Thursday, 21 April 2011

Caxton in the Mist

Monday morning, 6.45 and we are off heading back towards Norbury Junction and our date in the drydock.  It is cold and it is misty and rather magical.

I am starting a day that ends 18 miles, 10 locks and 3 lift bridges later and, yes, I walked it all.  Slept well that night though...

I wouldn't miss this for the world, lovely to be about about this part of the day.

Cracking Crew member

This is  JACOB, who was walking the canal with his Mum and family and somehow got roped into being a member of the Caxton crew - a future boater/lock wheeler who helped me with three locks.  I could have press ganged him but his Mum didn't seem inclined to let him go.... Thanks Jacob! 
Moored up at Wrenbury after a marathon day.
A welcome pint and a packet of pork scratchings for the dogs after all that walking/locking.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Sunny Sunday in Ellesmere

Sunday morning we moved up from our mooring at Blakemere into Ellesmere. Here we serviced the boat and winded and found ourselves a mooring for the day/night.  It was off to Tesco's then which is conveniently located at the end of the tiwn arm - convenient if you have managed to moor in the town arm that is.  Still we weren't far away so with Joe chivved into helping with the lugging of the provisions the job was soon done and dusted.

This building is sited at the end of the arm, derelict but likely to be listed and therefore maybe, just maybe, it will be restored - unless the pyromaniacs get to it.    After getting the chores done I walked into Ellesmere along with Jill to have a look around the town.
Lady Katherine, a steamer that plys the mere that gives EllesMERE its name.  This lake is 43 acres (I think) and until the 1960's was privately owned but now is a public amenity managed by the local couincil.
Well he had to have a swim with all that water about...

Ellesmere parish church.

Lakeside views

 We moved from Whitchurch after collecting our post from the Post Office and moored alongside the beautiful wooded lake at  Blakemere.
 The view from the side hatch
We moored here for two nights giving Joe a chance to repair the puncture in my bike tyre AND wash and polish one side of Caxton - I went walk about with the dogs for three hours.  Lots of footpaths across superb undulating pasture land, spotted with lakes (meres) and deciduous woodland.  A truly lovely part of the world.

You can hide but you can't run...or something like that.

I am playing catch-up yet again it seems.  As Caxton and Matilda Rose headed along the Llangollen canal we were in touch with fellow bloggers Pip and Roger on Nb Windsong who were heading off of the canal - thinks, does this tell us something??  Anyway we managed to meet up at Whitchurch for an hour or so and caught up with each other.
 L-R Jill, Ian, Karen, Joe, Pip, Graham, Roger.
 Windsong preparing to escape again..

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Pushing along the Llangollen

After a couple of days moored at Wrenbury we pulled pins this morning and headed for Whitchurch.  Ten locks and about five miles but Caxton had an early start and we were ahead of the queues, all locks in our favour and little or no queuing bar the staircase at Grindley.  We are now moored on a super lttle mooring just by the town arm at Whitchurch.

A clutch of cowslips - spring has definitely sprung!
Jackdaws having a discussion?
Caxton goes white water rafting... the side streams are pretty fierce when going UP the locks, you cannot be faint hearted about aiming your boat at the lock entrance.
How about this for a tithe cottage?  The lockeepers cottage at the summit of the Grindley flight on the Llangollen Canal.  Now a private home of course.  The lockeeper has a 'hovel' on the other side of the top lock and he can stare at this elegant home and wish he had been born 200 years earlier...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Ready for a change of life?

Stuart Harper of Barnowl Narrowboats, Caxton's boat fitter, is getting together with Lambon Hull , boat builders and Loom-tech, marine electrical engineers for an OPEN DAY on 7th May 2011 so if you want to meet and talk turkey to a 'team' that can change your life  get yourselves to Rushock in Worcestershire.  The OPEN DAY  kicks off at 10am and wraps up at 4pm so plenty of time to talk about your dreamboat...
The address for the OPEN DAY is: Building 326, Unit 1 Rushock Trading Estate, RUSHOCK, Worcs WR9 0NR.

