Saturday 30 April 2011

The 'Navvy' opened early for a bit of wedding watching

So, needless to say, we stayed another night and turned up at the 'Navvy' at 11.00am and met up with Linda and Paul for coffee and biscuits (plus something a little stronger as the day went on) to watch the wedding. It would have been churlish not to, given they'd opened an hour early especially for us. Don't we do it well? No-one can rival GB for pageantry. My highlight was the little bridesmaid yawning on her way down the aisle and then spending most of the rest of the time pulling faces with her fingers in her ears - she can be sure that those pictures will come back to haunt her later in life; probably at her own wedding.

When it was all over we cruised up a couple  of locks so that we could  reach the road for a regular bus service in the morning.

G set about trimming Muttley's coat right down and even removed most of his tail feathers after meeting the handsome (but tail feather-less) Bobbie at Blakesmere. Given that he's still a, 'work in progress' they'll be no protraits just yet.

When I left the boat to walk the dogs, I saw a boat leaving the lock, so I stopped and picked up my windlass in order to set the next lock for them. As I walked back I realised it was a hotel motor and butty and told them I'd set the lock and opened the gate for them - with only two people to handle the two boats you'd think they'd be immensely grateful but they could hardly bother to mutter thank you - now't as queer as folk, but I shan't bother to put myself out if I see them again.
Graham got attacked by the geese on the towpath again - they were trying to peck his shins and he was doing a sort of ministry of silly walks trying to stop them. I missed the photo opportunity as I was too busy trying not to wee myself with laughter.

The canoists were out in full force and having a ball - they certainly had this narrowboat surrounded

A long cruise - about a mile

This is where we were moored for lunch at the Navigation (it's time he gave me commision- very few establishments get so much free publicity)) and then  we moved on for the night

a cruise of about a mile - Daisy is investigating a large and mysterious hole in the towpath, I've know idea what caused it, but she is absolutely fascinated.
Woke in the morning to a misty and mysterious canal.

Well G did, I was still in the land of the zzzzzzzs

 We weren't the only ones out enjoying the sunshine, although it was chillier today. We were moving back up towards Queens Head in the morning so that we could catch a bus into Shrewsbury for provisions, but the farm shop has provided enough fresh produce to allow us to stay here a little longer if we wish (and I think we do wish).

and there was some talk of a bit of wedding watching in the pub with Linda and Paul who were on an NB time share- the TV in the pub is normally only in use for 6 nations rugby and grand prix, otherwise covered in menus - so who knows. I do know that this little bit of canal is an oasis of tranquility, but we must leave soon as I have some boat sitting to do at the end of May in Birmingham and I can't do with a lot of rushing and charging about to catch up. In that respect I'm a bit of a greyhound; just bring on another sheepskin to curl up in.

Friday 29 April 2011

Blowing our pensions at the Navigation Inn

So having waived goodbye to Beefur, we moved as far to the end of the navigable Monty as possible as I had tons of walking to do around Pant (no juvenile jokes required), the limekilns at Llanymynech, the 500ft limestone cliffs and all sorts of interesting bits beyond.
Trouble is, I've stuffed my back and can hardly walk so the only pictures available are these:

We ran the washing machine before hitting the services and all is working well without leaks and  I now have a free cupboard in the galley.  Yakky dar (or something like that - sorry Sue). Lesley said I should put a dishwasher in the space, but G said it hurt his elbows when I shut the door.

You go through the lift bridge and then wind

 This barrier makes sure you don't attempt to go further
I was very fed up, so G took me back to the Navigation Inn for lunch which helped a great deal - so long as I can walk again tomorrow.......
Looking on the bright side, it means I have plenty to come back for another time; you never want to do it all in one go!

G's footnote:  I just want to add my two pennies worth about the Navigation. This is a fantastic establishment, The food is simply wonderful, the beer is very well kept, I would recomend the Stonehouse Cambrian Gold, a beautiful pint. The owners are very friendly and knowledgeable and, to boot, the locals all talked to us too.
I  decided to have a concoction of two dishes that were on the menu, this didn't faze the owner nor the chef; I mixed the home made pork faggots with a black pudding mash (simply wonderful) and onion gravy from the liver and onion dish. Just to make life interesting Jill jiggled her dish too, opting for extra prawns in lieu of the scallops and then had another starter- the unforgettable chicken liver creme brulee.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Maesbury Marsh and The Navigation Inn

After Dave helped G move the washing machine in the morning, we set off in leisurely fashion with Beefur and with various plans:
a) bacon and egg brunch (ie lazy ass breakfast)
b) lunchtime BBQ
c) picnic lunch
as  they needed to head back up nearer to Frankton locks for their booked passage up on Tuesday (we were booked out for Tuesday too - but, now, have no intention of  re-joining the Llangollen madness until after the next Bank Holiday weekend, so will re-book for the following Tuesday).

