Well thank goodness for UG boots I say! They’ve keeping my feet so warm and cosy, I’m so thankful I made the choice to buy them when I was in Shrewsbury! I believe the temperature is similar in NZ autumn as in UK spring at the moment, so we’re not missing anything, and at least the nights are getting lighter here and with a bit of luck we have warmer weather to come! But I’m not counting on it…
Saturday morning it poured with rain, and unfortunately that was the day we had to go to a Marina and get some diesel and a pump out (revolting I know, but a fact of life on the boat when the red light comes on above the toilet to say you’re full; we have yet to work out whether it’s like the petrol light on a car and means we have another 20kms or more to go or not!!!). We got told off (again! It’s becoming a habit, the English are very bossy aren’t they, I’d forgotten?!) by the man in the Marina for not reading the signs saying ‘don’t enter until given permission to do so’ – not just one but FOUR signs! The English have so many signs - don’t do this, don’t do that - when we were here 4 years ago we started taking photos of all the signs but soon got bored! Anyway, first pump out successfully achieved, the ‘nice’ man did let us stay in the Marina waiting until they were ready rather than sending us back to moor up on the towpath outside, but he said it was only because we had our New Zealand flag flying, thanks again Deb!
Barry has appreciated his Gortex jacket cruising along in the wind and rain, and has been heard saying quietly a couple of times ‘this isn’t what I ordered!’ A couple of men waiting in their car while I wound up and down a lift bridge (they found it highly amusing to sit and watch me working so hard the buggers!) shouted to Barry ‘thanks for bringing the weather with you’, so this is actually fantastic weather apparantly!
Eight dentists on a stag trip. They'd stopped for a cup of tea prior to this. ????
We had a lovely evening in Ellesmere, and found a couple of pubs with very friendly people in. We even got a game of darts at The White Hart, great little pub, and I beat Barry much to the amusement of the barman! The next pub (can’t recall the name of it, a hotel ) there was a pool semi-final going on, all VERY serious stuff.
May look impressive but didn't win the game
We moored in Chirk Saturday evening and went for a stroll then steak and chips at the local pub, The Poachers Pocket - I thought I'd treat myself to a hot shower and straighten my hair for our big night out, while Barry was cruising along (while the inverter was working), but horror of horrors (ladies will understand this part!), my straightener didn't adapt well to UK voltage and broke having not even straightened my fringe - no straight hair for me for a while then!!! Ah well, the realities of narrowboat living I suppose!
Sunday we had a ‘short’ walk (advertised as such from the towpath) to Chirk Castle which turned into a bit of a hike – short walk indeed! We decided to just stay for coffee (well OK Barry had a cider and I had a coffee!) and a few picturesque pictures and then hike back a possibly shorted way through the castle grounds to meet the lovely Lisa for a Sunday Roast at ‘The Poachers Pocket’, what an excellent pub that is. We've been to a number where the service has been atrocious, and one wonders why they are running a pub when they can't even smile at their customers - all the staff at The Poacher's were curteous and friendly and the food was good too.
Sandra and the castle. Pretty impressive
Yesterday we travelled over the 2 Aquaducts built by Thomas Telford – Chirk and Pontcysllte (how on earth do you say that?!) – what amazing structures! The Chirk one was awesome with a drop of 21.3 meters, views of meadows and sheep that were beautiful in the soft evening sunlight, and has a viaduct running alongside built after the aquaduct (1801 aquaduct & 1841 viaduct!) to show the supposed ‘supremacy’ of the railways.
Chirk aquaduct and railway bridge
View from the top
But this pales into insignificance when you meander across the Pontcysllte one at 38 meters above the River Dee, opened in 1805. The views from this one were spectacular, and the one side there was no barrier at all. So when you are steering the narrowboat you are actually right on the edge. It didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would until I was trying to go to sleep last night and I suddenly couldn’t stop myself thinking what could have happened, those night-time terrors…
Views from the top
The railway bridge from the top of the aquaduct
We moored up at a place called Trevor Sunday night, and got almost told off again as we moored ‘illegally’ on private moorings that weren’t signposted at all! But it was OK, the one person who was living there said he didn’t mind and so long as we were out of there by 10 in the morning no-one would be any the wiser.
Trevor at the end of the viaduct
Today we’ve cruised to Llangollen in North Wales, following a challenging piece of the canal where there is single lane ‘traffic’ in a couple of parts, and very shallow bits in others. A very pretty run nonetheless, though I wouldn’t be so keen to cruise along in high season; it must take hours to travel the 4 miles from Trevor! It’s rained almost constantly today and I think the forecast is the same tomorrow if not worse. Temperature is now down to less than 10 degrees, and will be around 2 degrees tonight, so we have the central heating on in the boat – quite a luxury coming from NZ where we have just the log burner to rely upon! Llangollen looks like a lovely little place, though I’m sure like anywhere it would look a lot lovelier if the sun was shining instead of the clouds falling down! And we have actually found a local launderette and done a service wash (10 pounds!) - yippee, clean towels, sheets and other things!!!
Some of the 29 ducklings attacking the weed on our boat (no shortage there). They all appear to be with the one mother.
We'll be doing some more exploring of Llangollen tomorrow in the rain…