Thursday, March 31, 2016

Oh We Do like To Be Beside The Sea

On the beach (dog's allowed area)

Today we went by car to Barmouth, the sun was shining all day. Snow on the mountains in Snowdonia made the scenery extra special as we travelled too. On the way there we stopped at Whittington Castle for a  short dog walk and then Ben was a very good boy and he didn't whinge in the back of the car. We had pie and chips and Ben had a sausage before we headed for a walk along the beach  as there's a huge section of beach where dogs are allowed. A lovely time beside the sea was enjoyed by us all.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bank Holiday Monday-Dog Walking At Erdigg

Unsure of where to walk the dog today for a change, we decided on Erdigg near Wrexham knowing from the National Trust Handbook we could walk in the Parklands. Once we negotiated the floods on the lanes around Whixall safely we were on our way and there was plenty of room to park too at Erdigg.

We got a leaflet about  exploring the Erdigg Estate at the ticket office and set off walking along one of the marked routes. Obviously plenty of mud and puddles on the route we chose, not surprising after all the rain we've had. Ben wasn't bothered and we had walking boots on so the mud didn't matter.  It was free to park and walk in the parkland, which was all we wanted to do today. We'll go look at the house and gardens to take advantage of being members of the National Trust when Ben stays on the boat.

Back on the boat for a late lunch and a peaceful afternoon, Ben is sleeping......he enjoyed his walk today and so did we.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hot Cross Buns And Sunshine

We've had a couple of days in Ellesmere, one of my favourite places and Ben the dog likes taking us to his old haunts. Yesterday we walked up through the woods and across to the Mere stopping in the Boat House for a coffee. They allow dogs in so Ben sat patiently alongside our table and enjoyed being fussed by the waitress and some customers. I did resist the amazing looking slices of Victoria sponge but I'll remember for another day!

We made good use of Tesco to stock up the fridge and cupboard. The Spar shop has gone from Ellesmere but the Coop remains in the town. The daffodils are lovely in the park by the Mere although yesterday was a dull day. Today the sun is shining and we have hot cross buns. Happy Easter everyone, I've got my bunny for Sunday.........yum yum!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Moving On And A Lovely Lunch

Not particularly quiet last night with the railway very close, but ok once the trains had finished for the night. Up early today at eight o'clock, so breakfast and we were away after a chat with the crew of NB Barney. I didn't start off walking as we had Whitehouse Tunnel to get through and Ben would prefer to be on the boat.

Later we did Chirk Tunnel and Aqueduct, passing the coal boat heading to Trevor. Approaching 'Poachers' Eric suggested lunch out if there was room to moor.....and there was. I sampled the vegetarian moussaka while Eric had cod and chips, both were delicious and lovely service from the waitress too.

Back on the boat Ben waited for us to return, so  we had a walk alongside the boat as Eric took us to the moorings above New Marton Locks. Moored up, satellite signal found all set for my Holby fix and I don't need to cook tonight.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Bye Bye Llangollen

This morning we decided to move on from Llangollen, so we got ourselves organised unplugging the shoreline, topping up with water and getting phones so we could ring each other about  the   narrows.  Liz and Connie accompanied me for a walk and first of all Eric untied and went up to the basin to turn around. We timed it right as we didn't have to wait long before we could do one stretch of narrows. As we got to the end on foot we had to stop three boats to wait until Eric had come through. I walked as far as Sun Trevor to let Eric know if there a boat in that narrow section, but there wasn't so Ben the dog had a two mile walk today.
A view from the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct of the River Dee

All the boat traffic was going to Llangollen and  soon we were ready for a right turn at Trevor but as we came out of the bridge hole 'Jones the boat' sounded his horn to warn up to keep out of his way, he wasn't stopping. Then we crossed the Pontcysyllte aqueduct  all on our own. At Froncysyllte Lift Bridge we had our photos taken, while I lifted the bridge to let us through. We were in luck as two boats were coming towards us and the last one had a crew member willing to lower the bridge ,so I was saved some exercise.

We moored just before Whitehouse Tunnel feeling rather chilly, but inside it was toasty so we're fine

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bumps In The Night!

