Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas Over In A Flash

Guess who?

We're currently  still in Newport  looking after our granddaughter Gwenllian who is still on holiday from school. We're getting used to early mornings! She"s growing up fast though.

We've done the manic pre-Christmas food shopping  and then I cooked dinner for eight on Christmas day. I've been  converted to a using a steamer to cook the veg so this year the sprouts were just  right. Thanks Sally for the loan as you wouldn't  need it over Christmas.  The turkey was very good and we had some left for a curry and cold meat to go with chips. We tried a whole turkey for a change from Tesco as the use by dates were good.

Paula made delicious individual fudge and toffee Pavlovas  and we also had Christmas Pudding and brandy sauce for those with room to eat it. I forgot about the Christmas cake but we discovered it the next day.

Christmas morning started at 6.30am with Gwen setting her alarm to make sure she woke up! I love watching kids open their presents. We'd already had a pre- Christmas present opening at Sally and Dave's house as they would be away on Christmas day.  Granddaughter Scarlett opened her parcel quickly taking the clothes off the top to get to the Lego underneath.

Clare and her husband Ben had their presents early too as we wouldn't see them on Christmas day. Thanks for our lovely  presents everyone. Lots of edible presents too as storage living on a boat can be a problem. We had to try the lovely throw we were given so it's on the bed at Lisa's house where we're staying.

We visited Eric's sister Paula on Boxing day and she made a lovely spread of food. Time to catch up with family and Eric enjoyed reminiscing with his brother and sister. I always miss my brother and parents at Christmas, it's a time when families get together.

We'll Christmas is over for another year  but we enjoyed time with our families.  Back to the boat next week to recover!

The photo was Eric and Gwen in funny faces!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas from Eric, Elsie & Ben the dog. We're currently away from the boat and back in Wales for Christmas with the family.

The photo was taken with friends from Whixall Marina sharing a Christmas  meal. Highly recommended  too at the Castle Hotel in Wem. Thanks Phil for the photograph. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Snow And Ice At Whixall

A floodlit snow covered oak tree at Whixall (Eric)

It's looked very pretty but once the snow finally stopped falling the ice has been treacherous specially where it had been walked on. The piers themselves were clearly fairly easily  and gritted with a mixture of rock salt and grit.  To reach the canal by road meant walking along a frozen Alders  Lane so we found the spikes in a box on the boat and fastened them to our boots. Ben the dogs claws didn't do the job as well and Bambi comes to mind as he struggled to stay in his feet on slippery compacted ice.

Lots of the main country lanes have been cleared by the farmer's on their tractors. We may moan about mud on the roads meaning the car is usually dirty shortly after it's  been cleaned  but the farmers have kept the small roads cleared. Taking Ben for a walk along the canal has been fun and he hasn't minded having his coat on and walking in the snow

The marina froze solid and the boat made noises when we  moved onboard until a small gap between the hull and the ice formed. The water to the piers has been shut off before the temperature  went down to minus 7 but our tanks were full so we've  been ok.

Yesterday we had a problem with water pressure and then the water pump wouldn't turn off but after releasing the pressure release  valve on the calorifier  it turned off when the taps were turned off. Not before we had the kitchen cupboard contents out to get at the pump under the cupboard false floor to check for leaks. Eric also made sure the air hole above the water level in the water tank was cleared of ice as there may have been a pressure build up in the tank as the filler cap to the tank was extremely difficult to undo. Anyway one of the things he did solved the problem but we don't  know how.

Today after a warmer night the iced water looks to be melting. So hopefully the roads will be better and we'll be able to get out in the car to get some shopping. The post was delivered yesterday so things must have improved. The local schools reopen today too. We had most things but would have run out of bread if Phil the marina manager hadn't got us a loaf at the Coop in Wem when he went to get some chips at lunchtime in his 4x4. There wasn't any milk on the shelves as the deliveries had not got through so we were glad of me using coffeemaker and leaving the  milk  for Eric's cups of tea.

So we'll escape today after five days here. Let's  hope it' not too slippery on the roads......I don't  know whether Eric's had skid training. Keep warm and safe and enjoy your day.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Snow In Whixall

We woke to snow this morning. Pretty at the moment as it's not icy. Eric took Ben the dog out for a walk and came back covered in snow. Ben had his coat on too.

