ben just paddled, he only swims if he falls in deep water which he can't paddle in. Back on the boats we dried off the dogs with a towel. Ben's now sleeping on the blanket on the sofa..............he's had a hard day!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Were back On NB Bendigedig

Today we were up bright and early as we needed to walk Ben the dog before beginning our drive back to Llangollen. It was busy with loads of dogs in Tredegar Park so Ben had to stay on his lead. There was a gathering of huskie type dogs and Ben wouldn't have been friendly towards them! It took us about three and half hours with a few stops of course and Ben was a very good boy. The temperature dropped  down to five degrees as we came north and there's snow on the hills, I don't know whether they had snow on the moorings while we were away.

So we've unpacked and Ben is having a sleep after playing ball with Eric. The boat is slowly warming up with the diesel central heating going and a coal fire of course.We had a great time in Newport, thanks to daughter Clare who we invaded! She's now got her house back and some peace and quiet.

I was reading NB Jandai's blog and he was told the online moorings were full of winter moorers which is just not true. There are only nine boats  who have paid for a winter mooring and there is room for visiting boats online as well in the usually empty mooring basin where we are not allowed to stay due to the 48 hour restriction. There'll be even more spaces at the end of February as a few boaters start their cruising then rather than wait until the end of March.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I've Seen The Sea!

Last time we hired a car it was Christmas and it was so hectic I never got to see the sea. If I didn't live on a boat, I would love to live by the sea! This time we made it despite being a cold, damp and misty day I've been to the seaside at Porthcawl. The waves were certainly crashing on the rocks but I forgot the camera again! It was certainly fresh and Ben enjoyed his walk along the prom even if we were freezing!

Porthcawl was the place of childhood holidays when we went with uncles, aunts, cousins,  my parents and my brother to occupy adjacent caravans for a weeks holiday. We arrived in a lorry as my dad was a builder and it had a canopy made of a tarpaulin on a frame under which we all sat down on various chairs and benches. It was a very bumpy ride and we sang songs such as 'how much is that doggy in the window' and 'she'll be coming round the mountain' to name but a few! Of course that mode of travel wouldn't be allowed today with health and safety rules. Sand castles, swimming in the sea, candy floss and fish and chips are the remaining memories of those holidays.

Back in Newport we had a get together at daughter Lisa's house as daughters Sally and Clare came to tea. Gwenllian our grandaughter was delighted to see Grandad Eric and we all got great big hugs!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Busy Busy In South Wales

What have we been up to the last few days? It's been a bit hectic as we've been dog walking, visiting family and of course we had the three monthly prescriptions to sort out. Our doctor's great as we get three months, I know many refuse to do this but there always seems to be a problem with getting Eric's cream for his cream at all this time. But it'll be all sorted with another prescription from the doctor..... to be collected Friday.

On Thursday I had my dental treatment finished with a filling and a cap fitted and of course my wallet is £177 lighter. I can't say I like going to the dentist but it's all over for another six months. Clare looked after Ben for us so we both go and get a haircut as Eric was beginning to resemble Freddie Boswell in the you remember the program called Bread.

The weather has been mild and walking the dog has been pleasant although the local park was very busy as it's half term. Ben loves Tredegar Park and enjoys a little paddle in the shallow edges of the River Usk. Where it runs through the park it hasn't got the mud banks you can see if you're in Newport City Centre, which means he comes out clean!

We've also been walking along the canal in Rogerstone where the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre is located. We enjoyed looking at the completed locks just waiting for some water. Work is ongoing to restore all the derelict locks on this section of the Crumlin Arm but I wonder if the work will ever get done to join it to the navigable section at Pontymoile. There's a long section needing restoration and money is obviously the main problem along with new bridges where the original ones have been lost to roads. Sorry there's no photos as I forgot to take the camera!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's Day Trip

On a spur of the moment decision this morning I booked a car from Enterprise and this time it all went smoothly. They got the car ready for midday and picked us up in Llangollen, which was great because I only booked it at 7.30am today. Last time they messed  us about ringing the morning we had arranged to be picked up to say they didn't have a car even though I'd booked it weeks in advance! We had to hire from another firm although Enterprise did find a firm with a car available for us.

So we are currently relaxing in daughter Clare's house after a journey taking us from north to south Wales. Ben was a very good boy travelling in the luggage area of the Ford Focus we hired. We covered the boot  with a sheet and a blanket so no hairs will be left behind. Ben had got Clare and Eric playing ball with him so I've been left alone to enjoy the excellent speedy internet servive available in Newport. So I'm going to catch up on my blog reading.

