Wednesday, January 26, 2011

baaaaa - brrrrr

this tree just made me laugh on a cold morning

Ha Ha Ha !!!
We're back where we started 2 weeks ago ---- at Wheaton Aston.   At least I have been able to stock up on freerange eggs from Bridge Farm which is just a spit from the canal and get some cash from the lovely man at the Post Office (via his link machine I hasten to add!!).

Two weeks of gradually moving up to Goldstone and back again ---- blast that landslide (literally I hope pretty soon).    They have started work and latest email from BW is that they might be able to work out some sort of restricted passage next week but we’ll have to wait for the next update.   

First lambs - yes, you read that right.    Spotted first lambs of 2011 last Monday when cruising from Gnosall to Wheaton Aston.   I thought I was seeing things - can’t ever remember seeing lambs this early in the year.   Before you know it, twill be “first ducklings” / first goslings / first mooties (well, what do you call moorhen babies??).      We have noticed light is not fading now till about 5 ish ---- never clocked things like that before living on the boat.    You just seemed to realise about Easter time that the evening light is getting longer.     And then the nights start drawing in ----- stop Janice, its only January!!

Yes, those little white things are lambs - first of 2011 for us.
Seems so early - keep warm little babies
Had two really good nights in the pub with Fred and Lisa off one of Norbury Wharf’s hireboats - first at The Wharf on Shebdon Embankment and then the next night at the Navigation in Gnosall.    They had hired for 2 weeks but had to give the boat back last Saturday - we remember well the horrible feeling of your last night onboard for some time.

Very very foggy last Monday most of day - look at pictures below.     Looks like we were back in the dreaded Ice Age doesn’t it !

Since last blog we have done …  10 miles and 0 locks
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 917 miles and  848 locks

Des Res right by the canal

freezing foggy morning Jan 20
same morning
but our snow is nothing like that in Boston, MA in January as picture taken from our friends Ethan and Nancy's house shows - and they were expecting more snow!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Poor Roof

Yep - still able to move but - guess what??!!   We can’t go where we wanted cos of a stoppage!    A week ago there was a landslide in Woodeaves Cutting which is a couple of miles before Market Drayton going north on the Shroppie.    Latest is they have done the inspection and are waiting for contractors to give a date for removing the debris from the canal.    We did go as far as we could - Goldstone Wharf - but they have put a barricade on the towpath so we couldn’t get in to see the damage.      So, we winded and are now going back south - hopefully we will get through soon as we want to make our way up to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.     Can’t go any other way due to stoppages on the Trent and Mersey!     We know we can’t go up the Leigh Branch until early March due to stoppages but we could get there ready.
Hopefully it will be sorted soon (half-term is mid Feb so maybe be done by then?     Or will they have it done by Easter??!!

The roof is just about full of wood now!!     I think Dai is on a mission to see just how much we can get on before we start sinking!    As well as the wood from the BW chop down mentioned on blog last week, we found lots of fallen branches on the embankment these last few days.,  All good exercise though, the lugging, sawing, spliting and stacking!!    ---- except I won’t do the spliting - Big Bertha (Dai’s mad axeman tool) is way too frightening for me, but I’m quite happy to lug, saw and stack.

Late last week at Norbury Junction, we went off for our usual walk early afternoon with no moored boats near us.     Came back and there were four!!     Talking to them, they are travelling together and with us, there were 5 bloggers in a row - is this a record??

This bird feeding lark is getting way too serious now!!     We were almost out of fat balls last Sunday so decided to walk back to Gnosall where we know we could buy some.     Dull when we set out but when we got to Gnosall (2.5 miles down the towpath) the heavens opened - by the time we got back to the boat, we were drenched.    Them there birds had better  appreciate !     Dai now moaning that we have to moor where there are good branches for me to hang all the feeders where I can see them from my seat inside Jandai !

Frosts back these last couple of nights - we keeping a very close eye on it cos no way do we want to be iced in somewhere middle of nowhere with no facilities !      Freezing fog all day today with just a very watery sun trying to peep through mid afternoon.

Since last blog we have done …  15 miles and 0 locks
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 907 miles and  848 locks

These three photos of Woodeaves Cutting landslide are thanks to Norbury Wharf Blog - because we couldn't get through to take any ourselves

sorry Mick and John !   (the stack is even bigger after today's haul)

you can just see Dai's pile behind mine

two tit bums

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Childbirth ?!


We have moved!!   Six miles northwards to next village on the Shropshire Union Canal - Gnosall.     All the freezing cold and ice is now forgotten - like I said to Dai  “it’s like childbirth - awful at the time but once its over, then the pain and suffering is forgotten and you only focus on the good bits.”

So, different shops, pubs and towpath - it,s just great.    We didn’t sign up for staying in one place for almost 7 weeks.    Okay, so we knew we might be and without doubt it will happen again but for now, we are just happy to be ice-free and able to meander once again.

Sorry no photos again this week but now I will dust off the camera and get clicking again.

Talked to some workmen today who are taking down some towpath trees for BW (we know its sad to have to do this but needs must - have to keep the canal and towpath clear).   They told us where they’d left them so we will pick some up when we leave here tomorrow - provided no-one else has beat us to it.   They’re oak too so excellent for our fire.    We’ve been really lucky during these last 7 weeks as Dai has found enough fallen stuff  to keep us going mixed in with coal.

Just heard from my friend Ethan who lives near Boston in the USA - he sent me a photo of his garden during a blizzard happening right now - makes our snowfall look so paltry.    Keep warm and safe Ethan and Nancy - and provided we have good internet access on Sunday will be talking on Skype.

Since last blog we have done …  5 miles and 0 locks
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 881 miles and  848 locks

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

different day - same ice

Guess where we are right now??

Yep, you got it - still at Wheaton Aston !!    The canal is thawed around us now but apparently still bad at Norbury and as this is only 7.5 miles away there seems little point in moving until we know we can go somewhere.    

So, nothing much to tell you ---- had a quiet New Year, just us and the ducks.    The pub was charging £5 to get in so we didn’t bother.    We are hoping that 2011 won’t be so momentus for us as 2010 !    Three major life events (1) retiring from work  (2) living on Jandai, and (3) selling the house.

Dai has just about perfected his duck mating call, I’m still working on it.   Had my usual weekly trip to Stafford and got some more robust bird feeders - so far, squirrel-proof although Mr. Cyril does provide us with some entertainment hanging this way and that on the feeders, preferring the fat balls.

Glyn and Linda came to visit us and have lunch on Monday - great to see them.

We’ve had a couple of sessions in the pub this week with our boatie friends -  its all good beer, good food and good company.    Still doing almost daily water and wood gathering runs; checking the local Spar for any decent reduced bargains and eating loads of freerange eggs from the farm we can see from Jandai.

Been raining most of today but we did have a quick glimpse of some blue sky!

Hardly any boat movement this week - just a couple of boats but they hadn't come far.   One from Norbury Junction who told us he had been ice-breaking up at Norbury.     Red diesel at the local garage here which is literally opposite us went up yesterday to 68.9p/litre which is still probably the cheapest on the canal system.  Since we got here we have watched it creeping up - it was 58.9p/litre then.   His "normal" diesel is 133p/litre.

Managed to get my Nintendo DS Brain Age down to 45 - see, the brain hasn't gone totally to mush since retirement !  

…… and in the best spirit of blog writing ----- Happy New Year to all our Readers  !!!

Since last blog we have done …  0 miles and 0 locks
This makes total since Setting Off ….. 876 miles and  848 locks