Saturday, March 31, 2012

We're Ready To Go Cruising

Eric cleaning the cream roof
In the late afternoon we went up to the mooring basin  just to turn around at we needed to clean the other side of the boat, it's nice to have a slight change of scenery and we are now ready to go in the morning. Facing this way we couldn't get a satellite signal but got some channels including BBC1 with the fish aerial and freeview. It's so quiet here in the evenings and the birds are singing too.

Getting Ready To Move......2012 Plans

NB Bendigedig has been moored on Llangollen Wharf for five months, algae has grown on the waterline and yesterday we started getting ready to move on Sunday morning. Eric's brushed off the accumulation of leaves and debris off the roof to give it a wash and it looks so much better. It was a combined effort to wash the dirt of one side of the boat, and we'll do the other side when we turn around. Today's plans include an engine check, battery check, filling up with water and emptying cassettes so we are ready to unplug our umbilical cord ( shoreline) for another seven months cruising in the morning. I will miss the lovely town of Llangollen surrounded by beautiful scenery, the hills and mountains and the friends we meet each year........but we'll be back.

We're looking forward to being on the move again and heading first of all towards Ellesmere where Ben has his annual booster at the vets. For a dog who drinks canal water rather than fresh water from a tap, whenever he can, I need to keep his vaccinations up to date. The vet always  weighs him and checks him over. Then we're be heading for Whixall Marina where Maestermyn have a dry dock as we're having the boat blacked, additional anodes fitted and a new propeller while it's out of the water. Mainly because when we had a problem with the prop a while back we couldn't get the size we needed so had one a little smaller and it made a big difference to our stopping ability. It also meant our tick over was slower too.

What are our plan's this year you ask......well we have some but we don't yet know if water restrictions and timed lock passage will affect them. Of course our plans are liable to change anyway. First of all it's down the Shropshire Union Canal enjoying the cuttings, embankments and long straights. Then the windy Staffordshire and Worcester Canal following the contours towards Great Haywood to get some plants for the roof  in the lovely farm shop. After that it's down the Trent and Mersey Canal as far as Fradley Junction where we take a right turn down the Coventry Canal as far as Fazeley Junction.

We've not cruised the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal so that's our route into Birmingham, a first visit on own boat and then we'll brave the Tardebigge Flight of locks on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal turning onto the Droitwich Canals to take us down to the River Severn. Then it's down to Tewkesbury and a new cruise to Gloucester and the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

We're then heading back up river to Tewkesbury and cruising on the River Avon to Stratford and then onto the Stratford Canals. The rest of our route is undecided, it very much depends on water levels on the Grand Union Canal and Midland Canals but eventually we'll be heading back to Llangollen.......our winter home. We aren't in any hurry, our time's or own, no need to watch the clock so I've no idea where we'll be when, but we hope to see some familiar boats and faces on our travels.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some Good News!

Sally & David March 2012
Some good news today, Eric is feeling better after a good night's sleep, although  he snored all night so I didn't get much sleep. If he snores tonight I won't be so sympathetic! Last night he was shattered after very little sleep, the nurses gave intravenous medication and took blood throughout the night.

We also received a phone call telling us that our daughter Sally's boyfriend David proposed on their holiday in Las Vagas and she said yes!  We hope they'll be very happy together.

Our grandaughter Gwenllian is in her first dancing show, even though I didn't get there to see her I thought I'd include a few photos in some of her outfits. Look at those frillly socks and sparkly shoes.

A smiling Gwenllian
So cute!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Weekend Away In Sunny Newport

Overnight the clocks went forward as British Summer Time begins and Eric felt rough so it was down on the train to Newport to see the doctor on Monday morning. Ben and I went with him and  Ben slept under the seat and the journey was  uneventful. We'd arranged to stay with daughter Clare, who has a spare bedroom  but popped in to visit daughter Lisa and grandaughter Gwen before we went to Clare's house. It was a slow climb up the hill where Clare lives but we got there.

Monday morning Eric went to the doctor's by taxi while Ben and I walked along the Crumlin Arm of the Mon and Brec Canal and along a few roads to walk through Tredegar Park to my dad's house taking nearly two Ben had a very good walk! Eric met me there and dad had a surprise as he hadn't expected to see us yet. I cut my dad's hair  and later we went back to Clare's house by bus.

