Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Visit To Trengwainton Gardens

First thing this morning we took Ben the dog down to Sennen Cove for a walk on the beach. It was freezing down there today with the cold wind so we returned to watch the crashing waves from the car. We has a take away coffee to warm us up.

We'd looked at that National Trust App to find places near us we could visit with a dog and decided on Trengwainton  Gardens near  Penzance. It was much warmer in the sheltered gardens where azalea, camelia  and rhododendrons  flourished. I loved the huge tree too. There were bluebells and the white flowers of the three-cornered leek all mixed in together. 

A lovely walk up to the terrace overlooking the bay and a view of the house which is private. Water loving plants flourished along the stream through the grounds too. An unexpected  surprise it was lovely there  and they even gave Ben a biscuit which he didn'the want to eat!

Lunchtime At Lizard Point

Yesterday we visited Lizard Point, which is Britain's most southerly point and managed by the National Trust. The weather was lovely and we were surprised to find The Polpeor Cafe was dog friendly as well as an extensive menu. We decided to have some lunch overlooking the sea. After a nice lunch we went for a short walk along the coastal path   before returning to the car.

Lots of flowers on the cliffs Including large swathes of stone crop showing as orange on the pictures.  We thought the  plant growing amongst the bluebells was wild garlic, but it was three-corned leek (Allium triquetrum) with the crushed leaves smelling of onions rather than the strong garlic smell of wild garlic. A lovely bit of countryside and well worth a visit.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Walk Along Sennen Beach


We popped a few miles down the road  to have a look at Sennen  Cove thinking we'd  have to just look with no dogs signs posted. We'll the ban on dogs starts on May 1st so today we could walk the dog  on the beach. Lovely blue water been enjoyed by a few surfers.  Another beautiful day we've  been so lucky with the weather.

We decided on a pasties for lunch from Warren's  in St Just and went back to the cottage just five minutes away for a lazy Friday afternoon.  Dog's asleep so I'm  going to read a book on my Kindle.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Some Big Boats At Falmouth

Yesterday we tried to visit St Ives but the huge car park was full, change of plan needed.  Leaving St Ives we noticed a park and ride at Lelant Saltings Railway Station to  St Ives, so we'll try that next week when the children have gone back to school.

We ended up in Falmouth and enjoyed  looking at all the little boats in the harbour and the big boats or should that be ships in the docks. On the pier you could have a boat trip but we settled for a ham and salad roll in a crusty  cob freshly made at the Rowes bakery. We didn't  feel like a pasty today. 

Today we headed for  Penrose, an estate with wooded countryside around Cornwall's biggest lake. The grounds are run by the National  Trust.  We had quite a long walk along a bridleway to see Loe Bar which is a huge sand covered shingle barrier separating Loe Pool from the sea. Lovely views from the headland and the weather was amazing. It's well worth a visit and you can download  a map of the walks on the estate on the National Trust site. There's  a cafe and toilets on site too.....makes a good ice cream stop.

We're  back in the cottage and Ben's ate his food and is now fast asleep on his furry mat. Eric's also asleep!  I think I wore the pair of them out. I'm enjoying no dishes to wash as there's  a dishwasher. There's  also a bath with endless  hot water so feeling rather pampered.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pain Killers And Pasties

It's  quite a drive from Sennen  to Polperro but it was one of those places on the to see list.  We took Ben for a walk up the last hill in Cornwall called Chapel Carn Brea, which is near the farm we are staying. From the beacon at the top are some lovely views of land and sea.

Plenty of windy roads and very steep down to the car park at Polperro where we paid the minimum stay £4 for three hours. The machines in the car park don't accept pound coins, so that's  their way out of the change over to the new  £1 coins.

We walked down to Polperro harbour through the narrow streets  looking at the lovely cottages lots of which are holiday rentals. Coaches were parked in the car park so it was very busy. We heard German and American voices as we walked.

Eric's must have cracked a rib when he fell as he's needed pain killers. The pharmacist  just said they don't  do anything for cracked ribs! He advised him not to drive with the tablets containing codeine  so it's  paracetomol  while we're  out and about.

