Sunday, 13 November 2011


We left St Martins on Friday morning, it was cold, grey & damp so a good job it was only an hours cruise to Chirk Bank  before mooring outside The Poachers Pocket pub. Mark figured it was probably  one of the few places before Chirk where we could get a TV signal & we knew from being up here last October that we didn't want to moor anywhere nearer Monks Bridge as a) no TV signal & b) some very noisy insomniac geese. 

 I was awaiting some mail due to be delivered to Chirk Post Office so we had a walk into the town before lunch, the mail hadn't arrived  but we also needed some supplies so popped into the fairly well stocked Spar. Chirk isn't a big place but has most of the essentials, apart from the Spar there's a chemist, a bank, butchers, bakers, Indian restaurant, coffee shop & some gift type shops so well worth the walk up from the canal.
 Yesterday we wanted to check out the mooring situation north of Chirk so we walked over the aqueduct, through the tunnel & through the cutting as far as the marina. 

View from the aqueduct across the valley under the railway viaduct,
 the mist is just rising off the trees

 the Chirk Aqueduct is the 'other' aqueduct's poor relation but we like it.
the imposing Chirk Tunnel entrance
the cutting north of the tunnel

There was just a couple of boats moored near the marina & loads of space for us if we decided to move, the problem with being at The Poachers Pocket was it wasn't really Sid friendly as the road is only across the car park so he wasn't allowed out & was a bit fed up. 
After checking the moorings we walked back to Chirk, 1st stop, the Post Office & my mail had arrived so next stop was the chemist to drop off my prescription. It won't be ready until Monday but that's fine then a few bits & bobs from the Spar & back home for lunch.
No evening meal to cook as we decided to try the Poachers Pocket, it's a Marstons  Pub so part of a chain but the food was fine, not Cordon Bleu but we are simple souls so it suited us.
This morning we upped sticks & moved up to the mooring near the marina, Mark has been to fetch the Sunday paper, I've cleaned & tided & Sid has been enjoying being outside.

One odd thing happened earlier, I broke off from the chores to check on Sid, he had got a bit stuck in a tree & I was just watching him when there was a noise from the hedge nearby,  then a hawk struggled out of the hedge with a blackbird in it's claws, it then went back in the hedge. A couple were just walking up with their dog as the hawk flew back out of the hedge, still with the blackbird, which now looked dead, & flew low across the canal disappearing  into the undergrowth on the other side. I didn't have my camera & the other couple, who did have a camera, were like me, too transfixed watching & it all happened so fast. I was surprised that the hawk would go into the hedge to attack the blackbird usually they seem to swoop in the open to get their prey & even after he'd got it he still stayed low, still I'm no ornithologist so what do I know!

A freaky photo of Sid as the flash catches his eyes playing with the latest toy.

Monday, 7 November 2011

St Martins

A definite chill in the air this morning as we moved up through the lock to the water point with more than a touch of frost. 

but the early sunshine didn't last & by lunchtime it was thick grey cloud, still bitterly cold though.
Mark had a walk up to Stan's Superstore for some essentials whilst I took advantage of a full water tank & did the washing.

Yesterday we had a walk over to the Co-op at Gobowen for a change, it was a lovely walk down country lanes in glorious autumn sunshine, no pictures though as I did take my camera but forgot that I'd left the battery behind on charge.

We've found the locator tag on Sid working well, I wanted him in before dark tonight as the towpath is a track for cars to the lock cottage, only light traffic but he has a habit of lying on the towpath, Mark had been out & although he got a weak signal couldn't pin point him so a while later I went out. It took me 10 minutes or so but eventually I picked up a signal which took me to some dense undergrowth. The tag on his collar beeps when he is in range & we've noticed that he'll often appear at that point as if he knows the beep means time to come in & sure enough he  soon strolled out of the undergrowth.
 Sid sporting his locator tag
  Getting ready to pounce, poor Soona, she rarely appreciates his 'games'

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Somewhere on the Llangollen Canal

I took Rowen back to Manchester on Saturday ready for back to school on Monday, the train from Whitchurch was packed & we had to sit in the corridor but it's only an hour's journey so we coped. 
The train back on Sunday was as busy though I did manage a seat this time.
Monday morning & we left Whitchurch at 7am arriving in Ellesmere at 12 noon & now half term is over there was plenty of room for us to moor on the arm. 
A potter round the town & then a lazy afternoon during which we had a heavy shower or two followed by this rainbow.

An early trip to Tesco on Tuesday morning to stock up the cupboards, especially heavy stuff like cat litter & tins turned into a bit of a pantomime. We had quite a trolley full & making our way to the tills realised that non of them were staffed & the couple of other customers were using the self service tills. It seems that they don't have anyone available for the tills until 9.30am!!
I hate the self service tills  usually getting the 'unexpected item in bagging area' & then have to wait for assistance anyway. Fortunately a very helpful staff member came & sorted us out.
 Once the shopping was aboard we went up to the junction & onto the services for water etc, by the time we'd finished & got underway it was 10.30am, our aim was to get passed bridge 6 as there is a winter stoppage starting on the 7th Nov until 21st Dec & then find a mooring. Which is just what we did & so are currently moored between bridges 7 & 8 , there is a bit of road noise from the A495 but it's good for Sid & a TV signal. 
It was warm & sunny so after lunch I took a wire brush to the rubbing strakes before giving the rusty areas some vactan then when it was dry a coat of bitumen, hopefully I will be able to do the other side once on a pontoon in Llangollen Basin ( just one of a list of jobs for this winter)

This morning we walked to the village of Whittington, Mark had spotted a 'premier' shop on Google Earth & whilst we didn't really need anything a copy of the Guardian would be nice. Part of the walk was down the disused railway track which was pleasant & the rest along the main road which was less pleasant. The village is lovely& has a castle which is unusual in that it is run by the local community, but the constant heavy traffic passing through is very intrusive. 
We found the shop & the last copy of the paper :) 

 Whittington Castle..
with it's impressive entrance
 Storm clouds over the village pond
Autumn colour

Although the clouds were gathering the rain held off until we were back home & then the heavens  opened but it didn't last long & the sun is out again. 
Now we are past the main stoppages we will be dawdling along as we don't need to be in Llangollen till the end of the month, a bit of forethought will be needed though as there are some short stoppages, Chirk tunnel is closed 15th -17th, Whitehouse tunnel closed 10th - 14th & Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is closed 7th -15th, fingers crossed that these go according to plan & no emergency stoppages result.