Saturday, April 26, 2014

Trip Delayed...Back To Whixall Marina

Well, I always say plans don't always happen and on Friday we made the decision to turn around just before Wrenbury as we weren't happy with Ben the dog. He's been a bit wobbly and had definately lost his bounce not wanting to jump on or off the boat.

So eleven locks, seven lift bridges and seven hours later we were tired but home in Whixall Marina. An appointment for Saturday morning had been arranged before we left. It's the first time we've been cruising by 7.30  in the morning but  it always takes longer against the flow of the Llangollen Canal.

At Blakemere Vets she gave him an examination  but he didn't make a sound as she checked him out, so that wasn't very helpful. She thinks he's hurt himself and prescribed anti inflammatory/pain killer orally after giving him an injection. By the afternoon he was looking happier and he even wanted to play ball along the boat for ten minutes, which he hasn't done for a while so he must have been feeling a bit better.

So we have to see how he is and go back to the vet in a few days. Hopefully  he'll be fine and further investigations will not be needed and we can be on our travels once again.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hello Sue And Vic At Grindley Brook

My big bloke Eric with Sue and Vic

This morning bright and early, NB No Problem pulled in front of us with Sue and Vic onboard. Lovely to see them but only time for a chat and a photo before they were on their way down the locks at Grindley Brook. I hope it doesn't take seven years before we meet again, although you may still be at Norbury with or without that smokey engine!

We topped up the water tank before we were on our way, stopping just short of Marbury in lovely sunshine. We shared the locking and the steering today. At Quoisley Lock we bought a few things from the lock side  ......fresh duck or hens eggs , sticks, logs, firelighters, home grown potatoes and onions were all on sale. We didn't stop at the Willy Moor Lock pub but we had a beer from the fridge with our lunch.  Here's some photos of the day.

Into Grindley Brook Top Lock
Going down the Grindley Brook staircase

The refurbished café is now open

Lock no.4

Eric doing the locking at Willymoor Lock

The pub 'Willy Moor Lock' was open!

NB Bendigedig

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Walk To Grindley Brook

Our overnight mooring

We left our overnight mooring before Bridge 38, Eric steered the boat while Ben and I walked. We had some gun shots last night I think someone was shooting rabbits we'd seen running in the field nearby and noisy crows this morning but it was great to out of the marina with grass alongside rather a pontoon.

NB Bendigedig on the move

We had three lift bridges to do but ended up only have to raise and lower one as lots of other boats were moving.It took one hour and a half to walk to the moorings above Grindley  Brook so Ben's ate his dinner and is  having a nap. For me it's boots off and  some lunch.

After lunch we had a surprise NB Balmaha with Mo & Ness were passing so stopped for coffee. Great to have a catch up chat, we last met them two years ago in Llangollen. Lookout Sue they are coming to find you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Leaving Whixall Marina.......Out Cruising!

Hurray the rain's stopped
Well we planned to leave and go cruising today so we did, even though it was raining. First of all we topped up the diesel tank with 50 litres, got rid of the rubbish and then we were away. As we left the marina Ben and I got off at the bridge and headed for the first lift bridge with windlass in hand. Lots of turns up and down ...I gave up counting after  fifty! The second lift bridge was just as  hard...definitely need to build up those arm muscles! We carried on walking until the third lift bridge was done next to the scrap yard then it was back on the boat as the towpath goes missing a little further on.
Under a Lift Bridge  (Prees Branch)
I enjoyed a welcome cup of coffee and a ham sandwich before I tackled the lift bridge which is painted green after Platt Lane.  We stopped a little further near Fenn's Bank after four lift bridges the three more to get us to Whitchurch could wait until another day. Just two hours on the clock today....Sue  & Vic on NB No Problem we are going slow!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Just Chilling

We took a cruise to Ellesmere on Wednesday and the weather was lovely, but our return trip on Thursday was definately chilly. The fire was soon lit to warm us up, our crew had stayed warm in the boat. Soon we were moored up and connected to the shoreline for the Easter weekend. We'd decided to stay put until Tuesday for a chilling and relaxing weekend once we were on our own again.

On Friday I  took Ben for a walk before he stayed on the boat, as we were taking Lisa and Gwen to the Railway Station in Shrewsbury. On the way we stopped at Mac Donald's outside Shrewsbury at it was lunchtime and  I love Quarterpounders with cheese. Suitably full we set off to the station, getting a pass to go on the platform to see them off. Two hours later we had a phone call to say they were home. It was lovely to see them.

While they were travelling we did a little M & S shopping to replace some worn out  jeans and get some fruit.Then it was back to the boat to let Ben out and start the washing which had accumulated in the last week.

