Thursday, 31 May 2012

Hi Everyone

Since leaving Ellesmere last Thursday and heading down the Montgomery the weather has been absolutely beautiful, as it must have been for you, though as I have always said a bad day on the canal is better than a good day at work. Now the Mongomery canal; it is as stated in the books one of the most peaceful, tranquil and beautiful canals in the country this tranquillity comes at a cost first you have to book a passage through the first lock at present only 12 boats are allowed down in one day and you can only stay 14 days maximum, hire boats only 24 hrs this is obviously to avoid congestion as the canal in places is very very very narrow. We have been down the whole length all 7 miles
Being conservative I have counted about 30 moorings I am talking an average of 54ft boats mine being 60ft I struggle. So in my humble opinion 12 boats a day over a week is 72 boats, surmising none go back thats 40 boats cruising aimlessly looking for a mooring
However all the boaters we have spoken to none have complained and all found a mooring. So something must be working if not my maths
There is a BW sanitary station with pump out a the end of the canal, it is very nice well kept and spotless, tomorrow I will find out if the pump actually works. The winding hole at the end is something of a problem as just before the hole is a lift bridge and when I say just before I mean just before I calculated that once my stern is clear of the bridge my Bow has already passed the winding hole, with two boats moored in the hole tomorrows manoeuvres could be fun. Boaters if you come down bring BW cards with you there are none down here, As we were visiting Tom yesterday by car we had to get ours from Anderton. Having said all that the Mongomery is a very nice place with lots to do, nice people, good pubs and good food what else do boaters want. Whilst here we have had the car with us so Noreen can visit Tom having it here has made exploring easy, as we all know Shropshire is a lovely county and well worth a visit. With the weather being so good and the traffic so quiet there are no funny skits to tell you about I suppose John’s large Eel he caught last night would have made anyone laugh at our antics trying to land it, just beside of us there is a canoe club it would appear our main task on the mooring is to fish the inexperienced canoeist out of the canal???????
The whole point of coming on the Montgomery and having this quiet period was to enable Noreen to do lots of visiting Tom in hospital which has worked our very well the only downside is now we are buying Petrol and Diesel?? I am now getting ready for Matthew and Lorraine coming they are Boat Minding over the bank holiday weekend as on Sat we are driving over to the Crick boat show and are assisting on the Fettlers Wharf stand, I feel proud to be representing them, we are really looking forward to it, I just hope that the hotel room has a bath and not a shower Noreen would be upset. It will be great to catch up with Lorraine Danny Sarah and Wayne plus all the Marina/Canal gossip.
Lets hope for fair weather and a good crowd  
Just got back from doing a pump out and filling with water ready for the gang coming
This morning we press ganged Lynne into coming with us, Lynne had never done locks so it was an experience for her. However coming out of the first lock I got quite a lot of weed around the prop, I stopped to clear it all, to get into the weed hatch I have to take the urn off the stern which at the moment is full of coal. The grass had just been cut and made the bank very slippy YES I went Ar*** over T** with the urn finishing up on my now twisted ankle. My roll over the urn on landing must have been spectacular as Lynne thought is was a professional boaters way of disembarking whilst carrying a milk urn full of coal
You would have all been proud of me no cursing, swearing, or oaths of profanity. I just picked myself up dusted myself down and carried on, I must admit though I am now in some considerable pain which I am sure will soon wear off
The winding hole that I was concerned about at the end was not as daunting as I imagined though I did have to reverse into it something I do not like doing the farmer who was waiting to cross the bridge thought it was quite an impressive manoeuvre and so did I as at the time I could only stand on one leg the other by now causing quite a lot of discomfort.
When we arrived back here at Queens Bridge Kath and John had been making quite sure that nobody pinched our mooring, whilst Kath was standing guard John had been polishing his mushrooms so he is now the proud owner of a lovely pair ++of polished Mushrooms ????????

