Sunday, 31 December 2017

‘How Do You Know Nothing Is Coming?’ 29th, 30th, 31st December

Llangollen Basin to Whitehouse Bridge 26W
P1200515smThe last couple of days we’ve had my brother and his family staying with us, our first overnight guests on Oleanna. They drove up from London on Friday arriving with us early afternoon. Here in Llangollen it had snowed overnight, nothing like a couple of weeks ago, but enough to turn most green things to white. A half inch covering had been sat on the pontoons when we woke but by the time the London Leckenbys arrived much of the snow had melted, but the hill tops still looked pretty.

An afternoon of chatting and receiving our last presents from them. Josh had bought me some very good stripy wellies, unfortunately my calf muscles mean that they fit a little bit too well and it took some effort for Mick to pull them off again. We’ll see if I can exchange them for some with wider tops. Mick received a new coal scuttle. Since selling Lillian we have been managing with a small red bucket which holds just enough coal to get a fire started. The space we had for a scuttle is limited, but I had found one on ebay that was the right dimensions and to our taste so had pointed Andrew in the right direction.
What was going on? I go out to check over my estate for a few hours, but when I came back there are all these people cooing and meooing at me, sat just where I wanted to sit. They had filled the boat up with so much stuff the only place I could sit was up on my shelf! Good job I was the only one that would fit up there.

