Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Llangollen continued . . .

Slowly getting towards the top of the Llangollen canal now and some impressive sights to be had. First was the Chirk aqueduct and next to it a viaduct for the trains. Here’s us crossing in the first picture and you can see a train that just happened to cross as we were. At the end of the waterway you can see the Chirk tunnel that's 459m long. Nicky suggested that I strip off and do a streak in the tunnel, lucky for me (and for you come to think of it) that the flash on the camera didn't work :-)

About three miles after this has to come the Pièce de Résistance of the Llangollen canal in the shape of the Pontcysylite Aqeduct that is 1007 feet long and stands 126 feet high. 
There’s a nice safe walkway with railings on one side, but the other is a sheer drop save for the six inch edge of the trough edge and I don’t think that’ll do much to save you.

Now I’m not scared of heights, but I did take this photo on my knees in case her in doors (aka the misses, aka Nicky) decided that she was in need of a younger model and oops, end of blogging. . . . .

Now it’s not all plain sailing this liveaboard lark, as I’ve found I don’t have the excuse of going to work and thus getting away with having to do the shopping or such likes. And the shopping, now there’s another story, no nipping off in the car to do the weekly shop, you have to carry what you buy and that can be a bit of a bugger when you need heavy stuff like water and milk. So far the best (for want of another word) shopping expedition was at a place called Ellesmere where there’s a Tesco right next to the canal, the worst being at a place called Trevor that’s twenty minutes from the canal and we were a further twenty-five minutes up the canal, so yes for those of you who are good at maths, that’s forty-five minutes there and forty-five minutes back plus shopping time. Now every cloud has a silver lining they say and I suppose mine is that in not having the excuse of going to work, I don’t have to give Nicky a kiss when I go to work and another when I get back, bonus. . . . . . (but I never said that)

I’m probably not allowed a second Pièce de Résistance on the Llangollen, but what has to come a very close second is the remains of the Dinas Bran castle that overlooks the town of Llangollen itself. Now it’s half a mile away, 1100 feet up and a little over a hours walk away, but does come very recommended. To really get the best for the effort though, you’ve got to do it on a clear day so you can get the benefit of the views.
And yes, the Boys came on tour with us.
If you should be in the area sometime, another worthwhile walk is a mile and a half up the un-navigable part of the Llangollen canal to a weir called Horseshoe Falls. Did this right at the end of the day so got some nice dusky type shots and when I say right at the end of the day I mean right at the end of the day as it was dark by the time we got back to the boat.

 Whilst the weather has been great, it has still been a bit chilly, so our stove deciding to pack up and us having to resort to the central heating wasn’t the best (or cheapest) way to keep us warm inside, but anything is of course better than nothing. All back up and running now though and living in far better kind of heat.

Anybody know how to fix holes in socks, if yes, let Nicky know for me. . . . . . .

On our way back to Audlem now and then dropping Nicky’s parents off at Liverpool airport. Been a busy few weeks, so looking forward to not doing much in the coming days and with various winter stoppages on the network in our area, we’re just planning to stay fairly local for the next month and focus on getting the boat completely fitted out and ready for life aboard. At the time of writing, we’ve got a list of 66 things (no make that 65 as I did one yesterday) to do that range from the large to the small and from the necessary to the not really necessary, but might do if we’ve got a mind to.

And so in signing off,

Day 55 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 158 miles and 61 locks further on from when we started.


Friday, 16 November 2012

The Llangollen Canel

Off to meet the In-Laws at the end of the Llangollen Canal and have had to do three to four hours of motoring a day to get there. So far we’ve only travelled on the Shroppie (Shropshire Union Canal) with minimal water flow so we’ve been caught out a bit with the flow of the Llangollen canal. So it’s been twelve to fourteen thousand revs per minute on the engine as opposed to our normal ten and we still only cover half the distance we normally would in the time. So much for our quite days!

Came across our first set of ‘Lift Bridges’ that you have to do as it says on the tin, lift them.

The bridges are counter balanced so I thought they should be easier enough to lift so had a go.

And heaved

And pushed

But wasn’t quite tall enough to get it up enough. ‘What’s this’ came a little voice to my ear.

And started to wind up the bridge.

Okay, only joking, knew how to use it really, but thought it would be an amusing story. Have to apologise about the acting though, so won’t give up our day jobs just yet, oops almost forgot, don’t have day jobs anymore . . . .

Keeping with my newly started tradition of bird watching, here’s a Heron just taking off, although hopefully I'll get him taking off towards me next time.