On Tuesday it wasn't  too windy so Eric took the boat over to top up the diesel as we've  been using it  for heating. We have to keep the tank over half full as the feed to the Webasco heater is high up the fuel tank. Coal, logs and sticks bought  and a short trip back to our berth. We did the food shopping yesterday  so we  have all we need.

Hope you're warm and cosy too.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Wooden Folk At Attingham Park

Just a few photos of the  new residents of Attingham Park. All were happy  and smiling. We saw nine but there maybe more hiding in the woods.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Twenty One Sleeps To Christmas

Another  week's gone by and Christmas is getting closer just 21 sleeps to go. I've written the Christmas cards, some to college pals I haven't seen for a  very long time. A few changes of address I've mislaid so I await their cards and hope they put their new address on them.

Eric put up the coloured lights  in the cratch, they look even better as it gets dark! I decorated the little living Christmas  tree that we bought in Sainsbury's.  The ornaments have been collected over the years. Last year's living tree didn't survive as it was left while the boat was in the paint shed for six weeks.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Back Onboard

Winter socks !!

We spent the weekend in Newport where we had a few very cold days. Frost on the windscreen soon melted before we took Ben for a walk around  Cwmbran Boating  Lake. On Sunday the model boats club was there and we loved all the boats but there wasn't  a narrowboat amongst them. Too cold for Icecream  but we later had Sunday Lunch at The Rhiwderin  Inn with Paula, Danni, Robin, Juls and Gwen. A last minute thing but we managed to get a table. Sorry we didn't  get to visit our daughters Clare and Sally and partners but we'll  be back again on the 20th of December for a longer stay over Christmas.

I found  my socks with toes in the cupboard so I'll have warm toes back onboard.  The boat was really cold  (5 degrees C) when we got back too cold for the freezer compartment in the fridge to stay frozen so I had to throw out the contents but the stuff in the fridge itself was fine. I had read that if it gets too cold then the fridge  won't  come on often enough to keep the freezer compartment cold enough. Next time we'll  have to leave a low heat on the boat  to keep it warmer.

The boat soon was up to 20 degree C with the Webasco diesel heater heating the radiators and the stove burning coal and wood. Luckily the hot water tank under the bed helps keep it warmer when we're home but we did put hot water bottles in the bed.

Today we got some food shopping  done in Ellesmere  and took a reluctant  dog for a walk by the Mere. He was OK when we said let's go back.

Back on the boat we needed  a new gas bottle, some coal and logs purchased from the marina and delivered to the boat by the very helpful manager Phil. Thanks.

I've been getting  some washing done when we had  mains electric  as electricians were checking the  posts. Now we're having a quiet night in and Ben the dog is asleep  by the's a hard life!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I've Done The Christmas Shopping

This year I decided to start the Christmas shopping early and got some lovely offers online for delivery or click and collect. Yesterday we went to Wrexham to finish off the shopping with  stuff I wanted to see before I buy. So it's all done and I'm pleased about that. Parcels to pack and we're  very ahead of ourselves.

We stopped  for lunch and sampled the food in the M & S Cafe and it was lovely. I had Quiche and salad while Eric had their all day breakfast. I was feeling tired and the food revived me.

This week we've  made the most of our National Trust Membership  and visited Erdigg near Wrexham  to enjoy a walk in the grounds. They do allow the dog as far as the picnic benches outside the restaurant so we had coffee and scones as I needed a sit down.  I've never really fancied  their sandwiches with their unusual fillings.

Ben the dog was yet again reluctant walking but there was lots of new smells to sniff. He enjoyed meeting some lively  young dogs but he's not interested in jumping around or play for that matter. There was quite a steep walk back to the car and I was definitely flagging, I  must be feeling my age.

This Thursday  we're  off to look after Gwen for the weekend while her mum has a mini break in Stratford on Avon. Lila the sprocker spaniel enjoys Ben visiting but for him the shiny floors are a bit of a nightmare and stairs are difficult.

All is well  on NB Bendigedig. We've  had a few more boats come to moor at Whixall Marina but there's still room if you want to join us.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Happy Monday

Well another week's gone by and we've been enjoying our life as usual. There's  always the normal day to day activities such as buying coal and logs from the marina. It differs from life in a house as we need to keep the water tank topped up  from the tap at the bow of the boat and empty the cassettes at the Elsan point. We don't mind this as it's  great to live on a boat.

We have peace and quiet in abundance, the delights of living in the Countryside. We love watching the antics of the family of swans in the marina as  the cygnets learn to fly. They no longer crash land on  the water!  We often see a  kingfisher sitting on the tiller of a nearby boat.

