Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Quick Trip To Newport

On Wednesday we travelled to Newport to take Paula and her little dogs back to Rogerstone. We stopped off at Oakwood near Hereford for some dog walking and  some food from the cafe there. You now have to pay to park and the ticket man comes by car to check the cars.

We had a cuppa at Paula's house before we headed to Lisa's and Gwen's home where we stayed for a couple of nights. Peter spoiled us on Thursday by taking us out for a meal with Lisa and Gwen to the Three Blackbirds. Thanks Peter and thanks Lisa for letting  us stay.

On Friday we made our way home to Whixall enjoying the air con in the car keeping us so cool. We got some fresh  food stuff at the Coop in Wem and made our way back to the boat at Whixall Marina.

The cafe is supposed to be opening at the beginning of August so there's lots of work going on here at the moment with pavements and the road being resurfaced as well as an outside area for the cafe. There's also a large new carpark. Soon it will be finished and peace will return to Whixall Marina.

It's  been incredibly hot on the boat so we purchased a fan which has helped. It was the last one in Tesco's Shrewsbury so we didn'the have a choice.

Today I made a porthole bung for our bedroom as when the sun comes up it wakes me up. We found some foam in Dunelm and cut a 38 cms circle. I made a cover to match the curtains. Hopefully I'll sleep longer tomorrow.  The swallows twitter away  in the early mornings so perhaps I won't. Tonight they're swooping down over the large area of water in front of the marina building taking a drink of water.

A new porthole bung

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

We're Back In Whixall Marina

Seven lift bridges later with help from Paula and we're back in Whixall Marina. Soon we were moored up on our berth and plugged back in to shoreline.  BT line reconnected and you'll never guess  the phone line's fine but no broadband. I rang BT Help they're coming next week . The saga begins I wonder how long it'll take them to sort it this time.

Today  I've  been catching up with the washing before we take Paula home to Rogerstone tomorrow. Soon it was all washed and dried using the laundry at the Marina.

We then went out for lunch at the cafe at Alderford Lake cafe.  Paula and I had a prawn and salmon salad while Eric had Staffordshire oatcakes with bacon and cheese. Very  nice too.

It's one of those places  you can wild swimming in the lake and some people were enjoying the water. No doubt it was cool in today's heat but I don't fancy it.

Back on the boat the dogs were pleased to see us. They're fast asleep now after a busy morning guarding the boat.

We've packed our bags as we're off to Newport tomorrow  and we'll be staying with Lisa and Gwen for a few days. See you soon 😊

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Above The Locks At Grindley Brook

Elsie & Paula (Jaq's photo)
While we were at Hack Green Jaq took a photo of two fat ladies!

This morning we worked through the seven locks taking us above Grindley Brook locks. We queued in the heat below the staircase locks for the next three boats up. Unbelievably hot we were glad to be moored up under some shade.

The lock keeper was still there when we walked down to the Cafe for an Ice cream.  She told me  46 boats had gone through the locks today and she still had an hour to go.

Tomorrow we'll be back in Whixall Marina after two months cruising. Just seven lift bridges left now......I hope it's  cooler tomorrow.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Wrenbury To Willey Moor Lock

Yesterday we worked through Swanley and Baddiley  Locks in the sunshine. It was much too hot for me with no breeze to speak of. We found a spot under the trees before the Church Liftbridge to moor up.

In the morning we popped to the shop for bread and milk to keep us going until we get back to Whixall. Paula was pleased there were no cows in the field we walked through.

A little further  today with two lift bridges and three more locks taking us above Willey Moor Lock. The pub was open so we moored up away from the lock bollards. Paula and I had ham salads with thick slices of cut ham and Eric had a burger, it was lovely food and we enjoyed some  cold beers and cokes too.

A lovely ham salad

Eric is all set to watch the Grand Prix Qualifiers and the Football. I think I'll have an afternoon nap!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Back On The Llangollen Canal

Just two locks at Hack Green and we were on our way to Nantwich. There was a space so we moored up before the aqueduct. It was still incredibly hot and it didn't cool down much overnight.