That’s it for this blog my next one will be after the Boat show,

Wish us luck

Speak soon


Big Al


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Hi Folks

The last couple of days have been great. Starting Monday we headed back to Ellesmere, with calm waters and glorious sunshine we had a good sail. We arrived at Ellesmere only to find the place in utter chaos the arm was full, there were boats trying to get in, and boats trying to get out with the resulting chaos of a supermarket dash, not everyone can turn a 60ft boat around whilst dodging boats from left and right and staying calm among some very irate boaters. We decided to take refuge on the water point thus avoiding the carnage, both our water tanks were empty so we knew we had 45mins to spare in which time we assumed that the chaos would have subsided. In the time it took the tanks to fill Noreen had gone down the arm and secured two moorings no one had the courage to argue with such a voice of authority anyway we were soon moored in a nice spot and settling down to tea
Maryanne and Gregg came over for tea and also brought the car so there we were good mooring good food good company and the car Luxury Pure bloody Luxury
Tues we all jump in the car and shot off to Shrewsbury were we had a great day around the Abbey, Castle great walk along the river and then the time. The African sun couldn’t do the Australian sun couldn’t do it but yesterday the sun here did I actually got burnt I know most of you think that my skin is that thick nothing could penetrate it ?????????
Today it was the turn of Eddrig a 18c house and gardens it also was really good the weather was great and the grounds beautiful and a very nice day was had by all.
Tomorrow we are off up to the Montgomery were we will be for the next two weeks except for the diversion to the Crick Boat show over the for the coming bank holiday
After that who knows were we will be stay tuned

Big Al

River Seven Walk

The Dingle

Shrewsbury Castle

Look at the railway out

Friday, 18 May 2012

Hi Folks

Well yesterday turned out to be the nicest day for weather since we left though it start with a bit of gloom. Both John and I were ready to we slipped our rope and moved off first slowly reversing onto the main canal I soon realised that something was wrong as Orion was not moving not an inch though the prop was cutting enough water to float the Titanic but it was obvious he was well and truly grounded, we new it was shallow when we went in but I can only assume with the boats passing at such a speed silt had been washed under Orion and built up. I manoeuvred behind, attached his stern rope to my bow and set off in full reverse it didn’t budge not a bloody inch after another three goes I gave that up I was just wasting fuel. There were another two boats moored up and all came to help however it needed a leader and some sort of organisation I soon had everyone organised into a rocking team there was only one way this baby was moving and that was getting air under her to release the vacuum that the silt had caused so it was “Right on my command one two three Push! One two three Push! One two three Push she was soon rocking port to starboard like a docker on a Saturday night john banged her in reverse and away she went. I would like to thank Boats Kimberley Jo and Marie Clare for their assistance, Though it was very strange out of the four boats moored Orion was the only one to get stuck just not her day????.

So we were soon cruising again we stopped of at Churk Marina for pump out and john for diesel after the morning escapade he was nearly empty another hour had us moored just east of the aqueduct for the day we then had a very pleasant walk over the Aqueduct and back in alla very pleasant day Thursday Orion and Buggerlugs parted company they have gone up to Llangollen and we picked up Silvia Alan and there cousin in Trevor took them over the Aqueduct cruised to Chirk turned around moored up had a lovely lunch and when back over the aqueduct All was going well up until the last 2000 yards

I was about quarter way across the bridge when I noticed to my horror that the trip boat was also crossing the bridge but in the other direction in other words right at me. Now those who know the Pontycytle will know how disconcerting that is you are 300 feet above the River Dee in a 200 year old cast iron bath tub just wide enough to take your boat and you have a huge passenger boat heading towards you. Was this going to be a stand off a welsh Gunfight at the OK Corral but no he backed off and reversed much to my relief. At last I was able to moor up and disembark my passengers.

We are now off back to Lyon quays hopefully in deep water Noreen will visit dad over the weekend and then we May go back to Ellsmere and get ready to go off down the Montgomery. As I said I am trying very hard to keep this trip incident free though by doing that it makes my blog rather boring I apologise for that. I could talk about the amount of boaters I am shouting at for being nothing more that morons I have never known so many rude, ignorant and imbecilic boaters in my life I believe that its worse here because they are concentrated in a small area. However it all helps to promote the great diverse tapestry of canal life ?????????????
Just a couple of thank you's first Churk Marina great place very freindly people
and NB Bramble we lost a fender in a lock about a two weeks ago they found it and kept it as they new they would pass us again How nice is that
God Bless
Big Al

Crossing the AQEDUCT four times yeterday

Its  A LONG WAY down its all held together by bolts and a lot of good luck???

