Monday, June 30, 2014

Cruising Through Penkridge

A bit overgrown....looks like giant rhubarb
Todays walk from Bridge 74 on the Staffs & Worcs Canal was like walking in the jungle in places with giant rhubarb like plants (what are they?) almost completely covering the towpath. Can you see Ben in the photo? We walked until we came to the chemical works then we jumped aboard  at a bridge hole. Hatherton Marina looked quite a nice place to moor but you could still hear the drone of the M6. This canal is particularly noisy when it runs alongside this motorway.
Passing Hatherton Marina

We've shared the work so Eric's  done a fair bit of lock wheeling today while I've been in charge of the boat  and then he's been Captain while I've been the mate doing the locks. He always helps with the paddles not like some partners who don't help at all, but stay firmly on their boat and watch.

Eric doing some lock wheeling

Lock 80 on the S & W..... needs TLC!
Going through Penkridge the pound was low but that's nothing unusual. Lock 80 certainly needs some TLC with the water pouring in at the bottom of the gate. I hope nobody leaves the bottom gates open or the pound will be even lower! We moored up a few bridges away from Deptmore Lock, tomorrow we plan to moor at Radford Bank and pop into Stafford as I need a haircut......I hope there's a space. Also there's a nice roast meal with our name on it from the carvery at 'The Radford Bank'.


A mooring space so haircut done thanks to Supercuts in Stafford, Roast beef eaten and a few beers drunk.......a  very good day!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

On The Staffs & Worcs Canal

Last night was spent on a very quiet rural morning on the Shroppie after Bridge 8. We pulled into a space watched by the boat that would be behind us, so I  said is it ok to share the mooring ring just to be polite. He wasn't happy about sharing and we noticed that all the moored boats hadn't shared rings leaving little spaces between each boat. Are boaters antisocial? Maybe! We we weren't noisy, we didn't need to run the engine, we just filled the big space in front of them.

This morning  most of the boats had gone before nine, including the happy boater behind us. Our plan today was to stop near Autherley Junction at Bridge 2 and get some fresh food at Morrisons which I did leaving Eric and Ben looking after the boat. Then it was a short trip to the stop lock and a left turn to take us on the Staffs and Worcs Canal towards Great Haywood. For some reason I look at this lock and get confused because the difference in water level is so small.

We moored up after Bridge 74 where someone had very kindly cut the grass for us in a section long enough for our boat. The vegetation on this canal seems to be very overgrown. Some sections of the Shroppie were very overgrown too while others were cut. Progress today has been slow with tick over past moored boats and so many anglers enjoying their Sunday's relaxation.The weather's been kind to us and we've enjoyed all the greenery and   listening to the birds singing.  We decided to stop early today as we'd got as far as we planned and we needed some Sunday afternoon relaxation too. Even Ben is having a snooze!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Just One Lock Cruising To Brewood

Norbury Wharf
An early start today  we were on our way by 9.30am planning to cruise to Wheaton Aston, A bit cold at first in the wind on the back of the boat but we enjoyed the bird song and greenery, only meeting half a dozen  boats coming towards us during the time we were cruising. Three of them were in Grubb Street cutting and two steerers didn't think there was enough room to pass. The old boater behind them made us laugh in a Brummy accent he said "they're from the Grand Union and not used to narrow canals".
We stopped at Norbury Wharf for diesel and a new coolly hat as the last one had lost a leg and died in a bridge hole- we didn't mind as it full of rust anyway. The only spaces to moor at Wheaton Aston were under trees so we decided to work through Wheaton Aston lock and moor in the open rather than clean bird poo off the roof in the morning. On this canal there are miles of moored boats  and anglers with long poles across the canal enjoying a fishing competition so progress was slow. The anglers were pleased we went slowly past as previous boat could have had a water skier behind it.

Here's a picture of Eric helping me at the lock and  Ben the dog waiting patiently. Since he's been ill he's very quiet, the harness is to help him onboard  and useful if he falls in to hoist him out.

