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Friday, 31 May 2019

Nantwich to Anderton and the Boat lift...

It's almost happened again hasn't it... nearly a week of silence this end...


Moving swiftly on - we had a couple of days on our own when our last guest departed... a couple of days of hit and miss weather but we still managed to get laundry washed and dried (mainly out side using the whirlie gig - it's a glamorous life) before re-stocking the boat in readiness for our new- comers - Shopping in Nantwich is ok but it's a LONG walk back to the boat with heavy bags... SO long in fact, on our third trip we borrowed a friends "Shollie"...


Clearly pulling said thing along was designated a "light blue" job lol.

Whilst in Nantwich, we spent an evening with our friends Eddie and Wendy on their boat playing "Game of life" (that I'd picked up in a charity shop in Whitchurch... having never played if before it was good fun and certainly easier to do than rummikub - especially once the wine consumption increased.

After a boozy night with them - actually, scratch that... after ANDY'S boozy night, the next day was a more somber affair involving preparing the boat for our new guests and getting ready to depart.

Their arrival was a little later than expected - them having driven from Somerset, but once introductions (and a glass of fizz) had been done, we chugged off in the sunshine on our journey towards Stretord.

It tuns out, they're ex boaters (retired now) so it was going to be easy explaining boaty toilets and water usage etc.

New ground (well water) for us again as we turned on to the Middlewhich Branch... 

It's also where we spotted our first swans/signets of this season... Swans have been conspicuous by their absence for a few weeks now around here... don't know why.


We also went over the site of last years major breach - it's hard to bevel what was here before...

At Kings Lock I nipped into the chandlers to buy an oil filter - at over 15 quid, I won't be getting another from them... 'will stick to Calcutt boats cause even with delivery it's cheaper!

We moored over night at Lion Salt Works but just before we did, a voiced hailed from behind a good looking boat (it was being polished at the time) "Hi - I read your blog... Barbara" - I apologised again for rubbish I write here but it was nice to say hello and put a face to the name.  

Yesterday morning, we chugged on and got to Anderton about an earlier than our booked slot... tying up on the waiting area, I spotted (in the rain) another boat we recognized ... a couple we'd met last year in Saltaire.  I still can't remember their names ... they'd just been on the Ribble link and stopped mid stream for a brief chat about their adventures... 



Just as they were departing, I turned around to see a woman I recognized - this time from our journey up the Huddersfield Narrow canal at Slaithwaite ... she'd stopped and chatted then in the rain too.  Once again I can't for the life of me remember her name... she was with her husband and scoping out the lift for things to do with their grandchildren... we nattered a bit in the rain whilst Andy was indoors playing rummikub with our guests and at 11.15, the lady came to get us into the lift ready to go down on to the river Weaver...







Having turned "right" on the Weaver, we got as far as the closed lock... stopped for a spot of lunch and then went back up stream to moor for the night in readiness for this mornings ascension (sounds most regal)...  

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Once we'd eaten our tea (another marvelous ginger creation) we left our guests for some time alone and went for a ramble to burn off some calories...  ahem, on route back to the boat we spotted the pub and popped in for a quick pint... ... ... or two and IN the pub bumped into Brian and Diane off Harnser - we'd spotted the boat looking very resplendent and hadn't realized it had just been painted ...HENCE the very smart appearance.  After a quick hello and a chat, we enjoyed another couple of pints and then staggered back returned to the boat to retire for the evening.

THIS morning, we head up the lift and continue our journey towards Stretford...

Until next time...


Sunday, 26 May 2019

Surely it can't be 8 days already? - Leaving Llangollen, The Monty and Prees Branch...

Guilty as charged!

I can't believe how long it's been since I came and updated the blog - I mean, thanks for all the concerned messages asking if were ok *read NONE*/// but fret not (nino fretto) we're ok and have just been busy ... boating! 

Given there are 8 days to catch up on here, please forgive me if it's MORE dis organised than usual... my short term memory is rubbish ... I CAN however tell you the sequence of a memory game my friend Helen and I played together about 25 years ago whilst waiting for Def Leopard to come on stage at Don valley (rip )  (the stadium) ...: apple, banana, coconut, donkey,elephant, fridge, giraffe,hippopotamus...  basically it goes all the way through to z as a "I went on holiday and in my suitcase I took"  game.

We often laugh about it still.

Neither us could tell you what colour the underpants we put on this morning were.

Also, I'm gonna be lazy this morning and just put up a photo stream rather than "in" the correct bits of text if you follow... sorry about that but if I put things where they "fit" it'll take all day and we've got to walk into town and back a few times to stock the larder for our next guests...(we're now back in Nantwich).


So where was I ?