The Boys have been a little dubious about the boat, especially the older one, but he’s found his safety spot for when the boat is going and yes, he does fall asleep sitting up. So long as the younger one can have a sleep though, he’s fairly happy anywhere and even better if it’s in Nicky’s seat.


Anyway, back to the Llangollen.

Bit disappointed with the first stretch down to Whitchurch, but the scenery has slowly got better the closer we get to Wales. Although it’s been half term week, it hasn’t been very busy on the water, but we dread to think what it would be like in the height of the season when the canal is full of boats, many of which would no doubt be on a mission to cover as much of it as they can in the available time. But whilst it has been quiet, we’ve still seen a few bumps and close calls and can only imagine. It would probably be the sort of place though to moor up somewhere safely out of the way and enjoy the water rage that I’m sure happens. Here’s a few scenery photo’s for you to be going on with this week.


As you can see, the weather has been good to us for November. . . . .

Highlight of the week so far (!) the In-Laws arriving and going to take two weeks to do what we’ve done in a week in heading back to Audlem and hopefully with the flow of the water in our favour this time, it’ll be easier going.

Had a mixture in problems uploading photo's and not finding the time to sort it so a little behind with this blog so the next one will need to fast forward a few weeks.

And so in signing off,
Day 44 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat -  157 miles and 61 locks further on from when we started.

Monday, 22 October 2012

A week of first's

Hi again 

Well with this next post, I run the risk of coming over as having lead a sheltered life or being just downright sad at a couple of firsts for me this week. But in coming to that decision, for those of course that don’t know me yet and no doubt have their views, please remember that we are relative Narrowboat and liveaboard virgins and are therefore seeing and doing things outside of our normal rut of life.
My first is a picture of a Kingfisher. Yes I know, pretty sad, but back home in Jersey you don’t see many (actually take out the M of many) any Kingfishers over there. I’ve spotted one or two on boating holidays over the years, but never really been close enough to snap a picture. My excuse for the poor quality of the photo is that we were travelling at the time and every time we got fairly close to it the little bugger decided to fly further forward. So in the end, it was maximum zoom on a moving boat when camera shake is normally enough with the hands alone and that’s my excuse over. 
Second photo and whilst I was on dry land this time it was a long way up and circling with his buddy. Chap went past on his boat and said I’ve been waiting all morning, just set off and I’ve seen two red kites. Nothing special I thought gazing across the meadow looking for a couple of kids with kites, but nothing doing so wondered if I was on the wrong track. Then saw two birds, two being the operative word, put two and two together and now assume that this is a Red Kite although I don’t even know if it is, but maybe someone could let me know.

Now for the benefit of those who know me becoming worried about my change in bird watching direction, don’t worry, haven’t lost my Mojo so here's a photo to help alleviate any concerns that you may have.

Next first is logs, yes logs, not the ones you buy in bag though, but proper logs that you make yourself. Well, I suppose you don’t actually make them, but you have a hand in shaping their final days. Confused, you will be after this weeks episode of Soap. (Bit of a random comment I know that comes from an American program called Soap, showing my age now). To clarify, I found myself a fallen tree and set about chopping it up into moveable sizes to get them up the embankment and onto the boat. Manual labour! I know why I’ve always worked in an office now. Need to get myself a better saw though as it took me ages with the poxy little blunt one I’ve got and then I’ll get them down to stove size pieces.

Not a true first this next one I suppose, but trying to play with my camera more than:

  1. Turn it on
  2. Point
  3. Click
  4. Turn it off
And to again just prove that this is a ‘Boating’ blog and we are aboard and not just arm chair continuous cruisers, here’s a ‘thought about’ photo taken of the Lock Keepers house and lock at Minshull Lock on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.



Had another sort of Boys on Tour this weekend when I went on my annual pilgramage to the Theatre of Dreams, yes Man Uniteds home ground Old Trafford, with may mates Steve and Alan from Jersey. Plenty of beer as usual and a 4-2 win to round it off. No photo's though as I'd have probably left my camera in some pub.
Just at the top of the Llangollen Canal as I write this and if it's as good as it sounds, hopefully there'll be some good pictures to be had over the next three weeks we're planning to be on it.

That's all for this post and so to sign off . .

Day 20 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 51.5 miles and 19 locks further on from when we started.


Friday, 12 October 2012

An Extended Vacation

Hi there

Handed in my notice at work back in June and for the first time since leaving school am now classed as un-employed having clocked up 32 years and 15 days with the Company. Left behind some amazing friends and colleagues who have always left me with a happy feeling when they’ve popped into my office, some when they entered and some when they left. J

Received some great nautical leaving presents, such as a Ships Bell, Bosuns Whistle and a mounted Barometer and Clock, the latter of which along with a gift of a thermometer from our friends Steve and Ang (They like Elvis by the way, but we don’t hold that against them) a few years ago form the now called ‘Badger Sett Weather Centre’. Nicky’s been absolutely amazed at my weather predictions so far and thinks I should get a job at the Met Office. Truth is that I Google their site and is then ready for when her in doors asks what it is looking like for tomorrow, Simples.  