This morning after a quick stop at the services we enjoyed a slightly breezy trip to the locks at Hurleston.  We were soon at the top of the flight of four locks with some help from the volunteer lock keepers.  Some confusion below the top lock with two boats in the pound and another coming up. The lock keeper let us up before he let the next boat down. It was nice and breezy at the top of the locks too.

We moored at the first moorings on the Llangollen Canal.  A good spot near a road as we were expecting visitors.  Sharon and Ian (cousins of Paula and Eric) came with cakes. Lovely to catch up with you both and we all enjoyed the cakes.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A Stop At Coole Pilate

Paula tea maker extraordinaire 

We enjoyed our stop at Audlem with a visit to look around Audlem Mill as well as food in the Shroppie Fly.

Just a stop for water yesterday morning at the Audlem Services but we had to wait.... then down the last three Audlem Locks. With a little shade it was cooler working through them.

Then a short hop to Coole Pilate moorings where it certainly wasn't cool although we had some breeze coming under the thick hedgerow through the side hatch.

A glorious sunset certainly a red sky at night moment last night. I enjoyed watching the mad antics of the swallows swooping past the boat they must have been catching flies as they swooped near the water as they didn't seem to be drinking.

The side hatch was towpath side this evening so we couldn't leave it open overnight but with the windows open we were fine.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Down The Locks To Audlem

Today we were up and away by 9 am to get through the twelve locks to moor in Audlem hopefully under the trees opposite Audlem Mill.

We made excellent time with our additional crew member Paula who is now knackered! For the first time ever we did it in two hours!

It was so hot coming down them but we're now moored up under the trees where we hoped to be. Shopping is needed  but we'll get it later when we've cooled down a bit.

We've just had a lovely meal at 'The Shroppie Fly'. Thanks to Paula who treated us. Totally stuffed now!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pork Pies At Adderley Top Lock

We left Market Drayton behind us after a top up of the water tank. We were in luck as the water points were empty. Boats passed us by starting at 6.30 am this morning when we were still in bed.

We cruised to the Top of Adderley Locks and bought some very tasty pork pies to share for our lunch at the Canalside Farm Shop. We resisted temptation and  left the scones and cream behind today.

Progress down the flight of locks was quick with boats coming up the flight too. An extra member of crew makes a big difference too. Paula's a great help at the locks.

Paula sitting under the tree

It incredibly hot today so we were glad to stop under the only tree on the moorings below the locks. The solar panels are still in the sun. The dogs are flaked's just too hot!

Just two boats on the Adderley Moorings and no one has come up from Audlem since we moored up.
Perhaps they didn't fancy the Audlem 15 in this heat.

Tomorrow  we're staying put. Eric wants to watch the Grand Prix. We're  hoping for a cooler day on Monday when we tackle those locks.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Down Tyrley Locks To Market Drayton

Woodseaves Cutting today was amazing I love to see the ferns and smell the fresh smell of all the greenery. As Paula says 'It's green'.

Arriving at Tyrley Top Lock was great as it was open ready for us to go down after we dropped off the rubbish. Going down changing places with the upcoming boats in the pounds was no problem. The locking gear wasn't hard and we didn't struggle with the gates.

CART were working at Lock 4 clearing a blocked weir and they helped us quickly through as some water was needed to raise the pound between the two locks. There were six people  in the team of workers!

A short cruise to Market  Drayton where I needed  to pick up some fresh stuff at Asda .....the nearest shop to the canal.  Eric found a barber for a much needed haircut so his waves are gone!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Stop At Norbury Wharf

Approaching Grub Street
(Photo  by Paula)
Still melting as we cruise along the Shropshire Union Canal. The cuttings have given us welcome shade and the occasional breeze on the embankments was welcomed.

We stopped at Norbury Wharf overnight. In the afternoon we popped to the Cafe for an Ice cream but it was just too hot to sit outside so we walked back to the boat where Eric had the dogs. The pub garden was in the shade  so perhaps a cool drink would have been a better option.

This morning a trip to the Services then we topped up the diesel tank at Norbury Wharf.  Soon we were on our way planning to stop at Goldstone Wharf if there was room.

Lines of moored boats meant we were slow going. Paula took a lovely photo of that bridge with the tiny telegraph pole in the arch at the start of Grub Street Cutting.

