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

HAPPY  10TH BIRTHDAY GWEN
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.