The Ships Bell and Bosuns whistle are located at the back blunt bit (sorry the stern I should say) and we’ll be learning how to pipe extinguished visitors aboard. I’m training Nicky as to how the bell works, but starting off with easy lessons at first. One dong means ‘Tea’ followed by one or two further dongs for the amount of ‘Sugar’ that it should come with. Early days, but the results are looking positive so I’ll be increasing Nicky’s ‘Dong Vocabulary’ in the coming weeks.

Only wish I’d cottoned onto this back at work and got a bell for my office as I’m sure our ladies would have been delighted to cater for my Dongs (not). Talking of the office ladies, here are some photo's of a few of them dressed up and ready for a night out, now who said Jersey was a safe place!

Planning to be on board now until Christmas when we’re going back home (Jersey) for Christmas and depending on the job front (or not) will either stay over there or come back to the boat for a while longer. So this is us now aboard for eleven weeks for sure, so there should be a few blogs to pick up on.

With the good bits out of the way though, we didn’t get off to a good start, although it came with a happy ending. To cut a long story short, one of our boys (the older one Binks) got hit by a car about six days into our journey, but got up and walked away from it albeit grazes and cuts to his head, around eye and some other places as well. (Little bruv can be seen looking after big bruv in the photo)
To see it happen, I still don’t know how we’ve got two dogs on our journey with us and we can’t help but still think ‘what if’. The Nantwich Vet Hospital was absolutely great www.nantwichvet.co.uk as was the lady who hit Binks through absolutely no fault of her own and in fact we’re in no doubt at all that her quick reactions actually saved his life. The happy ending is all that matters though so the BOYS remain on tour.


The weather up here so far has been absolutely amazing (as predicted by the Badger Sett Weather Centre of course) and has seen Nicky out and about in T-Shirts which is usually an event saved for the height of the summer. Started to slip the last day or two though so a bit cold and miserable now (the weather that is not Nicky) and this was honestly predicted by weather centre as the Barometer has been steadily dropping and continues too do so.

And just so you know we’re actually on the boat, here’s a picture of us moored up in Middlewich, Badger Sett is the second one up on the right.

Travelling wise, we’ve only managed to clock up 16.5 miles and 4 locks in the last ten days so at this rate we don’t expect having to get our passports stamped on our way out of Cheshire for some time yet. I think our motto should be ‘Nothing to do, all day to do it and no time to do it anyway’. Oh well, if that’s as bad as life gets then I think I could come to like it. 

So as the man on Big Brother says:

Day 10 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 16.5 miles and 4 locks further on from when we started.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

11 Hours, 300 miles and 3 locks . . .

Well, that’s what it took us to get home after our latest two week holiday afloat.

Set the alarm for 01:40 Sunday morning, locked the boat, unlocked the car (that’s two of the locks) set off at 02:12 from overwater marina near Audlem in Cheshire, arrived Poole at 05:55 for the 08:30 ferry to Jersey that arrived about 12:45 and unlocked the door (that’s number three) about 13:15 .

The poor ‘Boys on Tour’ were stuck in the back of the car for the best part of the trip apart from a pee and breakfast break at Poole Harbour.

We’re not massive travellers and in our two weeks we clocked up a ‘massive’ 33.5  miles and 14 locks. That’s an average of 2 miles a day and one lock, now that’s what I call a life.

One of the boys fell into the canal for the first time and frantically paddled around until he found out it was actually shallow enough to stand up. I could have dragged him out by the neck, but being the soft pet person I am, he was safely returned to terra firma with the aid of me lying on the tow path and giving him boost up from behind. Won’t be the last time no doubt and in fact a few days later he nearly went in again although only one legs worth this time.

Moored up on the aquaduct/embankment (not sure of the correct terminology yet) by the northern most lock near Audlem for the last few days and made the best of the good weather. Got myself so burnt though that I couldn’t sleep on my back for three nights. Popped into the Shroppie Fly, for medicinal purposes of course, to help with the sun burn, did it help – no, but afterwards did I care – no.

There’s also a guy at one of the locks that sells fruit, veg and some meat. Brought some Pork and Black Pudding sausages from him and I’ve got to say they were the pups nuts (always find saying the pups nuts is politer than the dogs bollocks – DOH! too late, said it now). I’m looking forward to our next trip probably as much for getting out on the water as for picking up some more sausages. Definite recommendation should you be in the area.