We went to the Corn Mill for a meal in the evening, which had been recommended by other boaters. The menu wasn’t quite what I was expecting having been to other Brunning and Price pubs, but then they don’t treat their pubs as a chain, but as individuals to suit their location. My fillet of Bass was nice, the burgers and fish and chips were tasty, however the puddings and beers were exceedingly nice. We had a very good evening sat in  the conservatory over looking the raging river below.
P1200529smThe sleeping arrangements worked as we’d expected, glad I’d managed to get that extra six inches on the dinette bed. You want your guests to be comfy, but not too comfy. It is times like this that we miss the extra two foot of cabin space that Lillian had, more things had to be moved around to make up the beds. With the stove out Josh was comfy on the sofa with the pouf pulled out to make it longer (he has grown since last we saw him). The dinette bed pulls out like a dream. I decided that my sleeping arrangements would be confined to the normal bedroom on top of my normal crew.
P1200535smAfter getting a Saturday paper and a few bits that hadn’t been available yesterday we ended up having one of those family lazy days. This would normally involve reading the new books you’d got for Christmas or playing a board game. However the London Leckenbys had left the new game in the south and all the books had been perused days ago. We considered walking up to Castell Dinas Bran but nobody could summon up the energy as it looks like a fairly vertical climb. Local Hero was eventually watched as I got food together for late afternoon. A very nice leg of lamb from the butchers was accompanied with roast veg, green veg and plenty of wine, followed by a warm Dorset Apple Cake with a side of chilled medication. All very tasty even if I do say so myself.
P1200538smThis morning after bacon butties and listening to Tilly complaining at not being allowed out we waved goodbye to Andrew Jac and Josh. We may end up seeing them a little bit sooner than planned as they are wanting some decorating doing in their house and I’ve been given first refusal of the job. It’ll be put into the mix for next year and we’ll see what we come up with. After a lovely couple of days with family we were now back on our own again, gosh we lead a quite life!
P1200548smOn the way back to Oleanna, we had chance to have a chat with Geoff from NB Seyella who had arrived at the basin yesterday. Nice to finally get chance to meet him properly, our bows have crossed several times this year and it was good to hear that Meg (their dog) was improving and enjoying slightly longer walks.
Before we made our move to leave we made use of the last bit of electricity and packed away all the spare bedding into vacuum bags under the sofa. We now had reclaimed the cabin space. I however had lost my new elevated sleeping position with views on both sides! With one final top up of the water tank we unhitched the hook up cable and pushed back. This is the longest we’ve stayed put in one place since leaving Kings Marina a couple of years ago (and that was only because of medical necessities) and today it felt odd to be leaving. We’ve very much enjoyed our time in Llangollen and winter is by far the best time to be here as the views are much better. Our feeling is that we will be back, maybe even next winter as we didn’t manage to do everything we’d wanted to.
P1200551smP1200559smThe strong  gusts of wind had now died down which made winding in the basin easy, we waved goodbye to Geoff and headed back out onto the cut for the first time in fifteen days. I walked ahead to check for oncoming boats in the narrows, but we only met boats where the canal widens out. Heading down stream is so much easier, Oleanna slowed a bit on the narrows but still made progress. The weather changed from sunny to wet back to sunny as we made our way along the arm. As we got closer to Trevor we met more boats, one a short hire boat and two canoes all at the same time and then the trip boat just after the final narrow section of canal.
P1200588smP1200600smComing up to the junction we could see that there was a boat crossing the aqueduct, but as we were heading downstream we knew we’d reach the junction before them and pulled in to let them pass. Mick lined us up for our crossing, but at the far end of the Pontywhatsit we could see another boat had already started to cross. So Mick stepped off with the centre line and we waited.
P1200597smP1200609smThere were plenty of walkers on the aqueduct and today we got to add another stupid question to the list gongoozlers come up with. Unfortunately I don’t think you can hear the original question on the video, ’How do you know nothing is coming?’ ‘There’s nobody there!’ A 336yrds of straight aqueduct in front of you would sort of suggest that really. But a chap in the same group then asked ‘How do you know it’s your go'?’ !!
P1200629smP1200637smOur crossing was easy, Mick smiling away at the tiller and me grimacing doing my best to distract myself as we passed over the 126ft drop. Once over, back on land I hopped off and wound up the lift bridge. By now we were getting low on day light hours, so wanted to stop sooner than  later to be able to let Tilly out for a while, so we carried on and pulled up shortly before Whitehouse Tunnel. The doors opened up and Tilly wthout even thinking about it jumped off the right side of the boat and headed off down the bank. Thank goodness she was accepting this outside. At bloomin last! Somewhere new to explore. As the stove was lit and the gas kettle put back into service the heavens opened, we’d stopped just in time.
We’re not big New Years Party goers so here will just be fine for our chink of glasses at midnight. Tomorrow we need to get through New Marton Locks which close on Tuesday for maintenance and onto Ellesmere to restock the food cupboards.
Wishing all our friends family and readers a Very Happy New Year, may it be even better than 2017.
Also a big Happy Birthday to Storm for today, Kathy and Jeremy for tomorrow.
IMAG0254smDSCF7121sm0 locks, 6.2 miles, 1 wind, 1 lift bridge, 3 extra sleeping, 2 many strange noises at night, 2 more presents, 6 months of post, 1 thank you to Joa (we’ve got it at last!), 2 big family meals, 2 lovely relaxed days, 1 snowy morning, 1 estate well and truly claimed for the next time, 3 guests survived our composting toilet, 1983 Local Hero, 1 boat moving again, 2 stupid questions, 1 day too many, 1 cold on it’s way out, I hope.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

That Inbetween Bit. 26th 27th 28th December

Llangollen Basin

After all the build up and excitement for Christmas we are now into that bit that lies inbetween.

P1200481smP1200483smPresents have been played with, homes found for them (especially important if you live on a boat) and old tired things sent to the bin or bagged up ready for the charity shop.

The fridge is still holding it’s breath in, crammed full of left overs.

P1200504smThe cheese that hasn’t been touched yet, gradually getting smellier each time you open the fridge door.

The empty bottles clinking their way to the recycling bins.

P1200472smThe realisation that you forgot to do pigs in blankets which means there are even more sausages and bacon in the fridge than you thought. Is it physically possible to eat sausages three times in one day?

Intentions of going for walks never materialising.

The tickly throat that started a few days before Christmas actually meaning it now and needing drugs at regular intervals.

The second Christmas dinner not using up all the leftovers.

A good tidy up so that when family arrive there might actually be space for them and their things.

Trying to find a home for the third fire extinguisher, still not solved. But instead realising there is a small leak coming from the shower tray.

P1200466smA cat who despite being bored of it here would rather be outdoors than in.

Planning food for five not two and wondering where you are going to put it all.

Wondering if the forecast weather will put a kibosh on arrangements.

P1200468smBoats have gone and more arrived, even in the dark.