The first queue for two years

Caxton moored at Wrenbury

We have managed to enjoy the canals almost to ourselves it seems, until yesterday when we ventured along the Llangollen canal as far as Wrenbury.  We queued at each and every lock of the journey as this busy and popular canal came alive with school holiday traffic.  Our 'queuing' and that of everybody else was heightened by a lively wind which made hovering or mooring a trifle difficult but nevertheless an enjoyable trip.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Ellesmere Port

 We pulled pins at 11am on Saturday morning and joined Nb Enchantress for a cruise into Ellesmere Port.   There was  a bit of hanging about at the the entrance to the National Boat Museum while an elderly working boat was bow-hauled out of the lock we needed to get into to drop down into the lower basin where we were going to moor up.  A short blog because the the signal is a bit weak - I will give my views on the Museum here at Ellesmere in another post.
 Caxton moored up - the large gap in front of us is because there is a sunken pontoon there that another moorer warned us about.
 Nb Shad being maneovered in thge top basin.
A concrete circa 1944 barge - built in wartime austerity to reduce the use of steel

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Getting out of Town..

 After a trip to Tesco's and my packhorse impression - look out Robbie Coltrane - we pulled pins and moved forward on to the water point.  Bedding and towels changed and ready for a wash we needed to brim the water tank...
 It was touch and go whether we moved because the wind was being cantankerous and holding 20 + tons to moor up was a bit of an adventure but we decided that Friday night in the countryside was preferable to Friday night in a City centre.
 The double dry-dock in the basin was being emptied whilst we watered alongside it.
 The sluice gate in the centre of the picture had been opened and the water was running out of the dock into the lower pound.
 This swan has set up home in the dry-dock. The pen is sitting on eggs and the cob is busy patrolling the basin to keep everyone away.
 Farewell Telford basin Chester..
You can have  Bridge style 1
 or bridge style 2
 or bridge style 3
Moored up near Chester Zoo - a quiet night anticipated!

Friday, 1 April 2011

A walk along the R. Dee and the food excuse..

View across the river Dee to the suspension bridge

Late morning yesterday myself and Jill and the four dogs set off to walk a circular walk along the banks of the R. Dee and back to the Telford Basin where we are currently moored.  It was an EXCEEDINGLY windy day, the boats had had to be retied as they banging about in the gusts but by 11ish it was bright and dry so off we toddle.  Along the City wall above the Chester Racecourse to Bridgegate where we crossed Handbridge and started out along the river embankment.

Floyd and Fletcher were in their element, in and out of the river swimming after sticks, Muttley and Baxter 'paddled'....
Looking down into the river from the bridge parapet and watching the Fire Brigade doing rescue exercises.

On our return to the City precincts, 3 hours later, and desperate for a loo we were looking for a Pub that would also welcome the dogs.  On spotting a likely candidate, blackboards outside proclaiming a welcome for all, 'this is a real pub' etc. Jill popped in to enquire if their welcome extended to people with dogs.  Returning a minute or so later with a face like thunder, I thought perhaps the mission had been in vain; an it had. 
"No sorry dear, we serve food and IT is not allowed." 
 Red rag to a ... time.  This excuse is irritating.   If pubs don't want dogs inside they are quite within their rights to bar them, it's their business after all, but using the serving of food as a 'reason' is inaccurate and disingenuous.  
Passing the next Pub, The Ship, with chap up ladder outside painting the window frame, Jill remarks that it looks too bistro to allow dogs and as we start to walk by a voice from above says, "That's a bit harsh." - no it wasn't THAT voice - "We certainly do allow dogs inside " he says, "and we serve food!"
So in we trots, ordered a pint and packet of pork scratchings for the mutts and then proceeds to order a rather pleasant lunch for ourselves! 
So, ya-boo-sucks to the first publican.  Food CAN and frequently IS served with dogs present -  so who lost out  here then?