Thursday, April 19, 2018

Crossing The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

I didn't  look down  😕

A lovely sunny day today as we headed for Llangollen. Quite a few boats on the move so it was a bit chaotic as we headed from the Fron Liftbridge. The number of turns with the windlass to get it up and down were endless but we got there in the end. Approaching the aqueduct we were in luck as we could follow a boat already crossing and then a left turn and we were on our way.

A lovely cruise in sunshine with no holdups other than Eric waiting for me to tell him the narrow sections were clear. I walked the first narrows and rang him to tell him was clear. A boater didn't want to wait as he believed it as his right of way because that's the way the water flowed! I put him straight telling him you need to walk ahead to make sure nothing's coming. Some walkers' heard him complaining about me calling me a foreigner! Hilarious because I'm Welsh and we're in Wales! He must be English!

I walked as far as the Llangollen moorings and then rang to say it was clear so he could come through the narrow section. Through one more short narrow section and we moored in the basin alongside the edge rather than on the pontoons which was great.   We paid £12 for two nights and plugged into the electricity on the bollard.

We couldn't get a TV signal at Whitehouses last night so we watched the first Pirates of the Carribean film again.........'The Curse of the Black Pearl'. We've had the same problem tonight even though we can see the relay transmitter on top of the hill opposite the mooring basin......perhaps the Moonraker has died! We can use the internet to watch Netflix as long as we keep an eye on our usage as we've 20GB on Three rather than unlimited when we're  in the marina.

So a few days in Llangollen before we head back to Whixall Marina. We're off to Wales for the weekend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Little Trip To Llangollen By Boat

The crane at the end of the Ellesmere Arm.
On Monday we set out for our first trip of the year.......we're  off to Llangollen.  It was lovely to be cruising once again after a long Winter in Whixall Marina. We love it there but we needed to escape and the weather forecast was good. It was windy and colder than expected but OK.  A few hours later we moored up on the Ellesmere Arm planning to stay overnight.

NB Bendigedig on the Arm

We walked down the arm to get a few things in Tesco. Eric walked into town to get a haircut too. Lots of dog walkers past the  boat in the day but we had a quiet night.

In the morning a very vocal blackbird made his presence felt. After breakfast we were on our way topping up the water tank at the services and getting rid of the rubbish. A little bit of rain as we travelled and it seemed so very slow after car travel. We stopped overnight a few bridges before 'The Narrowboat Inn'. We watched the antics of the new lambs in the field  opposite the boat. Lots of boats in a hurry past by but it was a very quiet night with all the lambs fast asleep.

This morning it was cloudy but warmer as we carried on towards Whitehouse.  The towpaths  were adorned with lovely primroses in some out of the way places.

At New Marton Locks we met the first of the holiday makers who didn't  see a boat approaching or didn't  look and shut the gates so the next boat came down before we went up. But we're not in a rush and the sun was shining so it didn't matter.

Welcome to Wales

Chirk Aqueduct and the tunnel were soon past and we moored up just off Whitehouses Visitor moorings which were full. The sun's still shining too. Tomorrow we should get to Llangollen.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Back Onboard At Whixall

We arrived back on Sunday evening leaving the birthday girl to a sleepover with pals. I doubt if there will be much sleep! Of course we had cake before we left and with all those candles it looked like it was on fire.

Not on fire just how the camera took it
They trip back was through Wales so it took longer but we loved the scenery on the way. We stopped at a big Tesco superstore to get shopping before the 4pm closing time. We hoped there was a cafe but there wasn't  so I had wraps and Eric chose sandwiches and we had the meal deal with drinks and snacks.

The boat was fairly warm but the fire was soon lit and we unpacked the bags. The washing pile was done the next few days using the big machines in the laundry. We had some macaroni cheese and watched some TV.

