Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year 2017

We had a really special Christmas in south Wales. I had the mammoth task of cooking Christmas Dinner for nine but all went well except the sprouts were a bit soggy, which I suppose it better than the bullets you often get when eating out. Paula did the starters which was a great help and Sally made a trifle for dessert and of course we had Christmas pudding.

Lots of lovely presents given and received and we have a new fluffy teddy blanket on our bed and the one on there is on the sofa where Ben the dog enjoys the  comfort whenever the sofa is free. In the night it's his favourite place which makes a change from outside the bathroom door trying to trip us up on our night time trips to the loo.....a sign of age!

I loved by silly socks which Eric bought me for fun!!  Very comfy and great for wearing my Fit flops with their toe post when it's cold. I also had a big box of Number 7 products  with lovely creams and potions. The nail polish was passed onto nails are always unpainted and short!  We came back to the boat with alcohol and chocolates which will have to be rationed......I do love  a  wee tot at bedtime is on the cards.

It's been very cold these last few nights with the temperatures in the minus figures but onboard we've been toastie  once we warmed the boat up after ten days just on frost stat. We arrived back on Wednesday to 40 degrees C but it was soon up to 70 with the fire lit and the Webasco  diesel heater fired up. Outside the boat the pontoons were frosty and needed gritting which was soon sorted as we didn't want Ben slipping or us for that matter.

We did wonder if there would be electric to the boat as there was an electric fault  in the marina before we left causing the RCD's on the pontoons to trip and it that happens it trips the one in the boat and  it would need resetting. Luckily all was well and it hadn't gone off as I did wonder if I should have turned off the fridge. I don't suppose the solar panels put much in the batteries this time of year/

This morning we'll have to face the grit free  country lanes carefully watching out for black ice, so we'll one of those annoying slow  drivers, as we need some shopping  although I suppose I could get a Tesco delivery. We've plenty of alcohol to toast the New Year in depending on whether I want a hangover or not.......maybe just a little tot of Drambuie! So all there remains to say it that we wish you all you wish yourself, a healthy and prosperous New Year.


Monday, December 26, 2016

A Christmas Update

Currently in south Wales with our family enjoying a lovely Christmas break. Yesterday I donned the apron and cooked Christmas dinner for nine including our two grand children Gwenllian and Scarlett. I had help from Gwenllian  who is eight on Christmas Eve, she's excellent at peeling carrots and the sprouts after I'd cut off the bits thst needed a knife. On Christmas day she sorted out the table with serviettes, cutlery and crackers to pull.

So Christmas Day started about seven in the morning so not quite so early as I thought. I loved watching Gwen open her presents with her mum while Eric got a lie in.  Later the turkey crown and beef went in the oven and it was just a matter of getting the timing right for  1 o'clock.

Family arrived with more presents to open and lots of chatter. After starters provided by Eric's sister Paula we had the main course.  Dessert was delayed for an hour because nobody had any room for  Sally's trifle or Christmas pudding from the Tesco's finest range which was particularly boozy. Suitably stuffed we enjoyed  catching up with everyone  and watching the girls playing with their toys.

Later all  our visitors went home and we had a quiet night in with Call the Midwife and Eastenders for Christmas day viewing.  It had been a lovely day.

Today we have another get to together at Paula's house which should be fun. Oops nearly forgot to say...........................MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Three Sleeps To Christmas

We're down in Wales for Christmas, so these Welsh people are back in the land of their birth.  Although Whixall is very close to the Welsh border.  All the Christmas food shopping is done after having to search for brandy sauce in just a few supermarkets. The problem is what do we eat for the rest of the week, we haven't thought of that. Last night we had a spaghetti bolonese,  so today it maybe fish and chips as there's a shop close by.

Lisa's spaniel Lila has been giving Ben the dog lots of attention, not that he wants it.He just looks at her as she plays around him finally finding a spot where he can go to sleep in peace. We've had lots of walks or should I say drags with Lila's enthusiasm. Lots of mud and puddles so two mucky dogs.

My grandaughter Gwen and I made chocolate butterfly cakes  this afternoon and she enjoyed being messy as she could lick her fingers. No doubt there will be more messy play tomorrow as were going to a birthday party when our youngest grandaughter Scarlett  will be three.

Three, two, one  sleeps and then it's Christmas Day .........I hope it's not a too early start to the day the day!

Friday, December 16, 2016

An Update From Whixall Marina

We're enjoying having broadband, it makes such a change from hunt the Mifi signal .....which window shall we hang it in today.  

We had a surprise on Wednesday night when an electrical fault  plunged the marina into darkness. Inside with 12v lightening it wasn't dark and we turned on the invertor to watch TV. The piers were lit by the moon and torches when we ventured out to walk the dog. Luckily the showerblock stayed on so those showering didn't have a shock with it suddenly 
going dark.

In the morning the fault was found under the pier that connects us to land which raises and 
lowers as the water level changes. The wire had been chafed by the moment and it's now protected by a rubber mat until it's fixed. Electricians have been but it won't be fixed this week.

Yesterday we enjoyed a dog walk around Colemere but it was particularly muddy as was the towpath on the Prees Branch. Ben the dog wasn't happy having his feet washed!