We're quite happy to go shopping by car to Ellesmere, Whitchurch or Wem. This week we've been to Ellesmere to get the food shopping. In the summer we can go  there by boat.

A few days ago we went for a lovely walk with Ben the dog in the  woods and the deer park at Attingham Park  and saw a couple of stags with huge antlers in the deer park. We had a long walk for us and were feeling hungry so we sampled the butter  curry and flatbread from the cafe menu  for our lunch....very nice too.

This morning the pontoons were frosty so I spread some rock salt and grit to get from our pontoon to  the green before I took Ben out. It was 0 degrees Celsius but it's warmed up to 5 now.  We decided on a walk at Alderford Lake  with a warm up in the cafe with some lovely  hot chocolate before the drive back to  Whixall.

We're warm and cosy with our the stove burning with logs and coal. Having lazy afternoon.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Getting Ready For Winter

Today we purchased some secondary double glazing from Sainsburys Homebase, it's basically a pack with clear film and double sided sticky tape. It works very well in keeping the windows fairly free of condensation. Sometimes they mist a little bit and it definitely seems to keep the boat warmer. I left some windows so they can be opened.

Condensation with no film

No condensation  just rain outside

The cratch cover is looking good. Yesterday morning it was covered in frost with the first frost of the year at Whixall Marina. It was gone by the time I took Ben out.

Today it's wet outside so my new walking boots will get an outing and I'm hoping I have dry feet ( update  feet dry).The dog has a new coat to keep him warm and dry and he surprised us by being happy to have it on when we tried it for size in the Countrywide store in Whitchurch. It kept his back nice and dry just a wet head and legs. Do they do hats for dogs?

Sunday, November 05, 2017

I've Been To Barry Island

We've just spent a week in south Wales on granny duties as it was half term in Wales. We'd already had half term in England a week earlier. Most of the week was warm and sunny and we had a trip to Barry Island. We didn't run into Nessa, Gwen or Uncle Bryn from 'Gavin and Stacey' but we were on the same spot as Nessa played the slot machines in the Amusement Arcade and granddaughter Gwen had chips from 'Boofy's Chip Shop the favoured chip shop. Eric and I sampled the baguettes and paninis from a nearby cafe.  Barry Island  was the favoured place in my younger days......long before 'Gavin and Stacey'. I always remember the numbers painted on the promenade walls so we knew where to find our family as in those days the beach seemed huge. Now it's so much smaller.

We walked the dog at in the parkland at Tredegar House  although as usual he was on a go slow until we turned around to head back to the car.  Tredegar House  is undergoing restoration on it's roof but it looks to be nearing completion as the covers are off and the scaffolding from the front of the house has been removed.  The National Trust took over the management of Tredegar House, it's gardens and Parklands in 2012 from Newport Council, Access to the park grounds and children's play area is free  but you do have to pay to park unless you are a member of the National Trust.  We have been in the house itself but usually it's a dog walking destination.

On Friday afternoon we had a late lunch at the 'Rock and Fountain' in Penhow with Lisa and Gwen, The food was delicious and we'll be making a return trip. Perhaps a good venue for Eric's 70th in February. We'd barricaded the bottom of the stairs with chairs at Lisa's house to stop Ben falling down the stairs and returned home to find it had worked with no dogs upstairs.

On Saturday we returned home to Whixall to the boat with its's new fitted cratch cover. Thanks to Tony Saunders at Bethsaida Covers  for an excellent job. Ben can't try to jump off the water side of the boat now.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Sunshine In Llangollen

We had some condensation on the inside of the boat windows after a cold night. Soon it turned into a beautiful sunny day.

Let's go out in the car we thought and ended up in Llangollen. I always enjoy a visit to Wales with the lovely view of Castell Dinas Bran sitting on the top of the hill. I didn't have the energy to walk up there today.  We had a coffee, looked at the views and sat and watched the white water rafts coming down the River Dee. Plenty of  water in the river today.

After a very nice freshly made ham salad roll from Chatwins we made our way back to the car and came back to Whixall. Ben had a taste of the ham!

A few things to do before we spend next week in Newport. Eric's  cleaning the car inside and out. I'm doing the washing in the laundrette. We've  just got to pack some bags tomorrow   and then we're going  on Sunday.

