Monday, 29 February 2016

Llangollen for the weekend

Hi, welcome back

We've had a lovely weekend here in Llangollen.  The basin is practically empty which is a shame as the moorings are really good and at the moment they're free, with added bonus of free electricity too.

Llangollen is a really lovely little town with plenty of nice shops, pubs and eateries. It's very busy with tourists over the weekend and there's usually a crowd on the bridge photographing the river below.

The sunny weather spurred me on to start the Spring cleaning yesterday.  We removed the cratch cover and spread it over the picnic table so that I could give it a good cleaning.

It's mostly coal dust and spider poo on the inside. Thankfully it's pretty easy to get off and the results are quite dramatic as you can see. It certainly make the cratch a lot lighter inside once it's been done.

The outside never gets very dirty and I put that down to this product which I spray on a couple of times a year. It puts a nice shiny coating on the cratch and makes dust and bird droppings easy to wipe off.  I buy it from car parts shops like Motorland or Halfords and a bottle has lasted me 4 years so it works out extremely economical too.

I quite like the front of the boat without the cratch cover but it's just not practical for us to leave it off as the front of the boat is our "shed".

While I did the cratch cover Roger cleaned the well deck, so that's the first job crossed off the spring cleaning list.

After lunch yesterday we took Chico for a walk in the sunshine.  There are spring flowers everywhere and this is the largest patch of snowdrops I've seen so far............beautiful

This is the chain bridge over the river Dee.  It's been renovated since we were here last year

You can now walk across the river and would be able to pick up a train from the station opposite to get back to Llangollen. Unfortunately for us the trains weren't running this weekend. We never seem to be here at the right time to be able to ride on a steam train.

Bye for now

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Welcome to Wales

Hi, nice to see you again

We're really enjoying our "Spring Break" on the Llangollen Canal. Apart from one day when it never stopped raining the weather is staying kind to us and we've been having some fantastic sunny days. The solar panels are working well in the spring sunshine too.

We took advantage of the rainy day to catch up on our hobbies. I made some apricot and amaretto jam and a fruit cake

and planned my next crochet project.

These are a few of the things I've made so far this winter.

When we moved onto the boat Roger taught himself to play the guitar and this year he's learning electronics. He's already made me an alarm that tells me when the washing machine has finished it's cycle, so that I don't have to keep running up and down the boat checking it. He's also made a gadget that adapts my slow-cooker, turning it into a "sous-vide" cooker which works amazingly well.

I've been chatting to several women recently who all live on board boats. The ones who seem happiest all have hobbies to get them through the winter months. One woman I met the other day was spending her first winter afloat and was moaning about how bored she was. When I asked what she did with her spare time she told me she only watches wonder she's bored! What with cooking, reading and crochet I never have time to get fact I could do with more hours in the day to get through everything I want to do!

We spent last weekend in Ellesmere, meeting up for Sunday lunch with boating friends Bob & Nicola. We'd teamed up with them 2 years ago to do the Wash crossing and this year we're hoping to do the Severn crossing, so lunch in the pub turned into a full afternoon's planning meeting. Final plans still need to be made so we're having another session in the pub planning meeting next week too.

Today we crossed the Pontycylitte Aqueduct and thankfully it wasn't as windy as previous crossings.

We'll be in Llangollen from tomorrow. I hope the good weather continues, although there's a rumour we may be due for a cold snap and some snow!

Bye for now, please come back soon

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Spring Lambs

At the risk of becoming's been a lovely day again. The sun is still shining, although I can almost guarantee that the weather will change tomorrow. You see my sister is taking a short UK break for half term and she never has good weather. It's become a family joke, although it's not so funny for her family.

Yesterday we'd planned to moor for the night at Wrenbury but when we arrived the towpath beside moorings was like a quagmire, so we just had lunch and carried on afterwards.  It was so bad that Chico refused to get off for a wee!