Yes there was one space at Goldstone Wharf and we fitted into it which was good as we needed to stop it was just too hot on the back of the boat.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

I'm Melting At Wheaton Aston

It's been so hot on the boat we've been looking for moorings with shade. With not  a breath of wind at Bridge 8 near Brewood we were glad  to move on to  get some cooler draughts as we cruised.

We enjoyed the cool in the cuttings as we set off earlier than usual at 9 o'clock.  Just one lock at Wheaton Aston to work through and a space on one of the water points to use the services.  We moored up partly under the trees in the moorings by Turners Garage. We didn't  need fuel but we did need shade to stop me melting.

Later in the evening when it cooled down Eric washed and waxed one side of the boat, knowing he wouldn't  be able to do that side for a while as the towpath changes sides. It was covered in dust and pollen. Looks nice and shiny now and the paint works protected too with the Craftmaster Carnauba Wax.

Definitely need a few cooler days..  I've had my feet in a bowl of cold water and Paula's dogs have been having a cool down with a flannel. The high light of their doggy days has been seeing off any people, dogs and boats who happen to pass  nearby. It's certainly not quiet while the dogs are awake  when we're in a busy spot but once they're asleep  all is quiet on NB Bendigedig.

Monday, June 25, 2018

On The Shroppie

Above Gailey Lock there were ten queued boats waiting to go down the locks. We stopped for the services knowing it's the last Elsan point until Wheaton Aston.

Then we were away planning to stop after an hour as it was so very hot. We moored up after Moll's Bridge with the front of the boat under the trees and the solar panels still in the sun. It was so hot!

Eric watched the football on TV enjoying England's scoring six goals. I read my book!

Today we  travelled the narrows called 'the rockins' by the old boatmen. We had to wait at Autherly  Junction as a boat was coming through and his wife had it ready for him even though you needed binoculars to see him. They took an age to exit the lock and take the turn for Great Haywood.

Finally through the lock and we moored up near Bridge 2 for food shopping in Morrisons.  Very hot walking  there and back but oh so cool inside the store.......pity there wasn't a cafe we could have chilled all afternoon.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Overnight At Penkridge

My new galley slave making tea!
Paula is settling in well with her new role as crew member. It's great to have help at the locks, but we've found some of the paddle gear really stiff. Paula is hoping to lose some weight but I haven't lost any since we started our Summer Cruise in May.

We went through Penkridge lock to find the Service Point empty which is rare and then we found a mooring space too. Later all the other moored boats they know something we don't? Someone did join us later.

Today we worked through just four locks and moored up a few locks below Gailey. Feeling thoroughly lazy now.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Visitors Onboard Bendigedig

I enjoyed some time out in Stafford shopping while Eric enjoyed the football on the TV. Other than that I've had my head in a book on my Kindle.

Today our visitors  arrived Eric's sister Paula and the dogs Rocky and Roger. Thanks Danni  for bringing them. We had a lovely carvery lunch in the pub at Radford Bank.

Just one lock today at Deptmore with help from our new crew member Paula before we moored up. Everything's strange for the dogs.......this house moves!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

At Radford Bank In Stafford

Moored at Radford Bank on rings

We've had a busy few days getting through Fradley Junction on Sunday after a stop to use the services. Surprisingly quiet  with no queues for locks on the Trent and Mersey as we headed towards Great Haywood.

Luckily we found a space to moor at Rugeley with a choice of shops. We did the shopping and moved on with just Colwich Lock to do. We moored up some distance from Haywood Lock due to long line of moored boats.

This morning we used AngloWelsh to top up with fuel, top up with water and empty a cassette. Soon we were ready to cruise on the Staffs & Worcester Canal to Radford Bank.

At Tixall we  waited for a working boat and butty came down the lock  and then it was our turn. There's  a sign on the top lock gate warning of leafcutter bees in the beam. Interesting to watch as they took leaves inside the beam. Apparently CART is monitoring it as the bees are non aggressive.

No room to moor outside the pub at Radford Bank......Lots of spaces  but too small for us. So we're next to the BMW garage. Just been to town for a long overdue haircut at Supercuts.......bought some ear plugs too as we're  near a busy road.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Slowly Does It

We're slowly making our way to Fradley Junction planning to pass through tomorrow.  Hope it's not too busy. The bad weather meant we stayed put near Polesworth and managed to have some contact from the moving boats as the wind was blowing them towards the towpath and moored boats.