The Christmas cards have been arriving and the tiny potted Christmas Tree sits on the coffee table reminding us Christmas is nearly here. How many sleeps?  Nine but Halfie thinks it's more. Are you counting afternoon naps?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Twelve Sleeps To Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast although with all the Christmas music on the radio and films on the TV we may have had too much before the day actually arrives. The presents are bought  so we're counting down the days in sleeps just like the children. This year dinner is at Lisa's house and it looks like it'll be about ten this year, so it should be fun. How many sprouts do you need for ten people?  The Christmas food shop is the next thing to think about closer to the day.

After being inundated with texts, emails and phone calls the BT engineer is due to arrive this afternoon to connect a phone line and broadband which we can use when we're moored up. We know superfast broadband has not reached Whixall, but hopefully it'll be better than our dongle which can be incredibly slow. It's also unlimited so we won't have to keep an eye on our data usage. We had to arrange it all online as the person on the end of the phone had no concept of a phone line to a boat even though there are phone sockets on the post on the pier, mainly because the property wasn't bricks and mortar. Online the postcode brought up a list of boats with phone lines and we added our boat. The form filling process was slow due to our signal but we got there in the end. It was also £8 a month cheaper for twelve months as an online deal.

We're currently waiting on a tracked parcel from BT to be delivered between 7am and 6pm which means we were up bright and early this morning. The rain us pouring down so Ben's walk is delayed until it stops.


The parcel arrived but the  phone/ broadband connection never happened on Tuesday due to an underground problem. Goodness how long that will take to sort out!

Surprise surprise a phone call from BT at lunch time and Wednesday afternoon we were connected to BT for a phone and Broadband package.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

It's December!

I don't believe it, it's December and the year seems to have flown by. Since changing doctors  to one in Whitchurch we've had new patient medicals, medication reviews and blood tests. We've also been invited to do the bowel screening tests and I've had a mammogram, so all checked out.

The weather has turned cold and we've had a frozen marina as well as the Prees Arm. The scarves,  hats and gloves have finally come out of hibernation. We've walked our usual walks on crisp frosty ground but today the ice on the marina has melted. Let's hope the water pipes under the piers have cleared too so we can top up the water tank on the boat.

I've bought a tiny Christmas tree in a pot but it's a bit sad compared to a cut real tree which always made the house smell of fir tree. We're spending Christmas with family anyway. Our first Christmas meal it this weekend at the Dog and Bull, yes my choice is turkey and Christmas pudding although there are other choices. Ben the dog will be home alone but we'll bring him a doggy bag!

All my presents are bought except for my husband Eric's, who gets harder to buy for and it doesn't help that we usually go shopping together. We'll have to go to Shrewsbury and go our separate ways and  meet up in Valerie's they do lovely cakes. Perhaps we'll have afternoon always looks delicious.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Brr It's Cold Outside

We woke this morning to temperatures of minus 5 C but warm and cosy in the boat. A flick of the heating switch before I got out of bed ensured the shower room was warm too. Eric had gritted the pier back to solid ground so Ben and I managed to stay upright going for his first wee of the day. He's gone back to sleep and Eric is still asleep!

We've lost one of our circular dog walks as the towpath on the Prees branch it closed as is the canal for piling work as part of the winter stoppage programme. No sign of anything being done about the broken lift bridge which lies forlorn on the offside of the canal.I expect it involves lots of permission hoops to get it done.

We had to walk at Grindley Brook where the staircase lock is surrounded by barriers on Saturday but no work being done at the weekend. The cafe is all shut up for the winter too so no coffees for us. Ben enjoyed his walk although it was cold and foggy, it cleared later in the day.

Ellesmere has been visited a few times as it's where we usually shop as we can walk the dog alongside the Mere or along the canal while we're there. We passed   a few boats paying the winter mooring fees to stay on the Ellesmere Arm, fewer than usual as the price has gone up again. Basically they are paying not to be hassled as they sit tight for the winter and still have to run their engines for electricity and move to get water. It's the same price as a stay on Llangollen Wharf and there you have electricity as long as it's working and a water tap next to each boat.  It seems to be a winter mooring in a marina is becoming a better deal and we have quite a few new moorers in Whixall taking advantage of special deals.

Large expanses of ice have appeared in the marina so I expect the Prees Arm is frozen, we'll have to go an have a look. At least we wont be muddy with the crisp frost on the ground.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It Rained All Day

Ben had a very short walk yesterday as it rained heavily all day. We were warm and cosy and didn't need to venture out other than to take Ben out for a wee, a quiet day was had by all. I had my head in a book!  Obviously not that quiet with the wind  and rain hammering on the roof. It finally stopped after dark for a short time so I could venture outside to get rid of the fire ash in the dustbin supplied by the marina just for ash.

Today it's a much nicer today so we'll pop to Ellesmere to do a bit of shopping and top up the food supplies as well walk Ben the dog. We need to get some coal and logs too from the marina  to fill up our storage box while it's dry. Cold weather is forecast!

If all goes to plan some low loaders are bringing CaRT workboats to be craned into the water from the marina carpark today for the planned winter work. Seems an unnecessary expense when they could have come by water if they did it before the stoppages shut the canal at Grindley Brook. Everyone was informed so that parked cars wouldn't be in the way.

