Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Proud Dad

Daddy Dave with Scarlett born  23.12.13
Just had to share this photograph of a proud Dad.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Hectic Christmas- Puppy, Baby And Dangling Dog

Well Christmas is over for another year, two days of madness and it's back to normality although we're still finishing off the Christmas food. Our Christmas started a bit differently this year as we were invited to a Christmas Eve meal at Ben's (our son in law to be)  mother's house to meet some of their family.  We had a pleasant evening, we haven't been out on Christmas Eve for years. Poppy the pup came with us and Ben the dog stayed at Clare's house.

At the moment the dog's are separate in the house with the pup having the run of the kitchen, sleeping in an open topped pen at night. She soon learnt to escape, so a blanket is pegged on to keep her in during the night. Last night she got out again so the new addition to her pen is a lid to definitely keep her in. When she got out in the day she launched herself on Ben the dog but all he did was warm her with a growl and she ran away back down the stairs. He's been quite patient the other times she's jumped on him but we decided to take things slowly as she's still very small compared to Ben the dog.

Christmas Day started with some lovely presents before I did the dog walking while the turkey cooked in the oven. We tried pheasant and duck as well and teased my dad that the turkey had shrunk in the oven but the joke was lost on him he thought the pheasant was a chicken! I cooked the Christmas dinner this year, I hope its somebody else's job next year. Sally ended up having a NHS Christmas Dinner while she waited for somebody to remove the cannula in the baby's hand so they could leave the hospital and go home. Gwen had a great time with a pile of presents to open and her mum Lisa helped with the mountain of dishes.

Gwenllian with her great granddad
We had tea at Eric's sister Paula's house although nobody was particularly hungry after Christmas dinner, we just had to have a little bit of the lovely buffet. Just  a family get together  and by nine o'clock we were back at Clare's feeling rather shattered.

Boxing Day started with dog walking, which very nearly turned into a nightmare. I stopped and waited by a low walled bridge over a derelict lock and Ben decided to launch himself thinking it was just a field wall.... without looking! He ended up dangling by his neck above the water in the lock. Luckily I was able to pull him up none the worse for his experience, because his collar stayed on and the long lead took his weight. I grazed my knuckles and felt a bit shaky but thank goodness he was on a lead as there wasn't much water in the derelict lock to break his fall. As the lock was derelict there wasn't a gate at the bridge end so he could have got out if I lowered him down, but at the time my instant reaction was to just pull him up.

In the afternoon we went to see our new grandaughter Scarlett and her new parent's who now know how shattered you feel with a new baby. My dad, her great grandad came too, and we had a photo of the oldest and youngest members of the family. Later we had a lovely buffet tea at Clare's house. Gwen had a great time with more presents to open and she was delighted to  help Scarlett open her presents as she is too little. She's also delighted with her little cousin as she's not the baby anymore.

Scarlett a new great granddaughter for my dad

So now we're back on our boaty home again, in Whixall Marina.......it's all quiet again after a busy few days.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A New Arrival.......Grandaughter Number 2

We arrived at Clare's house on Sunday afternoon, definitely a bit of a shock for Ben to see the new pup there. He wasn't interested but a he's so big and she's so little a baby gate separated them until she grows a bit.Although she's called Poppy we nicknamed her poopy as she manages to get herself in quite a mess in the mornings. She sleeps in a large pen so at least the poop stays in the pen.

Today Ben is a bit happier although Poppy managed to escape into Ben's side of the baby gate and launched herself at Ben. He didn't react, just stood still until Ben ( the fiancee) took her away. We left Ben dog sitting and he told us they had been asleep on the settee with on dog either side of him......so perhaps they'll be alright after all.

Our day started with a text at seven am to tell us our new grandaughter Scarlett had arrived, three weeks before her due date.....so the waiting is over. Mum Sally and Dad Dave are flighted with their new baby girl who looks the spit of her mother when she was a baby, alhough Sally was ginger and Scarlett is dark haired.

new-born Scarlett

We braved the shopping madness at Tesco to stock up with the Christmas food. The madness on the roads was unbelievable people in such a rush, taking unnecessary risks right before our eyes.

In the afternoon I went with my daughter Clare to see her wedding dress and then we went to see the new arrival Scarlett with her mum and dad. I did have a cuddle, she's so small at six pounds but Sally was a five pound baby so was even smaller. My youngest daughter Lisa was also at the hospital with grandaughter number 1 Gwenllian, who said 'I am not the baby any more!' 

Two more sleeps now until Christmas Day and Gwenllian is so excited. Scarlett won't know it's her first Christmas but her arrival helps make it a special Christmas.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rocking Last Night.....In The Wind

The wind last night was certainly rocking the boat, with hailstones or lashing rain hammering on the roof too. We had a few big bangs until Eric pulled out the tyres from the engine bay and wedged us in to stop the bangs. Taking Ben out last thing at night was fun, the wind was so strong it nearly blew you over. 

This morning the sun's out, its 3 degrees C but feels warmer as the wind has dropped. Somebody's plastic top box was floating in the marina this morning but other than that the boats appear OK. When the rain hammers down we always wonder if the water will find a way in somewhere but it didn't so the seals around the mushrooms and chimney must be intact.

Our daughter Clare had an unexpected surprise the other night with an early Christmas present of a little collie pup called Poppie from her fiancee Ben......let's hope Ben the dog and Poppy become mates otherwise Christmas is going to fun.