We found the Polperro Bakery and continued to try and find the best traditional steak pasty in Cornwall. This one was definitely the best! We kept it mostly wrapped and hidden from the sea gulls as we ate the visible end. Ben had a taste of the steak too and he agreed they're  the best!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

It's Sunny In Cornwall

Yesterday we arrived in Cornwall and we're staying in a lovely holiday cottage near Sennen. It's  a one level property which means no stairs and it's  really lovely with all modern cons including a dishwasher, fridge freezer, washing machine and Internet. The bed is a four poster and  it's  very  comfy. It's the second time we've  used holiday cottages online and both times the property has been lovely. We even had a cream tea waiting for us. 

Today we went on a long walk (not to be repeated) following a footpath  to Gwynver beach. It took us through horrendous rutted muddy fields with no visible footpath. We came to Trevedra Farm, Sennen which looked a really good place for caravans, motor homes and camping.  They pointed us in the right direction for the footpath to the beach.

Gwynver is a beautiful unspoilt dog friendly beach but it's  extremely  steep to get down to it. Ben the dog struggled with the uneven steps and sand. He'd already needed  to be lifted over stiles....which is why the walk won't be  repeated. 

The day got worse firstly I got a bee sting on my neck which Eric quickly removed and the shop at the campsite had antihistamines. Then Eric took a tumble and banged his face. We survived and Ben the dog is out cold on his mat.  Let's hope we have a better day tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bendy's In The Boat Shed

NB Bendigedig is currently  in the sheds at Aqueduct Marina undergoing  preparation for a paint job. We spent last week making our way from Whixall and trying to clear as much stuff as we could. The cupboards are crammed. The fridge has been emptied and the surfaces, bed and chairs covered with plastic sheets.

Leaving the boat moored up on Monday morning we lifted Ben the dog  onto the pontoon as it was too narrow  to jump down onto. The car was packed and we were off  with at least four weeks on dry land ahead of us. The boat will look very different when we get back as the blue will be gone. We've chosen mid grey panels, light grey  surrounds with an ivory coachline. Roof and decks will be raddle red. Let's hope they spell Bendigedig correctly on the sign writing! 

Saturday, April 08, 2017

A New Tiller Pin

We're just outside Aqueduct Marina on the tow path side. We could go on the moorings by the marina but it's  a long way for Ben to jump and we bang every time a boat goes past.

The tiller pin boat came past so we bought a daffodil tiller pin as he didn't  have any Welsh dragon pins. He said we didn't want a leek! He had some super fat side fenders  too so we bought a couple to replace  the flattened pair of plastic fenders.

We often get called the Welsh boat because of the name, so now we are a little bit more  Welsh! 😊

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Cruising Towards Hurleston Junction

Today  was a bit chilly  when the sun went in but we enjoyed it. Ben and I had a good walk alongside the boat. Eric enjoyed having reverse gear again and the boat was moving much better in forwards too. 

We passed this lovely pair of old boats all sheeted up. Obviously they were able to get through the narrow bottom lock of the Hurleston Flight. A boat due to join us at Whixall Marina could get through this lock.

We were in luck today as I had only one lift bridge to wind up and down, the other two were done for me. A kind man offered  to do the electric bridge at Wrenbury for us.......thanks again. Another boater did the one with its footpath across to the church. 

We worked  through the three locks at Baddiley with no problems, no sign of sticking out bricks just a gap where it must have been.  Swanley lock number two must have a huge void behind the towpath side  wall with the amount of water pouring out as we emptied  the lock. It was like it before the winter, it seems nice towpaths are better value for money in some places. Between Wrenbury and Baddiley Locks the  towpath was a bog in places with a collapsed section of Armco and it's been like it years!

Currently moored a few bridges up from Hurleston all on our own enjoying  the peace and quiet. Last night we had  some noisy ducks near Marbury ! Hope they're  quieter here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

On Our Way To Wrenbury

The boat's going great making locking easier with reverse gear working properly. Ten locks to Wrenbury but we stopped before Marbury lock as it was already five o'clock. I took a few photos  today. Ben the dog has been enjoying  his walks while we're  out on the boat.

This Boating Lark's Expensive!