The swans will have to vacate the slip way too, it's their favourite spot.  Flying lessons are still going on, one surprised us by landing on the roof with a bang and falling onto the pontoon between the boats.....apparently none the worse for wear......the youngster went back to his mates by water.

We watched the  boats being carefully craned in over the hedge and here's some photographs taken by Eric. Due to my slow internet I can't upload any more.

The crane arrives

The huge crane lifts the workboat over the hedge

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Time Flies By

Since we came back to Whixall we've had one very frosty morning making the piers slippery but soon salted and gritted so no one ended up falling. Other than that the morning temperatures have been about 10 degrees C which is definitely warm for halfway through November. So dog walking has been a treat with no scarves and hats needed just yet.

On Monday we decided to find a new doctor in Whitchurch as up until now we've gone back and for to Newport for repeat prescriptions.Our old doctor has retired and  it's been nothing but hassle to get our repeats with items missing .....I think they expect you to just stay in Newport and go for prescriptions every 28 days. We found a surgery willing to take us on with some only covering a five mile radius of Whitchurch where we had to prove our identity and address, so we're registered and given forms to fill in before our new patient medicals. We can remember our medical history but have no idea of dates.

We've been finishing off the Christmas present shopping in Shrewsbury yesterday leaving Ben home alone. We took him for a long walk before we left so perhaps he had a sleep. Nobody complained that he howled and he was pleased to see us when we got back. Leaving the car park surprised us as we paid the fees after the ticket was scanned and the barrier raised to let us out without putting the ticket in the must work on camera recognising the car registration number. 

Today it's raining so it's mud larking in the rain. We noticed the city smells in Shrewsbury after all we're more used to the countryside smells around Whixall......mud and manure! 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Back From Wales

On Monday we headed down to South Wales,  a three hour trip by car with a stop at Queenswood Country Park to walk the dog in the woods.  There's a cafe with delicious egg and bacon toasties as well as toilets and a gift shop. You need to pay to park at a pound for an hour. We enjoyed the autumn colours with the reds of the Japanese Maples lovely to see.

Time to pick up prescriptions but we've decided to change to a doctor here in Shropshire so we won't need to get our medicines from south Wales in the future. We had time to see our three daughters and two grandchildren although  Scarlett slept most of the time, a lovely afternoon nap! She's nearly three and thinks bedtime is when it gets dark and is then up before six in the morning which is not so good. Catch up time  too with Eric's sister Paula with coffee and cakes.

Thanks to Ben and Clare for letting us stay and making us very welcome. Poppy their collie enjoyed morning walks with Ben the dog down Tredegar House Park Country Park. This morning she jumped in the back of the car as we prepared to come back to Whixall, perhaps she wanted another holiday with her best pal Ben the dog.

Arriving back at the marina, of course it was raining heavily. The boat was cold but soon warmed up with the fire lit and the diesel heater heating the radiators and hot water. The bags are unpacked, had something to eat so it's time to relax. We're back home again until December when we will be back in Newport for grandparent duties before Christmas when Gwen finishes school. We'll be spending Christmas with our family too of course.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Autumn Leaves At Colemere

In the woods at Colemere

The week started badly with Eric needing to get a doctor's appointment as his cold had gone to his chest over the weekend....easily recognised by a dreadful cough. We tried to get to see a doctor and rang several surgeries, one had the system in place where you rang and then waited for a call back to see if you could have an appointment, another in Ellesmere told us we were not in their area although as a visitor you can go to any doctor. Anyway to cut along story short we ended up at the 'Walk In' at Shrewsbury Hospital which provides an excellent service  of  care when you need it and can't get a doctor's appointment. The doctor said another two days without any treatment would have resulted in being admitted not committed into hospital, so he now has antibiotics for a week. We were seen within an hour too, which was amazing.

Yesterday we decided to wrap up warm and have a walk around Colemere. The trees were amazing but the photo taken on the phone didn't do it any justice. Other than that Ben and I have been out walking everyday leaving Eric in the warmth of the boat. Don't fret Aunty P we're fine.....see you next week.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Quiet Time At Whixall

The Canada Geese were at Colemere when we went for a walk with Ben the dog. A bit nippy so coat weather today. The clocks go back this weekend when British Summertime ends so the long dark nights get longer.  

The noise of fireworks has already started so we have one unhappy dog on our hands and it seems to go on for weeks. It's about time fireworks  were only sold to organised displays with special licences to do so. They are downright dangerous on our streets when it's not a penny banger being thrown.......showing my age!

Eric had our flu jabs on Monday at the Rowlands Pharmacy in Wem with no side effects, pleased about that. It was just a case of popping in to get it done with no waiting and it was still free as we were eligible for free NHS flu injections.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Quick Update From Shropshire

Up this morning to frost on the grass and  a misty start but it soon cleared. Just a few photographs of the marina. The nine swans are still here at Whixall Marina and providing us with entertainment as we watch the parents giving the youngsters flying lessons and not always landing where they intended.

On Wednesday we had a lovely day we went for a drive in the Snowdonia National Park stopping to view Snowdon itself from a roadside viewpoint. It was amazing to see but soon the peak was covered by cloud. I love being back in Wales with all the mountain views and we stopped in Llangollen one of our favourite places  on the way back to Whixall. We had many happy Winters there on the winter moorings alongside the wharf with the other boaters and miss it sometimes and the continuous cruising for seven months of the year.