Ben with puppy Poppy
Six sleeps to Christmas, which will be spent on dry land in Newport with our family. Just got stocked up with some coal and logs to keep us warm when we get back on the boat where we plan to see the New Year in.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ten Sleeps To Christmas

Our little tree on NB Bendigedig
We arrived back on NB Bendigedig on Friday and the first job was to light the fire and switch on the heating to warm up our chilly boat. The heating worked so it was soon nice and warm. We'd bought a little three foot artificial tree as our pot grown one was looking decidedly brown and unloved after three years use. I did water and feed it but it needed  more. The new tree was soon up and decorated with white twinkling lights, red and green baubles and the usual little figures. Now it feels like Christmas is getting closer.

Last night we went out for a Christmas meal with more than thirty boaters from Whixall Marina. One of the boaters' Ron arranged it at 'The Dog and Bull' so there was lots of good food, drinks and the usual  chat went on.....boaters' always have plenty of tales to tell.

Today we had lunch out with Nick and Liz who'd come from their winter mooring in Llangollen to meet us in Ellesmere. They'd booked a table at 'The Red Lion' where we enjoyed more good food, drink and more chat. In no time at all it was nearly three o'clock so we said our goodbyes until we see them again.....which will be pretty soon as I forgot the Christmas cards!

When I was teaching the children would always tell me how many sleeps it was until Christmas Day now Tesco tells us too   ....................Ten sleeps to Christmas!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Getting Ready For Christmas

Oscar getting comfy on Eric's lap

We've spent a few days in Newport  and are on our way back to Whixall tomorrow. Thanks to Clare and Ben for letting us stay yet again. My new crown is fitted so definately no toffees for me. Eric has recovered from his chest infection and feeling so much better. Ben and I have had some walks in familiar haunts with me getting muddy boots, although Ben managed to stay pretty clean.

It's been a sad week too as Paula's little dog Oscar never recovered from his eye operation and is now in doggy heaven where he can howl as much as he likes. The vet said he was a very vocal dog and joined in with the barking dogs with his howling! 

The Christmas meats are bought for our Christmas dinner at Clare's and stored in the freezer as are the Aunty Bessie's roasties and parsnips. The pudding's bought too! I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner and we'll be back in Newport on the 21st of December. Then it's time to get the sprouts, carrots, stuffing balls and pigs in blankets.

Clares bought a real tree this year and I love the smell of pine needles. It's decorated  with silver coloured baubles and white lights ready for the Christmas presents to be put underneath on Christmas Eve. Ben the dog's got presents too. 

Lisa's home has a tree too and Gwen is looking forward to Christmas. In school she was an 
angel but I didn't get to see her performance as the school restricted the tickets per child and Lisa didn't know whether we would be in Newport. 

So the presents are bought and wrapped ready to bring to Newport, we're all ready for Christmas.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Another Week's Been And Gone

I can't believe another week has been and gone. Nothing unusual  has happened all week, it's been the usual run of dog walking  ending in muddy dog and muddy boots. We've also been shopping, made some nice meals including my favourite paella with lovely king prawns- on offer in Tesco's! 
The boat has been toastie warm as the diesel heating now works and we have the coal fire as well. We also have an electric heater for the times when the Mikuni refuses to fire up. That's the answer to the usual question of 'Are you warm enough on the boat?' 
But Eric has been feeling off colour this week and  a head cold finally ended up leaving him with a very chesty cough which was getting worse not better. So a trip to Newport to see our doctor was on the cards. We went on Wednesday and stayed overnight at Clare's house before returning to the boat lunch time today. As I've said before, our doctor operates a walk in surgery in the mornings which means it's easy to see him, or one of his partners, rather than make an appointment at a doctor In Wem.
So I am keeping him warm and toastie ....the doctor did ask him if he was warm at home! He'll soon be feeling better with the antibiotics prescribed. I hope I don't get it! It's a pity the flu job doesn't stop you getting colds.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Busy Few Days In Newport

Our few days away started off well with a meal out in the evening with our daughters, their partners and my one and only grandchild Gwen...very nice too ! Good prices, good food and great company with plenty of time to catch up. Gwen tucked into an ice cream sundae which looked amazing but I just didn't have any room after my sizzling steak, baked potato and salad.
Our daughter Sally and fiancĂ© Dave are currently expecting grandchild number two, who knows when she'll arrive...... before or after Christmas? The hospital says it's a girl but you never know until it's delivered.
On Tuesday I took Ben for a walk down to see my dad while  Eric took the car in to the garage to get the hand brake sorted as it just wouldn't hold on hills making hill starts a bit hit or miss. It ended  up there for two days as they had to get in some more parts.
In the evening we visited our daughter Lisa and granddaughter Gwen and I had fun bathing Gwen after we'd had pizza for tea. She gave us a lift back to Clare's house as we couldn't face walking up the steep hill, although Ben wouldn't have minded another walk.
On Wednesday it was my turn at the dentist for a crown preparation, I didn't mind the drill but I hate the gooey stuff they use to make the impressions. Before I went I did the dog walking and it wasn't raining. It fact it was pleasant as it was warmer than the beginning of the week.
We checked the weather forecast before we left Whixall  and minus 2 degrees C forecast for Whixall, so we decided to leave an electric heater on low to keep the boat warm. We certainly noticed the difference when we arrived back today at the boat it felt warm as we opened the doors.
We came from south Wales to Whixall  through Wales today, via Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Builth Wells, Llandrindod Wells, Newtown Welshpool and then into Shropshire. It was the scenic route with lots of hills and rather windy roads but it made a change from going via Hereford, although it took longer than our usual route.
Back on the boat it was time to turn on the gas, light the fire and make some tea. A lazy evening followed, although Ben wanted to play ball!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Three Hours To Newport

This morning we set off in the car for a few days in Newport. First of all I had to walk the dog so we went down the Prees Branch as far as we could go. It does continue a little further but the  overgrown hawthorn hedges were cut and the cuttings left so it's a no go area for dog's......he get the thorns in his pads.