Whixall Marina 

Leaving Whixall in the wind is normally bad enough but yesterday  morning we had trouble going backwards.....no drive at all and lots if black smoke before the engine cut out.With the help of a few boaters and Phil the marina manager we were pulled backwards so we could leave.We thought it might be an intermittent problem and decided to get as far as Grindley Brook anď ring Chris Jones our helpful Beta engineer for help. We were ok as long as we didn't need reverse and met nothing at bridge holes. Mooring up in the terrific wind was hard going but we managed it. 

On with the tale of the gear box......Neil another Beta engineer  from Whitchurch came out to diagnose the problem checking the propellor for junk or damage. The shaft was turning slowly in neutral too. We'd had some smoke from the gearbox so he separated it and found the problem......it wanted to be in forward gear regardless of the gear selected so that's what caused the engine to cut out......forward and reverse at the same time doesn't work.

A very quiet night above Grindley Brook locks, it seemed strange after  five months in the marina. My arms had a good workout with six lift bridges to raise and lower. Ben the dog walked miles so he was soon fast asleep. 

Chris Jones came today with a gearbox and he's currently down the engine hole fitting it....so we'll soon be on our way. Those arms will be getting another workout on the locks at Grindley Brook.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Bye Bye Whixall

The original marina being built year 1971?

A clue J registration 1971
Another photo from Shropshire Archives

We're  leaving Whixall  Marina today as we're  off to Aqueduct Marina for the long awaited paint job. Of course I look  out of the window and it's raining......but it's  early yet. 

It's  all happening at Whixall with BWML selling the marina to Whixall Marina Leisure Ltd.  We'll have to wait and see what changes will be made. We'll be back in May.

The winter moorers  have left the marina leaving lots  of spaces so we moved over to the next pontoon where it's  a bit lighter with no boats moored alongside. Eric has been busy dismantling the cratch ready for the paint job and storing some of it in our storage box, the rest is stored in the marina lock up as it's  too big for the box.

I've been finishing off all the washing  getting  ready for four weeks  off the boat on dry land. Eric took the car to Aqueduct Marina  so it's waiting for us and had a chat to the boat yard manager about our arrival  next week end. Nick   kindly brought Eric back to Whixall Marina, thanks you saved us an expensive taxi fare. Ben the dog had a visitor too as Connie  came  with Nick and she didn't  eat his food either!

Nobody's leaving Whixall Marina this morning by car, Alder's Lane is currently blocked by a crane slipped off the road..... oops! The crane was due to load the CRT vessels onto lorries to take them away now the Prees Branch work has been completed.  Hopefully it'll be cleared soon.

Yippee it's nearly ten o'clock and the sun is shining

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Just Some Pictures From Quarry Park, Shrewsbury

Today we went to Quarry Park in Shrewsbury. After a walk alongside the  Rivery Severn we walked up to see the flowers in the Dingle. The fountains  were spraying water and the magnolia was in bloom. Percy Thrower  had tulips around him rather than crocuses. The smell of the flowers was amazing. Ben was a reluctant walker today, he wanted to turn around as we walked alongside the river. Nice to walk on paths rather than muddy towpaths.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Good Morning It's Friday

We'll I've just woken up on this comfy settee.....do I really have to go out now? I've had some nice walks this week but I think I'll  go back to sleep.

Yesterday the sun was shining so we had a walk in Ellesmere before we did the food shopping. The daffodils  in the park were lovely so I took a picture. Walking along the canal towpath with a few boats on the move was pleasant enough although still pretty muddy in places. The wind was making waves on the Mere so it looked like we were at the seaside.

The work on the Prees Arm should be finished today so we may be able to walk further up the arm on the towpath. Although there was a diversion route it involved stiles  which Ben can't jump  over anymore.  The canal itself is open to boats so we will be able to leave in ten days for our trip to Aqueduct Marina for the paint job. Then it's down to Newport before we have a holiday near Sennen in Cornwall.......one of my favourite places.......I love being by the sea. I'm so excited!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Lunch Again

Eric's tipple as he watched Wales

Eric's watching the Six Nations while I enjoyed  a film for 99p courtesy  of an offer on Google  Play.  I picked ' The Light Between Oceans' a drama about a childless lighthouse keeper and his wife who rescue a ship wrecked  baby drifting in a rowing boat. I enjoyed my film. Watching the shambles at the end of the Wales v France rugby  match.......I didn't enjoy that.