On Tuesday we decided to catch the train back to the boat although Eric was still feeling rough after a good night's sleep. The doctor had diagnosed a chest infection and a large dose of antibiotics. We just wanted to get home again, so I took Ben out for a walk before we went to catch the train. Everything was fine, Ben was asleep under the seat, and Eric said he felt sick and went off to the toilet. He was a long time and I was thinking I'd better go and check on him, and he appeared looking rather grey and having a cold sweat as he'd fainted in the toilet.  He was cold but complaining of being too hot and very grey, but as he had no pain and didn't have blue tinged lips I knew it wasn't angina.

Anyway to cut a long story short we ended up off the train at Shrewsbury and they called a paramedic who then called an ambulance and we were taken (dog and all) to The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where they did various tests. He had very low blood pressure and was dehydrated and an X ray showed the extent of the chest infection. Ben spent the afternoon tied up outside the hospital with a bowl of water, where the reception staff kept an eye on him for me and he got lots of fuss and attention from anyone who passed by.

As they were keeping him in to do more blood tests, give him antibiotics intravenously and get his BP up with re hydration, I made a move to continue my journey back to Llangollen with Ben the dog. Ben was excellent enduring two taxi rides and the train back to Ruabon. We got back to the boat at half past seven and we'd left Newport at eleven in the morning........what a day!

He rang late last night to say he'll let me know what's going on this morning. Hopefully I can go and get him this afternoon while Ben has a quiet afternoon on the boat. But we'll have to wait and see.

Eric is coming back home (to the boat) this afternoon and the hospital  were providing transport to Llangollen but changed their mind at 2pm!   He has pneumonia according to one doctor, but the other used the term chest infection- so needs warmth, more antibiotics, rest and TLC!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

To The Top Of Castell Dinas Bran

Trevor Rocks showing the gulley to the top level.
Trevor Rocks- a view from half way up
Going up!

Today I decided to take Ben for a walk around the back of the hill and climb slowly to the top to visit the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran and then back down and head for the boat. On our way around the hill we met the owner of 'Spud', a seven month collie who'd freaked when he met some walkers and ran away, so I took  his phone number and planned to keep an eye out for him. Who was at the top of Castell Dinas Bran.........'Spud' who came to see Ben but  didn't get close enough to me for me to put him on a lead and ring his owner.

I lost sight of him for a while as I climbed back down the hill but spotted him a few times and he was waiting by the kissing gate and he came to see Ben again. But he didn't hang around and  was away down the road to the right which runs down to a crossroads. I followed him with Ben but at the crossroads he had three choices of route, I thought he might have gone into the school playing fields and down in the field by the mooring basin so that's the way we went but we didn't spot him.I rang  his owner to tell him where we'd seen him last and an hour later I had a phone call telling me 'Spud' was the school grounds. I was very pleased he was found as I wouldn't like to lose Ben.

Photographs From Nick

Nick's photo of Castell Dinas Bran & Trevor Rocks.......& Ben!

While we were up on the top of Trevor Rocks Nick took some photos. In this misty view Ben is just visible amongst the trees. If you click on it you get a larger version. He also took the next photo of me looking far from elegant.......sack tied in the middle comes to mind!

Ben and I on Trevor Rocks (taken by Nick)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trevor Rocks With Nick And Connie

Today Eric went on a day trip to Newport for an eye clinic appointment and the good news is he has to gradually reduce the steroid eye drops as his eye is much better. He hasn't got to go back unless he has a problem and then he has to ring for an urgent appointment rather than go to his doctor first.  He's on his way back courtesy of Arriva Trains as I write this blog.

As Liz was going shopping today in Wrexham, Nick had dog wallking duties so we went for a lovely walk on a circular route taking in two levels of Trevor Rocks. He took us by car to the car park (once we got Ben in the car- he was off down the road rather than get in the boot with Connie) and from there we walked the lower level of Trevor Rocks towards Castell Dinas Bran. The views were misty which was a pity.

A misty view of Castell Dinas Bran

Getting up to the higher level was a bit of a scramble up the rocks  for me with lots of stops to get my breath, while Nick waited patiently! But I made it- an acchievement! The dogs as expected were way ahead until Ben found a piece of old fence post which he wanted us to play with. They had drinks in the stream arising from a spring on our route.  A really pleasant walk back along Trevor Rocks, the mist stayed so we didn't get the views we expected but maybe next time we will.

Ben with his big stick
Back at the car park, we let Ben get in the boot first and Connie got in after and soon we were back on the Wharf, just in time for lunch.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Low Alcohol Pub Crawl

Looking back at Castell Dinas Bran from Sun Trevor

Yesterday Eric and I went for a four mile walk from Llangollen to Trevor Basin and the Pontsycyllte Aqueduct with Ben. It was a lovely sunny day and we stopped at conveniently placed benches to enjoy a breather on the way including those outside the Sun Trevor Inn where Eric enjoyed a half of lager,  I had a J2O and Ben had water.