Looking online I found an old map showing the route of the Prees Branch which terminated at Quina Brooke where there were lime kilns, obviously now in a derelict state. As usual I'm having trouble with picture uploading on my tablet so I'll try again when I get back to the boat and use my laptop.Even then I have to go the Picasa web albums route. One day blogger will work!!!

The old map from Wilkipedia

The journey down  was fine, we stopped at Craven Arms for lunch and then continued on our way with me as the driver for an hour.Hereford was jam packed with traffic as usual, it doesn't seem to matter what time we go through it's busy. We had another stop later for Ben to water the grass and then Eric drove the rest of the way. The sun was getting lower so I was glad to let him drive.

We took advantage of Clare's electric being close to the car with our extension lead so  Eric could  give it a vacuum inside, the boot was very hairy after Ben the dog. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sun, Rain, Hail Stones And A Little Snow!

Since my last blog we've been busy doing some Christmas shopping in Shrewsbury and Wrexham.  I needed to get organised before we head for Wales for a Christmas visit. We've a couple of dental appointments before then, the first of which is next Wednesday so we'll be down to Newport on Monday.

The weather has been cold, some mornings colder than others with 1 degree C one morning with a hail storm and  a snow shower which luckily didn't settle. We've been warm on the boat keeping the coal fire going day and night. This morning Ben and I had a lovely walk down the Prees Branch then back on a circular route via the lanes, one of which was flooded  where the road dipped so we picked our way along the grass verges. It was an hour and a half of sunshine although the wind was cold.


Eric took the photos of our boat moored at Whixall Marina

Back on the boat it poured with rain and we had more hail stones.  While I was walking Ben Eric washed the car.....it looked like we'd been off roading with mud all up the sides. The lanes round Whixall have lots of mud near the farms so the car won't stay clean. If we get rain we often get flooded sections of the lanes but that's one of the reasons we bought the Freelander. The other reason .....plenty of room for Ben in the boot! 

So we're warm and cosy, having a lazy evening after a paella for tea. Retirement's got it's good points!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

NB Bendigedig Is Moored For The Winter

Our boat hasn't moved from it's marina mooring unless you count the movement with the wind battering us on our floating pontoon. It's definately a house boat at the moment as the only travelling has been by car. We've been to Market Drayton as I wanted a Wilkinsons and that was the nearest place to Whixall, and had lunch at Morrisons sampling their fish and chips. The menu said 'hand battered' and it was fish fillet shaped and definately not from a frozen fish packet. Very nice too!

Today we went into Shrewsbury to make a start on some Christmas Shopping before we have crowded shops and the panic that comes with trying to get all the gifts purchased on one shopping trip. Four presents bought, still nine to get but it's a start! I chose my present too...I wanted some glass beads from Pandora to add to my bracelet.

Walking the dog has been a muddy wet experience this week although we managed to miss the showers on a walk around Colemere on Tuesday. Today I waited until eleven am to take Ben out for a walk but the rain still got us on the way back, very heavy with hailstones.......Ben was not impressed!

On the boat I've been having a clear out of the wardrobes getting rid of stuff we don't use to the clothing bank or the charity shop in Ellesmere when we next go there. The diesel heating worked yesterday but today it won't come on and there's no light on the switch showing no power to the system. Luckily we're on shoreline with an electric radiator we can use as background heat when we need it at the other end of the boat. So we're warm and quite happy on our mooring at Whixall Marina.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Brr It's Cold.....Our First Frost

What can I see?

What can I smell?

We woke this morning to frost, our first frost of of the winter on NB Bendigedig. Ben went out to water it first thing this morning. The central heating refused to come on, hopefully it will come on later when the engine has given the batteries the necessary boost, so the bedroom end of the boat is cold....not that Eric has noticed he's barely visible under the quilt on our bed.

We don't do cold weather boating so with the temperature currently at 1 degree C outside now and not going up to double figures we'll be heading back to Whixall Marina. It's probably colder there but we won't have the problem with the heating. We're wimps but who cares......we pensioners feel the cold!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

An Autumn Cruise

Leaving Whixall Marina on the Prees Branch

Approaching the 2nd lift bridge
Today we woke to a lovely sunny day with no wind so the first task of the day after breakfast was to take the boat and fill up with diesel. Last night the diesel central heating wouldn't come on so we knew we were on half a tank of fuel, and as soon as it was full again the heating worked.
Since we were disconnecting from our umbilical cord the shoreline, we decided to make the best of the weather and have an Autumn Cruise. I know it'll rain tomorrow but sometimes it's great to be cruising although it's all too tempting to stay put. But boats are meant to be used for cruising although in the winter we're quite happy to stay put.
Ben and I walked while Eric steered the boat, two lift bridges to raise and lower and I haven't done that for a while. With one thing and another the boat hasn't done any cruising for months. Eric's arm's much better but he must remember not to pull any ropes with his left arm.
A view of Blakemere
It started to get a bit cold as we passed Lyneal Wharf but not far to go.  We passed Blakemere where just one boat was moored up. Then it was a quick trip  through the tunnel. The tunnel light got temperamental....must be a loose connection as when I opened the electricals cupboard door it worked.

Approaching Ellesmere
Soon Eric was cruising towards Ellesmere, Ben and I jumped off after the tunnel to stretch our legs. Now we're moored up opposite the Services at Ellesmere and we only met two moving boats on the way here.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Back Onboard

 Marina in sunshine
Today we made the journey from Wales to Shropshire, three hours of wet, wet, wet as it poured down the whole trip. Lots of water on the roads too. Before we left I took Ben to Tredegar Park in the rain for a walk and play ball with his thrower, he got soaked not that he cared!
I put the sunny picture on the blog to remind me of sunnier days last week. It's still raining here, but we're afloat so it doesn't really matter.

