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 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.