Today Ben and I walked the Mosses before returning to the boat for a thoroughly lazy afternoon. Shepherd's Pie for lunch so hardly any washing up either.I enjoyed catching up on the boater's blogs included NB Matilda Rose a.k.a Contented Souls which is now in Belgium. I look forward to their adventures. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

What's Flying Tonight?

picture from
We've been enjoying the sight and sound of the swallows which have returned to nest under the marina pontoons........amazed by their long journey and delighted to see them return. Their youngsters  enjoy sitting on the  loop of the shoreline joining the boat to the electricity bollard and the tiller is also a good place to sit.
The big red Virgin Atlantic hot air balloon has floated over Whixall Marina twice this week...quite a sight.

picture from
We also witnessed the amazing sight of the International Space Station passing overhead us in the marina on Tuesday just after nine o'clock. Luckily it was a clear night. Lots of information and pictures on the Nasa site and you can even follow the path of ISS on a Google map if you click this link. It was travelling across North America at 17000 mph at a height of 260 miles when we looked at the site!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just A Few Pictures

Gwen and Lisa with the captain

We're on the Ellesmere
Gwenllian blowing out her candles

My dad on his birthday with Eleanor and Stephen

Look at that garden themed cake

My dad 87 years old and his cake
Gwen ready to go in her life jacket

We've had a busy time so just a few pictures. Lisa and granddaughter are onboard as we spend the night moored in Ellesmere.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Back To Wales

Today we drove back to Wales  via the scenic route through Wales taking in Welshpool, Newtown, Llandrindod Wells, Builth Wells, Talgarth, Crickhowell, Abergavenny, Cwmbran and Newport. I thoroughly enjoyed  the scenery with the hills and mountains, and it certainly became greener the  further south we went. Around Whixall the buds are bursting and the new leaves have only just started to come out. 

We arrived at Clare's house to find her visiting hairdresser doing her hair so had a haircut too so it's back to really short....I was fed up with the wavy hair I get when it grows too long on top. We had chicken curry for tea and Lisa came to visit so she had some too. Poppy the puppy came home and Ben the dog is still keeping out of her way following me around.

Tomorrow is Gwen's 6th birthday party and I've been called in to help with the dozen children coming. It's only for two hours so I'm sure we can cope with the invasion of little boys allowed.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Ben's Busy Day

Today Ben and I were out for hours walking on the Mosses, it stayed dry until we were walking down the Prees Branch back to Whixall Marina. I had waterproofs on and Ben had the use of a towel although I had to wash his feet, legs and undercarriage.....he was filthly. He grumbled at the treatment too. 

After lunch we kept our appointment at the vets in Ellesmere for Ben's annual booster vacinations and a supply of Frontline to keep the fleas and ticks away. They made a mistake with the cost which I  queried ......there was an oustanding bill  for castration for another dog added to my bill......phew! I knew it didn't cost £190  for vaccinations, worming tablets and Frontline pipettes.

Ben's now fast asleep, I had to hide his worming tablets in cubes of cheese....which he never bothers to chew.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Cruising Plans 2014

On Tuesday we met up with Nick and Liz in Ellesmere and went by car for a lovely meal in Fouzi's in Llangollen. The food never disappoints and we had some lovely coffees too.It was time to say goodbye for a couple of months as they are off on their travels heading towards Chester to get some work done on the boat. We'll meet again in a few months when they come back for the Llangollen Eisteddford by boat.

We're currently staying at Clare's house picking up prescriptions in Newport, just a quick trip as we'll be back for Gwen's 6th birthday party next Saturday and my dad's 87th birthday get together for Sunday  lunch at the Rhiwderin Inn.

After that weekend our daughter Lisa and grandaughter Gwen are coming back with us for some time on the boat's the Easter holiday so we're planning a little cruising on the Llangollen Canal before they return to Newport by train.

Then it'll be time to start our Summer cruise heading down the Llangollen and down the Shropshire Union Canal, the Staffs and Worcs Canal, then the Trent and Mersey, the Coventry Canal, the Oxford Canal to Braunston  picking up the Grand Union Leicester Line to head up the River Soar to and the River Trent to Nottingham to visit Anne........stoppages hopefully will not get in the way.  Then it'll be back along the Trent and Mersey to Great Haywood and probably up the Trent and Mersey Canal and  across the Middlewich branch of the Shroppie back to Whixall on the Llangollen in time to pick up the car again and visit the family in Newport. We had planned to  do the cruise in a clockwise direction but there's a big problem on the lock we need to go through to get to Nottingham so hopefully it'll be sorted by the time we get there. 

Well that's our plans but who knows what will happen because something often changes  the route. When we get back from that cruise we'll be thinking of another one as we've spent months in the marina  and it's so nice to be out cruising after all a boat is meant for cruising even though it is our home as well.