Monday, 29 November 2010


Are we having fun yet?

We had a couple of anomalies yesterday morning in that D's toothpaste froze solid  overnight but mine didn't, the frost was all over the inside of the portholes although the temperature was eighteen degrees in the boat and the coal bag froze into one solid lump.

I hope no one saw me jumping on and apparently kicking a bag of coal to death in the morning, there are no men in white coats around at the moment, so I'll guess that no one did. 

It might be a little bit ironic that because of a lack of maintenance at this stand pipe everyone has got a supply of running water at the moment. The washer has all but given up the ghost leaving the water to trickle out of the tap.
This movement keeps the water from freezing solid as it has on the other three, better looked after taps. 

Needing water ourselves, I threw a line across the canal and D pulled the hose over to the tap.
Keeping a good lookout for any marauding, ice breaking "heroes" for twenty minutes seemed to make time stand still. It all worked out though and we now have a full tank again.

Now, if BW don't come and "fix" that tap we should - in theory at least - be able to source water all the way through this so called big freeze.

Fingers crossed!

Until next time..........................


Saturday, 27 November 2010


A dusting of icing sugar anyone ?

The whiteness here is actually snow, and that is about the long and the short of it for the weather around here at the moment.

The ducks on the other hand did manage to find some solid water to stand on.

Freesias blooming in the window bear testament to the climate aboard Ubique.
Warm is good, all hale to........ house coal!

Until next time...................


Friday, 26 November 2010

Blake Mere To Ellesmere, 1 Tunnel.

What on earth..........?

We moved back to Ellesmere this morning as it is our monthly shopping day.
It was absolutely packed with boats, so packed there was only one mooring left.
We grabbed that and are now moored in amongst the sheep for the rest of the day.

What all these boats are doing here is a bit of a mystery unless they are trying to settle for the duration using the tiny bit of ice that is around as an excuse for not being able to move on.

Is it an Otter?  is it a Mink? is it a Beaver?
No it is someones pet dog that has launched itself into the water to fetch a thrown stick.
That must have been cold in that mere, very very cold.

The fire is blazing and the doors are locked, two quilts on the bed and the hot milk is ready for the rum...........sorted.

Until next time......................


Thursday, 25 November 2010

Ellesmere To Blake Mere.

A very short hop.

The promised bad weather still hasn't arrived so we moved to the next Mere along the canal yesterday. It was bright but quite cold as an hour cruise found me wrapped up in fleece and gloves and D in her coat.

The views are terrific here and should any of that snow get through we will be in our own virtual Christmas card.
The only problem here is there is no TV at all, no phone signal and the Internet, well, it just isn't.

I took to wrapping presents today. What is it about a man doing that?  By the time I have managed to stop them looking like something the cat found under the hedge and brought it in, I run out of them. 
So my lumpy wrinkled bits of paper are now ready for the all we need is a tree.

Until next time.....................


Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Staying put for the dreaded...Christmas Shopping!

We have had to do this in shifts to keep what we have bought each other a surprise.

I think D will be very happy with a pair of Marigolds and a new ironing board....don't you?

Since we were last here I commented on the mess the winter permit situation was in. Well, this seems to have been sorted out now and the six boats moored on the arm are all displaying nice new permits and are all squashed in quite nicely down one end.

We, on the other hand, are moored just outside the arm in peace and tranquility. Both pictures were taken from the bridge over the entrance.

This bothers me slightly as those boats are all genuine continuous cruisers and live aboard their boats but - and this is a big but - they have been there since the start of November and are now paid up and entitled to stay there until the end of March.
Bringing out the fingers that is five months, five months is nearly half a year!  that to us would be an absolute nightmare cooped up in there for all that time, yet, that is what they seem to want to do and BW are only too happy to take the money and let them get on with it.

Could this be the portent of the bad weather on the way?  The calm before the storm?

Until next time..............


Monday, 22 November 2010

St Martins To Ellesmere, 2 Locks.

Nursing the baby ........again. 

Now we are well into the burning season you begin to feel like a bit of a slave to the fire.
It wants cleaning at very regular intervals and if you don't feed it on demand all through the day and night it certainly lets you know.

"Madam" loves it though and is another one who will berate you if it goes out. 

This, for us, is a very rare event.
In fact I think it is only the second time it has happened since we have been aboard.

The weather guessers seem to be on a dead certainty this week as they are all very cleverly predicting that it is going to turn colder in the near future.
Myself, I think this event happens around about now every year as it is........ the winter!

This is a genuine forecast on the front page of Orange:
"It could snow anywhere in the UK this week"

Well, at least we know.

Until next time..................


Sunday, 21 November 2010

St Martins, Staying Put.

It doesn't get much more rural than this.

Provided you have nowhere to go and all day to get there, the fog can be a real treat.
The silence - broken only by the bleating of the sheep in the field opposite - is almost comforting.

Every scene takes on a different personality.

The water point has had one boat stop there in the past two days.
I must stop counting boats.

Today was a little bit of a shock as I went outside for the first time, it was cold, very very cold.
There is only one thing to do when that happens, straight back inside for........"Hot Rum Toddies"  and a blazing fire,   Bliss!


Until next time.....................


Friday, 19 November 2010

St Martins To .......Around The Bend.

Water water everywhere, well....enough to float on at least.