Lying in bed listening to the howling wind and hoping the  satellite  dish is still there this morning. We haven't  got anything on the roof other than a boat hook, a pole and a plank anyway. The plank has gone rotten after ten years and will be replaced with a metal one once the boat has been repainted. We keep  stuff that would be stored on the roof in a box made to fit the front of the bow deck by Des who also makes lovely roof boxes. He's currently  at Whixall Marina but begins his travels  in April and needs some work. So if you want a lovely roof box or one for your deck look out for him.

Time to take Ben out for his first wee of the day. I must get showered and dressed ......I don't  want to frighten the neighbours.

We're  off out to lunch at our favourite place 'The Cotton Arms' in Wrenbury. Definitely never fails to please. I wasn't  impressed  with last week's Sunday lunch despite it's good  review, but maybe they were having an off day!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Another Week At Whixall

We've had some lovely warm, sunny days with no coats needed for our dog walks in all the usual places in Shropshire. The work on the Prees branch of the Llangollen Canal is nearing completion, the canal is open although the towpath is currently still blocked by fencing. Walking alongside the River Severn at Quarry Park showed how much rain had come down in the Welsh hills it had covered the pathway in places on the opposite side of the river. We couldn't have a very long walk as the riverside walk was blocked by a locked gate across the footpath due to the water level inches from the level of the pathway. Ben the dog loves being out but sleeps as soon he gets back on board.  

The nights have still been a bit nippy but last night was the first night I just let the fire go out overnight as it was just too warm for me. Just relit it now to warm up a chilly boat. We've had a little walk around the marina first thing and all is quiet. The swans have made a nest and last years seven offspring have finally left the marina. We'll miss their noisy flight practice and occasional thump on the boat roof as they misjudged their landing, until the next brood are ready to learn to fly.

We've had a visit from Chris Jones, the Beta engineer to do a few little jobs including replacing the ten year old gear cable which had gradually got stiffer over the years.  Eric didn't seem to realise how stiff it was but I found it a struggle when I steered the boat. He also checked the fuel again and sucked out 5 litre of fuel to get rid of water at the bottom of the fuel tank due to a failed seal on the fuel filler cap. There was about two litres of water in the fuel he took out and then it was just red diesel, so all ok now.  No sign of the dreaded diesel bug either.

A few weeks to go before we head off to Aqueduct Marina for the paint job so we're clearing anything we won't need and storing it in our onsite storage box, one of the perks of being residential. I sold my bike as it was just sitting there unused taking up space. I didn't feel safe on the country lanes and the towpaths drive you nuts because of punctures. I couldn't ride it with Ben anyway or one of us would have been swimming in the canal.

Have a good weekend, we're off out for Sunday Lunch at The Leaky Tap in Cockshutt with Nick and Liz,  so Ben will be home alone for a couple of hours. I'll have to bring him back a doggy bag!

Thursday, March 02, 2017


Eric celebrated his birthday on Monday the 27th of February, another year older!This photo was taken in Cornwall, I think it was Sennen. We're going there again in April while the boat is having a paint job. and I am really looking forward to it. I'm a bit concerned about the dust and dirt created by shot blasting the exterior of the boat. We'll put away what we can and cover things with plastic dust sheets, No good worrying about it with another month before  it happens.

On Tuesday we had pancakes cooked in my new frying pan so they didn't stick. I used the recipe on Chris Evan's Radio 2 show for easy pancakes and  they turned out fine. Ingredient were easy  200 grams flour; 300 mls milk and two eggs all beaten up so it was lump free. Delicious with lemon juice and sugar too. Eric had golden syrup......he has a sweet tooth! After Ben's walk in Ellesmere by the Mere we had a lazy afternoon listening to the rain washing the outside of the boat.

On Wednesday it was St David's Day so we just had to have homemade  bakestones or Welsh cakes cooked in a heavy iron pan.  We had a walk around Dearnford Lake in the morning with Ben the dog, the sun was shining too.  Ben managed to stay fairly clean other than his muddy feet. We had a coffee in the dog friendly cafe.