Looking at the weather forecast for next week we're planning a short trip to Llangollen.  After that we're picking up three months prescription at the beginning of May and then we're  off on the big trip. We're hoping to go down to Stourport and go on the River Severn to Tewkesbury  and then the Avon to Stratford on Avon. It all depends on River levels. We've   got the life jackets and anchor sorted as we haven't  need the anchor for a while.  The trip from Stratford back to Whixall is undecided but we have three months in total to enjoy the boat. We're really looking forward to our trip next week it's  been a long winter.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Easter In South Wales

We left our boaty home all  cosy with an electric radiator  on a thermostat to protect it against any cold spells. We didn't have snow in Newport but I know they had a sprinkling in Llangollen.  We'll find out when we get back if Whixall had any snow.

Travelling on Easter Sunday meant no holds ups and fairly quiet roads although we couldn't have our usual pit stop at Queenswood County Park as the car park was full. Families were enjoying the walks and adventure playground as it's one of those places you only have to pay to park.

We stopped at 'The Pilgrim Hotel'  on the A49 in a place called Much Birch, Hereford and had a lovely Sunday lunch with  roasted lamb on the menu. Although we hadn't  booked they found us a table in the bar as the restaurant was full. Suitably full we continued on our way to Newport.

It's the Easter Holidays so we're enjoying some time with our granddaughters. Gwen and Scarlett who are on holiday from school. We've been to see Peter Rabbit in the cinema which we enjoyed despite some negative reviews.

Scarlett & Gwen 

We've been shopping for a birthday cake as Gwen will be ten on Sunday. We're  coming back to the peace of the boat Sunday lunctime  leaving the kids to enjoy themselves with a sleepover. I doubt there will be much sleep.

Before that we've got afternoon tea at Season's in Rogerstone on Friday which was a birthday present from Eric's sister Paula. Gwen is coming to help us out with eating cake.

Paula enjoying a cuppa at Season's 

We've  been having some doggy company with  Lisa's  sprocker Lila  and Paula's chihuahua  and chihuahua / yorkie cross but are resisting all attempts to get a new  puppy.

Off for a bath now.....that's  the one thing I miss as we  only have a shower on the boat. Bubbles here I come.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Visit To Shugborough

Looking for somewhere to make use of our National Trust membership we headed for the Shugborough Estate. It was still very cold in the wind but it was dry. The satellite navigation took us to the estate entrance near the village of  Milton. We'd walked on the footpath through the estate many times when visiting by boat but this would be the first time we'd actually visited the estate itself. We parked in the car park and had our cards scanned at the entrance where we were able to get timed tickets to see Patrick Lichfield's apartment. We enjoyed looking at  photos of famous people on the walls including the Royals, Mick Jagger and Lulu but were not allowed to take any photographs ourselves.

We passed the pigsty with the new piglets peeping out when they heard us called 'piggies'. They must associate voices with being fed,

The exterior of the stables was impressive and I enjoyed looking around the servants quarters. A huge range was a feature of the kitchen and it was a very light and airy as they weren't in a basement below the house as they often are.

The house itself was interesting telling of the history house and the exciting if dangerous life of one of the brother's who travelled the oceans and became an admiral bringing back treasures from far afield. It was well worth a visit  and the staff were knowledgeable too. The rear of the house backs onto gardens and the slow moving River Soar  but it's the wrong time of year to really appreciate the gardens. 

Coffee and cake in the café to warm us up before we walked back to the car park, a twenty minute walk from the house itself. Lots of follies in the grounds but it was too cold to go walking in the grounds. An hour or so later back onboard our boat after a very nice day out. Shugborough featured on the Midlands news the day after we visited.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Chilly Saturday At Whixall

It's trying very hard to snow but it's  just snow showers and the temperature is just 1°C. I love to see the daffodils flowering in the window box on the front of the boat.

This week we've had some lovely dry warmer days amongst the wet ones. We  decided to go for a drive to Barmouth one dry day as we love to be by the sea and of course we would be driving through the hills and mountains of Wales.. We were mad enough to walk along the almost deserted beach even though the wind was whipping up the sand to knee level.

The waves were whipped up by the wind too. Some lovely scenery as we drove back through the Snowdonia National Park. We also stopped at Llangollen for a coffee and a walk alongside the River Dee to break our journey.