Now this is only my forth blog and I’m realising that this lark needs a bit of planning and foresight. Anyone else would have been clicking away and would have included photos of our boys swimming lesson, my pink bits, cooking my sausages and of course the pups nuts, if they were still intact of course, but whilst the Mrs likes a life full of men, she makes sure they’re not likely to stray if you get my drift.

Sorry for the lack of photo’s, but hopefully my ramblings made up for it. Not due back to our boat now until the latter end of July or early August and are counting down the weeks.

Hoping the weather is good for you in the meantime.

Bye for now.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Here are the Boys

Hi there

Well, here are the boys on tour. Thought I’d better upload a picture so you don’t just think it is a boat full of lads, but my wife’s pride and joy.

I used to be number one in her life, then came our sons so I got relegated to third place and now we’ve all been bumped down the pecking order to make way for the boys. I’m currently in fifth place and that’s only on a good day . . .

Forgot to mention it before now, but our narrowboat is called Badger Sett and is fairly distinctive with the picture. I can’t pay any credit to the artist though as it was there when we purchased it recently.

Been up on the Middlewich Canal for a few days and are moored just past the Aquaduct Marina where there is a nice wide area for the boys to have a hunt and a play.

And afterwards, a snooze.

Weather’s been pretty good these last few day’s as well and hopefully we’ll have a few more before winter returns ! Just think, only thirty-two days till the longest day and then the days start getting shorter . . .

Heading back towards Audlem tomorrow for some work on the boat and then we’ll only have a few more day’s before having to head back home for a few more months.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Back for a few more weeks

Hi there.

Back again for a few weeks holiday and this time we’re hope to do a bit more cruising as our first trip a few months ago was really down to cleaning through the narrow boat we’d just brought, getting some engine bits sorted and seeing a few people for things that we wanted to do. As we’re not local to the UK we can’t unfortunately just nip off for a weekend on the boat, but in time we hope to get over more often.

We’ve had some work done whilst we’ve been away such as some new batteries, a couple of drawers under the bed, a dinette and a cratch board, the latter of which we need to get a cover for. We had both Cover-it and Wilson’s around the last time we were over and are unsure which way to go. If anybody has got any comments or recommendations based on their experience of these, or others of course, it would be great to hear from you, thank you.

 Had some cold frosty mornings the last time we were up and whilst it was snugger inside, I just had to get out to take the following snap.

Llangollen canal - about half a mile after the first four locks

And at the other end of the day (that you’ll recognise from my blog page)


Back home at Overwater Marina - near Audlem in Cheshire

I’m mindful that I don’t want to ramble on and bore anyone too much, so I’ll leave it at this for now and try and give you an update at the end of our holiday of how a set of newbie’s are getting on.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

How it all started

Where does anything start, a thought, a dream, a what if and this is probably a mixture of all three and no doubt many more. I suppose the 'How it all started' of the post header had to be the family boating holiday's we've had with our sons and family friends, the later of which is a good test of true friendship when you still finish the holiday as friends having lived in confinement for a few weeks. Norfolk Broads, The Thames, Leicestershire Ring, Ireland and The Thames again. Only one of these holidays was on a narrow boat, but it was enough that we decided we wanted to buy one some day.

Now how does one go about buying a narrow boat, well probably not how we went about it I'd suggest. Only summer holidays, (well the Ireland one was too wet to be a 'summer' holiday other than the fact that it was in August so I suppose it wins on a technicality) about a years subscription to the Canal Boat magazine www.canalboat.co.uk and a ten day holiday in December 2011 with the intention of buying a narrow boat. It's probably fair to say that we went against all that has been recommended, no hunting around for years, walking the tow paths looking at boats and speaking to the boating fraternity to get invaluable information to help make the ultimate decision of which boat to buy. Did we buy a boat, yes by skin of our teeth, as we only had one day of holiday left. I'd also got bored of the driving around and the mind was starting to mash the different boats together to the point that I couldn't remember them very clearly.

Now this short post is our first and whilst successive ones may be a bit intermittent in the short-term, I'm hoping to help some other newbies like us with either the benefit of hindsight or the lucky foresight of having made the right decision as time goes by. For those seasoned boaters who might be having a chuckle now at our jump in with both feet approach, maybe some of you will follow our trials and tribulations with a different sort of interest, maybe even a morbid sense of curiosity to see what becomes to us.

Oops, nearly forgot the 'Boys' who are on tour with us. They're our two Hungarian Vizsla's and they'll no doubt be a big part of our blogs going forward.