Gwen as Betsi Cadwaladr
It's Welsh week in Gwen's school and they are celebrating all things Welsh. Gwen dressed up as Betsi Cadwaladr  a famous Welsh nurse. Lisa took the photograph.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Happy Birthday To Me

Feeling old at Mamma Linas in Rogerstone

Yesterday we started the day with a visit to the  dentist to get a small filling for me, it took a while for the feeling to come back but by lunch time I was fine. I wanted to see the sea which is several hours away from our boaty home in Whixall but not so far from Newport.  We went for a walk on the seafront at Porthcawl. where the waves are usually crashing and  Storm Doris was making them bigger, but the camera phone didn't  really capture that. It was difficult to hold the camera still in the wind so we hid  in a seaside shelter and watched the waves.

Crashing waves at Porthcawl

Gwen at  Porthcawl. ..... it's  cold! 
Ben the dog was certainly having the wind through his fur and we had the wind through our hair. a seaside visit however short wasn't complete without sausage and chips from the chip shop by the park. We waited for them to open and got Ben the dog a sausage too. You could feel the wind on the M4 as Eric drove us back to Newport not that it slowed down the usual speedy drivers.

Lisa and daughter Gwen

Our granddaughters Scarlett and Gwenllian

In the evening we went out for a meal at Mamma Linas in Rogerstone , an Italian restaurant housed in the old Jolly Roger building. Eric remembers standing outside waiting for the school bus as a youngster  while Lisa remembers some time spent in the pub many years ago. The food was delicious and  thanks for a lovely birthday treat. Thanks to Lisa for the photos.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Walk By The River Severn

The crocuses around the monument 
Today we went to the Quarry a recreation area alongside the River Severn. It's  a great place to walk the dog as it's  mud free. There's  a lovely place there called The Dingle where there are lovely flower beds and a small lake with fountains. There's a monument in the gardens to Perry Thrower  who was head gardener. Today  it was beautiful  with  all the crocuses.  There are beds with daffodils, hyacinths and tulip leaves peeping through amongst the flowering yellow polyanthus, so in a few weeks it will be even lovelier.

The children's  play area was busy with shrieks delight. You could hear them before you could see them. During the winter the coffee cabin was missing  but now it's back so Eric  had a  coffee  and a had a very  nice hot chocolate.

Back on the boat the water tank is filling as the wind blows. After all  we're  in windy Whixall.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It's Wednesday

Dearnford Lake, Shropshire 
We'll another week's gone by, it's been  a cold one but it feels a bit warmer today. Monday was surprisingly sunny and we went to see Dearnford Lake. We'd seen the  sign on the Tilstock road but had no idea if we could walk the dog there. Yes we could and the coffee shop even has a dogs allowed section which was full when we went.  From April onwards it's  a wild swimming lake too not that I fancy swimming in cold water. Looking on the Internet  the lake came into  being when a huge hole caused by materials needed for the construction  of the  Whitchurch bypass were extracted. The owners decided to use the whole in the ground. 

Yesterday we did the food  shopping  in Ellesmere where I walked the dog alongside the canal. It was very muddy in places. Eric fancied fish and chips for tea from the chippy in Wem, so we went  to get some at the shop by the Coop. The fish was cooked while we waited and we ate it in the car rather than let it go cold driving back to Whixall.  Ben the dog  had his sausage which was gone in seconds.

Today I need to do some washing and take Ben the dog for a walk. I think I'll go and see what's going on up on the Prees Branch. The canal is now closed for several weeks as the contractors need to use some heavy machinery to knock in the pilings. They haven't  started yet as you can't hear the banging.

The gas cylinder has been smelling all week which tells us it's  going to run out.......usually when it's dark and raining. We have a small spare until we pop to the marina office to get a new big one. It's just moving the satellite dish pole to get into the  the gas locker.

Time for breakfast.  Have a nice day!


Today on the Prees Branch
The big plant has arrived and is now banging the pilings  in.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Snowdrops At Attingham Park in Shropshire

Today we decided to go and walk in Attingham Park hoping the snowdrops  were out in the grounds. They were flowering   and looked beautiful growing naturally  in the woods. Ben enjoyed his walk too. We were glad of our scarves and gloves but Ben was warm enough in his fur coat.