Just popped into Wem for bread and milk so it can snow now, we're not going anywhere until Monday when the car is having it's first MOT.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Back Online At Whixall

We've struggled all week with no BT Internet or phone signal but we had  a Three dongle for the basic stuff but not good enough for I Player or Netflix. BT fixed the phone line but the speed of the Internet was just 0.1mbs so still useless. A few phone calls. later they promised to fix it by 5pm today and they did. It took a week but  we now have an amazing speed for Whixall of 2.8mbs. (Let's hope it stays). This afternoon we're having a Netflix fix and watching 'The Age of Adaline' which was a very good film.

This week we popped down to see Jaq  on NB Valerie  near Hurleston Junction. We parked the car in the layby thanks to the sat nav and walked down the flight of locks to find the boat. Later we went out to lunch at the cafe at Alderford Lake. It was lovely to see her and have a great catch up. Jaq came back to the boat to see the Marina where we live before we took her back to her boat.  Jaq reminded us to take a photo because I always forget. Here's the photo with a lovely smile.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

An Update From Whixall Marina

The second dump of snow missed us in Whixall Marina but the weather stayed below freezing for a few days meaning the water taps were frozen. With the thaw came the leaks, as the push fittings popped off inside the utility posts as the water main tap was turned back on. Phil and Darren soon sorted out the leaks and we were able to top up the water tank on the boat. We'd been  very careful with quick showers to make sure the water lasted. We were still able to do the washing in the marina laundry.

We didn't run out of food either as we'd stocked up after seeing the weather forecast. When the roads cleared of snow....thank you to the farmers who cleared the lanes, we were able to get some milk and bread. Luckily the shelves weren't empty with panic buying in Whitchurch.

The weather has got better with higher daytime temperatures but we still have cold nights and a layer of ice is soon covering the water.  On warmer days it's thawed in the day.

Yesterday we decided to go for a walk around Ellesmere, one of our usual dog walks but without a dog which is still very strange. A few dogs aproached us for a fuss so we had a dog fix! There's  still a lot of ice floating in the canal and at the junction with the Ellesmere Arm the ice is solid. The coal boat was moored opposite the water points so they're getting about regardless of the weather.

Our broadband died  and the phone line went all crackly with strange noises on Monday and today the phone is dead too. After several calls to BT an engineer is booked to come Friday.....fingers crossed they keep the appointment and get us connected once again. We have Three dongle which has a 15gb limit which we use when we're  out cruising but unlimited BT broadband means we can watch Netflix and on demand TV without worrying about going over our limits.

We've been looking at the maps thinking about our three months out  cruising  starting in May Always nice to think about on a warm and cosy boat.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Warm And Cosy On NB Bendigedig

As I enjoy a hot chocolate on our boat I'm thinking we are so lucky. We have all mod cons on board and the luxury of a residential mooring with shoreline electricity, phone and broadband.  Despite lots of non boaters thinking it's cold on a boat, this one certainly isn't with diesel heating and a multifuel stove.

Whixall Marina is a lovely place to live, I wouldn't like to be continuously cruising in these temperatures or moored on the cut with no facilities. Here we have a water on tap next to the boat although with temperatures of -4°C today it's frozen. Coal and logs are available and delivered to the boat by the friendly Phil or Darren.

There's also a diesel pump, elsan disposal, pump out as well as a laundry with washers and driers. The shower/toilet block has just been refurbished to give individual wet rooms.

Planning permission has now been granted for a waterside cafe and there's  a chandlery with some boating essentials. I'll be able to have hot chocolate in the cafe soon.

The marina is frozen, the  wind is blowing and it's  snowing but we're warm and cosy .......I hope you are too.😊

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Back Onboard NB Bendigedig

We've had a lovely week with meals out including my birthday breakfast at Seasons in Rogerstone. Gwen and I had pancakes, fruit and yoghurt while Eric had a cooked breakfast. Of course we both had badges, we were celebrating   Eric's birthday too as it's on Tuesday. We also had lunch there another day with Paula which was lovely too.

Gwen and I went to see Status Update at the cinema in Friars Walk,  Newport one day leaving Eric watching the rugby. We booked it online and picked up the tickets at the cinema. I didn't  think I'd  enjoy a teen movie but I did. Lots of popcorn too.