Next stop was Polesworth for bread and milk at a lovely Spar in the village. There was a barber, hairdresser,  hardware shop and dentist amongst the shops. Also a dog grooming parlour.

We carried on planning to stop later at a clear spot out of all the trees as we could see the TV transmitter so knew where to point the aerial without using an app on my phone. Apparently it's the Sutton Coldfield transmitter.

Today we're watching the world go by. Why slowly you ask? Well we having a visitor next Thursday and meeting her  at Radford Bank with her two little dogs.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Down The Atherstone Flight

The Top Lock at Atherstone
From an overnight stop at Rugby we cruised slowly past moored boats so stopped at Hawkesbury Junction at the far end of the moorings on the Coventry  Canal. I needed to do a load of washing which meant running the engine to use the Travel Power.

Today we had a long day taking us down the Atherstone 11 Locks. Good today because we had the help of 2 volunteers and boats coming up the flight so locks gates were open ready for us. The lock gear and gates are certainly  easier on the narrow canals.

We finally moored up  at a little spot where the railway runs behind a small hill at Bridge 50. Chilling time now.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Busy At Braunston

We spent Saturday and Sunday a few bridges away from Braunston and watched the boats go by. It may have been quiet on the other canals we've been on but Braunston is where they all pass through.

Today we travelled slowly past lots of moored boats and pulled in at the Services which are currently working and clean.  Popped into Midland Chandlers for a roller and paint tray to paint the raddle red on the deck. It looked badly scratched from Ben the dog. We took advantage of their Elsan fluid off 2 x 5 litres for £20.

It's  been incredibly hot  today as we worked through Hillmorton Locks  but no queues today.  The lock keeper was in attendance at the top lock but again no volunteers to be seen.

After that  it was a slow cruise to Rugby with lots of moored boats along the way. We stopped at the last space on the looking is that? Lots of vegetation alongside this Oxford Canal even here where there are mooring rings.

Off to fill up the cupboards and fridge from Tesco's, in weather like this we need Icecream 😊

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Hurray No More Broad Locks

Hurray just completed Calcutt Locks, the last three broad loads on the Grand Union Canal.  We topped up the diesel tank at Calcutt Boats and filled up the water above the top lock. We paid £2 to use their elsan but at least it means we don't have  to use the one by Midlands Chandlers which is usually disgusting,  blocked or out of order.

We've seen loads of boats on the Grand Union/Oxford Canal section, it's been very busy but calmed down a bit by 2 o'clock  We're moored up  having a lazy Saturday afternoon, eating scones  cream first then jam as they do in Devon!

I am sharing them with Eric

Another Lock Flight Done

We were in luck today as we had locking buddies up the Stockton flight of nine locks. The paddle gear wasn't  too bad either. Lovely to have someone to chat to and it's so much quicker with two boats locking together. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. We stopped at Stockton leaving them to continue on their way. We spent the afternoon being thoroughly lazy.

Lovely mooring spot at Stockton  GUC

Just renewed our residential mooring contract at Whixall Marina. Lots of work in progress with a new car park  and more disabled spaces. The cafe will be opening soon too......looking forward to cake.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Ten Locks To Long Itchington

Bascote Staircase  Locks
A lovely quiet place to moor for the night opposite Radford Semele. We  moored on our own but other boats moored by us later.

Up and away we planned to do ten locks today and we did  arriving at Long Itchington in a heavy surprise rainstorm. We were soaked to the skin!

As usual we shared the work, I was in charge of  paddles and gates on some locks and Eric on others.  We didn't find another boat to share with so it took longer as we only used the gates and paddle gear on one side of the lock.

I won't  be sorry to get off the Grand Union Canal with its own style of paddle gear. It's like raising and lowering a lift bridge with 30 turns each way.

It was a first for me today being on the boat in a staircase lock and Eric soon sorted filling the top lock and using it to raise the boat in the bottom lock, a first for him too.

Getting closer to Napton  Junction just 12 more locks!