The Dentist And The Doctor In Newport

Gwen on one of our muddy walks

We had a busy few days keeping our daughter and grandaughter entertained and then after lunch on Sunday we brougt them back to Newport in the car. Quite a pleasant journey with Gwen having a nap on the way, a few comfort stops for us and  Ben the dog. We arrived in Newport to find a casserole bubbling in the oven at Clare and Ben's house, which was a very good smell! 

But....peace was shattered literally by a big bang, we looked at each other...what was that? In the kitchen shattered glass fragmemts everywhere as the outer oven door had shattered into tiny pieces. Luckily no one was in the kitchen so it was only the glass to clear up. Don't know why it shattered. The casserole was fine once Ben managed to open the inner oven door, as it now had no handle. Ben the dog hid under the coffee table!

On Monday Eric needed the see the doctor, nothing urgent just an ongoing skin condition but we fine it easier to stay with our Newport doctor as he has a walk in surgery in the mornings.That done we visited my dad and walked the dog in a very wet park. We had a very good excuse for a Chinese take away as we really didn't have a working oven, but who needs an excuse anyway.

On Tuesday Eric and I had dental checkups, so I was up and out walking the dog before we went at ten in the morning. I need a cap on one of my teeth so we arranged to come back for the necessary two consecutive visits. We then took my dad out to lunch but the meal wasn't good ......not hot tough chewy steak, undercooked frozen chips, and a grilled tomato that must have been only shown the grill on a cold plate. The place....The Three Blackbirds in Llantarnum who won't get my custom again.

The rest of Tuesday was spent having a lazy afternoon, and I spent the evening with Ben the dog (he was hiding under the coffee table) as it was Bonfire Night and he hates the noise of fireworks.....too many bangs. Eric went to visit his sister Paula and collect our mail.

Today, Wednesday we are going back home to our boaty home in Whixall, a three hour drive to Shropshire. It's nice visiting but we do like being back home on the boat, it's so quiet and peaceful in Whixall Marina.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Visitors Onboard

Our daughter Lisa brought her daughter Gwen to visit us by train. We met them at the station in Shrewsbury, not the nearest station to Whixall but it meant she didn't have to change trains. We had a wander round the town, got some food and then made our way back to the Whixall Marina.

Feeding the ducks at the Mere (added on my laptop)

Today we went to Ellesmere in the rain armed with some  food pellets to feed the ducks and geese on the lake.I did take the photo but I can't get it to upload from my tablet or Picasso web albums so I give up! Lots of puddles on the path, Ben was filthy but a paddle in the Mere soon sorted that out. We then had a trip to Sainsburys on the hunt for a dress for Gwen as we couldn't find anything she liked in her size in Shrewsbury town centre.....most of the big shops are outside the town. 

This afternoon we've been cake making, cutting and sticking and playing games on my tablet, but now peace reigns.....Gwen's asleep and so is Ben the dog.

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Sunny In Whixall

A view from the side hatch.......it's sunny in Whixall!

Well It's the day after tit was muddy in placese storm, it seems we totally missed the hurricane winds in fact the flag at Whixall Marina was hanging limp last night. We had some very heavy rain but not enough to keep us awake. Eric took the satellite dish off the pole and bungied down the boat plank and poles on the roof just in case. We certainly don't miss the overhanging trees which we had at our winter mooring in Llangollen and we'll be able to visit our friends who moor up there each winter.

This morning Ben and I went for a walk down the Prees Branch in sunshine, underfoot it was muddy in places but always a pleasant walk as it's rare to meet anyone and Ben enjoys being off his lead. Eric was busy cleaning the shower pump filter....a yucky job! Then he topped up the batteries now his arm is so much better he could get in the engine hole.

This afternoon we're being very lazy after I vacuumed the boat to get rid off the dog hair!

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Visit To Audlem, Cheshire

Audlem Mill....worth a visit

Today we decided to go to Audlem as I wanted to get some Christmas cards and an IWA calendar which I knew they sold at Audlem Mill. So it was a quick trip from Shropshire into Cheshire, just half an hour by car. Ben came too and after our purchases we walked up the locks to take Ben for a walk. We had a chat to the crew of NB Aquahobo  and made a fuss of their dog. It's an old picture of our boat above Audlem, we'll be back cruising after the winter but for now we're exploring by car. It's surprising how many places are under an hours drive from Whixall Marina.
NB Bendigedig above Audlem

The Shroppie Fly...currently surrounded by fences as it's being revamped.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's Wet Wet Wet!

Since we came back to Whixall we've been out and about trying to dodge the heavy showers of rain. Ben doesn't care what it's doing outside but he's not that keen on walking in woods when it's wet....lots of big drips. We've walked the usual walks around the Mere at Colemere, alongside the Mere at Ellesmere and down the Prees Branch. We had a long walk on the Mosses one dry morning, can't remember which day that was! That's the trouble with retirement ......you don't really need to know what day it is.

Yesterday Eric dropped me canalside and took the car into Ellesmere while Ben and I walked along the canal in the rain arriving at the car rather wet outside but  dry underneath. Ben had a good  rub down with a towel, he's not into coats as that would end up in the canal with him when he decides to paddle in the shallows. We did a Tesco shop before returning to Whixall. Of course it stayed dry for the afternoon while we were onboard. 

Today it's pouring again, Ben and had an early morning wander near the marina letting  ourselves out of locked gates. I'll delay his longer walk for a bit ......maybe  it'll stop raining for an hour or two. Ben is comfy now on the settee.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Back In Whixalll Marina

We had a few days in Wales as Eric had a hospital appointment and he doesn't have to go again ......his arm is fine. Eric can now drive so we shared the three hour drive back from Newport which was good for me. Back to the peace and quiet of the marina. There are loads of empty berths here  but I suppose it's a bit too out in the wilds for some people. It's fine if you've got a car to get about especially in the winter. In the summer you'd be out on the boat anyway so shopping at the store nearest the canal is the norm.

