Three Men and One Woman in a Boat Part 2

9th September, 2000
10th September, 2000
11th September, 2000
12th September, 2000
13th September, 2000
14th September, 2000

Saturday, 9th September, 2000

Drop Cap leared Wrenbury Mill early, thanks to someone opening the lift bridge for us and giving us a start. There is quite a lot of traffic on the canal, because Saturday is the normal day for picking up and dropping off boats.

Canal boat photograph

Canal Chores

Drop Cap e arrived at the top of Grindley Brook staircase at about 1.30 so stopped to get water and then to have lunch. We only have about two miles to get to Whitchurch. Very good time. I bought canal letter cards for Mum's and Warwick's birthdays and we wrote them up. If we can't send them from here we can from Whitchurch. They should arrive in time.

Drop Cap e arrived at Whitchurch at about 4 p.m. and got what must be the last mooring in the basin. God knows how we will get out! It is a walk of at least a mile to the town centre but once there it is one of those great medieval black and white Tudor places. Lots of pubs, a large church built on Saxon foundations, and a Tesco's still open.

Drop Cap id some shopping and Neil phoned while we were in the shop. He reports that he is in Wales, at a hotel two miles from Whitchurch and will meet us at the church at 10 tomorrow. Knowing his navigational skills, I hope is is the same Whitchurch we are thinking of. If he is in Wales he should be close enough. See what tomorrow brings.

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Sunday, 10th September, 2000

'Ship's Cat' photograph

Wouldbe Ship's Cat, Whitchurch

Drop Cap ac's day was made this morning by a little cat who came smarming around the boat. I don't know if it was feral but he was certainly trying all the tricks of the "Silent Miaow" to be accepted as a ship's cat. We are going to have to be careful as we push off or we might get a stowaway. I don't think Black Prince would be too happy about a cat in the hose locker. He keeps walking around the windowsills (walkways) and peering in pathetically.

Neil photograph

Neil Joins Us

Drop Cap ac and Geoff have gone to meet Neil (I hope)and do some more shopping. When you only have limited space to store things (especially cold things) you have to shop a lot. And today and tomorrow we won't get a shop for miles, according to the Canal Companion. I just wish there were a lot more places to get water. I have rationed showers until we get another waterpoint.

Neil photograph

Neil Relaxes on Board

Drop Cap e picked up Neil as per arrangements and got away from Whitchurch by 11 a.m, with surprisingly little fuss in the winding hole. Jogged along through lift bridges until we stopped for lunch.

Geoff photograph

Geoff Doesn't

Drop Cap fter lunch we headed off again to new territory - the Prees Arm at Prees Junction. The Canal Companion says it is a nice quiet place for overnight mooring that is often overlooked. This we certainly found it to be.

Prees Arm photograph

Idyllic Evening at Prees Arm

Drop Cap e stopped at the Marina at the end of the navigable section of the Prees arm and bought a fill of water for a pound, then meandered back through a couple of lift bridges and moored in a lovely spot on a perfectly beautiful evening. The nearly full moon is rising and it is clear, warm and lovely. It will probably rain tomorrow! I made chicken tikka masala and rice for dinner and it was quite successful.

Drop Cap he TV started to smoke this evening, which is a bit of a problem, but we can get along without it. Played a game of 500 instead and got to bed late.

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Monday, 11th September, 2000

Colemere photograph

Colemere, Shropshire Lakes District

Drop Cap e headed off towards Ellesmere, through what to my mind is the prettiest part of the canal, Colemere, about two miles from Ellesmere, with the lovely lakes of the Shropshire Lakes District and thick forest on either hand. We saw a squirrel fall into the water but were unable to help as it scrabbled madly to try and get out.

Drop Cap e stopped for lunch at Ellesmere, at the Corner House, where we had afternoon tea last Sunday. Then did some shopping and set off again. There is a lot of traffic on the canal today, more than last Monday, I think. There was a boat festival at Ellesmere over the weekend so maybe some of the boats took a long weekend. We all seem to feel exhausted, even Neil who has only been on the boat for a day and a half.

