Sunday, July 31, 2016

Down The Montgomery Canal To Maesbury Marsh

We thoroughly enjoyed our cruising today, the wonderful peace and quiet and stretches of colourful wild flowers alongside the canal. The first lock of the day at Graham Palmer Lock where we met the only moving the lock . Just waiting for their Jack Russell  Terrier who had abandoned ship after a rabbit. He reappeared without it and they continued on their way.

We passed a couple of moored boat at Perry Aqueduct and some at the leisure moorings by the Navigation but nothing at all on the Visitor Moorings. We had the three Aston Locks all to ourselves and showed an interested walker walking from Queen's Head how a lock worked.

At Maesbury Marsh we pulled in by Canal Central now a coffee shop/tea room with  a shop of stuff the tourists would like. There's canoes for hire as well as a horse drawn boat  canal side. I took some photographs  of the horse drawn boat.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Down The Monty

Waiting at the top of Frankton locks

Waiting in the pound below the staircase locks
On Friday we escaped the marina and headed up the Prees Branch, Eric boating and Ben and I walking to lift the bridge. Back onboard and a left turn at the top. Extremely busy with lines  of boats heading in the other direction. A few rain showers too but we enjoyed ourselves. At Ellesmere we were lucky to find  a mooring down the Ellesmere Arm so we get some fresh bread and milk before our trip down the Monty. Moving on later for a bit of peace and quiet in the countryside we found a mooring about an hour away from Frankton Junction.

I had arranged travel down on Sunday and up the locks on Wednesday but rang to change it to today once I found the Saturday and Sunday phone number online. All sorted and we arrived to be number three in the four boats going down. Time for a chat while we waited for midday when we started going down the locks. We're moored on the 48 hour Weston Arm moorings......the Grand Prix is on tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Back At Whixall But Going Cruising

Last week was a busy one catching up with doctors,  dentist and all sorted for a while. Walks everyday with Ben and Poppy, my daughter's dog took us to walking in the grounds of Tredegar House. Here we found the shade we needed in the hot weather when we ventured out. One day it was so hot we didn't get far, Ben was quite happy to have a lazy day too. 

Gwen our grandaughter enjoyed a visit to St Fagan's, a natural history museum where properties from around Wales have been rebuilt to show how people lived in the past. It also included an old school room with the long desks and benches and a few paired desks but they didn't have ink wells which I remember from school with scratchy pens. That's before fountain pens and biros made an appearance. Showing our age now! I loved the row of terraced houses complete with their gardens, pigeon loft and outside toilet. They  were furnished to show a newer era as you travelled along the row.  It's well worth a visit and you pay £5 parking with free entrance which makes it a cheap day out at today's prices. The icecreams had to be sampled.......delicious.

On Wednesday we took the dogs for a walk and took Poppy back to her house before leaving Newport. Thanks to Clare and Ben for letting us stay, see you soon. Three hours later we were back on the boat and it was 85 degrees F when we opened up. Windows and doors open it slowly cooled down to a bearable heat.  Bags unpacked and Ben the dog flaked out on the floor alongside the bed, I sorted out the washing and made us something to eat.

Yesterday I did  a few loads of washing and drying in the laundry at Whixall Marina so today we are ready to go cruising. We're heading to Ellesmere and then down the Montgomery Canal before returning to Whixall as we're needed in Newport after that for nanny duties,  looking after grandaughter Gwenllian who at eight years old keeps us on our toes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In Sunny Newport

After a leisurely week back in Whixall Marina it was time to go to Newport with doctor's, dentist's and optician's appointments all arranged.  We also had two days on nanny duties looking after our 8 year grandaughter. We're staying with our daughter Clare's  and her husband  Ben,  thanks for letting us stay. Ben the dog and Poppy were delighted to see each other if the noises was anything to go by.

On Monday we had our eyes checked, my prescription hadn't changed in four years but Eric's had. I needed a change of frames though. After waiting three weeks to get an appointment  in Wrexham which were cancelled  on the day, it was much easier getting appointments in Newport. I rang on Friday and had an appointment booked for Monday afternoon. It was lovely and cool in Specsaver's with the air-con but extremely hot with the outside temperature in the shade reading 28 degrees C. It didn't cool down much in the night either.

Another hot day on Tuesday, we had checkups at the dentist, rather odd we both needed fillings in the same toth. The dentist had a cancellation so both of us had our fillings done so we dont't need to make an appointment to come back for the dentist.  The dog didn't get much of a was just too hot. Another hot night too with all the windows open upstairs.

Today (Wednesday) we had  Gwen for the day. Firstly we took  Ben for a walk around the lake at Tredegar House enjoying the shade of the big trees as we walked.  We didn't stay out in the sun long heading to the Brewhouse Cafe for an ice cream at one of their dog friendly tables. Next we went shopping for a picnic lunch at our daughter Sally's new house. Two  and a half year old grandaughter Scarlet had decided she didn't want a nappy and chose pink pants instead........the only clothes she had on. Gwen and Scarlet had a lovely time giving her mum and us a break.

We took a trip back in time going across Newport Transporter Bridge which is open for the Summer months. Dearer now too it cost £1 for adults and 50p for children rather than pence. The ticket collector took a photo  of the three of us but blogger won't let me post it today using my tablet but the lap top worked.