Snowdon in the clouds

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Riverside And Lakeside Walks

We've been walking once again with Ben the dog  around the lake at Colemere, it makes a lovely walk through the woods with parking nearby. We often pass by this lake when we cruise to Ellesmere. The leaves on the tree haven't changed much so we'll have to wait for the Autumn colours. 

The man from C&RT  has visited Whixall Marina checking licences on his tablet. We don't have mooring permits visible here but perhaps that will change when BWML finally sells the marina. Many times we were clocked  while we were cruising so at least they have a record of where we've been this Summer. 

One day Eric took us to Shrewsbury to the Quarry a recreational area alongside the River Severn used by people since times gone by the take the air. We thought it would be a place with paths  rather than mud to walk on after the heavy rain. We walked alongside the river watching the passenger trip boat taking people for a cruise and then come back within our two hour limit from the parking machine. We had a coffee at a little kiosk near the children's playground while Ben sampled the water in the bowl. Ben had a grumble as he jumped in the boot of the car, perhaps he was tired.

Back on the boat I made a curry using a jar of Patak's Jalfrezi and while it simmered we had a lazy afternoon with afternoon TV and my Kindle I was quite happy. It's quiet here at Whixall as the end of British Summertime approaches.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

All's Well On NB Bendigedig

The bridge on the Prees Arm  awaiting repair

Back in the marina Eric's first thoughts were of his car parked up for five weeks unloved and unattended. He'd been thinking about his car while we were out cruising too. Well it started first time and took us dog walking and shopping in Ellesmere on Wednesday. He dropped me off by Ellesmere Tunnel and Ben and I had a walk and finally met him in Tesco's car park. While we walked he had a much needed haircut in Mr Mod's. So the cupboards and fridge have been restocked and Eric has lost his curls.

The Mere at Ellesmere

One day  we went for a short drive to Colemere for a walk in the woods around the lake. Ben had plenty of smells to sniff and lots of places to water. Very quiet there in the week with just a few dogs and their owners. We did meet a some mums with their prams and toddlers in wellies enjoying being outside. We popped into Homebase at Whitchurch and bought some Brita filters which were cheaper than anywhere else about £14 for six. We're back to exploring the country lanes around Whixall and walking the canal towpaths.

Today we went to Ellesmere for a walk with Ben the dog. There were loads of conkers underneath the chestnut trees so we collected some to keep the spiders away. Lots of puddles too which Ben avoided. We had a coffee and a sausage roll in the Boat House Café before getting some papers in the Coop and some ready made Yorkshire puddings. I'm no good at making them so I don't bother anymore. A lazy afternoon followed while a roast cooked in the oven for a late lunch.

We're stocked up with coal and logs so we're warm and cosy.  All's well onboard NB Bendigedig. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Cruising Back To Whixall

Early this morning it was misty above the locks at Grindley Brook. The sun rose through the mist and soon it was gone leaving a sunny day. Leaving the moorings we knew we had just six lift bridges to get through before we were back in Whixall once again. It wasn't particularly warm but it was pleasant enough for the last cruise of the year. Ben the dog and I had a lovely walk too. At least it wasn't windy which makes getting into our berth easier.

Not very many boats on the move but we did see one familiar boat on the way back NB Barney with Mac and Sue. Nice to have a chat with you....we'll see you in Llangollen. 

Back in the marina there's quite a few spaces filled while we've been away, so some new faces.  Soon we were back on shoreline and Eric had set up the satellite TV.   I took a big bag of washing over to the laundry which was soon washed and dried using laundry tokens included in our residential mooring.

Anyway time to chill and enjoy the peace and quiet of Whixall Marina.  I've lit the fire and we'll be keeping it alight overnight as it was cold last night.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ten Locks And Above Grindley Brook

During our stop in Wrenbury we did the usual Autumn job...........using this pack of heavy duty film and double sided we'ky tape to double glaze some of the wondow and portholes. We don't do them all as obviously we needed some opening windows.

Monday morning  we were up showered and breakfasted and on our way. We shared the locks today giving Eric a chance to use those arm muscles and me steering into locks without crashing which wasn't easy with the fierce by washes.   

Arriving at the bottom of Grindley Brook to a boat coming out but the next boat turned the lock ignoring us completely! Obviously in a rush!  So one lock up and the same thing happened again as they didn't see us, basically nobody bothered to look. They then complained we were in the way in the short pound when they exited the lock. Eric told them they wouldn't have had a problem if they let us use the lock set for us rather than shutting the gates and refilling it. 

Nobody come the staircase as I checked with the lock keeper who helped us up the lock flight. We stopped to get rid of rubbish etc and then filled the water tank at one of the empty water points. We decided to moor up on the visitor moorings which was quite empty but filled up later.