A view of Castell Dinas Bran
Our peaceful night's sleep was disturbed at 3am by bumps in the night. Someone stepped on the back of the boat and banged against the back doors. Obviously intoxicated... I could smell beer! Eric  tried to open the back doors and met resistance so he went out with Ben the dog to find a man trying the next boat. He must have moved sharpish after he tried to come in through the unbolted back doors and  I poked him with the gents umbrella we keep on the back of the boat and told him to go find his boat! Obviously very drunk ......mixed up which boat he was on.  Ben had a few growls  not that the man noticed. Eric knocked the window of the other boat so they let him in. He must have  been celebrating the Welsh rugby win as they were from Caerphilly in South Wales. 

We had a cuppa and then went back to sleep. A rather sheepish face this morning as he apologised,  he obviously didn't remember me and the umbrella.

A lovely sunny day today, so our walk with Ben was very pleasant indeed. I love to see  the hills  and walk up to the top where Castell Dinas Bran sits but my knee isn't up to the climbs at the moment. Very busy here today with cyclists, walkers and dog walkers streaming along the towpath. Very few cyclists dismount as the signs but that's nothing new. The canal itself is busy too with boats moored up on the Visitor Moorings, so we're not 'billy no mates' anymore.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Into Llangollen

Just the narrows to do before Llangollen Visitor Moorings, so I walked ahead with Liz, Connie and Ben the dog. Quite a slow walk due to all the sniffs and wees from the dogs. A day boat went through and then Eric was next coming towards Llangollen. We had the choice of moorings and by the evening we were ' billy no mates' as the two other boats had either gone up to the mooring basin or left Llangollen. A very quiet night!

We had lunch out with Nick and Liz in the Bridge End, very nice too. I sampled the pasta bake while the others had steak or gammon. Too full for puddings and we did a bit of shopping before returning to hear Ben barking.......perhaps he scared off the other boaters!  We managed to find the dot in the sky for a satellite signal but it wasn't that good so if we moved around too much it pixellated.

This morning we're enjoying hot showers without running the engine due to the electricity. Ben had me up early but Eric had a lie in. Off for a walk after a late breakfast and the sun is shining. It's going to be a lovely day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Over The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Castell Dinas Bran

Today we left our moorings, Eric cruising, me walking the dog.Ben wasn't sure about going through Whitehouse Tunnel but with coaxing we got through. We stopped at the next water point and topped up the tank to help level the boat for the section from Trevor. Soon we were approaching the aqueduct and pulled in to wait for one boat to come across before we could go across.

Lovely to go across in sunshine and a sharp left turn and we were on our way to Llangollen. I love the cruise into Llangollen with Castell Dinas Bran on top of the hill. We stopped on the visitor rings at the Lift bridge before the narrows in front of NB Henry with Nick, Liz and Connie on board. Time for a coffee and a chat. Out of the side hatch we have a view of Castell Dinas Bran  and in the field the baby lambs are jumping's Spring!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Two Locks To Chirk

Up early this morning with just two locks to work through and a steady cruise to moor near Chirk Marina. Eric did the lock wheeling taking Ben the dog for a walk too, while I was in charge of the tiller resting the knee. There was a little contact with the first lock with the force of side weirs, but no harm done as I was going very slow. A perfect approach on the second lock and no crashes as I slowly entered the lock. 

All the water points were occupied by hire boats, one was filling up as the crew took a shower. We weren't bothered as we had plenty of water and would get some before the Pontysyllte Aqueduct mainly to level out the boat before we cruise the Trevor to Llangollen section of the canal. 

Looking at old photos from my dad's brought some smiles today, bringing back some lovely memories of my three daughters growing up.

Sally, Clare and Lisa (L to R)

Sally trampolining!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ellesmere To New Marton In Sunshine

Reflections at Ellesmere

A very quiet night on the Ellesmere Arm and we woke to another sunny day. We'd let the fire go out overnight as Eric wanted to sweep the chimney when the towpath was on the left hand side.We put the heating on for an hour to boost the hot water to have a couple of showers. 

After breakfast we took Ben for a walk, getting milk and a paper on the way back. Then we decided to move and enjoy boating in the sunshine. I took the photo as Eric turned the boat at the end of the arm. We pulled in at the services to get rid of recycling and rubbish. We didn't bother to get water as it's so slow there. Of four water points only two were working and one of those was  just dribbling. Considering it's Cart's maintenance yard you'd think they'd be working properly.