All smiles for our Transporter Bridge trip

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Middlewich To Whixall Marina

After a quiet night in Middlewich we made our way to Barbridge Junction and turned  left. Just two deep locks to work through, a few queues but some help at locks was appreciated. If there's a queue I usually go up to help and find when it's our turn  there's no one helping.....just standing holding their boats rope. At  one lock on the Llangollen it took three people to hold their boat while one had a windlass. I helped them through as two  youngsters held the boat with ropes as the water level up. I was speechless when they said you can push it now.......while they stood and watched. After the lock they stopped for lunch.

A right turn at Hurleston  Junction and we were off up the locks as no boats were waiting. The volunteer  lock keeper came down and set the locks ahead of us telling us we were the first boat he'd seen for nearly three hours. We used the services and moored up on Friday night at Bridge 5.

On Saturday we made our way to Wrenbury, it stayed dry while Ben and I had a walk to Swanley Locks. Two locks at Swanley and three at Baddiley and just two lift bridges and we were moored up after the electric lift bridge. In the morning we found the back of the boat was covered in bird poo so we moved along so we weren't under any overhanging trees.

We stayed put on Sunday with the British Grand Prix and the Euro Football Final on the tv. I had a good read as I'm not  interested in watching sport. Lunch was a paella from Tesco's finest range ( very nice too) as the motor racing was on at lunch time. Ben and I had a walk up to Marbury Lock and back.

Monday morning came  and we decided to get above Grindley Brooke Locks. Very quiet with few boats about, just one ahead of us so we had to turn the locks. At Grindley Brooke we had to wait as three boats were on their way down. The lady lock keeper  helped us through before she went for a late was three o'clock.  We found a space past two hire boats moored on the water point,  perhaps nobody told the Norwegian crews the rules.'s Tuesday we made very slow progress following a slow boat to Chirk We took it turns to do the lift bridges and finally we were ahead of them. At the lift bridge by the old scrap yard I put the bridge up and let three boats through before Eric went through with our boat. Not far to go then, a left turn down the Prees Branch and one more lift bridge  and we were home.

Soon we had the boat attached to the shoreline and the washer in the laundrette was doing a load of washing. We have free laundry washing and drying tokens (52 of each a year) as one of the perks of our residential mooring. We also have a storage box and a post box.!  Still residential  and leisure spaces if you're looking for a new home mooring away from it all.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Highly Recommended King's Lock Chandlery

This morning we dropped down Wardle Lock, we missed Maureen helping us as the paddles were unbelievaby stiff.  A memorial  plaque to her is there giving some details of the life of a remarkable lady.

We moored up alongside King's Lock Chandlery as they were supplying and fitting a Webasco diesel heater. I was wondering  how they'd do it and was pleased to see all traces of the Mikuni were removed. The Webasco was fitted with  new fuel pipes and filter, new wiring loom and a new exhaust system, as well as new pipes to the connect with the radiator system, in fact all that was in the narrowboat kit from Webasco. All neatly fitted and working perfectly....thank you Steve.

The other problem with the 12v domestic seems to be sorted, the domestic  isolator switch has melted and has now been replaced by Steve.  The led  flashing showing at the back of the freezer has stopped telling us it has a low voltage.  The lights have stopped flickering too. Fingers crossed  the freezer will get cold! 

We're currently moored at Middlewich not in the same place as last night where we had Radio 2 from another boat all night long. We didn't need to set the alarm as we heard the 8 o'clock pips on Radio 2. 

Monday, July 04, 2016

On The Way To Middlewich

Flowers on the bow

We had a lovely Sunday lunch at 'The Cotton Arms' and a lovely lazy day after a walk along the towpath towards Marbury Lock.  The poppies are flowering in our meadow seeds pot.

Changing places at Hurleston

Ben onboard
We started the day with the electric lift bridge at Wrenbury and then the next lift bridge had been left open by the boat ahead of us. Eric had to put it down as I was on the towpath side walking the dog. Locking was good at Baddiley and Swanley locks with boats coming in both directions making it much easier.

At Hurleston we needed to fill the water tank. Getting the top lock ready for us  was a very helpful lady lock keeper who was a volunteer. Only one boat coming up very slowly but we were soon on our way to Barbridge Junction to turn onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.

We stopped before the rain started, a little further tomorrow.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Whixall To Grindley Brooke .....Ten Locks To Wrenbury

On Friday we left Whixall Marina behind and had plenty of arm exercises winding up the six lift bridges, one less as Stark's Bridge is still not there. The cheek of some people, I opened the Whitchurch Lift Bridge and a boat came through forcing us backwards out of his way! The moorings were full at Whitchurch so we continued on our way to moor above Grindley Brooke where there was just one moored up. Later it filled up.

Today we worked through Grindley Brooke with the help of the volunteer lock keeper, taking under an hour to do the six locks. The other locks were fine although we had a problem with the top gate at Quoisely Lock as it wouldn't open, we managed it eventually by rocking it back and for, you could feel something underneath it. We had been warned about it by another couple who had contacted CaRT. We had a lot of trouble closing it too. Hopefully it'll be sorted by the time we come back.

Coming into Wrenbury the Liftbridge at the garden centre was down which surprised us as it's usually permanently up. As I walked up to it a man from the garden centre walked across it and then put it back up, he'd been doing some maintenance on a field gateWe're moored at Wrenbury, Sunday Lunch is planned for tomorrow at  'The Cotton Arms'.