Monday, November 26, 2012

Recap On Last Week

What's been happening onboard NB Bendigedig? When things go wrong its usually in threes, we had one which was a leaky water pump, now we've had the other two problems. The other day the fire rope fell off the fire's door so as we had a spare we decided to replace it and get another spare from Watkins and Williams in no real problem.
The next morning we had no hot water which meant  getting the mattress off the bed and removing the slats to get at the calorifier. Eric had to  undo a bolt to remove the immersion heater cover, with the power switched off of course. It has two thermostats one of which has a reset button, so it was a case of using a screwdriver to twiddle the thermostat screws in case they had stuck (advice from Nick)  and return to original positions then press the reset button. It now works fine, thinking about it we did notice very hot water the night before it failed so the thermostat must have stuck!
Other than the usual dog walks in the mud and rain  and shopping in Wrexham I've also started going to Aqua Aerobics at Plas Madoc Leisure Centre with Liz. It was fun and I didn't ache afterwards, although my pace was a good deal slower than the energetic instructor on the poolside. It's just as well nobody could see what my legs were doing under the water! The water was lovely and warm as it follows a mums and babies session. The other plus was the Wednesday morning session is free for over 60's with a Pure card.
Eric's put up bird feeders so we've been watching the birds, we've had loads of smaller birds including a nuthatch while the bigger birds still come to the wooden bird table on the fence left behind by another boater. The ducks come and feed off the floor too, so we're helping to feed the wildlife. Other feeders are provided by Nick & Liz and Maggie & Bernie so the birds won't starve this winter.
Thinking of food we had a really lovely Sunday Lunch at the Wynstay Arms in Llangollen, so if you're in Llangollen give it a try.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Just Pictures

Mandarin Duck (junior)

Mandarin Duck (adult male)

Each morning we have a young male Mandarin Duck waiting at the sidehatch for food, accompanied by a group of male and female Mallards. He's a plucky fellow and stands up for himself against the Mallards. Last year we used to see three Mandarin Ducks at Llangollen on the canal, the male pictured above, his mate and their youngster, but this year we'll only seen the youngster. The photograph above is the one Eric took  of the adult male which was published in the IWA Calendar 2011 (I think).
Llangollen after a snowfall
Appearing in the IWA 2012 for December is another of Eric's pictures of  the canal at Llangollen just after a snowfall. It's Nick's bike covered in snow. I wonder if we'll have snow this year?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Walking In Llangollen

Another view of Trevor Rocks

Looking down the Vale of Llangollen

A little closer view
On Sunday Ben and I enjoyed the sunshine as I huffed and puffed up the incline running alongside Ysgol Dinas Bran ( Dinas Bran School) and through a field leading up towards Castell Dinas Bran. At this gate we are always greeted by three long haired retrievers in their garden who bark at Ben and he can't wait to get past them. We followed  the footpath signs which eventually took us back down to the canal with only sheep  in the one of the  fields.
On Monday we repeated the walk but this time we had the company of Liz with her dog Connie and plenty of rain.  The dogs enjoyed the walk but this time there were some inquisitive horses in the last field and Ben couldn't wait to get away from them so he pulled me across to the stile. Lots of mud too after last night's heavy rain, so the dogs needed a wash before they could come inside their boat.
Monday afternoon's exercise took a different form as I went swimming at Plas Madoc with Nick and Liz. Being over sixty has it's advantages after all as swimming is free with a Pure card purchased at Plas Madoc. I enjoyed myself and hope to improve, I've never been much of a swimmer so I can only get better!
Back In Llangollen we had some Costa coffees and gave the cakes a miss.......what willpower.....not really I already had a custard slice waiting in my fridge!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Walking With Lovely Views

Castell Dinas Bran

The mist behind 'Velvet Hill'

A view of Trevor Rocks
Todays walk took in these views before the camera battery died. I really am not used to hills and progress was slow on the inclines even though we didn't climb up to the heights of Castell Dinas Bran. Instead we did a circular route around the base of the hill and Ben enjoyed being off the lead as there weren't any sheep. Talking to a farmer who was talking to his saddleback pig and having a smoke, all his sheep are wintering in a barn rather than braving the elements. Downhill was easier and a hour and a half later we were back on the boat.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Back In Llangollen