Eric helping at Wheaton Aston Lock

Ben waiting at Wheaton Aston Lock

Ten More Locks- Adderley And Tyrley Flights

Approaching Tyrley Bottom Lock

Passing in the pound
We decided to move while it was dry and we managed to get away with only a few showers, not enough to get wet. Progress up the lock flights was great because there were boats coming down so we just passed in the pounds. We finally moored up at Goldstone Wharf which was deserted until teatime then two boat moored up. My cousin John thought my picture at Audlem should have been captioned white water narrow boating........I think the first picture today is another example!
No  internet signal last night at Goldstone Wharf so I'm blogging as we seem to have hit a 3 signal area once again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Audlem And Beyond

Under Audlem Bridge

Approaching the rapids at Lock 12

In the pound before Lock 13

 Approaching Lock 13

We left our overnight mooring at Hack Green and before we knew it we were approaching Audlem. There were few boats on the move and the boat went really well with more water underneath her compared to the Llangollen Canal.

At Audlem we met a queue of boats coming down the flight but  no queue going up and at the visitor moorings near Audlem Mill there wasn't a boat so we moored up. I wanted to get a few postcards for my dad and pick up some fresh food at the Coop.

I took a few photos before I left the camera on the boat and carried on working through the rest of the flight. We shared the lock wheeling and steering the boat.....I soon got the hang of putting the boat in the lock although the side overflows made it tricky and there was some gentle contact.

We decided to complete the flight  of fifteen locks and carried on cruising until we reached the moorings below Addersley Locks......they can wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bye Bye Llangollen Canal Now OnThe Shroppie

One of the locks at Baddiley (Llangollen Canal)

Going down at Baddiley Locks
We left our mooring at Wrenbury behind after working through the electrified road bridge and another lift bridge. Ben and I walked for a while getting back on the boat before the boggy towpath section after Bridge 17 where CaRT seems to be doing some work......well there were a couple of spades sticking in the mud with gloves left on the handles......but nobody to be seen.
Three locks at Baddiley next then  two locks at Swanley before we arrived at Hurleston Locks stopping to top up the water tank, get rid of some rubbish and use the Elsan. We were in luck today as there were no queues and the locks were all ready for us.....the lock keeper at Hurleston even helped by working paddle gear and opening the gates of the next lock down.....usually he just watches from  the top lock.
We turned right and headed down the Shropshire Union Canal towards Nantwich, very slow progress passed all the moored boats. We couldn't have stopped on the embankment even if we wanted to as it was full. We decided to stop after the two Hack Green Locks, Ben's not too happy as you can hear the pops of the clay pigeon shooting but it'll stop eventually.  So that's two lift bridges and eleven locks poor arm muscles and now there's the flight of fifteen locks at Audlem probably tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cruising Grindley Brook To Wrenbury

Ben off on his walk but waiting for me

Today Ben and I walked from below Grindley Brook  getting back on the boat after Quiosley Lock to give him a rest, he hasn't walked that far for a while.  On the way we worked through Povey's and  Willy Moor Lock  made easier when there was a boat approaching which meant I could leave the bottom gates open. At Quoisley Lock we bought some eggs from the old guy who usually helps people through the lock. He now has milk, bread and bacon as well as vegetables, eggs  and if you need bacon butties he may be able to help.

Waiting before  Willymoor Lock

Just Marbury Lock and we were not far from Wrenbury today's overnight stop before the electric lift bridge. Nobody moored there so we had a spot not under trees to give the solar panels some light. I walked into the village to get bread and milk through the field next to the church earmarked for a 200 berth marina if the planning permission is granted. The locals certainly don't want with Save Wrenbury signs in the village and notices on the field gates.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Can Of Lager And A Packet Of Hula Hoops

Going down (again)

Today we were away from Whixall by ten on the first day of the long awaited cruise with a right turn at the end of the Prees Branch. Ben the dog followed the boat with no problem getting him walking, he must be delighted with a change of scenery.......just like us.

We've have a busy time with seven lift bridges which seemed to take forever to wind up and down, although we  didn't have to do them all with help from other boaters in the convoy......although it felt like poor arms!  Arriving at Grindley Brook we were lucky enough to be the third boat going down and the lock keeper left us to it as he needed his lunch. Ben didn't whinge at being tied up as I did the locks, he just loved watching the world go by.

Ben tied up and waiting patiently

Lots of single handed boaters' today but were there other people hiding in the boats as everything was shut up on a really hot day. We've had that happen to us before when we've helped them through only to find their partner comes out after the locks.

It was nice to see the volunteers from the Shropshire Union Canal Society working hard in the heat digging holes for new mooring rings and laying bases for a new picnic area near Whitchurch.