We've no real plans at the moment, although we may go out for a cruise....  if it manages to stop raining for a few days. We're quiet happy here at Whixall so it doesn't really matter if we don't take the boat out. Plenty of time to think about next year's cruising when hopefully the weather will be drier!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Back In Wales

On Sunday we had a change of plan and decided to go to Newport after lunch instead of going on Monday. Soon the car was packed with a couple of bags as we were only staying a few nights. The weather wasn't good with heavy rain so it was wipers on and dipped headlights so I could see and be seen.It took about three hours before we were pulling up outside Clare's house. Ben the dog knew where he was and was keen to get out and give Clare a big lick!

Today Eric had a visit to our doctor's to see the nurse for a flu jab , while I walked the dog in the drizzly rain.Then we did a little Ikea shopping followed by lunch while Ben the dog stayed at Clare' s house. We were out for several hours but he was a very good boy.......we got an enthusiastic greeting when we got back.Clare's Ben made us all curry for tea.,,., very nice too.

Tomorrow it's Eric's hospital appointment, while Ben and I go to the park. After that we're visiting my dad followed by a visit to the chemist to pick up our filled prescriptions to keep us going for another three months. We're going to visit our grandaughter Gwen and her mum Lisa in the afternoon. Gwen's  had another baby tooth fall out so the tooth fairy's been to their house again.

Gwen's  toothy smile!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Busy Going Nowhere Afloat

Since we came back to our boaty home on Thursday we haven't being able to go out boating due to Eric's arm still being very sore and boating involves pushing and pulling which he can't do at the moment.

But we haven't been bored as we've been exploring the area by car  with the help of Google Navigation although sometimes she tells you to take a right or left turn when it's just a bend in the road. We end up following little lanes to see where we end up. On the way from Colemere to Ellesmere we passed a possible walking the dog place but it was a Nature Reserve with a no dogs sign.So we had to go back along the lane to have a walk in the woods around Colemere, although Ben didn't mind as he enjoys that walk with lots of places to sniff, smell and of course water! 

Yesterday I did the purple trail on the Mosses near Prees Junction which meant Ben and I were out walking for about two hours. We only met one lady walking and didn't meet any dogs at all. It was considerably wetter underfoot than  last time with sections of the trail where you sunk a little in the boggy path, so it was a case of picking your way along the edge. I was tired after that and Ben had a nap too.

Today we had a shorter walk down the unavigable section of the Prees Branch, also managed by the Wildlife Trust but dogs are not banned.The swans which nest there have moved on so Ben and I can walk as far as it goes. Again we didn't see anyone so a lovely quiet walk.

This afternoon Eric and I are off to Ellesmere to get some haicuts. I have an appointment at Ceri's the hairdresser I visit when we're near Ellesmere, which means she can be my regular hairdresser when we're in the marina.

Next week we're off to Newport again for another appointment  with the elbow consultant, hopefully that will his last hospital appointment for a while.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Back On NB Bendigedig

Clare and Ben 'Forties Style'

Today we left Newport behind as Clare is able to cope without us with Ben her fiancee there to look after her. The doctor says she has to continue with painkillers as it's far too soon to reduce them, and was pleased she was up and about. Next week she starts physiotherapy.

We started on our journey after Ben the dog had  a walk. He's an excellent traveller most of the time, occasionally he's travel sick! Today he was fine. We usually break the journey  by having a few stops, our first stop was at a roadside truck stop just after Hereford on the A49, where we had a great cheeseburger each and Ben had a sausage.  Our second stop was at Shrewsbury Services where we had a Costa coffee.....Ben had a  drink of water!

We were lucky as we didn't gave the heavy rain until the last half hour of our three hour journey, and by then we  were driving on country lanes and travelling much slower anyway. 

Back on the boat with the car unloaded, Eric lit the fire to warm it up a bit as we'd been away for twelve days. It was nice to get back to our boaty home although Clare was glad to have us there to help after her back surgery.I'm sure Ben her fiancee will make sure she's OK. Anyway we're not that far away and will be back in another twelve days as Eric has another hospital  appointment to check his arm. On his last appointment they took off the arm brace and told him to use his arm but not to push and pull as the fractures are healing up nicely and they want him to use his elbow as much as possible......but it's still very sore!

The photo was taken at a 'Forties Style' open  day  to promote Ben's  firm which make replica army vehicles.

Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Monday Again

The last days of September have gone quickly by and it's October tomorrow.Clare is doing well so we're going home on Thursday. Today Ben (the dog) and I went  walking in Tredegar Park with his ball thrower, so he had a good time and we managed to miss the rain. Later in the day I had a little retail therapy as I needed (wanted) some new underwear. It's useless going shopping in the Newport centre as all the big shops including M&S have relocated to Spytty Retail Park. I left Eric with Clare and Ben the dog......as he hates clothes shopping. Later I took Clare into town as she wanted to get her nails done, she had to have her other nails removed before her surgery......so she must be feeling much better.

We've enjoying catching up with family, but I am looking forward to getting back to our boaty home. I expect Clare and her fiancee Ben will like having their house back......I wonder if they'll miss Ben the dog?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Medical Update

It's Wednesday and Clare is back home. She had her operation yesterday called a discectomy where they removed the bulging part of the disc and she has no stitches as glue was used. She's feeling a bit off after the anaesthetic but she can now feel her feet! It's all so quick nowadays, 24 hours after the operation they check if you can manage stairs and walk, and then your discharged. The route to her house was one without the sleeping policemen as she certainly didn't need any bumps!