Monday, October 23, 2017

All's Well At Whixall

NB Bendigedig on her berth

Well ex hurricane Ophelia came and departed from Whixall Marina causing little damage with just a small  tree falling on the green. The oak trees had branches which moved rapidly in the winds which survived too. Since the storm the large branches overhanging  the boats have been removed by  a man with a chain saw and a man with a tractor with a lift on it. A large oak tree came down near the social centre   on Post Office Lane blocking the road for a day but  there's always another lane taking you where you want to go. It's easy to get lost in Whixall too. Someone told us you need GPS in Whixall.

After the storm

Storm Brian seemed to have passed us by with just strong winds. It just seemed like any other windy nIght and we're  used to wind in Whixall. Other areas definitely had a battering and the news showed the lighthouse at Porthcawl with the huge waves crashing.

We found a new place to walk the dog called Brown Moss. Paths run through a wooded area and there's  a peaty lake to walk alongside. A small herd of cattle roam there so we did have to divert to avoid them. A lady with a large husky dog did the same saying it wasn't a good idea to take her dog near cattle. Apparently it's a site of special scientific interest  and there's  lots of species of plants there  but in Autumn all we saw was leaves.

Nothing much happening here on NB Bendigedig at this moment. The coal fire is glowing in the stove and the fan is spinning on top. Ben the dog is fast asleep.

Eric took the photos of Whixall marina, here's a few more.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Ready For A New Cratch Cover

Eric's been busy repairing and painting the cratch board and now it's refitted  and ready for its new cover.  Tony from Bethsaida Covers came to the marina today to see what we wanted and measure up if the wind eases off. It's  windy Whixall  today! He works from his boat at Shebden Wharf on the Shroppie   with the butty all kitted out.

Another week's  gone by and we've been out and about on foot and in the car. On Monday we enjoyed the mile walk at Attingham Park  in the sunshine, Ben seems to liven up a bit when we're on the way back to the coffee shop. I had a look at the lovely stuff in the National Trust shop but we've  no room for more ornaments.

We've also been enjoying our usual walks  alongside the Mere at Ellesmere and around the lake at Alderford Lake. Of course we regularly walk along the Prees Branch from the marina with Ben the dog on a go slow until we're on our way back.

The flowers in the  window box on the front of the boat have been replaced with Winter pansies hiding  daffodil bulbs planted ready for Spring which seems so far away at the moment.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Oh No A Leaky Water Pump!

The week started off with a walk around Aldersford Lake followed by a coffee and a toasted teacake. We managed to keep dry and Ben the dog was walking in front of us for a change. Lately he's not keen on this walk lark and follows behind us on his lead.

I love the dragon 

Bendigedig in Barmouth

We also had a lovely trip to Barmouth with the great mountain scenery on the way. I love the seaside and Barmouth beach was lovely  with the breaking  waves even though it was rather blowy. Ben had a little run back and for between myself and Eric on the beach. We also had some fish and chips while Ben had a sausage. 

Today  Eric's been busy putting the last coat of paint on the cratch board. He thought he'd finished for the  day but he hadn't.  I'd discovered the cause of the water pump running intermittently when I  delved underneath the   false floor of the cupboard under the sink. It's surprising how much stuff was in that cupboard. The body of the water pump was leaking but it had lasted more than four years so I couldn't complain.

Jabasco water pump

A half  hour trip to the chandlery  in Nantwich to get a replacement of the same model Jabasco  to make  things simpler. So now  Eric has  his head in the cupboard replacing the water pump. Fingers crossed  for no leaks!! All sorted and all the stuff is back in too. I'd forgotten there was a bag of  cotton rags in there from old t shirts. Now it's time for tea.

Monday, September 25, 2017

It's Autumn

A Mandarin Duck in Autumn in Llangollen

How do I know it's Autumn? Firstly  it's colder in the evenings so we've  lit the stove for the first time. My  achey hip was feeling the chill so I dug out my lovely long vests in shades of purple  and pink so not boring white. Feeing warmer already.

Nothing earth shattering happening here. We've  done the usual walks with or without rain. Done a bit of food shopping in Ellesmere  or Whitchurch. Picked up our repeat prescriptions  and made appointments for seasonal flu jabs at the doctor's.  The appointments are two minutes long so it's  definitely  a quick sharp prick.