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

From Hatton To Leamington Spa

This morning we shared the last four double  Hatton  Locks with Sheila and Paul on 'NB Granddad's Gift' so  we got through them much quicker. They're looking for a new marina so we told them about Whixall. We also did the Cape Locks together before they went on their way as we stopped  to shop at Tesco's in Warwick.

Through Leamington Spa we didn't remember it, lots of new builds since we last came through. We finally moored up out near the Country Park.  A lovely sunny day today.

Tomorrow  we start the climb up to Napton Junction where we'll soon be back on the narrow canals at Braunston.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Oh No It's Hatton 21

A view down Hatton to Warwick
This morning we started down  the Hatton 21. It's daunting as you look down the flight! All I can say is the gates were heavy and the paddle gear was hard even though they're hydraulic. Out came the extra long windlass  and I counted 30 turns to lift or lower a paddle. The lock keeper did help us through one lock next to his cabin!

We can't  remember it being this hard ten years ago but then again we were  ten years younger. We won't  be coming this way again. The flights of locks we've  done are Tardebigge 30, Lapworth 19, and Hatton 21 and Tardebigge was the easiest to work through.

We're currently four locks up from the bottom of the Hatton 21 in a long pound......we just needed to stop!  We'll do the rest tomorrow.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Lapworth Locks To Kingswood Junction

Going down Lapworth Locks
Sunday was chill today although I did cook a Sunday roast. We knew we had 19 locks of the Lapworth flight ahead of us taking us down to Kingswood junction and the Grand Union Canal to Warwick.

So today we were soon up and away and the flight was ahead of us.  The locks had stiff paddles and some very heavy gates. It would have been lovely to see some of CaRT's volunteers but we didn't!
Although we shared the work it just means we're both knackered.

It really makes you appreciate the Llangollen and Shropshire Union Canals where the locks are easier and much less debris in the water.

Chilling now.......Hatton Flight's another day. To be honest I'm not looking forward to 21  double locks with heavy gates although we only need to open one gate each end if there's  no one else around. I may need three shredded wheat!

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Down The Weed Hatch And Onto The Stratford Canal

The guillotine stop lock covered in graffiti 
We had moored below Tardebigge Top Lock so just one lock to do today. A deep one at fourteen feet and a sign nearby telling you that the Tardebigge  is the longest flight of locks in the UK. We picked up a rope fender in the lock and it meant delving in the weed hatch as Eric had to cut it off the prop. My  very sharp carving knife was the tool used.

Several tunnels today and a stop at ABC Alvechurch to get a gas bottle and some beta filters  and Morris oil from the chandlery.  The longest Tunnel today was Wast Hill at 2726 yards which took half an hour to get through. A two way tunnel and not low at all but with lots if drips.

King's Norton Junction  was next and a right  turn took us onto the Stratford Canal. The guillotine stop lock gates were covered in graffiti. There's a lot of floating wood in the Stratford Canal so it was a case of avoid the floating logs and hopefully the underwater ones.

One hire boat was not so lucky and ended up stuck on something with the swim of the boat out of the water. CART were there and had tried pulling it off with a boat with no long.  Their next plan was to winch it off the obstruction as a man donned a wet suit.

We stopped at Warstock where a large Coop  two minutes  from the canal meant filled cupboards and fridge. Google Maps have their uses.  We found a mooring later away from traffic for a quiet night.

Friday, June 01, 2018

At The Top of Tardebigge Locks

Going up!
It took us five hours to climb the thirty locks which are the Tardebigge flight of locks. With just three boats going down as we approached the top of the  flight, we had to turn a lot of locks.Water levels were low too. We're feeling knackered would have been nice to see a volunteer or even a lock keeper. One did cycle past us!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

At The Bottom Of Tardebigge Locks

Irises along the canal
Lovely irises along the way as we travelled on towards Stoke Locks. We're not having much luck getting diesel as Hanbury Wharf was closed on a Wedenesday.  We stopped above the Astwood Lock flight to fill up with water and then found a space at the end of the visitor moorings. Two boat lengths were blocked on the towpath with fencing which meant you could moor there but you couldn't get out. We walked the half a mile to the nearest shop to get milk and bread, it seemed so much further. We bought some cans of lager so I could have that cold drink I was fancying days ago.