We popped down the lockside cafe '@29' and sampled their carrot cake and coffees watching the boats come up the staircase, we were the gongoozlers for a change.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Back On The Llangollen Canal

Welcome to the Llangollen Canal

Below the bottom lock at Hurleston Junction

Looking up the lock flight

On Friday we  crossed the aqueduct and left Nantwich behind after using the services. A pleasant cruise to Hurleston Junction on a  very quiet section of canal with no other boats  on the move and then a left turn at Hurleston junction and up the flight of locks. Help today with a lock keeper and a volunteer who helped us up the flight. Just our boat going up today but a queue to descend the flight of locks. Ben the dog and  I walked until we reached our chosen mooring spot after Bridge five.

On Saturday we  made our way to Wrenbury working through two locks at Swanley and three locks at Baddiley. Ben and I walked as far as Swanley Locks.  For a change I stayed on the boat for Baddiley Locks while Eric used the windlass. With the by washes a bit fierce you have to allow for being pushed off course but no major crashes today. We then had two lift bridges including the electric one at Wrenbury where I held up the traffic even though there wasn't a car in sight when I started the sequence to open and close the bridge. We're currently moored up in the sunshine and Eric has been watching the qualifying for the Grand Prix tomorrow.

Tomorrow dog walking followed by Sunday lunch is planned at The Cotton Arms and Eric wants to watch the Grand Prix so it's not a cruising day.  We're making our way back to Whixall Marina after our four weeks out cruising.

Hello to the crew of NB ZOE who passed us by in Wrenbury and told us they're blog readers.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

A Little Further To Nantwich

Gosh it was cold this morning outside the boat and not that warm inside but a flick of a switch and the boat warmed up. The sun came out and warmed up outside too.

Just two hours cruising to Nantwich including working through  Hack Green Locks. Ben and I walked as far as the locks before getting back onboard.  We moored  on the south side of the aqueduct thinking the other side would be full, but we found out it empty when we looked as we crossed the aqueduct to visit the  town. Ben the dog made sure he wasn't being left behind by pushing past me to leave the boat first. Eric had a haircut in a posh barber's where it was washed, cut and blow dried.....that's a first ....he's never  had it blow dried in his life.

Nantwich Aqueduct......recently refurbished

Well Ben enjoyed his walk into Nantwich but we were feeling a bit tired and glad of a cuppa. Eric had the check the propellor down the weed hatch as the tiller was vibrating and he found plastic bags and a bit of rope wrapped around it which needed cutting off.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Engine Service Done And A Short Cruise To Coole Pilate

A quiet night moored up on the 24 hour moorings and after breakfast Eric cleared the back of the boat  and dismantled the panels to get to the engine bay. Chris arrived and set to work. We had water in the diesel separator so Chris checked the tank and removed about five litres of water. It looks as though the seal on the filler can needed replacing. He's coming to see us to replace a cable which is a bit stiff and have another go at sucking up the water at the bottom of the diesel tank.

We had a visit from John and Judith (NB Serena) while we were at Audlem, they knew ww had curry for tea as they read my blog. Nice to meet you no doubt our paths will cross again.

Ben decided to howl when I went to the shop, but Eric told him to shut up and he did!
It wasn't as if he was on his own.

After reassembling the engine bay we were on our way to Coole Pilate moorings where we planned to stop if there wasn't the noise of clay pigeon shooting. No noise so we stopped. Ben hates bangs and won't get off the boat.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Ten More Locks To Audlem

Audlem locks with Ben the dog

This morning we came down the ten locks to stop at Audlem. We did have to fill lots of locks but further down some boats were coming up so it was easier passing in the pounds between the locks. Ben waited patiently at each lock continuing our walk down the flight.

Very quiet with plenty of room to moor by Audlem Mill  and then I popped in to get I.W.A  Christmas cards. A trip to the Coop too for some chicken so I could cook a curry for tea.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Cruising In Sunshine

Yesterday in sunshine, we left Tyrley Wharf and started down the five locks with a gentleman volunteer complete with oil can  who accompanied us oiling the gears and making life easier for boaters. As all the locks were set for us it was a quick descent and then we were on our way to Market Drayton. Room for us to moor up and a trip to Asda to do a shop. A lazy afternoon followed.

Today  it is another lovely sunny day and I walked on ahead with Ben the dog while Eric stopped to top up the water tank. He caught us up at Betton Cutting  where we got on board,  it's supposed to be haunted!  We continued on our way to  the top of Adderley Locks. Of course we had to buy lunch at the farm shop......a lovely pork pie to share and some eggs. 

Slow progress down the five locks as everyone was empty and had to be filled before we could go down the flight. We'd decided to work through the top two locks of the Audlem Locks to take us to moor ar Cox Bank. We'll need to go down ten locks to Audlem tomorrow as we have an appointment with Chris Jones, Beta engineer on Wednesday for our 750 hour service.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

A Rainy Cruise From Goldstone Wharf To Tyrley Wharf

Moored on Tyrley Visitor Moorings

A misty morning at Tyrley Wharf

When we woke yesterday we were at a slight angle as we seemed to be resting on the Shroppie shelf. After breakfast we decided to cruise through Woodseaves Cutting and moor above Tyrley Locks even though it was going to be a very wet day. Wet gear on and we were on our way.

Underfoot the towpath in the cutting was much improved.....CRT's been busy. Half an hour later we were moored up and floating as there wasn't a shelf. First job to light the fire to warm up the boat and Ben settled down with his head on the fireside mat. The rain finally stopped late afternoon as we settled down to eat a home cooked roast lamb dinner.