On my birthday we had more food with a meal at the Three Blackbirds,  Llantarnam.  It was a lovely meal with lots of laughter too. Thanks for my flowers, chocolates and presents.

Back onboard yesterday after a pleasant journey with no traffic holdups. The boat was warm as I'd left an electric radiator  on just above the frost stat setting. With the fire lit and the diesel heating on we were soon toasty.

Eric ordered logs and coal from the marina and Darren  delivered it to the boat. We'd stopped  in Whitchurch for food to restock the fridge and cupboards so we're all ready for the snow we are supposed to be getting. Just the water tank to top up now.

Hope you're  warm and cosy too. Keep safe everyone.

Monday, February 19, 2018

In Newport For Half Term

We're enjoying ourselves in Newport. Today we've been to visit Tredegar House  as despite living in Newport  for most of my life I had only explored the house once. We usually walked the dog in the grounds. We love the painted gates so took a picture with Gwenllian.

There were things for the children to do including dressing up and Gwen tried a cloak for size.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Feeling Warm And Toasty On NB Bendigedig

What a week, we've woken up to heavy frosts and snow falling but it soon warmed up and melted away. The marina itself  was frozen for several days  and then the next morning it had gone too. But onboard NB Bendigedig we've been toasty and sometimes needed to open the side hatch to cool down the boat a bit.

We've  not really done much walking without the incentive of taking the dog for a walk regardless of the weather. It"s been so wet and muddy walking by the canal we gave it a miss until it dries up a bit.  We did take a trip by car to visit Llangollen and walked alongside the River Dee but at 3°C it was very cold. We ended up in Fouzi's for lunch which was lovely as usual and warm and toasty eating inside for a change.

I've finished my little rag rug which now has a home in front of the fire. It's very pink because I made it from some of my old pink tshirts when I replaced them for new ones.....I love pink!

We've been shopping in Whitchurch as we needed to stock up the fridge for a week. After that we're spending a week in south Wales as it's half term again and we're looking after our granddaughter Gwen.

Sally, Scarlett, Gwen and Lisa

Monday, February 05, 2018

Brrr It's Cold !

Back onboard NB Bendigedig it was just 10°C, it would have been colder but I left a heater with a thermostat on a low heat to give a bit of warmth. Soon the fire was lit and the Webasco running and we had a balmy 20°C.

We stopped  in Shrewsbury on the way back to get some food in as we may get some snow according to the weather forecast. The freezer needed refilling as I"d left it empty knowing it wouldn't stay frozen if the boat was too cold.

Rocky and Roger  behind him

We enjoyed our weekend  in Newport and the chance to catch up with our three daughters Sally, Clare and Lisa and granddaghters Gwenllian and Scarlett. But first stop was a visit to  Eric's sister Paula and a cwtch from her and her two little dogs Roger and Rocky.

Lilah loves the sofa!
Lilah the sprocker spaniel was very pleased to see us when we arrived at Lisa's home as was Gwenllian who'd made me a lovely Welcome Home card hoping we'd  have fun. On Sunday afternoon we went to see 'Early Man' at the cinema which we three  enjoyed. Eric opted for the rugby match on the TV.

So we're all sorted with coal and logs, food and drink, warm and cosy. Hope you're  all warm too.

Saturday, February 03, 2018


It's been a strange week but we've been out and about. The snowdrops have come out in the flower beds by the entrance of the marina so we decided to visit Attingham Park to see the snowdrops. There didn't seem to be quite so many as we saw last year so perhaps we were a little early visiting.

We also went for a drive to visit  Llangollen and then through the Horseshoe Pass at over 1300 feet where we found beautiful views and snow! There was an ice warning but the Pass was open and the roads were more slushy than icy. We  took a left turn and came down crossing the River Dee and into Corwen. The railway line ends at Corwen so perhaps we'll  get a ride on the steam train now we haven't  got Ben. He always freaked out at the noise of the steam whistle and wanted to be as far away as possible.