Gold Licence put off for a year. But a booking to go onto the Monty made.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

A Kate Filled Christmas Day

Llangollen Basin

The big man visited us during the night and left all three of us plenty of goodies to open in bed. Tilly wasn’t too impressed by the refills for the lint roller, but Father Christmas must have known what she was getting as her main present as her stocking was full of balls. I’m really looking forward to see how many friends I can attract with the fat balls in trees!

In London my nephew Josh had set up a motion detected camera on Christmas Eve to see if he could disprove the existence of Father Christmas. Unfortunately for Josh the batteries ran out before anything could be detected and recorded, or was this just the magic of the man in red!

P1200336smScrambled egg with smoked salmon accompanied by some Bucks Fizz went down well before we opened our Christmas presents.

P1200340smP1200349smThis year Oleanna had joined in with the present giving. I never thought I’d be the sort of person who’d be pleased to receive a mop and sweeping brush. These have telescopic handles and quite easily sit under the gunnel in the bathroom. The broom is especially designed for narrow spaces, what more could you ask for.

P1200346smP1200342smMick’s quandary on the socks and sandals front was solved and here he is wearing his warm Pip made jumper.

P1200440smP1200442smI got a box of holes! All apart from two are big enough to get my arms in. They kept putting balls inside it and I kept taking them out. Why would I want balls inside a box of holes!

P1200365smP1200371smBefore we got settled into cooking we headed off on a walk to the Chain Bridge and Horseshoe Falls.

P1200377smP1200396smThe Horseshoe Falls was designed by Thomas Telford and diverts water from the River Dee into the canal. The last section of canal is very shallow and only the horse drawn trip boats can now make it this far, they have slight V shaped bottoms which must just fit down the shallow channel. When Thomas Telford was appointed as the general agent for the Ellesmere Canal in 1793 he had no experience of waterways and together with William Jessop they came up with the engineering that makes the canal so famous today. As a result Telford became one of Britains most famous engineers.

P1200356smPlenty of people were out for a Christmas morning stroll along the canal and despite the drizzle gradually turning into rain we enjoyed ourselves. A few boats were moving, NB Harnser came down to the basin to wind and wave.

P1200433smAn Anglo Welsh boat came to moor, but the gusting wind made manoeuvres very difficult for them. Plenty of people came out to offer advice, but in the end they had succeeded in winding so returned back onto the cut where there wasn’t going to be quite so far to be blown!

P1200451smOur Christmas dinner was exceptionally tasty, the duck one of the best we’ve had. All the accompanying veg made a mountainous plate of food and we have more than enough to keep us going over the next few days. A lull with another glass of wine to watch Dr Who before it was time to open my birthday presents and cards and blow out the candles.

P1200459smMy cake, a Queen of Sheba Cake, was maybe a little bit under cooked, the recipe I have is really quite vague as to temperature and cooking times. The advantage is that it’s meant to be gooey in the middle anyway, just this time it was bordering on runny.

P1200461smA lovely day all round.

0 locks, 0 miles, 3 over full stockings, 1 horseshoe, 10 CD’s, 1/3 by Kate, 1 broom, 1 mop, 11 pairs socks, 1 tumblehome fitting tree, 19 holes! 5 balls, 1 very tasty duck, 27 noisy ducks, 1 new Dr, 4 empty bottles, 1 window vac, 2 overly full boaters.


Monday, 25 December 2017

He’s Been!!!!! 25th December

P1200329smThe big man in red has successfully visited Oleanna for the first time and been very generous.

Happy Christmas


Mick, Pip and Tilly


Sunday, 24 December 2017

Ready! 24th December

Llangollen Basin

Today has been busy. After realising last night that we had no birthday candles, they had been culled when we moved boats, we had to buy some today.

Most of the day has been spent chopping, bubbling, stirring, baking, rolling, cutting, baking, crumbing, steeping, saucing, mixing, baking, cooling, eating, slicing and icing, with a little bit of wrapping up too!



The majority of time consuming jobs have been done, so tomorrow we should just have to pop the duck in the oven and roast it.

Happy Christmas from all three of us.

We are even ready for the big man.