A pleasant cruise stopping some distance  away from New Marton locks. We had one water skiing boater go past obviously oblivious to the idea of going slow, making us rock and roll in fact he was so close I thought he was going to hit us.The next Black Prince boat went past slowly and moored up further down the canal.

First job was sweeping the chimney and relighting the fire and the smoke now goes up the chimney instead of into the boat every time you opened the door of the stove. A cuppa and a lazy afternoon followed for us and Ben the dog.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Escaped From Whixall!

After a few days catching up with the washing, we've finally escaped from the marina and gone up the Prees Branch and turned left. The first exercise session was opening and closing the two lift bridges accompanied by Ben the dog.I was glad of the long handled windlass as the bridge nearer to the top of the arm is very stiff although it winds down quite easily. I got back on the boat as my knee was giving me pain as well as the burning pain in one foot......I'm a wreck! Ben's walk would happen later in the day when the painkillers have time to work.

It was great to be out in the sunshine and slowly travelling along the canal by boat.  A few boats on the move and lots of walkers on the towpath the nearer we got to Ellesmere. We moored up on the Ellesmere Arm and  Eric found the dot in the sky to watch the rugby while I took Ben for a walk. Ben actually had a run in the green space opposite the arm and he didn't end up in a heap although he veers sideways  as he runs.

Back on the boat I put some vegetables and beef in the oven to roast, while I relaxed. Ben is chilling,  fast asleep in front of the fire. It's a hard life! After being in the marina it's lovely to have a different view out of the windows.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Back In Whixall Marina- An Update

The week seem to go slowly by, I made a note of the final meter readings and waited patiently for Wednesday for the exchange of contracts on my deceased dad's house. We had a phone call at eleven in the morning the sale had completed so I paid the final utility bills and that was that. It was weird checking the house on Tuesday knowing that I wouldn't stand in my old bedroom again or my dad's bedroom looking out at the river. I have lots of happy memories of growing up in that house with my mum and dad and I'll still have those, even though the house is sold.

Eric and I enjoyed dog walking in the grounds of Tredegar House with Ben and Poppy, Clare's dog. We left them home one afternoon and had a tour of the kitchens of Tredegar House and some of the downstairs rooms. Very interesting too, the lady showing us around the kitchens was really informative. We'll have to go later in the year when more rooms are open to the public.

We visited our daughter Sally and granddaughter Scarlett and had lunch with them, as well as having a Mother's Day lunch cooked by Lisa with granddaughter Gwenllian. Sally's house is sold subject to contract so she's playing the waiting game too.

Clare and Ben always let us stay as long as we like but after a week away it was nice to come home. Ben the dog is currently fast asleep. On the way back we stopped at the arboretum outside Hereford where we had a walk with Ben  and then we had coffee and toasties which we shared with Ben too. We popped in the Coop at Wem to get bread, milk, fruit and something for tea. The boat felt cold but it soon warmed up when Eric lit the fire. A couple of hot water bottles will warm up the bed.

We're enjoying our new mattress with no lumps and bumps and are very happy with the memory foam topped foam mattress from the Made2Measure. There's a link  to it on the Bed Centre website.

Friday, March 04, 2016

A Trip To Newport And Some Good News

On Wednesday we left a Whixall in a snow storm, to come down to Newport. We had snow showers as far down as Craven Arms but as we came further south the temperature went up and the snow was nowhere to be seen. We popped to see Paula who kindly accepts all our mail before going to Clare's house.Ben the dog was delighted to see Poppy his mate, who gave him lots of licks.

On Thursday it was time for me to have a breast squeeze also known as a mammogram and Eric to go the doctor's  for the results of his blood tests, before we took Ben the dog fir a walk around the grounds of Tredegar House in Newport. It's free  to walk around the grounds although you have to pay to park unless you belong to the National Trust. Later we  had pizzas for tea with Lisa and Gwen, Ben and Clare followed by naughty chocolate fudge cake.

We planned to go back to Whixall today but as we left my phone rang, I thought what does the buyer's solicitor want to know now but it was good news. The contract was ready to sign for the sale of my deceased dad's house and the exchange is happening next  Wednesday. It's taken four months to get this far ....unbelievable as there was no chain involved. We unpacked the car and took the dogs Ben and Poppy out for a walk in the park.Later we had  fish and chips to celebrate the good news....gosh we are easy to please.