Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Year in Wheaton Aston? probably....

At last the temperature has risen & ice is thawing, albeit very slowly. We have clear water around us thanks to the chap ice breaking  by going up to the services on his dingy every day but a couple of hundred yards in each direction it is still fairly solid. :-(
 A couple of boats have gone past us to get diesel but then have struggled to get back again. Hopefully though by the weekend, if the milder weather continues we may be able to move on. 

Not a lot else to report really, we are trying not to let cabin fever set in by keeping busy. Mark did the engine service yesterday but there's no logs left to chop, we are on the last lot, need to move to get some wood collecting done!

Some pictures from our Christmas day walk.

                                              Checking the water point, it was still frozen...

It's gone from from startlingly white & beautiful to grey, damp & murky but that's the price of a thaw I suppose.....

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas in Wheaton Aston

We have been here in Wheaton Aston a week now, a long time to be in one place for us! But whilst not able to cruise we are reasonably comfortable with most things we need near to hand.
The water container I bought in Nantwich has been put to good use & Mark has kept the water tank topped up meaning I was able to do some washing yesterday. 
 On Tuesday we ventured into Stafford by bus as we needed container for diesel  plus other bits & bobs. It was bitterly cold  &  Mark's patience is in short supply on shopping trips ;)  so we weren't any longer than necessary.
 We walked through the shopping centre into a small indoor market & found a 20 Lt diesel container for £12.99, bargain!  A warm up & lunch stop in Costa Coffee followed by a dash round Sainsbury's  then back on the bus home. 
Turners Garage is just across the bridge & their diesel is a reasonable 66.9p per Lt so with our new  shiny container we are making regular trips to top up the tank. 

I got some nuts for the birds & hung them in the tree opposite the kitchen window,  

                          Sid likes to sit & watch them, just as well I think that  he's not going outside !

A not very clear picture of the local "ice breaker", he has been past a few times, up to the service point & back - it's so cold though that it soon freezes up again.

  No thaw yet, forecast for tonight is -18c, according to The Guardian, Russia is "hit by big freeze" with temps of -15c. So that makes it colder here then,  brrrr......

        A very merry Christmas to all of you out there, 
stay warm & safe.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Wheaton Aston, again...

A busy day on Tuesday, as promised Carol took me to a launderette somewhere on the outskirts of Wolverhampton so the washing was all done  :) &  Carvers delivered 10 bags of excel,  spot on service, ordered on Monday & delivered next day. The price wasn't too bad either, £93.00 with free delivery.

According to the weather forecast  a brief respite in the freeze was due Wednesday & Thursday so wasting no time Wednesday morning we made our way towards the winding hole, not too bad, just some thin broken stuff but the winding hole itself needed some energetic ice breaking with the pole! 
We had already decided that Gailey was a no go as beyond the winding hole was solid 2/3" thick so once winded we made our way to Autherley Junction, the plan was to fill up with water ect then move up to the winding hole after bridge 5, turn round & head south towards Greensforge.

This plan unravelled as we chatted with another boater at the water point as they told us that the ice was bad on the Staffs & Worcs south of Autherley but the Shroppie was clear at least up to Wheaton Aston. Okay, Wheaton Aston it is then.

We managed to find an empty spot on the visitor moorings, just a few yards past the services. It looks like we timed it just right as we are now frozen in, again.... but at least this time we are handy for all we need including diesel as Turners is just across the way.

Our current mooring, Poppy is 2nd boat on the left.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The kindness of strangers

We had hoped to be able to move on today after a bit of a thaw as we were nearly out of water & out of coal but although there is clear water around us, 100yds further on the canal towards Coven is still  iced up. Back towards Autherley Junction is mostly clear but we are facing the wrong way & it's along way to reverse! 

We decided to busy ourselves collecting some wood this morning & then make a decision at lunch time, hoping maybe that some brave soul may have done some ice breaking in the meantime or a rapid thaw have taken place.
 Last night a boat had pulled in behind us & this morning we got chatting,  turns out he was the boat that had  passed us yesterday ice breaking & we had chuntered a bit at the time as it sounded  as if sheets of ice were slamming into our hull!  He had gone up to the junction to use the services & was going to do a bit more ice breaking to get back to his mooring just through bridge 70 but before he went on his way he was kind enough to offer us a bag of fuel & 20 litres of water! We gratefully accepted & off he went crashing through the ice.

 3 boats are moored just up from us & we have spoken to Jeff (Nb Nauti Nauti) a few times in passing & this morning  his wife Carol popped over to say hello & see if we were okay & if we needed anything as they have a car. She mentioned that Carvers will deliver coal so we will ring them tomorrow.
After lunch we decided to walk up to the Co-op in Coven to get a paper & check how bad the ice was between us & the winding hole hoping that the boat going through might have cleared a channel but it didn't look good, still a lot of ice so we have decided to stay put. I bought a 25litre water container a few weeks ago & we have a trolley so the plan is to walk up to the junction & fill the container daily which should see us through. 

Having decided on our plan of action we settled in to watch the snooker when Carol returned to say Jeff was taking one of the other boats ( that was facing the right way!) up  to the junction to get some water & had 2 aqua rolls that he would fill for us & drop off when they came back, which he very kindly did - & Carol has also offered to take me to the launderette on Tuesday - gosh, so thanks to others thoughtfulness & a bit of organising we reckon we should be fine staying here a little longer.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Still in Coven Heath

I'm back on board after a lovely 5 day trip to Scarborough & we are still frozen in! So fingers are crossed that the small rise in temperature forecasted for the next few days thaws the ice  then we can at least get up to Gailey. We have severely rationed our water but are down to 1/4 of a tank which won't last long....

Whilst Mark had a log chopping session this morning I let Sid out for a while, it was his first taste of snow & he was enjoying being out in the fresh air....

.....then I turned my back for a second & he was on the ice. 
 I know it's probably a good 4" thick but still not a good idea, luckily he loves his grub so with a quick shake of the food box he was off the ice & back indoors, which is were he will be staying! 

 Meanwhile Soona had a quick peek & then headed back to the fireside, sensible cat!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Winters icy grip

So we are going nowhere, haven't had much snow yet, just a couple of inches but temp has been well below freezing for days now resulting in us being well & truly iced in. 
                                     This was taken a couple of days ago, looking north...

                                           and this is the view from the stern this afternoon

We are okay for food as both Morrison's & Co-op are within walking distance, we've plenty of wood & a couple of bags of coal left & if we do need more coal I will do as Geoff & Mags on nb Seyella have done.They are moored just a few miles up from us at Penkridge  & managed to get a delivery of coal from local merchant. 

Water rationing is in order & it's showers on alternate days only ( & a quick one at that!) I have adopted Sue on nb No Problem's idea of saving the water from the hot water bottles for washing up etc. 

I'm hoping to get up to Scarborough tomorrow for a few days, it's very much dependant on what the weather does overnight but it is reminiscent of last year when our family Christmas in Scarborough was scuppered by heavy snow.

A rare photo of the cats in close proximity, Sid cannot usually resist chasing Soona & generally disrupting her peace & quiet,  but he is settling down a bit now he's growing up.
 Soona though is still very wary & generally rebuffs his attempts to be friends, she has a point though as he can't help himself, he usually goes too far & spoils it!