Eric's  been rubbing down the wooden cratch as it was too tatty to put back on the  newly painted boat with the varnish discoloured by water.  A metal plate was put on it to strengthen it after the impact from a bridge while the boat was being towed. Hopefully painting it will make it look better. Then it can be refitted back to the boat once the fixing holes have been redrilled The painter's filled  them in!

We need to arrange for a new cover to be made as the old one was damaged by that same bridge and had an excess of gorilla tape keeping it together.

So we're  all ok on NB Bendigedig just nothing much to say when we're  safety tucked up in the marina ready for winter.

PS I added the photo as it's my favourite Autumn photo taken by Eric which featured in the IWA calendar a few years ago. Just looked back on my blog it was taken in 2009......unbelievable!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Back In Whixall Marina

Just a few hours cruise from Ellesmere yesterday. Not so busy back to Whixall so a pleasant cruise once we'd let the hire boats pass us as he was keen to be somewhere. Perhaps he was due back.

Just one lift bridge and a single hander left it open for us so I got off to put it down once we were through. The other bridge hasn't been replaced yet but a new concrete base awaits it's arrival.

We filled up with fuel before going into our berth.  No wind today that makes a pleasant change.

Soon we were all plugged in with the Shoreline,  BT telephone and broadband and the TV set  up. We picked up 182 channels on Freeview with the Lab gear DVB-T signal finder lit up with three LED'S.

So this morning we weren't woken up by early morning  boaters just Ben at nine o'clock  as he wanted  to go out. It was nice to go out for a cruise but always nice to be back too.

Our family has been sharing some pictures on Facebook so here's a few for you.

Sally,Scarlett, Gwen and Lisa

Clare out on a ride to Weston super mare

Ice cream time

Gwen's off to school

Scarlett reading for her first day at Nursery

Saturday, September 16, 2017

On The Move To Ellesmere

Chaos was back on the canals as the new hirers meandered along the canal towards's changeover day. Lots of bridges for them to negotiate too.  We pulled over for a bacon sandwich for lunch to  let someone else follow the very slow boat ahead.

While I grilled the bacon Eric spotted some blackberries so we now have blackberry and apple crumble for pudding this evening with custard of course.

We moored up just before we got to Ellesmere as with all the boats out it would be difficult to find a mooring either alongside grass or concrete on the Arm.  That disgusting grey gritty stuff has been used on the towpath from the Blackwater Marina to Ellesmere Tunnel and it gets splashed up the side of the boat and makes the deck grey and gritty too, so I'm not mooring alongside that stuff if I can help it.

We'll visit Ellesmere  in the morning before we make  our way back to Whixall Marina. We've certainly had lots of wet weather since we've  been out  but luckily a lot of it was overnight when we were tucked up in bed.

We're  moored up on rings here, just as well as Eric said we've been passed by lots of boats without their skiers too. You can hear them before you see them!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Going Very Slowly To New Marton Locks

 Going down New Marton Top Lock

We left the moorings at Whitehouse and headed towards the  first tunnel of the day. Ben and I got off for a walk once we  got to the  other end mainly because Ben wouldn't  walk through the tunnel. A muddy walk but it stayed dry.

Eric was following two other  boats, the first one stopped at every bridge to make sure nothing was coming so progress was very slow. We were in luck at Chirk Tunnel just following the other two boats through and then across Chirk Aqueduct. We were travelling  mostly at tick over.  The second boat  got stuck  before Poachers so Eric overtook and reversed to send some water under it to free it.

Coming through the bridge at Poachers  the prop was touching something under the water making a ticking noise, so we floated through. Several boats got stuck going through that bridge when we moored there on Sunday.

The slow boat pulled in above New Marton Locks  but we planned to stop below the locks anyway.. No queues waiting today and a boat was leaving the top lock so we went in the open gates.

Ben and I walked to the bottom lock and topped the water level up where it had leaked out. Soon we were  moored up in the sunshine.  We did have one shower as I  walked down from the lock to where Eric was  mooring the boat. A downpour makes no difference to my hair it's  so short!


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Leaving Llangollen

After the branch of the  tree came down we decided we'd spend our second night in Llangollen in the basin. We'd  been to see if there was room when we walked Ben the dog up through the basin and into the field  and back across the canal bridge and down to the moorings. We waited   while the horse  passed us by as he pulled  the horse drawn boat with its cargo of tourists.

First of all we went shopping as it's further  to carry bags up to the basin. We stopped  for a coffee in Fouzi's before  tackling those steep steps up to the canal. Even Ben fell up them.