Sun Trevor Inn loooking up from the canal

Refreshed we continued our walk to Trevor Basin.In the shop we bought a Holiday Planner Map which we find useful to give an overall plan of where we are going for the seven months we are on the move. We decided to continue our pub crawl to have a drink at the Thomas Telfort in the basin. Being ardent drinkers we both had J2O's and sampled their menu with a ham salad and a cheese ploughman's......very nice too.

Trevor Basin and The Thomas Telfort
One of the sculptures in Trevor Basin
We had a walk on the Ponsycyllte Aqueduct before we walked up to the No 5 bus stop on the main road and had a bus ride back to Llangollen, rather than another four mile walk. In all we had a good walk- Eric's calf muscles are telling him he did too.

Today Liz and I walked the dogs along the canal towpath to Berwyn and then up the hill and across some tracks to come back down into Llangollen. We actually met traffic on the green tracks which was unusual as you don't usually see anyone other than the farmer. Two hours later we were back on the boats in time for a  much needed shower and a change of clothes as we were off out to lunch with Nick and Eric. Nick drove us all to The Brittania Inn  situated on the Horseshoe Pass for a last lunch before NB Henry and crew sail on on their 2012 adventures. Lovely food, lovely surroundings and good company......we'll miss you both!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Coughs And Colds Aboard NB Bendigedig

Not much to blog about really, I've been walking with Ben the dog armed with a pocketful of tissues, and cough sweets and feeling pretty grotty. Eric's got the dreaded lurgy too! Ben doesn't usually care where we go as long as he gets a walk or a ball playing session in a field. I did try and walk up towards Horseshoe Falls on Saturday but he was having none of it as the steam train was leaving the station with hoots of the whistle. He just led down and I had to turn around and do a different point in dragging him along. No matter how I feel the sight of the new lambs frolicking in the fields cheers me up!

The sunny weather has brought out the visitors and yesterday (Mothering Sunday) the towpath was buzzing with activity. It's the first day of Spring tomorrow, but with all the daffodils out so early it feels like Spring already.  The ducks are up to their early morning antics and a few stray eggs have appeared on the towpath side of the canal. I hope the next ones are laid in the nest she has been preparing on the offside bank. This pair of ducks come and greet us every morning as Eric puts out seed for the birds and some on the ground for the ducks. They peer at us through the boat windows as they waddle along the towpath.....hoping more food is on offer. 

Today I had an early morning text asking was I up for a walk at 9.15am, so I had half an hour to get up before  Connie arrived at the boat with Liz following behind. We  took the dogs and walked up to meet Nick who was bringing NB Henry back from Trevor, as he'd come out of the dry dock this morning. We met him to check there were no boats coming in the narrow one way sections of the Llangollen.  So now the space is filled between NB Spadger and NB Bendigedig.

I've just come back from an hour playing ball in the field by the mooring basin, it was just too nice to stay indoors. Ben had a good run and he's now fast asleep.......what a life!

Friday, March 16, 2012

NB Henry's Gone For Blacking

On Wednesday afternoon NB Henry left in a puff of smoke, their engine starts up smokey but it soon diminishes.  They've gone to the dry dock in Trevor as NB Henry needs her bottom blacking, and now there is a big space in between us and NB Spadger. A boat filled the space for an hour and then moved on to the marina basin.

On Thursday morning Ben and I went up the field by the mooring basin to play ball, Ben had lots of paddles in the canal with his ball as well lots of running and catching it. Just two boats moored up in the basin so it was quiet. Later in the day I caught the bus into Wrexham as I had M&S vouchers as a birthday gift and I wanted to spend them. It took me ages to find something I liked in the size I needed. No queues in the changing rooms so I tried on loads of tops and came back with a short sleeved top and a long sleeved check shirt. I always need a cover up top in the summer as we're out in the sun so much.

Today Ben and I had a circular walk around the back of Castell Dinas Bran, back down the road and then we followed the footpath across a field with sheep and lambs in but they weren't   near the footpath which runs along the top edge of the field. Ben stayed on his lead until we got to the track running past the farm to take us back where we  started. We walked for nearly two hours......I was on a go slow....... we didn't see anyone until we were coming back down alongside the school. Ben did his usual finding bit sticks to carry but this time Liz was safely out of the way.......last time he got her on her knee!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Update- Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday

Over the weekend Eric's uveitis (inflammation of a layer in the eye) got progressively worse so on Monday morning he accompanied Lisa and Gwenllian on the train back to Newport to see the doctor again! A hospital appointment was arranged and he should be back today, so I'm been home alone other than my four legged best pal Ben. Not that I've been without any other company as NB Henry with Liz and Nick onboard is next door.