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Bath time

Hi Folks

Tuesday 15 May 2012

We left Ellsmere yesterday morning after filling with water we headed for The Lion Quays Its a very nice Hotel, Restaurant and fitness club with its own Mooring its all very nice and only 10 mins by car from Maryanne’s which makes it very convenient. The trip down here was not without incident ( I Hear you ask "is any")again we had a day of very high winds, keeping the boats on an even keel was to say the least hard work, both John and I agree that there are far more morons about this year then ever and they are not all hire boats; those you can excuse they do not know better and have little experience  but some of these morons are seasoned boaters speed is the biggest culprit it bothers me why these people buy a boat and then rush everywhere to me that’s defeating the object. Yesterday as we rounded a bend three boats passed shouting that up ahead was a boat that was adrift in the middle of the canal as it came in view another boat was pushing it out of the way John and I decided to moor our boat and board the abandoned stranded vessel, get it into the side and moor it up (properly) So that was 4 boats had completely ignored its stranded state and just sailed by we couldn’t believe it and none of these boats were hire boats I was disgusted at the attitude of these boats. and no doubt it was the speed of some of the boats passing that had caused it to come adrift.
Arriving at the lion quays we found plenty of empty moorings as john hadn’t been before I thought I would show him around starting with the bar, they do sell some very nice beers. Maryanne came after work and we all went to her place for tea and spent a very nice evening, Noreen had a Bath, which she really enjoyed that the one thing that she really misses on the boat so when ever the opportunity arrives she jumps on it. the shower unit is great I love it its got a very powerful jet just how I like it bit Noreen says its OK but its not a bath ???? Gregg had a go and sorting my computer out and it would have worked if I had taken the right cables but we have a few weeks in the area yet so no rush. We then brought our car back here to the Lion Quays Maryanne will collect it tomorrow night and keep it at her place ( my logistical plan is working)

Tues dawned very windy and very wet as the car was here we decided to visit Dad today
Dropping Kath and John off in Oswestery to do some shopping and sight seeing, we shot off to visit Dad, He was fine he has had his pin removed from his knee and now is off traction. I cut his toe nails as they were very bad and catching on everything (apparently cutting toe nails is now not a nurses job ) soon we will be doing self service ops. Anyway we left him in fine spirit as he has been told he has one more week in bed and then they are going to start getting him mobile.
Tomorrow we are off to Trevor I am not sure if I shall take the boat all the way to Llangollen as the last few miles are very shallow I do not want to damage my prop to see something I have already seen and we can always go up the last few miles on the bus ??
All the boaters we meet have only one topic of conversation and that is this awful weather I just want it to make its mind up the wind is the worst it makes everything hard work and you know how allergic I am to that.

Speak soon

Big Al

It is a very BeautifulCanal

and full of interesting people

Noreen and Kath assisting at a lock

Buggerlugs and Orion moored at the Lion Quays

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Hi Folks
Hi everyone

Friday 11 May 2001

I know it sounds like I am always moaning but I just want to say what an horrific day we have had Its not a moan its just well lets call it news time like the TV and radio news they only tell you bad news at lease I will get around to some interesting news?
Today we set off from our overnight stop just before Wenbury for Elsmere a total of about ???? miles 10 locks 5 swing bridges and it took us almost 10 hrs that did include a pump out and taking on water it has been an horrific day 50/60 mph winds, the canal running at some incredible speed Its was like sailing against an Ebbing tide and rain that would freeze you to the marrow. The Lock by washes that look, sound and feel more like Niagara Falls than a simple canal overflow system. Any boater coming down the Llangollen in the next month take notice the by washes are treacherous. We also had to contend with the wind blowing one of the top box covers off, as the water is flowing so fast it meant I had to reverse after it hooking it out before it sank to a watery grave and fouled up some poor buggers prop. Then we had Some boaters who don’t know their ar-- from their elbow and think its such a spiving idea to moor next to a narrow bridge and have a picnic in the rain, or to pass on the wrong side at 10mph and of course the ever loving hire companies who moor their boats three abreast on one of the narrowest canals in the country and complain when you have to pass so close it pushes them off their mooring ( Come on Viking Boats get your act together )
But the most terrifying thing we had to deal with was a stow away, whilst I was re-enacting Moby Dick and fighting the elements and stay in control of this fair craft. Noreen was below screaming, as I could not leave my post I had to ride out the storm and await orders from below they soon arrived in the words of “SHIFT THAT BLOODY MOUSE!!!) Noreen had found a stowaway in the form of a little field mouse I was sent below to escort the little chap off the boat , a task I completed in double quick time. I managed to escort it as far as the cratch there I closed the doors and left it to either abandon ship or jump to another passing vessel, I have no idea which option it chose only to say its not there now (thankfully)
We are now moored quite save and content in Elsmere, Maryanne and Greg have been we have all had tea they have gone home and now are ready for bed. Tomorrow I have quite a job list to attend to as two things I forgot to mention is the TV aerial was blown down and broke and the stove door fire seal as come loose, just as well we are waiting here whilst Noreen visits her dad on Sunday and John and Kath catch up.