Ben on the towpath
We arrived back in Llangollen yesterday afternoon just as it was getting dark. It seemed to have been a long day starting with a long walk for Ben before we left Newport. The train journey was just two and a quarter hours and we were lucky enough to find a pair of empty seats with some room at our feer for Ben to sleep the journey away. He was glad to get off the train at Ruabon and then it was a fifteen minute bus ride to Llangollen.
Back on the boat we turned on the gas, water and water pump only to find the pump was leaking badly. It's been a pain of a pump which usually has an occasional drip from the pipe connections to the pump when it's switched off but we didn't want to leave the water on to find it had emptied the water tank into the boat.  Eric's changed an o ring which seems to have done to trick......fingers crossed!!
After we'd unpacked we decided to go and get something to eat and ended up in the Wynstay Arms. On offer was two steaks and two drinks for £20 and the food was delicious, the bar warm with a lovely coal fire and  the staff friendly. Definately worth another visit.
Today I've been catching up with the washing and the water pump is behaving. The washing machine has erratic moments when it sticks on a wash program, but most of the time it works fine.
Ben and I enjoyed a lovely walk up around the bottom of Castell Dinas Bran then I followed some footpaths across the fields and back down to the canal. There are new stiles, gates and new signs  with just some sheep in one field who on seeing Ben moved away from us. He was on a lead of course.
Llangollen seems quiet and peaceful after a busy city like Newport. Yes it's good to be back on the boat although it's always nice to see our family.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Busy, Busy In Newport

The last week has been busy, busy with dog walking, shopping and hospital visiting. It's been quite strange living in a house for over a week. Usually our spell as landlubbers is for a few days before we return to our normal life on the boat.  We've been staying in Clare's house while she resides  in her hospital bed suitably doped up and pain free. At the moment we're still don't know what's going on, but she has crutches and can move if she's pain free.
Ben and I have been walking in the local area as the Mon and Brecon Canal Crumlin Arm runs nearby, which can be reached by walking through the nearby Nature Reserve down to the canal. Wherever we walk the route always involve walking up or down a very steep hill, so I should be getting fitter......but maybe not. I am just thinking of Liz and Nick speeding up the hill on which Castell Dinas Bran lies in Llangollen compared to my usual pace of climbing it......but then they're much younger than me!!
I'm really ahead of myself this year as I've done nearly all my Christmas shopping and it's all packed ready so it can stay in Clare's spare bedroom until Christmas Day. There's no room to store parcels on the boat so it was easier to shop here.
Besides visiting Clare, we've been visiting my dad who was busy planting daffodil bulbs in his garden ready for spring. Each year his flower beds are bursting with flowers, he loves his garden and is always busy even though he's 85. We've also caught up with grandaughter Gwenllian, and daughters Lisa and Sally with their partners. Eric's sister Paula has been busy visiting Clare too, keeping her spirits up!

We had a phone call this morning and Clare is now home waiting for a specialist appointment in the post. With painkillers she can now move and hopefully the steroid injection she had in her spine will cause some improvement. We'll see how she gets on before we head back to Llangollen.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A Visit To Newport

Gwen the witch (left) with her witchy pal!
We've a busy few days starting with a slightly earlier than planned journey to Newport following a phone call telling us our  daughter Clare was in hospital. She's had a bad back for a while and it got so bad she  couldn't cope with the pain.....even morphine had little effect. The on call doctor came and arranged an ambulance. In hospital an MRI showed a disc in her back with a bulge pressing on her spinal nerves which at least explains the pain and lack of feeling in her leg and one foot. A steroid injection followed and  she's awaiting the effects of it as sometimes it doesn't work.
Ben was excellent on the train, lying by our feet for the two and a quarter hour journey. He couldn't wait to get off the train at Newport but wasn't keen on the hustle bustle and noise of Newport Station. Eric's sister Paula was kind enough to meet us at the station saving us the task of finding a taxi that would take a dog. She's been great looking after Clare while we were still away, during the painful days until they finally admitted her to hospital.
Today we caught up with daughter Lisa and grandaughter Gwen ( above as a Halloween witch) and my dad before we did the evening visiting session at the hospital. She must be feeling better, she's more her usual self although still on a lot of pain killers once the anaesthetic wore off.

Still in Newport visiting Clare each day. Looks like we'll be here for a while as Clare may need an operation.