It was nice to drive past some of the places we've walked in the past with Liz and her dog Connie. We passed Llantysilio Abbey and remembered the time we met a big ram on the footpath and had to get out of the way in a little picnic area off the track until the ram decided to go back up the hill. He had big horns so no way was I going past with Ben the dog.

We do have some lovely memories of walking the hills around Llangollen when it was our winter mooring each year.

Here's some photos of  a few of our memories with Ben the dog.

Attingham Park in the Autumn 

Barbridge on the beach 

At a Cornish Harbour

Sennen Beach, Cornwall, 

Gwenvir Beach, Cornwall

Ben as a new pup

Monday, January 29, 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ben Takes A Dip

Yesterday Ben the dog decided to take a shortcut rather than taking a corner and ended up taking a dip. Needless to say he's 29 kgs and difficult to get out of the water but the handle on his harness helped me get him out. A shivering dog was soon back onboard wrapped in a towel. He was very ungrateful as I dried him off......growling at me. I suppose  I should have been watching him but he was behind me as he didn't really want to go for a walk. No after effects. ....he's fine but I'm a bit achey!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Windy At Whixall

Last night the wind howled and moved the boat  about on the water as the rain banged on the roof.......I was awake but Eric was  fast asleep. He's a bit deaf in one ear so that helps. I must have got some sleep when the weather calmed down.

The nasty bug going round certainly hit us for six. and ten days on I am feeling much better although Eric has a way to go the coughing has eased. The nurse at the doctor's said it's nothing to do with flu as no body aches or sore throats just a painful head  and totally bunged up feeling in the sinuses and a dreadful cough. We've certainly kept Kleenex in business.

We've been very pleased to have grocery deliveries after the Tesco driver rang to find out where we are. Ben the dog's had short walks around the marina or along the canal.....not that he minds he likes to lie by the fire and sleep!

Here at Whixall life is good....... coal and logs delivered to the boat by Phil or Darren to keep us warm and cosy. Friendly  neighbours who chat to you and help you out if you need it. We watch the changing seasons and the wild life in the marina. The only downside is the car never stays clean long with all the mud and puddles of the joys of living in the country.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

A Week In The Sick Boat

Actually the boat is fit and well. It's the crew that are sick suffering with a flu/ cold symptons including a totally bunged up feeling with  headaches, dry chesty coughs and drippy noses. I started it off earlier in the week and then Eric came down with it on Sunday. Hopefully we'll feel better soon. We've  both had the flu jabs which may or may not help us.

If all goes to plan we should get our Tesco delivery today.....fingers crossed we need more tissues! The delivery arrived after a phone call from the driver asking where we were.....all he had was the postcode! I rang Tesco online and asked them to add our correct address as listed on Royal Mail postcode/ address finder.

So we're well stocked with tissues and hoping to feel better soon! Well done Tesco all I ordered and no substitutions and a  cheerful driver who delivered to the boat.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Back On Our Floaty Home Again

This morning we left Newport and headed back home with Ben the dog. We stopped on the way for a comfort break for all three of us at Oakwood Country Park  outside Hereford. We went for a muddy walk in the Arboretum. There's  a lovely cafe with take out, so I had a lovely ham salad and Eric had a bacon and egg toastie. Ben the dog had two cut up sausages!  We had coffees too.

The journey went well with a few holdups where the car in front went 40mph regardless of the speed limits. We stopped in Wem at the Coop to get milk bread and something for tea.

Back onboard Ben was soon asleep. He copes better with carpets than hard floors where his back legs slip and he's like Bambi. This time he didn't  have to cope with stairs as a baby gate blocked off the stairs so he couldn't attempt to get upstairs and fall down them.

In the photo he's  tucking in to some treats. He did well for treats this Christmas  and says thank you to Paula and Clare.

The boat was pretty cold as the electricity post had tripped for some reason  but it soon warmed up with the Webasco diesel heater and the fire lit in the stove. The batteries  were down a bit but the battery charger soon sorted that.

I now have a washing mountain after two weeks in Newport  but I'll  start on it tomorrow.

Monday, January 01, 2018