So we untied and I walked along ahead to check it anyone was coming along the short narrow section before the trip boats. All clear so into the basin and struggled to moor up on a pier in the wind. Getting  Ben off the boat wasn't  easy but he was lifted by his harness with accompanying growls. Growls as he was man handled back on  the  boat too.

Lots of overnight rain and still  heavy showers in the morning but we decided to put on the wet gear and boat in the rain.  We were first in a convoy of four boats to do the narrows, I'd walked ahead to check for oncoming boats. As they came through five boats  joined the queue  towards  Llangollen.

The Sun Trevor narrows were clear so that done Ben and I got back on the boat. He needed  a rub down to dry him off.

At Trevor  it was chaos  once we emerged and pulled  in to wait for Jones the boat  to come across the aqueduct.  Basically two more boats coming across the aqueduct and boats emerging from the bridge holes with nowhere  to go.

We moored at Whitehouse  and found the TV  signal. It's  been easier to find since we changed the cable to the aerial  and no problems with interference or pixel laying either.

Soup for lunch and time to relax. Ben's  happy chewing his hide bone.

Ben the dog with his bone and 'ducky'

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Onwards To Llangollen

We moved on from our mooring at Poachers' all wrapped up in rain gear but we only had intermittent showers.  We followed two boats across Chirk Aqueduct and into the tunnel as it was clear. We always manage to bash the sides as the water flow seems to drag you to one side so you crab your way through. All quiet at Chirk Marina as we passed it by.

Going across the aqueduct was fun and of course  we  were flying the Welsh flag. A sharp left turn took us onto the last stretch down to Llangollen.

Slow progress with the waits for the narrows to clear. I walked ahead with Ben the dog who was not keen on this walking today. I used WhatsApp  because we had a good  data signal to call Eric  to tell him it was OK  to come through, but as he was forth in the line of boats  the message was sent ahead by shouts. But the leading boat wanted to know how he knew it was  clear!

Finally through and moored up but not looking forward  to the storm. It was incredibly noisy last night  with the  rain plops on the roof and the wind. We were  lucky a huge oak branch came down between the two  boats ahead of us but no damage to the boats. It took some getting out of the water by the hire boats crew as the canal was  blocked.

This fell from an oak tree
 I got stung by a wasp on my bottom this morning by a wasp that decided to spend the night on the furry blanket on our bed. Not knowing he was there I sat on him!! Ouch! He must have come in through the mushroom.

Another bit of contact from a leaving boat  getting too close .......who needs an alarm clock?

Can you see the horse?

There he is!

Plenty of water in the River Dee

Monday, September 11, 2017

Two Locks At New Marton

Saturday started off sunny but intermittent downpours meant we just came up the locks and moored up on the long straight. The locks weren't busy going up but three boats were waiting to come down. We arrived   as a boat was leaving the lock. Ben and I walked between the locks so we arrived windlass in hand but with all the helpers I only opened one paddle.

We didn't need to be anywhere so decided against boating in the rain. Boats coming towards us told of the chaos at Chirk Marina where they had to queue to get past the marina. We were glad we were staying put!

On Sunday we decided to put  on the wet gear and go a little further as Ben needed a walk, so the boat came too. A few boats on the move but not too hectic. A few showers but not heavy ones.

Approaching the moorings at Poachers' we looked at  each other and said "Fancy Sunday lunch?". Yes there was space for a couple of boats. We moored  away from the big oak tree as I was concerned about some of the branches.

We had a lovely roast and took Ben a doggy bag as there was loads  of meat. He didn't want us to go  but was pleased with his share of our dinner. Well done  to the Poachers' quick service, happy staff and lovely food served in lovely surroundings. We'll be back.

The fire was lit in the evening for the first time this year. Eric had to take his jumper off it was so toasty. Ben booked his place in front of it and went to sleep.

Finding a TV  signal was fun but Eric managed it. The finder  gave us two green lights which ever way we pointed and we didn't  know whether the aerial should be horizontal or vertical. We wanted BBC 1 to watch 'Strike'  The Silkworm episode one and  often the TV  channels found didn't include BBC 1. With the bad weather outside we had to put up with some interference but we were able to watch it.

It's  Monday and raining again!

Friday, September 08, 2017

Ellesmere On The Arm

We arrived at Ellesmere  to find a boat sized space at the  top end of the arm by the  bridge. Any spaces soon filled up while I did a  shop in Tesco. I think lots of boaters have thought it's a good time to go to Llangollen now the children are back in school.