Further on, we saw our first lambs of the year. It was lovely watching them jump and frolic about.

Bye for now, I hope to see you again soon

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Up the Golly

Welcome back,

Happy Valentine's Day

I don't know what it's like where you are, but we're still having amazingly lovely weather. Granted it's still cold, but the sun's shining and the skies are blue - what more could we want?

Yesterday we moored outside The Old Barbridge Inn as our friend Adele was coming for lunch. We had a really good meal and Roger said the beer was on form too.

I've been wondering where all the boats have been recently, well I can tell you that they're all on the Shroppie - or more specifically around the Barbridge Junction area. We saw LOADS of boats yesterday. Unfortunately the majority seemed to be weekend speed boats with very few slowing down past moored boats.

Today we've moved onto the Llangollen Canal and it's gone quiet again. Water levels seem very high at the moment and some of the lock by-washes have been quite fierce, although not so bad as to give me any problems steering into locks.  We've found a lovely secluded rural mooring for tonight and I'm just about to cook the Sunday roast. Life is good

See you soon

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The sun has got his hat on

Hi, nice to see you again

After all the dreadful weather we've had for the past couple of weeks it's been an absolute pleasure cruising over the past 3 days!

We left the Macclesfield Canal before it was closed for bridge and lock repairs and set off down the Cheshire Locks. Although it's still a bit nippy, the sun has shone constantly and it reminded me just why I LOVE living on the boat.

The very mild winter seems to be bringing an early Spring and this field was full of blooming rapeseed. No doubt the hay-fever season will be early this year too as rapeseed is one of the main irritants.

We've seen plenty of cherry trees in full blossom too

and there are daffodils and snowdrops everywhere.

Just in case the weather changes tomorrow I took this photo of the clear blue sky to remind me that Summer's on it's way

Last night we moored at Wheelock and took Chico to his favourite "toy shop". The pet food stores has a really good selection of robust "Kong" dog toys which are ideal for dogs like Chico who usually destroy cheap squeaky toys in minutes. These have a rope core and his last teddy lasted almost 6 months.

He was so impressed with the pink pig that he took it to bed with him...........

Bye for now, see you soon

Friday, 5 February 2016

We're on the move again

Bless me dear reader, for I have's been a month since my last confession blog............

Well to be honest, we haven't really done anything that was worth writing about and I'd hate to bore you.

We've spent January pootling up and down the Macclesfield Canal between Marple and Macclesfield and have met up with several old friends who are based on this stretch of canal. We've not been this way for a few years so it was nice to catch up and revisit old haunts.

It's been a busy end of the month with visits to family over in Manchester as well as having our children come to visit on the boat to celebrate our daughter's birthday as well as Rogers BIG birthday. I'm not saying how old he is but this is the birthday cake our daughter made for him.

She also made him this shirt. She runs a small business making bespoke children's clothes so this was a bit of a change for her. It took quite a few covert messages between us to get the measurements right but Roger was delighted with it.

Once all the socialising was complete we set off on our travels again and came down Bosley Locks yesterday.

Our friend Adele came to give us a hand. She usually single-hands her boat and said it was a nice change to be able to work the locks without having to see to her own boat as well. We certainly appreciated the help and made it down the 12 locks in an hour and a half.

The locks are closing for planned maintenance next Monday and the work boats are already there ready to get started.

We've done this lock flight many many times before but I've never seen the water level so high. Towpaths were flooded

and the by-washes were struggling to cope

These were sights more commonly seen on the Rochdale Canal than the Macc

We moored overnight on the deserted visitor moorings below the locks and carried on again this morning. We haven't seen any other moving boats for days.

This isn't the usual kind of cow you expect to see on a dairy farm............

Our mooring for tonight is another of our favourites, Congleton Aqueduct.  It's a bit windy here but the view is good......well it would be if it wasn't raining and cloudy. Yet again the moorings are deserted. Where are all the boats?

That's all folks
Take care and I'll see you again soon