Ok - a quick summary...  we had a couple of days in Llangollen when our last guests left - the sun was shining so we did minimal jobs and spent it relaxing and chatting with people.. we bumped into a few bloggers and you-tubers along with less famous people lol.  We also had to nip down to Chirk for a pump out but did it at Anglo Welsh in Trevor instead so we could chug up (and back) the little basin arm there and therefore "colour in" our travels map...

A quick tick here for the guys at Anglo... really helpful, friendly ant not over-priced either... certainly compared (in the friendly and accessibility stakes) to Chirk.

Once that was done, we had a night away and then returned to Llangollen Basin and plugged back into the grid once more - the luxury of electric and water on tap (literally) is not to be taken for granted.

rewind a bit - before we got back up from Chirk (where we'd spent a night) just going over the Ponty what's it's called, I spotted a chap taking our photo - we're used to it but I generally comment so as to make a passive aggressive point that perhaps it might be rude to take peoples photos without asking first (I KNOW it's the boat they are taking) ... it appeals to the devilment side of me though.

The "chap" then replied  and said who he was...  Thing is, this quite often happens these days... either they read the blog (and I apologize for the dribble I write), OR they read my tweets (and once again I apologize) - anyway ... it turned out HE was the new guest due to join us back in LLangollen lol

It's a good job I wasn't TOO aggressive with my comment lol.  He took it in good spirit and we discussed a bomb-shell he'd dropped the day before ... JUST the day before mind via email, about him being GLUTEN free and LACTOSE intolerant!!!

You can probably imagine how well that had gone down with me at 2 days notice in a tiny town with bugger all in the way of special shops and a weeks' menu already planned and shopped for....

AS it happened, the reason he'd NOT fore-warned us was that he sees it as HIS problem and works around it well enough so there was no reason to stress us out ... despite my initial annoyance, once I thought about it from his perspective, I came around to it as being a good way to go through life... NOT making it everyone elese's problem.

Anyway - despite this, we managed to find a few store cupboard items and switched recipes to gluten free alternatives... I'm sure eating cardboard all week was a nice change for him anyway lol.

                                                                     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Having left Llangollen Basin on  Friday afternoon, we did of course encounter quite a few hire boaters banging their way up there as we came down... no matter, we'd sent Andy forward with a walkie talkie and managed to avoid collisions a plenty.  The hire-boaters having the "fear face" when presented with a boat coming the other direction... a face I remember well and often repeat myself anyway :-)

Passing back over the Ponty, we chugged on through Chirk tunnel and moored for the night as near as the castle we could - our guest fancying a walk to it the next morning.   Once on the way again, we hatched a plan to travel as far down the Monty as we could and also the Prees branch - once again to "colour in" the map ...  both of which whilst not offensive did prove a little challenging depth wise... Dragging our bum along the bottom in many places.

Whilst neither of them were "fabulous" they both had their beauty but the weather was a bit dull and overcast - certainly in the case going down the Monty so that took the edge off it somewhat - THAT and having to book and wait for lock opening times...  MIND you, we did meet some lovely boaters in the queue and once down there so it WAS worth the diversions... people being more interesting than canals most days anyway..

After that we stopped off on the mainline at Whitchurch for a walk into the town - that's a lovely walk along part of what would have been the canal route... and bought a couple more items required to feed the "Glutard" (that's probably not a PC term for it but it's HIS term and it made us all laugh...)

Whilst on the subject of the glutard guest, I must say we've had a fun time with him... even before his arrival, we got the "vibe" from the tone of his emails he was going to "get us" - and he did... within minutes we were all totally relaxed and comfortable around each other...  all in all, a smashing week with banter flowing both directions...

Anyway - he's gone now but won't be forgotten... for numerous reasons that I won't write on here in case he hacks the blog lol.

SO then... once back on the boat, we got closer to Grindley Brook Staircase and joined a queue of 3 boats waiting to go down... I'd gone to see the lockie to say we were here and he said if no one was waiting to come up, he'd tag us on to the end and do a 4 down instead... alas, by the time the water tank was full, a boat had overtaken us and taken our place in the queue - the lockie thinking that was us, let them down instead lol.  In the ended we waited 2 hours to get down as it was busy.  No matter, we sat in the sun chatting with other boaters and bloggers...  a really friendly and chatty couple of hours... AND a few tweets sent too .

We chugged on a bit and got ready to go down Hurleston locks on our penultimate morning...  once again, filling with water we "lost" our place in the queue...  ONCE again however, going through the "problem lock" was not a problem for us as we're slim... me also (well compared to this time last year - currently 12 stone 6 verses 14 stone 5 last year)....