This morning we were woken with a bang as a boat crashed into the side of our boat as it was reversing back up the arm to leave. Another contact happened later too as another boat reversed up the arm. So we decided we'd  move on and went  across to the services to fill and empty things.

A lovely cruise  with sunshine  and a few boats on the move. We cruised and stopped short of New Marton Locks. Far enough away so that nobody would think our moored boat was in the  queue.

So all on our own for now. Ben the dog quite likes jumping off the boat on to grassy towpaths with a little help from us. Last time he jumped without his lead  he missed and one leg ended up in the canal.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Escape To Wales By Boat

A leisurely start to the day but soon we were ready to go. As you can see from the  photo taken from the towpath we moored bow in as it's easier to get off and on the boat through the bow doors.

But it also means we have to reverse out and with the wind it was really much easier to reverse to the fuel point rather than try to turn around so that's  what we did. Fuel topped up and a new gas bottle we were ready for the off.

Yes we're  heading for Wales crossing the  Chirk Aqueduct takes us into Wales with Llangollen  the ultimate prize. Just one lift bridge and a short walk with Ben the dog and we were back onboard. A slow trip as we followed a deep drafted tug style narrowboat but it's  nice to be out so we didn't  really care about the slow pace.

We moored  up at Hampton  Bank for an overnight  stop and the moorings soon filled up as the day progressed. It was very dark here last night but peaceful. The bank is quite low down here but Ben managed to get off with a lift on his harness to help his jump.

Boats have passing since seven o'clock  but we're  just getting ourselves showered and dressed before breakfast  and then we'll  go a little further. Hope you have a nice day.

Friday, September 01, 2017

It's September Again

Another week gone by and Eric's now replaced the glass and rope seals on our Aarrow Acorn multifuel stove. It's  also had a rub down and a coat of stove paint.  So one job done on the  list.

We've  been out and about this week too. On Tuesday  we  drove down to Great Haywood  to surprise Jaq on NB Valerie  at Tixall Wide.  Lovely to see her and of course  we had a lovely chat with coffee and cake. We thought we'd  missed Jaq but we met her coming back to her boat as we walked back  to the Canalside Farm Shop where we'd  parked the care.

Yesterday we went to Attingham Park owned by the National Trust  making the most of our membership giving us free entry and parking. It's  set in beautiful wooded  grounds with a river running through too. Ben the dog was on a go slow, not keen on this walking lark but on our way back he perked up a bit and was actually ahead of us rather than following behind on his lead.

Next week  we're  going out for a few weeks, hopefully it's going to be a bit quieter once school restarts on Tuesday. Chatting to some mum's last week  they were pleased the holidays were nearly over.  It's strange how the weeks seem to fly by  now, when we were kids the Summer holidays  seemed a very long time.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Just Relaxing At Whixall Marina

Just relaxing at the moment, the flowers on the bow of the boat are still going strong. Nothing much going on with us other than some  dog walking in Ellesmere, Whitchurch, Colemere and the Whixall  area. The weather has been kind to us too.

At the marina the facilities block is being revamped with five separate wet rooms each with its own shower,  handbasin and toilet. Two are finished now and looking very posh.

Phil and Darren have been busy cleaning out the very overgrown pond here at Whixall Marina, relining  it and filling it back up with water so the fountain is working again. Today's job is  mowing the lawns. I must admit I like not having to do gardening, it's one of the perks of living on a boat.

Eric's busy rubbing down the cast iron stove ready to repaint it before the cold weather comes again. It needs new seals and a replacement glass too so that's on the never ending list of little jobs.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Back In Whixall Marina

Gwen hugging me in Clearwell Caves 

We've  just come back after two weeks in Newport.  We had a good time but it's nice to be back onboard. Ben the dog has slept since we returned. I'm catching up doing a few loads while the laundry is quiet. Luckily the two machines were not being used so I could do two loads at the same time.

One day we took Gwen to Clearwell Caves and we also took a picnic for lunch. I didn't remember the caves although we had been there before when our three daughters were a lot younger. I found an old photo of Clare and Lisa but can't find one with the three of them on. I wonder where Sally was.

Looking at old photos brings back so many memories of days out when the girls were a lot younger  and I was a lot younger too.

L to R  Sophie (Westie) Lisa, Sally, myself and Clare