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.😊