Today we woke to windows wet with condensation, it must have been a cold night but they were soon wiped with kitchen roll. I usually put plastic film as secondary glazing on most of the windows but haven't got round to doing it.  Outside it was a misty morning but at least a fine day was promised as locking in the rain is not much fun!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Brewood To GoldStone Wharf

Up and away on Wednesday towards Brewood where we didn't stop to shop this time as we had plenty of supplies until we reached Gnosall (prounounced knowsall). Lovely cruising with long straights and embanments although the cuttings were muddy underfoot. Just one lock to work though at Wheaton Aston and then water tank topped up, cassettes emptied and rubbish disposed of including recycling. On our way again stopping at Gnosall Heath to moor after the water point as we didn't want overhead trees making it dark inside the boat and overhead crows making a mess on the roof.

On Thursday morning we  popped to the 'Bakery' not far down the road from 'The Boat' pub.They sell very nice Cornish style pasties as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and bread. Shopping done we cruised the mile and a half to Norbury Junction where we made our next stop. Eric had some maintenance to do as the sealant  underneath the rear hatch was letting in water. The hatch is very heavy so it took two of us to move it out of the way to do the job. A quiet night followed with the only noise being the freezer thermostat cutting in and out under the bed. I certainly wouldn't have it there  if I'd thought about it when the boat was fitted out.

On Friday morning we filled up with fuel  at Norbury Wharf,   before  I set off walking with Ben the dog getting back onboard before we reached the muddy section in Grub Street Cutting.  Passing through Bridge 39 with the tiny telegraph pole a survivor from a bygone age. Lots of moored boats  which made it very slow cruising  but the views across to the Wrekin were amazing. Pulling in at the empty Goldstone Wharf we moored up and then it started to rain but it didn't last long.

The much photographed bridge with the short telegraph pole.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Back On The Shroppie

Two locks up we were at  Gailey Lock next to it's much photographed round house which is a gift shop. Time to top up the water tank after doing the washing yesterday and room to do it on the water point. Then were on our way stopping at a little spot near Moat House Bridge for a very quiet night. It rained as we cruised but with our wet gear on we didn't mind. Ben had a rub down with a towel to dry him off after our walk in the rain.

Today it was a dry cruise continuing on our way through the narrow cutting leading to Autherley Junction. Today we turned right through the stop lock and  we were back on the Shroppie (SUC), one of our favourite canals.  Eric slipped in the mud at the waterpoint and  was covered in mud......he's OK.....but more washing! We moored up after Bridge 7  on the nearly empty  visitor moorings. Eric took a photograph of the amazing sky. 

The sunset near Brewood (photo by Eric Fletcher)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Weekend Cruising From Tixall to Gailey

NB Bendigedig on Tixall Wide

After a quiet night at Tixall Wide we were up and away in the morning just as far as Radford Bank. There's an Aldi nearby and we needed some fresh stuff. We only had four slices of bread and just enough milk for a few cups of tea. Before we left some lads were fishing between the boats. Ben and walked up to the lock at Tixall, nothing's changed the bottom gates still  swing open as soon as you've shut them. Eric held them shut with the boat until I could get the top paddles raised. 

Just an hour or so to Radford Bank and room to moor too. We popped in for a carvery meal later which was nothing special but it filled an empty tum. Enjoy enjoyed his pint. We weren't long as Ben howls. Later the very heavy rain hammered on the roof for hours which didn't help me trying to get to sleep. Ear plugs again.  Ben didn't settle until the rain eased off but  Eric slept through it!

Up in the morning  and on our way again. Ben and I walked to Deptmore Lock while Eric steered the boat. A boat was coming out so we got through the deep lock quite quickly. In fact we had locks ready for us all the way to Penkridge, where we just dropped off the rubbish and emptied a cassette as we couldn't get on the waterpoint as it was already occupied. No room to moor either so we continued on our way.

Plenty of locks and a few heavy showers left us rather wet but we  moored above Bogg's Lock all on our own and finally away from the noise of the M6 which accompanies this canal for miles.  I do like peace and quiet!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Back On The Staffs And Worcester Canal

Going through Stone

We started off at Barlaston leaving later after most of the boats had already moved on. It took three and a half hours to get down the eight locks to Stone with a stop to use the elsan and waterpoints on the way.  We were hopeful of finding a mooring space but there wasn't a gap big enough for our boat so we tried further on but couldn't get into the side. So we didn't get to do a little shopping and Eric didn't get his haircut. We continued as far as the moorings above Aston Lock and pulled in a nice space for the night. 

In the morning we continued on our way down Aston Lock with Ben and I enjoying a morning walk, getting back on the boat after a couple of miles Lots of wasps about but they didn't bother with us thank goodness.  We were lucky today with approaching boats meaning we didn't have to close the gates when we continued on our way. 

At Great Haywood we pulled into the services as we needed to top up the water tank and buy a bottle of gas. I  popped to the Farm Shop for some milk and cake, while Eric was busy with the boat. It became a bit chaotic at the junction with Anglowelsh hireboats leaving the base, I popped up on the bridge to tell Eric when it was safe to turn right onto the Staffs and Worcester Canal.

