Tuesday, 31 December 2013

We’ve made a start ...

... on packing up on nb Rock ’n’ Roll!

No pictures or art work on the walls ... empty(isn) book shelves ... 
... one empty cupboard ... so far ...
... all now packed into boxes and put into storage ... feels very strange!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Remember the garden?

... back in August and again in October George spent a lot of time helping our son to landscape his garden.  The garden was designed by a professional who wanted an extortionate amount of money to make it a reality, so Mark (son) got together his ‘team’, father-in-law Norman (the brain), dad George and himself to do as they’re told  as the labourers with lots of help too from the rest of the family of course.
From the plan above you can see two tree shapes, one just to the left of centre (a lovely copper beech) and one in the top right -hand corner ( a Rowan/Mountain Ash). The whole design was planned using these existing trees as a base - all the straight lines of the ‘steps’ across the rise of the ground are from tree to tree.

 This is more or less how the garden was in October, you can see the lines of the steps between both the trees ... looking towards the top of the garden and then towards the house.
 Apart from the decking and pergola that will be next to the Rowan tree, there was ‘just’ the patio to lay and the ‘team’ got together on Thursday (26th Dec).  Norman and Mark have been making progress on the patio on Mark’s days off so after the lovely family Christmas the final ‘push’ was made.

The Rowan tree in early August as the work commenced.

Friday morning was forecast to be wet and if it was, we would leave Marks and return home to RnR, but surprisingly the forecast was wrong so we stayed so that George could help with more paving.

Whilst this was going on I was in the bedroom packing our bags ready to leave later when I heard ‘concerned’ voices outside ... Ange had been watching the workers through the patio doors when she noticed that the the wind was blowing the Rowan ‘wrong’.  Instead of the branches moving, the whole tree was being swayed by the wind.  Mark went to investigate and found a crack low down in the trunk and it was also rotting away ... what to do? Can’t ignore it, it may come down on the new wall and do some damage to cars parked behind ...
So ... it has to come down ... Ange is gutted!
Mark is doing the cutting in the tree, a rope has been found to guide each branch as it’s cut and George will hold the ladder and remove the fallen branches

(sorry about the quality of the pictures - phone camera and strong sunshine)
Once most of the upper, smaller branches have been removed it’s time for the chain saw ...

 ... the trunk has a V in it at about Mark’s head height so the part facing into the garden is removed ...

... that done the remainder of the tree is cut down to a safe height and work on the patio resumes ...

The pictures above and below were taken on Saturday (we left late Friday afternoon) ...
... and it’s finished.  The patio looks great!

Because the (current) Rowan tree is no longer, the ground at the top of the garden can be lowered a little more so that the step onto the decking will be less, so that’s one good thing to come out of the disappointment and hopefully the tree will be replaced in the new year by a sapling Rowan since it was such an integral piece of the whole garden design.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Just before Christmas

The sky over Droitwich Marina ...
… just before 7 on Winter Solstice morning.

Later that morning there was a knock on the boat, it was Jennie from nb Tentatrice calling to say hello.  It was lovely to meet you Jennie, next time perhaps there’ll be time to sit with a cuppa and chat!

 Lovely company over a good meal in a great pub this lunch time
Ann and Kev (new owners of Rock ’n’ Roll), George, Molly and I at The Chequers Country Pub and Restaurant.  Hope the drive back to Hull wasn’t too bad, thanks for calling in, we’ll see you again soon.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Carol and George

wish all our readers

a Very Merry Christmas

and a good road

in 2014

Freight Train?

 I thought the idea was to get freight off the road and onto the rails!
Taken from the car on the M1 yesterday morning.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Sunset on the Haylie Brae

We spent my birthday weekend at our daughter’s home in Scotland; we had a good drive north arriving at the Haylie Brae the steep A760 road which leads into the town at about 5:30 just as the sun was setting ...

 The Isles of Cumbrae across the Clyde
Absolutely breathtaking!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Looking for Hawford Lock

Life on the marina is ok; we can watch the wild-life from the windows. 
We are calling daily at Lambon Boats where our new wide-beam build is taking place and so we’ve decided that we probably won’t be taking Rock ’n’ Roll out very often during our stay here … but we do need to be out and about and as we have a car at our disposal ...
Our Nicholsons guide doesn’t accurately mark the newly opened Droitwich Canal and the local maps we’ve obtained only show the main roads; we do know though that there is a lock at the river end of the canal called Hawford Lock. So off we went and after a couple of wrong turns we found this lane, no traffic access though so we parked up and started to walk.  The stretch of water we came to was far too wide to be the canal so it must be the River Severn ...
Mooring, but why on this side of the pontoon - it’s a private mooring!
It was a beautiful day as you can see and over the river to the left above we could see lock beams, could this be Hawford Lock?
We walked on a little way and came to this rather pretty bridge which was very, very dilapidated  and in parts you could see the water below!
… but the view was lovely!
We passed Northwick Manor through the trees ...

… and the tumbling water over the weir ...
… but it wasn’t Hawford Lock at all!
Never mind it was a great walk and we can continue to look another day!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

By the water ...

… a different water …
It was a boat build free day on Tuesday as I’d got a doctor’s appointment so it was an early start for us, it’s a nearly 3-hour journey to Dolgellau in the Snowdonia National Park

We took the same road that Elaine and Paul took a few weeks ago in their motorhome.  The A458 heading toward the A470 junction has a large, tight horseshoe bend over a rather deep ravine with the Afon Clywddon flowing through.  The road on the bends is also extremely narrow, has two-way traffic but no white lines.  The Highways Dept has at last decided to reinforce the roads edge on the ‘drop’ side.  The tightness of the bend can easily catch-out the visiting motorist and having travelled this road hundreds of times it was good to see that it was being maintained.
Below are a few of the wonderful views as we tuned onto the A 470 towards Dinas Mawddwy through  the Aranau Range and the highest road pass in Wales. (taken through the car window)

The highest point
… and down the other side towards Dolgellau.  
As always when we revisit the area we lived in for 18 years before embarking onto the canals our first stop was to be the beach ...
Our old home Rose Cottage still looks good
Barmouth Railway Bridge built in 1867 crosses the Mawddach Estuary
 Here on Fairbourne beach looking over the Mawddach Estuary to Barmouth where Elaine and Paul would have been when taking their picture (in the link) 
 Molly having fun on Fairbourne Beach with Cadair Idris with its head in the clouds beyond
 Looking south towards Aberdovy ...
… and north towards Criccieth.
After meeting up with the best neighbours in the world Bill and Margaret at their home we set of for my GP appointment which went well but it was already dark when we left Dolgellau ...
… arriving back in Droitwich Spa at 8pm.