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Tuesday, 12th September, 2000

'Coffee Break' photograph

Lunch near Chirk

Drop Cap et out up the New Marton Locks, the last we will encounter. There was a real traffic jam of boats, lots of Americans, to my surprise. As we went up the canal we encountered a boat as big as ours, crewed by two American women, caught in a winding hole in very shallow water, blocking the canal. We did what we could, but although bringing the boat to the side, were unable to turn it round either. So Geoff lent them his phone to ring Black Prince at Chirk and they said they would come. The boat was on its way to return to Chirk so the ladies gave us what was left of their supplies. The peanut butter and jam they gave us lasted almost the whole of the rest of the holiday.

'Coffee Break' photograph

Lunch near Chirk

Drop Cap ater, when we had stopped for lunch near Chirk aquaduct, the boat came past on its way to Chirk and the women said the Black Prince people had turned it in less than five minutes! They had been stuck there for an hour and we couldn't do it either. Still, they got there, and as it was their last day and they were giving the boat back at Chirk, they made it alright.

Chirk Tunnel photograph

Chirk Aqueduct, Viaduct and Tunnel

Chirk Marina photograph

Chirk Marina

Drop Cap fter going through the Chirk tunnel and aquaduct we took the boat back into the Marina at Chirk and asked them to check the sullage tank (it is beginning to pong) So they pumped it out, refilled the diesel and gas and replaced the TV, so we are all ready to go again.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct photograph

Neil Walks the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Drop Cap ut of Chirk we went by the Whitehouse Tunnel and through very narrow reaches of the canal, where traffic was really building up into Llangollen, till we reached the big one - the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct photograph

We Head Out Over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Drop Cap he PA was built in the period 1795 - 1805 and designed by Thomas Telford. It is 1007 feet long, 126 feet high! Cast iron trough, 11 feet 10 inches wide, five feet three inches deep. Joints of Welsh flannel and lead, dipped in boiling sugar (I am not making this up!) Mortar of oxblood, lime and water. Unfortunately, going over it you can't see much of it, so I bought a postcard.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct postcard

Postcard of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

View from Pontcysyllte Aqueduct photograph

View Down from the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Trevor Bridge photograph

Bridge near Trevor

Drop Cap fter the PA we took a sharp left turn towards Llangollen and the canal grew even narrower. There are quite long stretches of one way working, so you have to have lookouts to see if there is anything coming the other way. We decided to moor outside Llangollen because everyone says it is difficult to find a mooring space there. It is so popular. We moored behind a Viking Afloat boat, and had dinner.

Drop Cap e went for a short walk after dinner but it was dark and muddy so we didn't stay out long and just after we came back our neighbours knocked and asked to borrow a torch. They had locked themselves out. So Geoff took the glass out of their window and got the key off the hook for them. That's the second bit of Good Samaritaning today. Geoff has disappeared with them for a drink. I expect he will return sometime.

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Wednesday, 13th September, 2000

Llangollen mooring photograph

Moored Near Llangollen, Wales

Drop Cap e left the boat where it was this morning, another lovely clear day, and walked along the towpath to Llangollen.

Dinas Bran photograph

Castell Dinas Bran, from our mooring

Drop Cap astle Dinas Bran, high on a crag to our right, was clear and atmospheric. The towpath led to the Llangollen Wharf, where horse-drawn boats and tours of the aqueduct leave from so we descended into the town.

Llangollen photograph

Llangollen from the Towpath

Llangollen photograph

Up the River Dee, from the Bridge

Drop Cap langollen is a very pretty town at the bottom of some fairly rugged hills with the racy little river Dee leaping over rocks and under the bridge and through the town.

Llangollen photograph

Dalek Street Sign, Llangollen

Drop Cap e followed a road sign with a Dalek on it, which seemed fairly self evident, but the Dr. Who Museum did not open until 10 a.m.