Liz and I have continued our morning walks with Ben and Connie, walking routes we've done many times before so any pictures I post you'll have seen before unless you are one of my new followers. Hello to 'Aunty Mary' ....I hear you're now enjoying looking at some boaters' blogs and  hope you're having a good day.

Valle Crucis Abbey in the sunshine, it was misty today!

On Monday we walked the Valle Crucis circuit  which was not so muddy as it often is, the  streams alongside the road were quite dry too as we walked back down the hill to the canal. Ben and Connie had a great time and Liz and I enjoyed a good chat as well as the lovely scenery.  Only a few more weeks and we'll be leaving ......I know I'll miss those welsh hills but we'll be back.

On Tuesday we headed for the hills and climbed up along the edge of Cae Madog Wood alongside scree covered slopes with views over Berwyn. We followed a route skirting Barber's Hill, but as it was misty views were limited. I've yet to get up there in the sunshine, the mist was supposed to clear by lunchtime but it didn't. At the roads highest point we followed a bridleway down into Llangollen, the route becoming steeper as we walked down. Across two fields and we were back in Llangollen......heading for the cake shop! I had a piece of rocky road while Liz had bought muffins and we didn't eat them until we were back on the boats. Our treat after walking for over three hours.

On Wednesday it was a flat walk back from Trevor to Llangollen along the towpath. Castell Dinas Bran was shouded in mist but we saw lots of lambs, a woodpecker busy making a hole with the loud tapping sound and some escapee sheep on the towpath! back on the boat in time for lunch and a lazy afternoon.

Eric's just phoned, he's on his way back after having a steroid injection in his eye and a new prescription for some different drops. He tried two chemists and couldn't get the prescription made up so hopefully the chemist in Llangollen will get them for him.
UPDATE: Eye drops and eye cream in stock.....well done to the chemist! Eric's eye looks a lot better and he's not in pain today (Thursday)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday And Sunday In Llangollen

Lisa and Gwenllian  at the Pontsycyllte Aqueduct

Saturday morning's wake up call was seven o'clock.........yawn, yawn!  As I hadn't got to sleep until the small hours as we're not used to sleeping on the four foot wide bed settee, I could have done with a lie in. Lisa and Gwen had our nice comfy five foot wide bed.Yesterday Grandad (Eric) took Gwen to the toy shop and came away with a doll and a purse, it could have been expensive. Next was a visit to the park while I took Ben for a walk in Pen y Coed Woods with Liz and Connie.  In the afternoon we had a bus ride to see the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Gwen liked having an ice cream. Lisa doesn't like heights so stayed well away from the aqueduct while Gwen and I went to have a look. We left Eric home watching the Wales rugby match and of course they won. Tea was spaghetti bolonaise  which is Gwen's favourite and  she was fast asleep by seven o'clock

Sunday morning's wake up call was seven thirty......still far too early! Lisa and Gwen went to get the Sunday paper while we showered and got dressed. After breakfast of cereal and toast we took Ben up the field to play ball. We had lunch at 'The Bridge Inn' where a Sunday Roast was on offer. Eric and I had roast lamb while the others sampled the beef and three clean plates meant we enjoyed it. Gwen's child portion  was large but she made a very good go at it and they even put in on a cold plate as our plates were so hot.  We had ice creams from the ice cream shop in town and of course another visit to the park next to the River Dee.

Friday, March 09, 2012

A Little Visitor And Her Mum

Gwen cracking eggs

Mixing the mixture

Filling the paper cases

Today we had visitors. daughter Lisa and grandaughter Gwenllian arrived by train at Ruabon Station. We met them at the station and caught the bus to Llangollen. Gwen was keen to see the fridge, the washing machine and hoover which were hiding in cupboards or under the bed. We then made some cakes.....ooh what fun! Gwen was great at breaking eggs, mixing the mixture and filling the paper cases. She had fun icing, putting on sprinkles too and licking the bowl!

