Saturday, March 30, 2013

The First Cruise of 2013

Passing the boats going to turn around at the mooring basin

The mooring basin in the sunshine

NB Henry waiting to cross the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Waiting to cross the aqueduct

Look whose behind us!

NB Henry on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

A snowy view from the aqueduct

Footprints in the snow!
Today I woke up and decided I wanted to move and Eric was soon ready to go. I went into Llangollen to get some bread and milk to keep us going until we get to Ellesmere. While I was shopping Eric unplugged us from the shoreline, dismantled the TV aerial, packed up the bird feeders and checked the we were ready. The trip boat came past so we followed it, nobody gets in his way.
NB Henry was moving too, so Liz and I walked the narrows with the dogs. The snow is still hanging about and freezing at night means walking was a slippery experience. I was beginning to wander if Eric was going to stop and pick me up but he did at Sun Trevor. The canal itself was an obstacle course with the channel  just passable in places  as the branches cut back but not totally removed  as we approached Trevor.
It was a right turn and then a wait to cross the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, but when it was our turn the boat stalled with something blocking the propeller. Luckily some lads helped pulled the boat back and in doing so got rid of the obstruction. So we were on our way again finally stopping at the moorings near Whitehouses Tunnel.
Sue from NB Beefur came out to say hello from the Visitor's Centre at Trevor. Hello again ....nice to see you.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Snowy Walks In Llangollen

Snowdrifts at Donkey Hill crossroads

Ben on 'The Pancake' below Castell Dinas Bran

A snowy Trevor Rocks behind Dinas Bran

A very snowy view

Today Liz and Nick were back in snowy Llangollen after a sunny time in Rome, so a walk with the two dogs was planned by text. Liz fancied going up Dinas Bran but with the snowdrifts it took us an hour to get as far as 'The pancake', the flat area below Castell Dinas Bran so we turned around and headed back to the boats. At times we were walking at hedge height on top of a compressed snow path through the drifts in the lane leading to the crossroads.  Either side of the path up Dinas Bran, the snow was over two feet deep and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed jumping through the snow especially Connie.
Lunch followed at the local Italian café in Llangollen called Fouzis, with Eric and Nick. After that it was time to get some food shopping done to restock the fridge. Contractors with spades, bulldozers and dumper trucks were clearing the snow in the main street of Llangollen, so let's hope we don't get anymore snow. There's no sign of it melting by the boats, we had to clear two foot off the boat roofs!
CART finally cleared the fallen tree branches in the canal next to the boats as they head along the narrows to  clear the way to Trevor. I wonder how long it'll take to clear all the falling trees and branches so we can get to Ellesmere when we finally leave Llangollen after the Easter weekend.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Powercuts, No Phones Or Internet

As you know we've had loads of snow which finally brought down a power cable which caused a flash in the night and Llangollen went black with no visible lights. Luckily we can use the engine to charge the batteries anyway so it didn't cause us any problems. The power came back on the following afternoon but in the meantime loads of shops did not stay open with no power. We've also had no phones or mobile broadband despite having both Three and Vodafone......but it's just come back on so I  am now back in touch with the world.
I took Ben for a short walk hindered by climbing over and through fallen branches and trees along the way. CART have a big job ahead to clear all the fallen trees to reopen the canal ready for the Easter weekend. No sign of the snow clearing although it has finally stopped, it's deep with a cleared channel where everyone has walked. At one point it was halfway up the boat windows. Eric's cleared the snow off the roof and we filled the water tank so that the ropes loosened a bit, because we were on a bit of a tilt.

Friday, March 22, 2013

We Woke To A Loud Crack!

The blockage!
At seven am a large branch broke free from it's tree with the weight of the snow, now it's jammed between us and the bank and the canal is totally blocked. I hope no boats try and get through and cause us damage. I rang CART and told them on their emergency number (changed by my O8 App to 01316426635). Not a good picture as it's through the side window it luckily missed!
Loads of snow!

Ben in the snow!
We've had loads of snow last night and the boat feels top heavy with the weight of the snow and the coal, so Eric's clearing some snow and moving some coal. We're waiting for the 'team' to arrive......if they can find us......they have a post code of the nearest house, the nearest road and the town.....but seemed unsure where Llangollen winter moorings are!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Some Pictures Of My Walk Today

Spring on the bow of NB Bendigedig
Ben at the entrance to the castle site

The black crow on the gate post

Ben waiting for me to catch up

The gate at the back of the castle site

Looking out of the window it looked a bit bleak and misty but I felt like a nice walk and Ben is always game for a walk. We headed up the footpath past Dinas Bran School and up through a sheep free field. You could hear all the bleating from the sheep and new lambs in nearby fields. Another sign of Spring regardless of the layer of snow on the hill tops.
Reaching the kissing gate leading to the enclosed hill site of Dinas Bran and Ben waited to go through. I took some photos of the crows on the gates as it's often called Crow Castle. We walked all around the perimeter of the site and climbed up the back of the hillside through a sheep field to a second new gate. Lovely views of the snow on Trevor Rocks and a very welcome wooden bench to get my breath back.
The last climb was up to Castell Dinas Bran itself and then I followed the zig-zag path down the hill back to the kissing gate once again. We had the hill all to ourselves and only met a few walkers as we passed to school to get back to the towpath.

Just Some Pictures Of Gwen

Gwen on the left

Gwen on the right

Gwen on the right
My granddaughter Gwenllian was in a show at the Dolman in Newport with her dancing school, these are some of her costumes. Yes.....I got Picasso to work!