Our arrival in Nantwich was in glorious sunshine and we all took a walk into town together to get some more supplies before we endured enjoyed our final dinner together.

Today finds us having done 5 loads of washing and drying NOT on electric hook up (eek) and almost ready for our new guests to arrive.  I've booked "Anderton" for Thursday so we'll have to get going once they get here... we're only going down for one night and back up again ... just for the experience this time.

Photo stream to follow as promised:






















Until next time ... WHICH will hopefully be sooner... ahem!

Edited to add, I DO have 6 pairs of those grey "dickies" socks I bought from Lidl so I'm NOT a mucky begger lol.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Llangollen, Llangollen and Llangollen....

We're in love... 

This place is truly wonderful... it really is.

The views, the people the atmosphere - even the over-priced eateries are lovely.

Illness a side (which thanks for asking is over the worst now) we've had a lovely trip up here and stay.

I'll rewind a bit to bring you up to speed.

SINCE my last missive, we've travelled along through beautifull scenery, stunning views and even encountered many a friendly boater... the friendliest of which have been hirers - well for the most part. 

OK, so yes there are a few that are going too fast... but perhaps that is down to poor hand overs from the hire-firms... OR simply high-spirits....  ONE gang we came accross the other morning (mixed not same sex) were merrily drinking cider and beer at 8.30 am...  EVEN experts like us moderate drinkers like us don't start THAT early...

well not very often!

So then - were did I leave off? ... I have a feeling we were just about to head across the PontyWhat's it's face aqueduct thingy...


As we peeked Ellis's nose around the corner, we could see the coast was clear so full steam ahead... well by that I mean about 1000 rpm and bugger all happens as when the channel goes thinner, the constant flow of water (remember those 12 million gallons a day) speeds up and impedes progress.

I must admit, it was very hard not to clonk the back end into the port side of the trough... the flow constantly trying to push the back in... it felt weird trying to crab along it but for the most part I managed to avoid colliding - admittedly we did have a few touches and it was a little scary to see how much it flexes!!!




The sad thing is, that someday - and it WILL happen, when a boat hits it TOO hard, the whole thing will come crashing down and the cynic in me doubts it'll ever get repaired... I hope I'm wrong.

We chucked a left at Trevor Basin and began our final ascent to Llangollen.

It's quite narrow in many parts up there so at times there wasn't a lot of room to pass boats coming the other way - particularly hirers who panicked and ended up across the canal lol. NO problem though... it was actually a fun trip up and everyone was good spirited....





Where it gets REALLY thin, there are a couple of "passing spots" and at those, it's really easy to see the flow of water as you squeeze the boat though... it's also quite shallow so we kept dragging our bum on the bottom...

ON the last stretch, I asked the crew to all sit up the front to help (in theory) lift the heavy end up a bit more... NOT that I'm saying they are rotund or anything but every little helps...




This house is famous in local history for it's links with "The Ladies of Llangollen"... you can read all about it here  https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/WqewRSUAAB8sVaKN as I'm not going to waffle on too much tonight...

Once moored up in the basin, I went back down to the Tea-room to pay the mooring fee - 2 nights for 12 quid with electric hookup included...  

After a quiet night, the next day we wandered up to Horseshoe falls with our friends...  it's got a lovely tyrolean feeling about it ... in the sunshine it was breathtaking.



The beginning of the Canal however is a little less exciting... basically a big "drain" for want of  a better term  where water comes through from the river Dee.

The other side however is still lovely...


and in the sunshine, several groups we having fun sailing/rafting ribs down the falls...  ONE of which got stuck for ages ... of course I took the photos with the other camera and that's not with me as I type this...  I'll share a few zoomed in shots next time if you remind me...

Wandering back down from the falls, we stopped for a pint in the hotel at the chain bridge... every view around here is stunning...



Back down in the village/town, our friends/guests offered to take us out for dinner to save either of us cooking - given our feeble state, it was much appreciated. 

The views from the bridge are also breathtaking - as are the ones from one of the pubs we went in.



Once our guests departed, when we SHOULD have been cleaning and prepping the boat for the new ones, we took the chance to catch up with our friends Eddie and Wendy who were also in the area... 
we traveled with them for a couple of months last year and it was lovely to be reunited again...  a lot has changed since last time we boated with them - this time last year, my father was at deaths door on life-support whilst mum was floundering...  12 months on, he's recovering and doing very well (apart from being broken hearted) and she's dead... 

Seize the day!

Joyce would have loved this place though - we often went on family holidays to Wales as kids and as a result it's got a special place in my heart.... she'd have loved Llangollen - so would dad and it's a shame they were never able to come here.

We've had fish and chips in her memory today...

Until next time...