Friday, 26 March 2010

A Trip to Wales

We arrived back at Great Haywood on Wednesday 24th and took Rock n Roll into the marina for a couple of nights whilst we take a trip to North Wales (the county of Gwynedd) so that I could attend the retirement lunch for a great friend and former colleague Chris.
We stayed in Friog in a small guest house a few hundred yards from where we lived before selling up to cruise Rock n Roll
Thursday saw us all on Fairbourne Beach; the first time Molly has encountered sand - she loved it and the wide open space - but she wasn't keen on the sea!
looking past the railway bridge down the Mawddach Estuary
a very peaceful scene with Cadair Idris in the background
the lovely voice of a song thrush caught our attention
time for that lunch at Meifod Country Hotel in Bontnewydd near Caernarfon  ...
... a bunch of the best of NHS North West Wales!
We spent a very pleasant evening with the best neighbours/friends you could ever wish for and
Molly met her half sister Pip (same father different mother) for the first time since she (Molly) was 8-weeks old (Pip is 6 now and Molly 2)
travelling over the bwlch near to Dinas Mawddwy on the way back today (Friday 26th George's birthday!)
we've had quite a few short sharp showers this afternoon ...
... this rainbow was awsome!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Burston Village - Trent and Mersey Canal

Monday 22nd March 2010
We left Stone yesterday in warm sunshine - had seen this very unusual blackbird several time but managed to get this photo just before we left. 
lovely moorings around Burston, the railway line is just far enough away not be intrusive
not a boat in sight north or south
except Rock n Roll! 
Burston village pool
the very small village has a mix of very old and much newer houses
built around the village pond
looks like a WAG house near the canal
it was the correct time too!
the church is unusual; unfortunately is was locked and the keyholder at no.8 was not at home, but I was assured by a fellow boater who visited it yesterday that it's very simple inside and well worth a visit

The Greyhound was not at all picturesque but had gained mentions by Egon Ronay in 93 and 94
a beautiful georgian houes
the wildlife was present too - this demanding swan was certainly persistant
and this black ?Koi was in a much smaller garden pond.
We enjoyed our walk around Burston Village, managing to ge back to RnR before the rain set in.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Salt to Stone

Tuesday 16th March 2010
RnR moored at the decorative Ingestre Bridge 78 south of Weston
we had intended to cruise directly to Stone but stopped off at Salt for a look around The Holly Bush Inn
the unusual bell tower of Salt Church
Salt's old school house
the approach to Sandon Lock - 9'11" rise/fall
looking up from Sandon Lock to the road
an interesting picture through the above archway towards Sandon Lock
it was an absolutely glorious day, warm, sunny, no wind
I really think that it's Spring at last!
and a delightful welcome at Stone

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mothers Day

Sunday 14th March 2010
The temperature this morning was in the plus - what a change;
(it was minus 7 again yesterday morning at 06:15, let's hope that the freezing mornings are now behind us)
The day dawned very promising and the sun soon appeared - along with the wind - it has been nearly gale force and very chilly!
a daffodil (narcissi) for mothers day
this is the first open one I've seen - albeit my pots have been under the pram hood since mid-December

We went to the Saracen's Head for lunch just instead of having to cook, (appart from the fact that I need a Tesco delivery soon) - we'd been there for Sunday lunch about 18-months ago and it was nothing special, rather ordinary food at a reasonable cost.  We are moored about 1.5 miles away and walked there because it is the closest pub - there was a set menu on for Mothers Day 3-courses for £17.95!! But we stayed and ate, the roast beef was a bit tough, but the pudding - Baileys Panna Cotta - was absolutely delicious! 

Looking towards Weston on Trent at 18:30
I've spoken to the kids this morning after opening cards etc and all in all have had a good day

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Moving off from Great Haywood

Thursday 11th March
It was sooooo cold again this morning - minus 7 degrees at 06:15!
the sun and its reflection through the mist
the temperature had risen to just freezing when I took these 2 pictures just before 9 o'clock

After calling at Anglo Welsh on the junction and topping up with water and fuel and emptying the toilet tank we set off north up the Trent and Mersey Canal.
It was a short and very quiet journey
George was disappointed that the barman had not yet arrived to pull him a pint of one of his favourites!

We have moored up before Ingestre Bridge (78) on the 48-hour slots and will move up to Weston on Saturday morning and on to Stone later next week.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Life at Great Haywood Marine Services Ltd

Our stay here was from Monday 1st - Monday 8th March 2010 whilst the very friendly staff reblacked the hull of Rock n Roll with Comastic and George and I rubbed down the damaged paintwork up to the gunwale ready for repainting. The two Johns and 'the painter' (sorry don't think we got your name) were extrememly helpful with advise regarding the work we were doing giving us demonstrations of 'how it should be done'
stairway to heaven - a bit dicey on frost mornings, but we managed ok
the first coat of Comastic makes all the difference
the rubbing down to bare metal of the damaged areas took a few days and a lot of elbow grease!
Since most mornings were very frosty and took a while to warm up and with it cooling down quickly in the afternoon it took us 7 days to put 2 coats of enamel paint the tunnel bands (cream/red), black up to the gunwale, and blue non-slip on the bow and gas locker - we were very pleased with the results.
nb Tea-Pee has a mooring on the farm shop's line - Sylvia who lives aboard feed the local wildlife and this pair of mallards walked purposely down the towpath each morning for their breakfast, but on this particular morning Sylvia was nowhere to be seen so they climbed onto the bow and knocked on the cratch window!
Waiting for paint to dry is not very interesting and Molly still needed to be walked - I'm sure you will recognise the very elegant Essex Bridge at Shugborough where the River Sow meets the River Trent
I like the shadows on this picture
Essex Bridge with the railway arch in the background
after some dramatic sunsets (this one taken at 18:30 on Thursday 4th)
preceeded very cold early mornings - minus 5 at 06:30 on the Friday 5th.
Saturday 6th was OwnerShips day (Great Haywood Marine Services look after the handovers and maintenance of these boats) and on the Friday AB Tuckey arrived to hoist Hamish their electric narrowboat ..
... onto the launcher and into the water ready for tomorrow.  We didn't see many prospective buyers on the Saturday, but apparently OwnerShips did quite well.  There were more people about on Sunday though as the marina were also holding an open day.
On Sunday 7th at 06:45 to temperature had dropped to minus 9!
after another dramatic sunset ...
... Monday 8th dawned at minus 12 degrees - it was COLD; the marina was frozen over once again and we wondered if we would get back in today ..
.. but after moving a few more boats about and in and out of the water it was our turn
With the tractor John backed the launcher into the water ..
.. the rear axle is ready to be lowered
the quality of these pictures are not brilliant; they are snapshots from a video I took at the time
the bow starts to move off the launcher
and we're away!
Thank you lads, we'll see you again in a couple of years for another go!
the concentration John - sorry I couldn't resist this one!

We moved to the junction for a couple of nights to enable me to catch up with all the accumulated washing, visit the dentist and then we're off north to Stone for a while as George has dental appointments here on 24th March and 7th April - so the start of journey to York is delayed yet again, but we'll get there!