Yesterday Eric had an appointment at the hospital and had loads if x rays to find out if his elbow was in the correct place. He has been told to use his arm gently with no pushing or pulling. The brace has gone and the fractures are healing nicely, it's  just needs time needed  to heal the damaged tendons. He has another appointment in three weeks so it looks like I am still the driver for a while.

Monday, September 23, 2013

An Update From Wales

We had a lovely few days back in our boaty home, with dog walking, some shopping and lots of lovely peace and quiet in Whixall Marina.. Only one DIY job  to do as the shower gave us just a trickle as the plastic tube inside the steel flexible tube gave up the ghost. A trip to the hardware shop in Ellesmere shop and  it was soon replaced by Eric.

We decided to travel down to Wales on Sunday as the traffic is usually better than on a weekday. We made good progress with a couple of stops for a sandwich and Ben to stretch his legs and water the layby grass of course. Ben watches out of the window as we travel when he could be fast asleep on his comfy bed,without a sound until we got to Clare's turn off and then we had grumbles as he was anxious to be out of the car.

Clare's house looked different as they'd been busy decorating before the delivery of a new corner unit which it very comfy too. They're other settee for very low and getting out of it wasn't easy when you're not so young. We settled down for a lazy evening although Ben the dog had other ideas, he wanted to play ball. Clare's fiancee Ben took him in the garden to play ball so he was happy!!

Clare rang the hospital this morning and there is a bed for her so her back operation is going ahead, so she's now feeling rather nervous. After three postponements already we wondered whether today would be just another one. It'll be good to get the operation done and she hopefully can get on with her life without all the painkillers. Her boss has given her four weeks off work to recover and then she's keen to be back doing her proper job as a motor cycle mechanic.

We're staying in Newport for a while, hopefully she'll have a quick recovery from her operation. Gwen is delighted nanny and grandad are here again. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Grandad's A Robot" said Gwen

On Monday we went back to Newport as Eric had an appointment with the elbow specialist on Tuesday. On Tuesday I dropped him off at the hospital and then took Ben for a walk around Tredegar Park. I took the ball and a thrower so he enjoyed our time there. Next I did the shopping while waiting for a phone call to tell me Eric was ready to be picked up at the hospital. 
Gwen said granddad's a robot!
He now has some sort of brace which allows limited movement of his elbow and next week it'll be adjusted to give a little more movement. They are hoping the bone pieces are small enough not to cause a problem as the specialist does not want to operate. He has to have a MRI scan but the earliest we can get is October 30th......eight weeks after his accident!
We're now back on the boat for a few days before travelling back to Newport for Eric's appointment on Tuesday. Clare's back operation is on Tuesday as well as long as it's not cancelled again and of course there needs to be a bed on the ward, so we may be on dry land for a while longer.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Back On The Boat....For A Few Days!

On Wednesday we came back to our boaty home to find everything was fine. We hadn't planned to be away so long but accidents happen. The journey back was a long one  but after three hours we were home. I can't say I enjoyed the drive but it was nice  to be back. Clare and Ben were happy for us to stay longer but I am sure they'll enjoy a few days without us we have to come back for another appointment.

We've been dog walking and generally enjoying the peace of Whixall Marina.Last night we went to the Horse & Jockey at Northwood for a meeting with the BWML managers for berth holders from the marina, It was informal meeting with a buffet giving us a chance to meet people and ask the managers all sorts of questions. There's quite a few empty berths here and they're obviously trying to fill them, so if you want a residential mooring on the Llangollen Canal,it's a nice quiet place but you definitely need a car as the nearest shop is miles away in Wem.

Today we walked the dog around Colemere, one of the many meres or lakes around Ellesmere.It was a lovely walk as we totally missed the heavy rain which arrived much later. We then drove a little further to get some food shopping in Ellesmere. This evening we lit the fire for the first time since the Summer.

On Monday we're going back to Newport as Eric's got an appointment with an elbow specialist. He needs a scan as there's a piece of bone that's not where it should be. Don't know what they are going to do about it, but we'll find out soon. He's actually got a removable plaster so showering is easier as he doesn't have to worry about getting a wet cast.

Have a nice weekend....let's hope the weather forecaster's have got it wrong!,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Tooth Fairy Is Coming To Gwen

Yesterday we were in Newport and Gwen had a very wobbly front tooth. This morning it fell out so tonight the tooth fairy is coming to Gwen.......I hope she's been a good girl!

Just A Few Photos

Eric with his first plaster
While I was in Newport I was unable to post any photos as I didn't take the laptop and blogger doesn't load photos from my tablet. I still have to upload them to Picasa web albums to load them to Blogger.
Ben getting comfy on Clare's sofa

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Just Some Thoughts

Eric's coping fairly well with one arm in plaster, although showering has become a joint activity .........I haven't had to help him wash before. The only downside of his arm in plaster is that he can't drive and this means I have to do all the driving. It's strange for me as I haven't driven for over six years as when we hired cars the cost of extra insurance for another driver was extra expense.

In Newport there is a new one way system and some big roundabouts have been built in that time. I found these big roundabouts with traffic lights on most confusing but things can only get better. On Wednesday we're going back to Whixall, I usually drive part of the way but this time it's just me, so there'll be plenty of stops as it takes over two and half hours.

It's been great seeing family but I really do miss being in our own boaty home, with just ourselves to please. I'm counting down the days.....it'll soon be Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A Visit To A & E In Newport

We had a lovely journey down to Newport on Sunday, loads of cars on the road but no real queues other than the slow crawl through Hereford. Eric and I shared the driving. Arriving in Newport Clare's new fiancee Ben made us a roast which went down well , even more so when I didn't have to cook it.