Sunday 13 May
Well yesterday was a much better day it stayed dry and the wind dropped we took this as an omen and made it a day for relaxing and a bit of shopping Noreen had a hair cut and we had a walk around the Mere all in al a very nice relaxing day.
Today Sunday, Maryanne has taken Noreen p to see Dad whilst there Noreen is bringing our car back here that way we will be organised ready to drive up to Northampton and the Crick Boat show at the end of the month. I have at last completed my job list fixed the gauge and filter on the loo, re-sealed the door on the fire, repaired all the ropes, rewired and soldered the TV aerial, replaced two fan belts (one broke yesterday and the other was looking very worn) Oh and I helped John fix his headlight. The wind is really strong again today. here in Ellsmere you have a junction that goes down the arm the arm is on a wide bend so it causes quite a wide turning BUT it a strong wind is also causes chaos why some boaters thing that you have to go as fast as you can to defeat the wind I have no idea whilst working on John boat we were very close to the action it was like watching a very early key stone cops where events were very predictable and one could see who was going to hit who in the end we started to have a sweep stake on it . It would have made much more sense if they had just looked at the weather conditions moored up and sat it out. nobody can be in that much of a rush, it would also have saved gallons on touch up paint according to the weather man the wind should ease tonight, lets hope so we are off to Lion Quays tommorow
Speak Soon
Big Al




Anice Perch caught  on the Shropshire link
(what about the hat)

Herby is following us

A view over one of the Meres from the Canal

Herby taking off to meet us later

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Arrived on the River Weaver


Let me first apologise for the lack of communication over the past week, connection to the net has been difficult, Those who have missed my blog (can’t be many) can thank Danny for giving me a reprimand today for not publishing last week.

Everything is still going well and I am still in one piece just, We are now in Northwich on the River Weaver even though its a Bank Holiday weekend its very quiet and plenty of moorings.

We sailed down from Manchester leaving last Monday we moored at Dunham Masey for a day We had a very pleasent day walking around the ground and house we even joined the National Trust, though I still have a problem of joining something that I am already a part owner of. As I am a UK National, then it goes to say I with every other national part own the National Trust I do hope you are following this ?????

Weds we were in Lymm By the way Lymm now has its own fishing tackle shop very useful to know. Noreen managed to get a bus back to Altrincham and then tram to Stretford to see her dad I was left to complete some running repairs. And a bit of fishing

Whilst we were in Lymm Kath decided that she should be allowed to fish along with John and I so we set her up with all the gear the attached pick shows how relaxed we are as kath enjoys fishing in her slippers but as she has us running around putting Maggots on and taking fish off, she has no need for foot wear?????

Thursday we moored in Anderton and booked a trip down the lift to the River Weaver

I really enjoy the lift one of the wonders of the water world I always fascinated with the engineering of the whole thing.

Last night we had Silvia, Marjorie, Geoff and Alan onboard for a few drinks and a great night we had tonight we are aboard Orion with Kat and John its all go this boating????

Today Noreen has gone over to visit her dad again but the bus was running 15 min late due to the carnival I just hope she makes visiting time, I’m sure she will

The weather is staying on the fair side and we are managing to stay dry.

Last night or I should say this morning 04.30 we had seagulls land on the roof I thought someone was trying to break in,as Noreen would not get up and have a look it was left to me again I tell you we had at least six of the buggers tap dancing on Buggerlugs roof

The other problem mooring here is that all this water and I can’t fish because the Weaver is still in closed season until the 16 June very frustrating

Sunday we awoke to a very sunny morning though the weather forecast does not look good, we were over on Orion last night for a few drinkies (bugerall else to do on boats is there???) anyway whilst drinking the port and toasting her Majesty we decided that on Sunday morning as we could not get anywhere for mass we would hold our own service. for this we decided that Weatherspoons would be the best place as they were doing a full English at £2.99 so as the lord said, Matthew 18:20 For where two or more gather in my name there I am among them. So we had a fantastic breakfast and thanked the lord for all his blessings. The rest of the day has been taken up just mucking about and trying to repair this broken zip on the cratch cover, Whilst shopping Kath found some bendy wired frogs which she thought might serve the purpose to cut a very long storey short after countless committee meetings we came up with a plan. But they do say a Camel is a horse invented by a committee. I hope to have attached a photo of the final design / solution.

Monday we set off going through Middlewich then taking the Shropshire branch towards the Llangollen.

Speak to you all soon

Big Al

Kath with her new design in fishing footwear

I was hoping that the space pod would close and take off! But it didnt

Noreen on the till River Weaver

Overtaking  Orion on the weaver

When ever I look round this woman is looking at me



Speak to you all soon

Big Al



Just a few more photos to lighten your day

Have a nice day (I will)

This the new invention to repair your broken Cratch cover Zip I have taken out a pattent so don't bother copying my idea

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I love to see people working and they seem to love to see me passing Manchester Castlefield