Drop Cap o we walked along the river and found a souvenir shop where I bought a couple of postcards, badges and a box, before returning to the museum. We had morning tea first, at the Cafe Galactica, a little caf with pictures, autographs and memorabilia of Drs. Who and displayed their cakes etc. in a cabinet built like a Tardis Police Box.

Dalek photograph

Geoff and Friend at Dr.Who Museum, Llangollen

Drop Cap hen we went into the exhibition. It was really very good. They had a lot of genuine pieces from the show, not replicas, lots of monsters, drawings, costumes and Bessie, the Doctor's old yellow car. We all really enjoyed it, it brought back a lot of memories.

Dr Who's Car photograph

Neil and Geoff with Bessie, the Doctor's Car, Llangollen

Drop Cap here was also a very extensive model railway exhibition and layouts galore. My favourite was a model of Llangollen itself, very detailed modelling of the scenery, only minimal in the train department (there is only the little steam train in Llangollen). Some people concentrate on the trains, some on the layouts and this layout was spectacular.

Drop Cap fter we left here we had some lunch and the inevitable shopping, then Neil and Geoff went back to the boat and Mac and I investigated Llangollen. We found a pharmacy for some cough mixture for Mac, and a laundrette, so we will be able to do the washing before we leave.

Llangollen Railway? photograph

Llangollen Railway

Drop Cap hen we went for a ride on the Llangollen Steam Railway, about an hour and a half through quite spectacular scenery. The little River Dee provided a glimpse of the Horseshoe Falls, the Chain Bridge Inn and the high green hills were lovely. Lots of peasants and phartridges in the fields with the sheep.

River Dee photograph

River Dee from the Railway, Llangollen

Drop Cap hen we got back to the boat we intended to run the engine for a few hours to charge the batteries, but when Mac switched it on the alarm sounded for the alternator (or something) so Mac rang Black Prince and they said they would be around tomorrow. We still need water, as usual, but the waterpoints are being moored all over, so selfish and the canal is so narrow we can't really double park. So I don't know what will happen tomorrow.

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Thursday, 14th September, 2000

Llangollen photograph

Moored Near Llangollen

Drop Cap ast night the Black Prince man turned up unexpectedly but was unable to fix the alternator, so he said he would send a mechanic this morning. He said, however, that we could use the engine, just that the batteries wouldn't charge, so we started up this morning to get to a water point and lo and behold! the trouble was gone! As Mac says, he hates intermittent problems. So we motored very slowly down the narrows to the water point and tied up to the Anglo Welsh boat that has been moored there for three days and filled up over the top of him.

Drop Cap fterwards we continued down to the winding hole where Mac dropped me and three bags of washing while they turned the boat around and went back. They were lucky enough to get the very last legal mooring, much closer than before to the town. So that was handy and we went up the town and did the washing at the laundrette, followed by lunch, then Geoff, Mac and I went on the Railway, Geoff not being with us last time.

Plas Newydd photograph

Plas Newydd, Home of the Ladies of Llangollen, taken by Geoff

Drop Cap hile at the laundrette, Geoff and Mac went up the very steep street which led to Plas Newydd, the former home of the "Ladies of Llangollen" which I wanted to visit but my knees rebelled at another steep hill. They said that the house and grounds were very pleasant and Geoff took some photos for me.

Drop Cap hen we got back, I had a nap, then had a shower and washed my hair; we all had showers in the newly replenished water (now we need water again) and we went out to eat. We cased several restaurants in the Old Town, and probably decided on the least attractive. I don't know why this is so, but given a choice, we all seem to regret the one made. Still, it was a wine bar, in an 18th century building, and the food was quite good, just not elegantly served. We had a bottle of Leibfraumilch, which was quite nice.

Drop Cap y hip, after a week or so feeling quite good, has reverted to pain, which is not good, and it is now raining. Perhaps it will clear tomorrow, but our thoughts are dominated by the fuel crisis, with refineries being blockaded and fuel supplies running out. The cost of petrol is terrible here, and I can sympathise up to a point. That point is when we pick up our next car in a week's time! It must be settled by then!

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