After yesterdays fiasco with the water levels around here, there we are all nice and afloat on a full canal.
It turned out that the pumping station at Froncysyllte had tripped out, that, combined with no water coming down from Llangollen due to the winter works the canal practically drained itself.

A point to think about here is just how quickly that happened, it does make me wonder if it will happen again as that pumping station is going to be overworked until the repairs further up the line are completed.

It's a case of watch this space I suppose. 

We wandered off in the morning to a shop named  "Stans Superstore" it was located within a mile walk of our night mooring and if OK could prove useful in our stay up here..

I'm not too sure what to say about that, but Stans "Not So" Superstore will not be benefitting from our hard earned English pounds in the future.

A trip to the water point was required.

This is the water point and here's a little story that will get a few heads nodding.

After our little shopping trip we decided to move the half a mile along the canal to the water point.
Now, bearing in mind we have not seen another boat on the move for over twenty four hours, just as we slipped the ropes....... along came a boat!

You just know instinctively that they are going to the water point but the saving grace is that there are two of them so we should be OK.

As he pulled onto the point another boat came from the opposite direction and took the remaining tap. We pulled in to wait our turn as yet another boat came up the lock  wanting to take on water.
He had to breast up (Pull alongside another boat) whilst he waited.

There have been no more boats through here at all today in either direction.
Sooooo..............Why does this happen?

At the exact same time, four boats arrive in the same place to do the same thing..... then nothing.

I have been banging on here about this Sheep Syndrome thing for a while now and note that another Blogger has got on board with it, that is mainly about boats flocking together for no reason, but this type of thing is just plain strange, yet it happens over and over again!

Right, that's me around the bend so.....

Until next time..............


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Froncysyllte To St Martins.

2 Tunnels and 1 aqueduct.

It was still raining quite well this morning but the water level was getting very low.

I kid you not but we actually found a BW man walking along the towpath with a piece of paper in his hand, so...... asking him why the water level is so low he replied with the gem of
"They are working on the feeder and have turned the pumps off!"

The canal is now so low it is practically impassable, it will be interesting to see where this pans out.

Thinking that we had better follow the water down as it drains away we set off for England.
Bouncing along the bottom through both tunnels we crossed the Chirk aqueduct through a carpet of leaves.

The Welsh border is a fickle thing, those two sheep on the left are in Wales and all the others are in England.

Well........ we can go no further and are now safely moored up on the bottom.

The Leeds Liverpool ran out of water on us, the Erewash just didn't have any water in it to begin with and now the Llangollen seems to be suffering a drought.
Strike three and you're out! about an explanation, I won't hold my breath.

Until next time..............


Wednesday, 17 November 2010


We are having nothing of this weather!

No moving for us today, the wind is howling and the rain is lashing down.
Unbelievably three boats have come past us whilst we have been moored.
These were hire boats though and were probably on a mission to "do" the aqueduct, unfortunately for them they missed the best of it by one day.

It just doesn't get much better than this.

The views across to the rail crossing were spectacular to say the least.

Here's one from yesterday morning, the solitary leaf floating by is the only clue that this is canal water.

Until next time........................


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Chirk To Trevor, Then Back To Froncysylite,
2 Tunnels And Two Aqueducts.

Wow what a day!! 

Leaving our mooring at Chirk we were soon crossing the border into Wales via the Chirk Aqueduct.
The weather is just about as good as it can get at this time of year, we have the summer type sunshine without the hordes of boats that are normally here.

Crossing the Aqueduct and entering the first tunnel of the day we met a day hire boat from Trevor. You cant help thinking that this has got to be one of the best places to take a hire boat for the day, two Aqueducts, two tunnels, lunch at the pub and then back to base.....sorted.

The Pontcysyllte was soon under us as the leaves have all but disappeared and we made good time not having to reverse every five minutes.

We really were flying through the air this time. The picture above was the view from the side doors, a bit like the window in a plane.

That bit with the holes is just the lip of the tank, the actual thickness can just be made out by looking at the first square along.
About an inch or twenty five mm from a long drop.

Reaching the other end at Trevor there was nowhere to moor, the hire yard has completely taken over up there. We tried to get to the basin but this too was taken up with trip boats laying up for the winter, there was nothing for it but to wind (turn) and go back.
This is a bit of a blow to our plans for the winter as we were hoping to spend at least some time at Trevor, Llangollen itself is out of reach as BW are repairing a feeder channel and the water level is well down.

Moving swiftly on to our plan "C" we realised there is no such thing, looks like we will be making it up as we go from here.

Until next time....................


Saturday, 13 November 2010

Frankton Junction To Chirk, 2 Locks.

Leaves, leave me alone.

A bright and sunny, still and calm morning once again makes me wonder how the weather guessers can sleep at night and still take the money.

This satellite aided, computer boosted bunch of a televisual clothes show, could not forecast what numbered page comes after page one in a book.

The leaves were the worst we have seen so far but the day was just far too good to miss.

Approaching the second lock of the day a boat that was coming towards us suddenly tried to make a turn around in the canal that necessitated him removing his rear button and getting off to pull the stern around.

His thanking D for us being so patient was interspersed with lots of foul mouthed abuse, this was our first ever encounter with someone suffering with Toretts Syndrome.

Now, I know this is not big and I know this is not clever but.........being able to talk like that to some of the morons I have met through my life would have just been the best thing ever.......Not "PC" I know but just a thought.

The hills of Wales are getting ever closer.

Who took this picture?

Our mooring for the night.

Until next time....................