We pulled in to moor up at Tixall Wide, one of our favourite places. Hello to the crew of NB Leo who passed us by, telling us they read my blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Going Down Stoke Locks To Barlaston

Leaving Westport Lake Visiting Moorings
We decided to stay put on Tuesday in the lovely moorings at Westport Lake. I had washing to do and once all the other moorers had departed I ran to engine with Travel Power to run the washing machine. The drier took an age but the batteries had a good charge too. Eric and I had a pleasant walk around the lake with Ben the dog. It's well used by the community all day long.

A bottle kiln on a derelict site
We set off this morning, one of the last to leave as usual. Ben and I walked for a while until we pulled over at Longport Wharf to get diesel. We had Stoke locks to do today taking us to Barlaston . Although the gates were heavy the paddles weren't bad and we were lucky to have a couple of boats coming up the locks as we went down.

Passing in the pound below Stoke Top Lock

Ben tied up waiting while I did the gates and paddles

New housing but a pair of bottle kilns remain- they need weeding!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Through Harecastle Tunnel To Westport Lake

We left the peace and quiet of the visitor moorings above Church Locks and  headed towards Red Bull Locks.  Eric moored up before the last lock while I did a quick shop in nearby  Tesco's in Kidsgrove.  Then we were on our way to go through Harecastle Tunnel and as we arrived we went straight through after our safety chat with the tunnel keeper. Cold and drippy in there  but we were through safely.

Currently moored at Westport Lake Moorings where Eric took this photo, of course Ben the dog wasn't looking!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

From Middlewich Onwards

Past Wheelock is Lock 66

Changing places in the pound
Yesterday we left our noisy mooring (I didn't get much sleep) at King's Lock and headed towards Sandbach where our boat was fitted out canalside January we'll have been afloat for  ten years. No sign of boat building there now it's all moved to Middlewich Canal Centre. Just four rather heavy locks to work through and a cruise  to Wheelock where we moored up.

Today we started up 'Heartbreak Hill' and it took us three and a half hours to work through twelve heavy locks. Not bad really when you think we had to turn a lock when both of the duplicate locks were full. We swapped places for the last four locks at Hassall Green, Eric did the locks while I became the steerer mainly because I was tired.  The M6 Motorway crosses the Trent and Mersey Canal at Hassall side was very slow moving......I'd rather be boating.

Finally we moored up above Pierpoint Locks alongside a nicely cut piece of towpath. We had to use the pins so the ducks came out to warn towpath users.

The ducks came out today (made by Nick & Liz)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hot Hot Hot In Middlewich

Moored at King's Lock
The day started cooler and rather misty but by one o'clock the sun was out and it was hot. We cruised towards Middlewich, worked through Stanthorne Lock, after it was our turn in the queue and stopped near where the footpath to town is. It takes just ten minutes to get to Tesco's passing schools on the way. By the time  I'd finished the shopping the sun was out as I headed back to the boat, so time for a cool drink.

We went down to Wardle  Lock and a queue again but time to help the other boats through once I'd read Maureen's Plaque.......very interesting. At the junction  we turned right and went into King's Lock once the boat in there came out. We moored up on the Visitor Moorings above the lock although it's noisy there the call of fish and chips for tea was the incentive. Definitely a night for ear  plugs!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

On The Middlewich Branch

A surprise of a day after the thunderstorms yesterday, sunshine. Two locks to do but quickly done with waiting boats helping each other. We plastered ourselves with sun cream but by dinnertime we were glad to stop. It's amazing weather but we found a quiet spot and moored up and stayed out of the sun. After an hour  the washing was done and hanging on coat hangers in the cratch, this heat should dry it fairly soon.

We didn't want to get as far as Middlewich itself as I needed to get some shopping tomorrow.  Also we usually have fish and chips at King's Lock and today is salad day. Tomorrow the forecast is cooler so we'll go a little further. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

No Lock Keeper At Hurleston Locks

Looking down the Hurleston Locks
A walk this morning to Hurleston, first of all we filled the water tank and emptied the cassettes knowing there will be  nowhere until we got to Wheelock to do the cassettes. Rubbish got rid off but no recycling facilities at Hurleston. Today the boaters were left to look after themselves as there wasn't a lock keeper on duty unless he had gone to lunch at 12 o'clock.  We expected and found low pounds  with several boats waiting in pounds to come up, rather than a one up one down system which saves the water in the pounds. In one pound there was an underwater obstruction which caused the boat to lose steering and veer across the pound. Luckily no damage was done.

In the bottom pound to Lock 1
We met happy chatty boaters and a few with their noses in the air who didn't want to even answer a hello or good morning, I suppose it takes all sorts. We are happy to be out on our boat. At the bottom of the locks we turned left and headed towards Barbridge Junction, our destination above the  Cholmondeston Lock........yes I did have to look how to spell it. Moored up just before very heavy rain too........hope it doesn't thunder! If it does Ben will be hiding.

A left turn towards Barbridge

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cruising Past Wrenbury

Marbury Lock Cottage
Our day started much the same as ever when we're cruising, flick to Webasco switch to get some hot water for a shower, breakfast and then off we go. We're pleased with the new diesel heater it certainly works even when the batteries are 12.1. Ben and I walked for a while, admiring the lock cottage as we filled the lock to go down to Wrenbury.