On Monday we had a lovely day involving dog walking, visiting my dad and children's playgrounds with our grandaughter Gwen. Unfortunately the day ended badly when Eric  twisted his ankle and ended up falling backwards and landing awkwardly on his left arm. He dislocated his elbow and fractured the radius at the elbow and wrist ends. So after four and a half hours in A & E  Eric was x-rayed then plastered  and  allowed to leave with a prescription for painkillers.Ben picked us up from the hospital and we found out that Asda had a late night opening pharmacy so we managed to get the painkillers. Last night there wasn't much room for me in bed with Eric and his plaster cast, but at least he had a good night's sleep.

Today we had Gwen for the day and we started off by taking Ben for a long walk. Gwen's a good walker. Clare had a day off so we went to town with Gwen, who ended up having some Disney Princess pink and glittery trainers......she loves shoes!

Eric had some peace and quiet until we came back from town.Later Lisa came in from work, Sally and Dave came down, so it was time for a get together and a  Chinese meal with our three daughters, their partners and our grandaughter Gwen. So now we are suitably full and having a quiet night in.

It looks like we are going nowhere until Eric has been to the fracture clinic on Wednesday. After that we'll probably go back to Whixall Marina, needless to say our planned trip out cruising is cancelled! Thanks to Clare and Ben for letting us stay a little longer than planned.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Week In Whixall

Nothing particularly intersting has happened this week although we've quiet enjoyed being hooked up to shoreline with a water tap nearby on the electricity bollard. Sometimes it's just nice to moor up and stay put. We've been  having a look around the local area and walking Ben of course. Whixall Marina is a great place to be as  Ellesmere, Whitchurch and Wem are not far away.

We've been invaded by wasps at the marina, so we've had to put mesh on the inside of the mushrooms to try and  keep them out. Unfortunately there lots of gaps at the rear on the hatch, so they still find their way in. We always know when one has succeeded , Ben hides under the bed.

The swans on the Mere at Ellesmere

We visited Ellesmere and had a walk by the Mere before sampling the fish and chips from one of Ellesmere's fish and chip shops. We sat on a bench at the end of the Canal Arm and watched the boats turning and mooring up. It's strange going by car, being the tourists watching the boats.

Yesterday we used Google Navigation on my phone to find the way to Colemere via narrow country lanes and walked around the lovely mere, it's only ten minutes away from Whixall and a great dog walking place. Ben loves it in woods, loads of smells and trees to water.

This morning Ben and I had a walk down the unavigable section of the Prees Branch which is now a Nature Reserve. Plenty of bugs down there but I've managed to stay bite free all week due to my insect repellant. The swans and their cygnets have vacated their spot on the towpath, so we were able to walk to the end of the Nature Reserve.

At the weekend we're going to Newport for a few days to look after our grandaughter Gwen.When we come back we're planning trip down the Montgomery Canal by boat of course.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bank Holiday Weekend

The Bank Holiday Weekend has escaped the boaters here in Whixall, it reminds quiet as usual. We decided to come back to the marina because we wanted to avoid the madness on the canal. Here there are no boats passing at 6am and no boats crashing into us as they pass too close.

We have been out in the car which made quite a change from 4mph or usually much less. We went food shopping in Wem where there's a big Coop, it was a change not to have to carry shopping a long way back to the boat.

On Saturday we decided to go out for a drive to Wales, I wanted to see some hills and I wanted to see the sea. We headed for Barmouth, why there you ask? Mainly because when we moored in Llangollen for the winter we used to see the X94 Barmouth bus and often wondered what Barmouth was like. I imagined a small place but it's a very big place if it's beaches and seaside you're want. The beach is segregated so there's a huge area where dogs are allowed on a lead, not that the dog owner's there read that bit. Ben stayed on his long lead.....it's a very big beach if he decided to go and play with the other dogs, and he can be unsociable with big dogs so that's not a good idea.

Yesterday was a thoroughly lazy day apart from Eric and I taking Ben for a long circular walk starting down the Prees Nature Reserve and returning via some country lanes with the help of Google Maps.Ben was flaked out afterwards so it must have been long enough. We had a very lazy afternoon after we'd eaten our Sunday roast.

Today I did the walking, leaving Eric in charge of the dyson.....he does a very good job when it comes to vacuuming.  I had the misfortune to walk past a moored boat with Ben closely to me on a short lead as I could see a dog outside the boat. It came growling towards us and attacked Ben on his back with lots of snarling and barking. The owner did come out but not before Ben had been jumped on.....he took his dog in ....not even an apology. It was a totally unprovoked attack.Needless to say we walked via the Mosses on the way back.Luckily Ben had slobber on his back but no blood, no wonder he doesn't like black dogs.

It's been incredibly hot today, I felt quite sick when I got back, the heat or the upset, I was actually sick! But I'm fine now...feeling much better!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back To Whixall Marina

What have we been up to the last few days.....nothing exciting, we've been moored near Prees Junction. We've had a busy few days doing some jobs on the boat. There's always something on the list (not that we make a list) waiting to be done. The first job was painting the gunnels on one side with black paint to cover two years of scrapes. After that it was time to treat some tiny rust spots on the one side so they could be touched up with a spot of paint. 

The one side done we went for a ride, while I walked the dog Eric steered the boat. We winded the boat at the next turning point after Prees Junction which was Platt Lane and then headed back to moor after Prees Junction in the same spot but facing the other way. It's  a good place to paint the gunnels on the  other side of the boat as the bank is low. 

In the morning I put on a long sleeved top with my trousers were tucked into my socks, then bug repellant sprayed on any skin showing.......those bugs weren't getting another meal on the Mosses. I now have a leaflet showing the trails so I chose another one, which took about an hour. 