Sharing the work at Stoke Locks 23-28

This morning we continued on our way hoping Black Prince at Stoke Prior would sell us some diesel. They only do 60/40 at £1 a litre but we didn't care as if the tank gets below a certain level the diesel heater gets no fuel and we use it for that hot shower in the mornings. There's also rubbish disposal and Elsan disposal which wasn't marked in 2003 edition Pearson. We continued up the rest of the flight and stopped near the Queen's Head pub at the bottom of the Tardebigge Flight (Locks 29-58).

Moored up until tomorrow......all we can hear are the birds!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Climbing Up Towards Bromsgrove

Leaving Diglis we found a mooring with other boats above Blockhouse Lock as we thought the industrial site would be  quiet at night. But at night the unit next to the canal came to life, you could hear the forklift trucks reversing warning beeps and bright lights illuminated the parking area and us. It looked like daylight in our bedroom.

In the morning we carried on up the locks. New housing replaces large industrial sites present when we last visited in 2010. Most noticable was the large numbers of people on the towpath on this canal.

We shared the lock work as the top paddles were really hard even with my longer handled windlass so it was nice to take the boat into the lock for a breather.

We went under the M5    motorway0jand stopped at Tibberton on the visitor moorings. The pub next to the canal was being refurbished and the other pub in the village was closed on Tuesday so my lager and lime never happened. Cold lemonade will have to do.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Change Of Plan

Approaching Worcester on the River Severn

Look at all the swans at Worcester 

Travelling down the Staffs and Worcs Canal down to Stourport needed a antivandal key for the last three locks.  We got pretty wet as  it rained all the way but we didn't  want to stay in Kidderminster any longer. It did give us a chance to replace the microwave with Sainsbury's next to our mooring.

Plenty of mooring spaces  at Stourport  and nobody else arrived til late afternoon as there was a tree down in Kidderminster blocking the canal.  The first night was spent rather near a very noisy pub so we moved closer to the lock for the next two  nights. We weren't going anywhere with all the rain and thunderstorms forecasted  but Sunday's never arrived, it was a lovely sunny day.

We decided to go down the River Severn the next day (Bank Holiday Monday) as long as the signs showed green. By the time we reached the last lock before Worcester the water was now rising and at the top of the green. The lock keepers warned off lots of water coming down the River Avon and an online river levels check showed red on the Mill Avon where the moorings are so a change of plan was needed.

So we came back on the canals at Diglis Canal  Locks with the help of the very helpful volunteer lock keeper. Currently moored a few locks up from Diglis Basin and we don't have to worry about flooding rivers any more.😊

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Enjoying The Staffs & Worcester Canal

I'm in the depths of the lock!

It's been amazing weather and we're enjoying a change of scenery. It's  years since we've ventured down this southern section of this  canal and what strikes you most is the peace and quiet once you passed  the junction for the Wolverhampton 21 locks. At that point we had motor bikes whizzing past!

The locks are well maintained with plenty of grease on the paddles and most have a bridge next to the lock bottom gates. I usually do the paddles on both ends of the lock and leave Eric in the depths of the lock but we've been sharing the work. I get the lock ready and open the top gates while Eric puts the boat in the lock then I get back on and go down in the  depths of the lock while he does the work at the bottom gates. The bridge below the lock makes it easier for him to close the gates and come down the steps once the boat is out of the lock. It works with the going down locks all the way to Stourport.

Lots of five day moorings on this canal and plenty of lovely greenery. We've had an overnight stop at Dimmingdale Wharf where even the Canada Geese were quietly looking after their youngsters.

Arriving at Bratch Locks with no queues was good and two locks keepers on duty was even better. Here it's not a staircase just three locks very close together and a side pond is used so basically there's no wasted water. The rule blue before red applies to the paddle gear and the lock keeper is working with you. I struggled with some stiff paddles but he made it look easy.

Our next stop was Swindon where there's lots of foot fall past the boat. People out enjoying the canal with dog walkers., mums and babies and the older generation all happy to chat before they continued their walk.