So we're suitably tired but it's good to undo the umbilical cord (shoreline) and cruise. We're now relaxing with a can of lager and a packet of hula hoops each.....thanks to Liz and Nick for the lager supply, it should keep us going for a while.

Hello Paula, hoped you're not too bored today!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ben The Dog Update

Today we made the trip to the University of Liverpool Small Animal Teaching Hospital at Leahurst for Ben's checkup. The vet is pleased with his progress and the fact that he's gained weight showed he's feeling better but the antibiotics continue for another month and  then another checkup. Ben enjoyed all the attention with three student vets examining him although he didn't like the light of their torches in his eyes, then the vet checked him out as well.

So we have twenty eight days so we've decided to cruise the Cheshire Ring anti clockwise, so Ben's going  cruising!

We've changed our minds we're doing  the Four Counties Ring.......don't fancy the Rochdale and the Ashton Canals.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Few Days In Newport

On Saturday we came to Newport via Wales so the scenic route but it does take longer and ww did have a long stop in Builth Wells to walk the dog in the park alongside the River Wye. When Ben and Poppy the pup met this time they were fine, a few grrs from Ben at first but they even played ball together. It's so nice to be able to have the gate open,  although it's closed at night to keep Poppy in the kitchen while Ben sleeps upstairs with us on his  furry bed.

Ben's feeling better he can now  get up and down the stairs on his own most of the time, if he's tired he needs help. He surprised us too by jumping into the car, but still needs a little help. He's had a few trips to the park and enjoyed a run in all the space which was lovely to see even with some wobbly moments.

We've had the bill  from Leahurst  over £2000  and More Than Pet Insurance paid the bill less a 10% excess which was  good news too. On Friday we're back to the hospital for a check up. We've  got our own prescriptions sorted and the appointments done so we are free to start that cruise as long as Ben doesn't need to go back  for a few weeks.

Our visit included getting together with family including my two grand children, here they are in some new clothes. Eric enjoyed Father's day with his daughters and granddaughters, while my dad had a visit from his daughter, granddaughters and  great granddaughter Scarlett.

Gwen in her new dress
Scarlett in her new outfit

Thursday, June 12, 2014

To Ellesmere By Boat

Ben the dog on his fluffy bed

On Wednesday we got up and looked  outside and realised  It was another beautiful day and decided we'd go to Ellesmere by boat. Eric disconnected the shoreline and topped up the water tank while I took Ben for  a walk  before we set off. Ben wanted to stand on the back counter on the boat  but as he's wobbly we couldn't let him.

It was nice to be out boating even if it was a short trip as we are off to Newport on Saturday for a few days as it's Father's Day on Sunday and we have a few appointments in Newport too. First of all there was two lift bridges which take loads of turns of the gear to get them up, but the second one was already up which meant Eric jumped off to shut it and I got back on to drive the boat through. It would have been easier if I wasn't walking up the towpath with the dog. 

It was lovely to see lots lf boats on the move although there were loads moored up too. In Ellesmere we managed to find a boat sized space near Blackwater Meadows Marina so Eric pulled in.  A short walk into town to purchase a mesh panel to keep Ben off the back counter as we didn't like having to keep him on a lead. At least now he can go where he likes on the boat and not come to any harm.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Ben At Barmouth

Ben at Barmouth

just sitting down!

playing on the dog friendly part of the beach

Barmouth Harbour

Part of the beach

Today we decided to take Ben to the beach and Barmouth is one of those places where there is a section of the beach for dogs on leads. We had a lovely walk along the beach and promenade and Ben had a good time paddling and playing with Eric on the sands. We enjoyed fish and chips too and Ben had some of our fish. Lovely scenery with the hills and mountains as well a visit to the seaside ......we had a good day out.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Ben The Dog Is Feeling Better

We're currently at Whixall Marina hoping to go cruising when Ben has had his check up on the 20th of June. We're delighted to say after  ten days medication he's showing signs of feeling better .....he has been chewing his hide bone and started to eat without me tempting him with cheese on top of his food. He even brought us a ball to throw along the boat to him although he usually brings a different one back. His balance and cordination is still sometimes not good  and he still has trouble with  steps but we help him down them with his harness. Its useful too to help him get on and off the boat. But we're hopeful there's an improvement and he certainly seems a much happier dog.