While I'd been walking Eric had washed and dried the other side of the point ready for a polishing session. This time I started polishing at the bow and Eric started at the stern.....we met in the middle. Too shattered to paint that day we relaxed. Just as well Eric didn't paint as we had a thunder storm with very heavy rain. It was bouncing on the gritty towpath and hammering on the roof, a few drops of rain came in via the mushrooms but no drips otherwise.

Today we headed for the turning circle at Hampton Bank enjoying a pleasant cruise before turning round and heading back to Whixall Marina.I walked for a while not enjoying the nettles canalside by the Mosses, but managed only to get stung once. It's been a battle of the bugs this week, as I've been bitten by a mosquito in the nights. There's bug screens up, but somehow one little mossie finds it's way in and has a meal on me. It looks as though Deet will be my new perfume.

So we're currently having a week in the marina  before heading back to Newport, Clare's operation is now on the 24th of September....maybe it'll happen after four postponements.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Just Pictures Of The Mosses

The sign at the canal side entrance

A map of the Mosses- I walked the  triangular purple walk

A view across the Mosses

The marker post with purple arrows

You can see the peat exposed on the route 

Heather growing alongside the track

This grows in the bog

Another view of the Mosses with big skies

The post showing you cross the Wales/ England border

More heather

Signs showing species to spot
Ben and I walked the purple trail this morning, mainly because I've walked it before and it starts and finishes on the Llangollen Canal. I love the feeling of loads of space on the Mosses with the big skies. Ben enjoys sniffing and smelling as well as watering anything vertical. I just enjoy the peace, all you hear are the birds.
Eric had been busy while I was out washing one side of the boat. After a sandwich  lunch it was a joint effort polishing the boat with Craftmaster Carnauba Wax which means you can see your face in the shine. It takes the dullness off the paint surface and restores the colour........it took us two hours. Now we need to do the other side!

Moored Near Prees Junction

NB  Bendigedig
Yesterday morning I walked Ben the dog while Eric had a haircut at the barber's in Ellesmere. A pleasant walk until I met Eric and we passed a lassie type collie which snapped at Ben. We didn't realise  that he'd nipped him until we saw blood from his nose and mouth as Ben doesn't make a fuss if he's hurt himself......he must have got far too close! The bleeding soon stopped  after a bit of first aid with some antiseptic wipes from the chemist. We had a good look when we got back to the boat and found four places where the teeth got him but he's OK, we'll just keep an eye out for any signs of infection.
We left Ellesmere and headed for countryside for some peace and quiet. It's nice to moor near towns but you do get the early morning walkers and joggers passing by and the gritty towpath means you hear the footfall. Quite a few holiday boats about but not so manic as nearer Llangollen, a very pleasant cruise as far as the long straight before the junction with the Prees Branch. The canal is nice and wide so a good place to moor although I thought a few boats were coming to tea as they were so close.
A quiet night with only animal sounds and I had a very good sleep, the first for a while. Often I'm up making tea and reading in the night as I can't sleep. This morning  Eric's has plans to wash and polish one side of the boat, weather permitting. I'll help when I get back from walking the dog. I'm going on the nearby Mosses but this time the insect repellent  will be applied and the legs and arms covered up so I don't get eaten alive like the last time I went walking there.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Return To Ellesmere

A very full mooring basin at Llangollen
We though we'd be escaping the chaos as we left Llangollen but even before we left we met boaters inventing new rules. On the narrows between the mooring basin and the first house, no boats in the channel so we could go but met a boat just about to come on without checking if anything was coming. We were told there's a sign saying give way to oncoming boats.....there isn't......just tells you to check if a boat is in the narrows. They said it was their right of way because there were three boats going their way.All they had to do was take a look around the corner!

At the next narrows I walked ahead and telephoned back to say it was OK to come through, no problems that time or at the final stretch of narrows so we were soon at Trevor. Coming out of the bridge hole the canal was blocked by a boat waiting to come towards Llangollen.We had no choice we had to take a left for Trevor Basin as there was a boat behind us, then wind the boat to go across the Pontycysyllte Aqueduct.

Trevor Basin
Looking back across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

At the Fron Lift Bridge a gongoozler told us we should put the bridge down as we left it even though there was another boat coming through and they were going to shut it. The sign says only three boats can go through if there's road traffic but there wasn't any and there were only three boats anyway.

Chirk Aqueduct leading to the Chirk Tunnel

Chirk Tunnel with nobody waiting

At Chirk Tunnel and Aqueduct it  was plain sailing with no boats coming towards  so we continued on our way leaving Wales behind to enter England- a truly great border crossing! Some hireboaters told us there's a new rule at Chirk Tunnel which says only two boats should go each way, taking it in turns. No signs say this and it would certainly cause considerable congestion with a short waiting area after the Chirk Aqueduct.

We  had fun all the way to Ellesmere,  with boats passing on any side they chose, lots of panic at bridge holes by the new boaters starting their holidays. Eric rescued a day boat stuck in the mud in a winding hole, by towing it off. At Ellesmere there was no choice of mooring we ended up moored up near the entrance to the nature reserve. On the Ellesmere Arm there were well spaced out boats but no room for our boat.

Eric found the dot in the sky so we had TV and after after tea I went and got some food to fill up the empty freezer which is working  now the low power problem has been sorted. The flashing LED at the back of the freezer had told us of low power and we thought the freezer was faulty but it was the 12v electrics on the boat. Good job I didn't order a new one.

Clare's operation was the 2nd of September but it's been postponed again and she has to ring up for a new date. Perhaps it'll actually happen on the next date, but I won't hold my breath!