Yesterday we saw loads of boats on the move as we get nearer to Stourport.  I was able to ask about mooring at Worcester on the River as we didn't want to go up the huge Diglis Locks to moor on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. So you can more by the Worcester Course for  £4 a night and you pay at the now we know.

We're currently moored at Whittington  below the lock on the Visitor moorings  and it's  now pouring with rain so we're waiting for it to stop, so we don't need sun screen today. Enjoy your day.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Down The Bottom Of The Shroppie

Bridge 39  with its tiny telegraph pole
Leaving Shebdon Wharf behind we were soon in the Grub Street Cutting, as usual a very wet towpath in a few places so wellies still needed to walk it.  It was certainly very green with the ferns flourishing in the damp environment. We met just one boat that pulled in to let us pass on a slightly wider section. I just had to take a photo of the double arched bridge which  with its tiny telegraph pole at the end of the cutting. 

At Norbury Wharf we used the services and then moored up to go to the chandlery as I wanted a new kettle. We ended up having a small breakfast each in the tea rooms which was freshly cooked and very nice. After a chat with Maggie on NB Blue Diamond who has a lovely morning on the offside, we were on our way. We passed through a very busy Gnosall and finally moored up at Little Onn all on our own but not for long as three more boats pulled in. We stayed put on Sunday as we wanted to watch 'The Wedding' all on our own once again  until teatime when two more boats joined us. 

Today we  used the services at Wheaton Aston before working through the lock.  Stopping at a very busy Brewood just to  get milk and bread at the Coop and going on to Bridge 8 where there's plenty of room to moor up. Tomorrow it's just the stop lock at Autherley Junction and we'll be heading down towards Stourport on the Staffs and Worcester Canal. We haven't been on that section of canal for several years.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sunshine And Help At Tyrley Locks

No wild by washes today at Tyrley

Going up!
Today has been a better day with sunshine and a volunteer lockkeeper at Tyrley Locks who helped us up the flight of five locks so I was able to walk ahead to set the next lock as there was nothing coming down.  Woodseaves  cutting was beautiful with the fresh smell of all the greenery. Once out of the cutting you could see right  across to the Wrekin, we'll know which way to point our aerial tonight without using an app on my phone. We stopped on Shebdon Wharf for our overnight mooring. In the morning Tony from Bethsaida Covers made an  adjustment to thr fixings on our cover......Thank you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

One Of Those Days

We spent a lovely couple of days at Coole Pilate before we moved onto Audlem. Feeling lazy we just worked through  the first two locks and moored up. I did get some food shopping though.

The next day we went up one lock  and then  filled up with water outside The Shroppie Fly  and then got rid of the rubbish and emptied cassettes before we  continued up the flight of locks planning to do ten. It was much easier when we  met boats coming down. We stopped at Coxbank as the only boat moored up although a boat joined us later.

This  morning we stayed put until the rain stopped and then finished the last two locks of the Audlem flight. Hello to the crew of  NB Bristol Cream who  read this blog who we passed at the top

Next we worked through some very leaky Adderley Locks stopping at the top for a pork pies and cup cakes from the  Farm Shop.....yummy 😊.

A lovely cruise to Market Drayton and then we moored up and locked the padlock and realised we were locked out. Many thanks to Talbot Wharf who supplied a bolt cutter but it didn't touch the Master padlock (level 8 security) so it needed  a man  from Talbot Wharf with a  disc cutter and he cut through both sides of the lock to get it off.  Thanks again .

We walked  to Homebase to get a replacement padlock and then to Asda for a curry for tea. I put the curry  in the microwave and  then I pressed the button to open the door but nothing happened.  The only way I could stop it cooking was to turn it off at the main switch. Eric forced the door open to get the curry out. So it's definitely been one off those days.😕

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sunshine After The Rain

Painting the boat poles at Coole Pilate
After an overnight stop at Wrenbury we  were away fairly early with just five locks to work through taking us to Burford according to my phone,  a few bridges  up from Hurleston. As the weather was cooler I enjoyed the ride.
A photo of Jaq 
The next day we set off planning to do the locks but came across Jaq on NB Valerie  so we pulled in next to her boat. A lovely afternoon on NB Valerie spent chatting  and drinking tea and coffee with nice biscuits too. Lovely to see you Jaq and hope your feeling better soon. I forgot to take a  new photo so this one is from two months ago when Jaq came to Whixall.