 Absolutely gorgeous in the sunshine
 and the birdlife is prolific
 The boats move at less than 2mph here so I take a photo opportunity of the boys having a rest
 Approaching the original wharf  and the Navigation Inn - the building dates from 1796 and the pub, whilst not cheap, gives excellent  value for money. We had a starter and a pud and the food was divine (that was plan 'd' then!). Dog friendly too - each dog greeted with a biscuit and a cuddle!
 Check the opening hours, which can be a bit quirky at the beginning of the week (dependant upon bank holidays etc), but if you want a real treat, this is one of the nicest places I've ever been in on the cut - I know Adam and Adrian (now on, or soon to be on, NB Briar Rose, formerly of Debdale) love it too. Oh, and the beer comes from Stonehouse brewery just down the road.
So, that's NB Beefur waived farewell until, probably, next winter. Bye guys, as ever, enjoyed your company and hospitality.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Hitching a ride with Beefur

Having tempted Beefur to join us, they booked down Frankton Locks on Sunday and we (yes, that includes G) walked up to meet them and then hitched a lift back to our moorings- we decided to ignore the instructions on the bollard. 
It was lovely sat out on the front of Beefur with Sue and the dogs in the fresh air listening to the abundance of bird song, without a cratch cover and all our junk
not to mention the fact that Dave didn't let G keep blowing the horn and frightening us half to death - strangely enough though Muttley; who hangs out the back of the stern deck with G quite happily when he is on the boat; became quite anxious out on the bow.
All safely moored up, we headed off to the Queens Head for a pint - I'm sure this will come as a great surprise to those of you who know us well.

Dave and Sue provided the tools to allow G to finish cutting a hole in the boat.

We ate in the pub in the evening and returned to two pussy cats who had not had such a happy evening.

Daisy is brilliant about standing her ground against dogs, but not so good in the presence of another cat - unfortunately we had moored in the territory of another cat - Daisy shot home screaming, but poor little baby Nemo (Beefur's boat cat) had been chased into the cut and was a bit traumatised - hope you are feeling better little feller.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Keeping a low profile in Oswestry

Himself was planning to lay the pipes as part of the preparations for moving the washing machine out the back, next to the tumble dryer. So, after walking the dogs, I caught the bus into Oswestry - we were nearly out of milk anyway.
 I needed to do a fair bit of shopping but, as always, couldn't face it so bought the milk and some bits for a BBQ in the hope that we'd tempted NB Beefur down to join us for the weekend. Just had a good old rummage around the town

 The mott and bailey

The beautiful remembrance gardens dedicated to those who died in WW2

I'm still short of T-shirts and all sorts of odds and ends though, so I will have to go back and do some shopping - oh how I hate it. I could catch a bus in the other direction and go to Shrewsbury, but then I'll end up rummaging again and not shopping.
I was waiting for the bus home when G 'phoned and re-directed me in search of a bigger doofer (technical term)  to cut a hole in the side of the boat with as his current doofer had gone blunt after only 1mm and he had another 5mm to go. I wasn't sure that I should be encouraging this desire to cut holes in the side of my home...hmmm!

Monday 25 April 2011

Moving down to Aston Locks and an attempt to rescue cyclists

Leaving Perry aqueduct you travel down a mile long straight (pretty boring walking as there is no change of scenery for 20 minutes) which was used as a test site for the famous dam busters bouncing bombs in WW2. Passing the long overgrown, but still intact, Rednal Basin at the end of the straight.
Just East of the bridge here, on 7th June 1865, 12 people were killed in a train cash. The turn-over bridge here is so elegant.

Moored up below the Queen's Head I walked the dogs across towards West Felton and came across this stunning farmhouse

These guys are terrorising the more timid walkers along the towpath - here they are giving people a break and letting people past
G's first fishing foray of the year
Then we had a good chat to some passing cyclists, Joy and Graham, and then Graham came back looking for help as Joy had a puncture and took off after Joy with potential repair stuff; then Joy turned up pushing her bike and looking for Graham, so she came in for a coffee and, in due course, Graham turned up pushing his bike (the blackthorn got him too) looking for Joy - how can you miss each other on a towpath - I know Joy was wearing a camoflage jacket, but really. So he had a cup of coffee too and then we tried (and failed)to repair both bikes; so we kicked them out to walk home whilst we watched Doctor Who.
Lovely to meet you guys, bet you slept well - great fun