We had three lift bridges to work through today including the electrically controlled one at Wrenbury. No queues at Baddiley or Swanley Locks going our way, but lots of traffic coming from Hurleston Locks, which meant locks ready for us with open gates. We moored up a few bridges up from Hurleston Locks, so you know what we're doing tomorrow.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Three Lift Bridges And Nine Locks Today

Going down Grindley Brook staircase

A quiet night and the temperature went down to 50 degrees F outside so we had a lot of condensation on the windows. It was soon wiped away and the sun began to shine. Soon we were on our way,  Ben and I walking with the boat to open up the first bridge, slowly it went up but no amount of turns would get it to come down. Luckily a man from the moored boats came and helped by turning is very quickly it started to come down. Thanking him we were on our way to the next lift bridge and this time I was steering and Eric had the windlass and the dog to walk. At Whitchurch we were lucky as the bridge was opened by a hireboater and he let us through after them.

In luck too at Grindley Brook as we didn't have to wait to go down the staircase and we had a helpful volunteer lock keeper. Just three more locks all set for us, it didn't take long. Lots of boats on the move, mostly hireboats heading for Llangollen but it meant willing hands at the locks.  Ben and I  walked in the sunshine while Eric was in charge of the boat. We did Povey's Lock, Willeymoor and Quoisley Lock with lots of help from hireboaters' We stopped at a Visitor Mooring before Marbury Lock. Ben's now fast asleep after his walk today. A lovely few hours cruising in sunshine, so nice to be out of the marina.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Escape From Whixall Marina

Bye Whixall Marina

Last night it was definitely a very wet and windy Whixall but by the morning all was calm again and leaving Whixall wasn't a problem. We pulled in to top up the diesel tank and then we were on our way up the Prees Branch. Just one lift bridge to work through and a right turn towards Whitchurch. Ben and I had a walk to open the next lift bridge where the scrap yard used to be.  There are still plenty of boats on the move including hire boats, but no where near as busy as our last cruise in the other direction.  One more lift bridge  and we cruised until we decided to stop opposite  the dead tree, a great place for satellite television, an internet signal and a phone signal too. Moored up and time to relax before I make a curry for tea. Ben is chilling too!

Along the Prees Branch.....on the move again

Friday, September 09, 2016

Looking After Lila

We've been in  Newport looking after daughter Lisa's mad dog Lila. She's a Sprocker which is a Cocker/ Springer cross, lovely natured dog but pulls on a lead. I think my arms have lengthened in the last ten days! Ben and her get on fine although she would love him to play with her, he's just not interested.  

Today we came back to the boat and Ben the dog is now fast asleep, he's had a busy time in Newport. We've done lots of dog walking and Lila has had plenty of swimming opportunities. At Cwmbran Boating Lake she loved the river but we played safe and let her swim on the end of Ben's long lead. Ben only got his toes wet.

Lisa and Gwen had been on holiday and returned on Wednesday nice and brown. On Thursday we left Newport to return to Whixall and arrived back with washing to do. That's done now so just a case of food shopping and we'll be on our way on Saturday. Our next cruise is the Four Counties Ring in a clockwise direction and we're in no rush as we haven't any commitments for a month or so. Fingers crossed all goes well.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Whixall Swan Family

Whixall's swan family

We moved onto Ellesmere on Thursday and moored up before the turnoff for the arm, plenty of room there on a Thursday. One very speedy boat came past with waves with no thoughts of slowing down for moored boats and we had to go out and retie the boat. A few minutes he went past going the other way and we had to retie the boat again. Yes I did shout at him but it made no difference! The boat was from Anglowelsh at Trevor.....should have noted its name and complained!

We had a quiet night and left on Friday morning to cruise back to Whixall, pleasant too as there were only a few boats on the move. Just one lift bridge to do on the Prees Branch and we were back home again to windy Whixall. The swan family are doing well with their nine cygnets.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On Our Way Back To Base

Moored at New Marton

The water levels were back up Monday morning at Llangollen and the weather was much better.  We didn't get far walking the dog, Ben hates the steam whistle of the trains but we only had one toot while we were out. I popped into Wrexham to get a haircut and do a little bit of shopping while Eric had a lazy afternoon with Ben the dog.

Lots of boats on the move but we'd paid for two nights  mooring. We made use of the electric using the washing machine. Loads of room to moor  over the weekend but it fills up in the week.

On Tuesday   we were on the move, Ben and I walking the narrows while Eric waited  for the phone call.....hoping for a signal. I couldn't get him so told the last boat through to pass on the was our turn to go. At the right  turn onto the aqueduct the way was clear to go straight across.  

We moored up near Chirk Marina for an overnight stop and this morning we were on our way when there a lull in the boats going past. Ben and I walked as far as Chirk Tunnel getting onboard to follow a boat through the tunnel and across the Chirk Aqueduct back to England.

Progress was really slow following a convey of boats.  The day hire boats left us at Poachers' and a few more boats stopped for lunch a bit further on,  but there was still six ahead of us at New Marton Locks.  Finally through we moored up below the locks. An amazing sunset later on......Eric took the photographs.