Eric and I don't bother with Valentine's Cards. Years ago, newly married I asked him if he loves me, his answer.......well I come home don't I! But after over 40 years together I know he loves me........otherwise he wouldn't put up with me!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Brr It's Cold- Trevor To Llangollen Along The Towpath

This morning Llangollen was shrouded in mist, you couldn't see the hills, so we decided to take a bus trip to Trevor and walk down to Trevor Basin back along the towpath with the dogs. Connie and Ben were good on the bus, they both sat down but as soon as the bus stopped at Trevor Ben couldn't wait to get off. Today we didn't have to pay for the dogs on the bus but sometimes we do, it depends on the driver.
The new towpath last Autumn

It's really cold today and walking kept us warm, but I had a very cold face and nose, while Liz had very cold hands despite having gloves on. The expression cold hands, warm heart springs to mind!  Although it's now a mud free walk due to the refurbishment of the towpath  in 2011 all the way to Llangollen, Ben and Connie managed to acquire some mud. It took us  about an hour and a half in walking from Trevor with just two boats on the move today heading towards Trevor. No problems with one way traffic and queues today then in the narrow sections.

The main purpose of the canal from Trevor to Llangollen was to provide a feeder from the River Dee at Horseshoe Falls and it was far from easy to cut the canal along the slopes of the Vale of Llangollen but the Ellesmere Canal Company managed it. We passed Bryn Howel, which was built in 1896 for a local brick maker and later extended as a hotel. We also passed the Sun Trevor Inn which offers home cooked food and we're planning to sample some tomorrow lunch time with Eric and Nick.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Above The Mists On Castell Dinas Bran

Look at the mists
Mists and mountains
Today Liz fancied a walk above the mists which covered Llangollen and I was game for that. The walk entailed crossing just one sheep field and then the dogs could have a good run. Getting to the top of the hill was slow because of me.......enjoying the views, taking photos and getting my breath back.Coming down was a bit quicker!  It's always worth the climb and I'll share the photos I took so you can enjoy the views too.  

It's frosty up here!
Going up!
Frosts and mists
Llangollen in the mist
Amazing mists
Ben.....where's Connie?
A standing arch

Sunday, February 05, 2012

No Snow In Llangollen

We've been watching the weather forecast and expecting snow but we didn't get a flake here, it missed us completely. Talking to family in south Wales they've had  loads. Never mind it looks pretty for a while but when it freezes  the problems begin.

Liz and  I had a mud larking walk around the Valle Crucis Abbey circuit with a diversion through a wood to cut off some of the road. We actually ended up walking further but it was a change. Our boots had grown heavy with the accumulated mud and the dogs were filthy. Ben even had mud on his back as he was carrying branches and we had to keep out of his way! On the way back to the boat we walked through the sports ground and a rugby match was in full swing. The lads were covered in so much mud it was difficult to see which team was which. I am glad It wasn't me that had to wash their kit. Ben and Connie had their wash in the shallow part of the canal, I know it was cold but they weren't bothered. At least we got rid of  the mud!

There's ice covering the water in the mooring basin but it's beginning to break up and come floating past the boat. Lucky for us it doesn't usually freeze where we moor. Back on the boat for a lazy afternoon and Wales won the rugby match in the last few minutes.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Our Lovely Girls- Daughters And Grandaughter

L to R Clare,Teddy, Lisa, Gwenllian and Sally

I've been all the way to Newport for a dentist's appointment, travelling by train. The train from Ruabon was delayed for an hour, then cancelled and just as I was thinking it's too cold to wait two hours for the later train, a train arrived with Cardiff on it's destination sign. Apparently the original train was still  held up near Flint with a suicide on the line. We got to Newport just half an hour later than planned. After forty five minutes in the dentists chair having a crown preparation, I was out of there and heading for the railway station. This time no delays and the train was much warmer than the journey down.

I managed to get a photograph of our girls together, with no funny expressions or closed eyes.....very rare!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Her biker friends brought a cake!
Today  my middle daughter Clare hits 36! She's already told the world on Facebook so I know it's OK to say how young she is!  She loves her motorbike and spends her life attending to Towpath Terrorist meets as well as working as a motor bike mechanic. On Sundays you can usually find her in Abergavenny with loads of biker friends who gave her a birthday cake early as they wouldn't see her on her actual birthday.

Clare with some TT friends