Gwen playing with Ben

After that we took Ben for a walk and went to play ball in the field, leaving mum to have an hours peace. Gwen played ball with Ben, I took a video but it's so big I can't upload it (128mb). Back on the boat for tea and then Gwen watched 'Peter Pan' and fell asleep........she'd had a busy day. She usually wakes about six in the morning, let's hope she sleeps a bit longer tomorrow morning.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Trevor Rocks & Lunch At Sun Trevor

On the top of the escarpment, looking west
This morning Liz and I took the dogs on a three hour walk. We climbed up towards Castell Dinas Bran, followed the signs to Offa's Dyke Path and took a left to walk for about half a mile along the road to take a rising track opposite a seemed much further than half a mile!

The path climbs up a rocky gully with a trickling stream at first and at the finger post we turned right to walk along the top of the limestone escarpment. Going was slow as we scrambled up to the top of the gulley, on hands and feet in places but once up there the views were good. The dogs enjoyed themselves along the permissive path although Connie wanted to play and Ben wasn't interested.

Looking back at Trevor Rocks

We came back down onto the road and  walked back towards Castell Dinas Bran before taking a left to follow the road downhill. The route took us  over a cattle grid and down a steep  path next to a house called 'Tan y Bont' taking us down to the back of the 'Sun Trevor Inn'. Nick and Eric came by car to meet us for lunch while the dogs stretched out on the slate floor of the bar. Lovely meals but we didn't feel like walking back to Llangollen after eating our steaks so we had a lift back with Nick and Eric.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

An Unexpected Train Journey

Eric woke up on Sunday with his usual eye problem (uveitis) so when I returned from my walk with Ben the dog I got on the laptop to looks up trains and bus times to get him back to south Wales. As I've said before it's easier to get to see a doctor in Newport as it's an open surgery with no appointment system in the mornings. Sunday's bus service is hourly but I managed to sort a bus to Ruabon at 15.07 and a train at 15.55 so Eric was on his way after Sunday lunch. Thanks to daughter Clare for providing a place to lay his head. On Monday he visited the doctor and got the required eye drops and within 24 hours he was back in Llangollen.

On Monday I took Ben for a shortish walk before going in to Wrexham to get Specsavers to look at my glasses frames. There was a strange gap between the sections of metal and they just replaced the frames....can't grumble about fuss, no hassle and I was on my way to do a bit of shopping before going back to Ben waiting for me on the boat. Eric arrived home half an hour after me.

On Tuesday I decided on a hilly walk where Ben could have a good run off his lead. It's been busy along the towpath with walkers, dogwalkers and cylists galore going past the boats, keeping Ben entertained. Lots of walkers on the hills too looking at maps deciding which way to go to get up onto Trevor Rocks and I was able to help them as I've been up there with Liz and Connie.

Stan's of Llangollen has opened........I wonder what affect it will have on the lovely independent shops here in Llangollen. It would be a great pity if any of them were forced out of business.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Eric Comes Walking In The Sunshine

Eric enjoying the scenery (having a rest!)

Ben's just waiting for us to continue walking.
The gorgeous weather tempted Eric to climb some hilly bits to walk the footpaths skirting the hill with the ruins of  Castell Dinas Bran. There's some conveniently sited benches on the route so we stopped to enjoy the scenery and get our breath back. Ben waited for us to continue walking round the back of the hill to the stile. He had to have his lead on then as there were sheep around the base of the hill, next stop was the next bench where we enjoyed the views of Trevor Rocks, Velvet Hill and the Llantisilio Mountains. We walked downhill on the road taking a right at the next footpath sign which took us across a  field and then back down the hill. Eric was pleased all the uphill bits were over.

Today the weather has changed it's wet and cold, there's even snow on the tops of the mountains. I took Ben out in the rain and Eric did the boaty jobs.......filling up with water, emptying cassettes and getting rid of the rubbish. He also did the dishes and the hoovering........aren't I lucky? Ben and I walked up to Horseshoe Falls, me dodging puddles with Ben splashing through them. A few people had braved the wet and the cold to take a Sunday morning walk. Ben was filthy so a wash in the canal was called for, then back to the boat for a towel dry!

Friday, March 02, 2012

It's March.....Walking In The Sunshine

Trevor Rocks and the path behind Dinas Bran
Ben and I have been enjoying our walks in the sunshine  and I took a few pictures on the way. As usual he's been carrying the biggest sticks he can find! The view of the back of the hill doesn't show the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran but as you climb up they come into view. Today the Tidy Town Team were busy litter picking on the hill, you could see all their high visibility  jackets.

Where's the castle ruins?
Another view of the mountains

Today we waved goodbye to the crews of  NB Armadillo and NB Poppy off on their travels and yesterday Mo and Vanessa on NB Balmaha crept by so quietly we nearly missed their departure. Just time for a wave!