We stayed put for the night and went down Hurleston Locks the next day. It was really quiet on the lock flight and the lock keepers were helping too.  We moored up in Nantwich  after the aqueduct and went shopping in Morrisons as we needed some fresh stuff. It was easy to fill two rucksacks and we had strawberries and clotted cream with our  tea.

We're  currently at Coole Pilate doing a bit of maintenance. We've been sanding and painting the boat poles in the sunshine. Eric is now busy sealing around the wires from  the solar panels into the boat. Last night's heavy rain found the gap and we had a drip.

Just two boats right at the end of the moorings so it's quiet here too unless there's clay pigeon shooting later. We couldn't stop here with Ben the dog as the noise freaked him out and he wouldn't get off the boat.

We've enjoyed our first week's cruising. All's well on NB Bendigedig 😊

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Slowly Cruising Along

Five days in on our Summer cruise and we're a few bridges away from the four Hurleston Locks. The weather has been so hot other than a brief heavy shower yesterday.

Four lift bridges and four locks took us as far as  Wrenbury. With boats on the move it's easier at the locks  with a lock set ready for you and leaving the gates open for the waiting boat. Some new boaters didn't  know that it's  one boat up and one down but we explained that it had to be emptied for them to use it so a boat might as well use it to come down.

We stopped just after   Church Liftbridge to go and do a bit  of shopping at the Spar.   The trees provided up with some shade so we decided to stay put as it was so hot.

The towpath between Wrenbury  and Baddesley Locks is still  in need of some TLC with lots of mud and fenced off sections where the sides have given way. It's been like it for years and now the fences are failing too.

We're in no rush so we've cruised a few hours in the mornings and stopped  by midday for the last few days. We're  enjoying  been out of Whixall Marina even though we love living there. The trees are so fresh and green and the birds serenade us as we cruise along. Not so keen on the dawn chorus though 😕.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Out Cruising For The Summer

Going down Grindley Brook staircase locks.

Grindley Brook bottom lock
We left Whixall Marina yesterday morning after filling up with fuel. For a nice change it wasn't windy. We were soon through the two lift bridges on the Prees Arm but  the new lift bridge needs a lot of turns to go up and down just like the next one at the old scrap yard. I waited and let a following boat through and he returned the favour at the next  lift bridge. We moored up soon after on the outskirts of Whitchurch.

Today we had three more lift bridges so more exercise for my arms! As we arrived above Grindley Brook staircase we didn't have to wait. Six locks later we were at the bottom of the flght. Is this a holiday? My arms don't think so....... I must be  very unfit! We moored up for lunch and that's me done for the day. I nearly forgot to say the weather is gorgeous.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Back To Whixall Marina

A trip into Wrexham sorted out a new aerial from Screwfix. It's a cheap compact log periodic aerial recommended for boats and caravans.  We pointed it at the relay transmitter on top of the hill opposite the mooring basin at Llangollen and it got 38 channels including HD without any boosters. It may be an easier option when we're  out cruising as its easy to  erect once we use an app on the phone to tell us the direction and orientation.

We spent a  pleasant  few days in Llangollen before it was time to head back to Whixall. Sometimes it's a pity you're restricted to 48 hours as it was so quiet with just ten boats each night. We'd moored up next to a side wall as there was space which was nicer than floating pontoons. It was nice to have electricity too.

Cruising the narrow sections from Llangollen we didn't  see a moving boat although I walked ahead just in case. Our only holdup was a wait for five boats coming across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Jones the trip boat arrived so we let him go first and followed him across.

Progress is always easier going with the flow of the water and a several hours later we'd  moored up below New Marton Locks in the peace and quiet. Unusually the locks were deserted, often you queue there.

The following morning the hire boats were out in force  but by the time we were ready to move it was quieter. It was inevitable that if we met a boat it was  at a bridge holes but it's all good fun.

Arriving back in Whixall Marina it was windy.......nothing new there. Soon we were moored up and connected to phone and electric .......we're home 😊.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Crossing The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

I didn't  look down  ðŸ˜•

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.