Monday, March 18, 2013

My 1,000th Post

Nothing really interesting happening onboard NB Bendigedig unless you count the number of boxes of tissues used.  I am feeling much better with daily walks blowing those cob webs away. Eric has succumbed to the dreaded cold too with streaming eyes, noisy sneezes and dripping nose but yesterday he was feeling better.
Yesterday Liz and I did the Valle Crucis walk again as we wanted to have some walking off the towpath as it was the weekend. It's been really hectic here at Llangollen Wharf with boats going past at six in the morning and some arriving after dark. We've seen our first Black Prince and Viking Afloat holiday boats this week, but the Canaltime ones started a few weeks ago. Loads of walkers,  dog walkers and cyclist's coming past the boats. Some cyclist obey the 'Walk past the boats' signage but most ignore it.
Just  a few weeks left and we will be on the move although not going at any speed as we are waiting for the date of our daughter  Clare's operation on a herniated disc. Hopefully it will soon be over and her life can get back to normal rather than living on painkillers. Clare's a biker and really misses her motorbike as she's been unable to ride since last November. I could have put some photos but Picasso can't find them  and upload from my computer options causes my windows to reload....happy days!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lovely Views From Castell Dinas Bran

Castell Dinas Bran with some walkers

Connie looking down to Llangollen!

Connie enjoying the view!

Ben on Castell Dinas Bran with Trevor Rocks behind him

A view from Dinas Bran

A little closer, Velvet hill with Llantysilio Mountains behind.
The signal has been intermittent on Three for the last few days as they upgrade the mast at Acrefair, so I was very pleased to be able to do a blog today. Although I have the dreaded lurgy ......a cold, Liz has been walking with me and today we did the heights of Dinas Bran. I know I've been up there many times but the views are amazing and it was too nice a day not to go up there, even if my pace was rather slow!
Several new metal kissing gates have replaced wooden gates and on each sits a black crow sculpture, reminding us that Dinas Bran means Crow City in English although the castle is often called Crow Castle. Improvements have also been made with steps replacing some slippery slopes. The castle is always the first thing we see when we travel the last section of the canal from Trevor to Llangollen itself.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Weekend Without The Internet

It's called MiFi
This weekend I really missed the Internet as my own personal Three hot spot showed five red bars.......No Signal! It started Friday afternoon and didn't come back until Sunday evening. After having an excellent signal it was like someone switched off the transmitter. I rang Three using my O8 app on my still working Vodafone phone, which at least meant the call came out of my inclusive minutes on Friday to be told it was a network problem in our post code area and no further information. I rang again on Sunday afternoon and was told it was maintenance and it would be back on Monday so at least I knew it was back soon. It actually came back on Sunday evening so I was pleased to say the least. Other than this weekend it's been great as it can run five devices by Wifi so Eric can use his new Samsung Galaxy Tab2 (his 65th birthday present) and I can use my laptop at the same time. It's finally converted him to the world wide web when he wouldn't use my laptop as he thought he'd mess something up. I'll have to keep an eye on the data usage though as You Tube eats megabytes!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Just A Catch Up

On Wednesday I went to the cinema for the first time in very many years. The last time I went it was to see 'Buster' with Phil Collins in 1988! Cinemas have certainly changed used to be a smoky experience with people all crammed in with little room to move and I found it very claustrophobic. This time there was plenty of room, no smoke and the sits don't tip anymore. I thoroughly enjoyed the film 'A Song For Marion' although it brought a few tears to my eyes. Thanks to Liz for getting me to go.
Eric's been back to Newport  getting a check up at the doctors as his angina has got worse, hopefully the change of tablets will help. It was also annual blood test time again. He's also had a chance to catch up with our three daughters, see our granddaughter Gwenllian and visit his sister who is still encased in a big boot with a fractured bone in her foot. So he certainly had a busy few days. Thanks to Clare for putting him up. I nearly forgot to mention that on Saturday  it's his brother's birthday....HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBIN!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

A Seven Mile Walk-Valle Crucis & Coed Hyrddyn

Today Liz and I did a very long walk, it took us hours but the sun was shining so it was a brilliant day for a walk. We walked the towpath as far as the bridge before the Motor Museum and then followed the footpaths taking us past Valle Crucis Abbey. You could see the camping pods in the grounds near the old fishing pond as well as caravans galore. Walking towards Hendre past the plantation we saw new cabins and more fishing ponds we'd never noticed before.
Valle Crucis Abbey and the caravan park

The camping pods at Valle Crucis Abbey
Canal side properties near the Motor Museum with Velvet Hill

A view of Velvet Hill (Coed Hyrddyn)

Dee side properties near the Motor Museum
We continued our walk until we came to a couple of stiles to take us up a lane to the road leading to the 15th century Brittania Inn. Behind the inn is a path leading up to Pen-y-Bryn. The path leaves the fence  and gently rises across the gorse and bracken covered hillside. It also crosses the remains of an incline part of a tramway system built in 1852 used for transporting slate from the quarries at Horseshoe Pass to the Llangollen Canal.  It actually used to end at Pentrefelin as the Motor Museum is housed in the old  slate and slab works.

We finally followed the track down taking us to Llantisilio and then took the road passing Llantisilio Hall and back to Llantisilio Church. From there we were on familiar territory back alongside the canal towpath. We passed some lovely canalside properties and admired the houses alongside the River Dee. The water levels are much lower now after  they were a few weeks ago.

Back on the boat, boots off, fed and watered.......I think I'll read my book!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Happy St David's Day

Lisa's picture of her daughter Gwenllian
Lisa posted this on Facebook so I thought I'd share it with granddaughter who will be five in April......where have the years gone?