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 Ellesmere.....it'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!

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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.