Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.
I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!
Saturday 31 March 2012
I wish them all the luck in the world for the coming birth.
Friday 30 March 2012
Travelled 3.9 miles, in a time of 1 hour 25 minutes.
I had a somewhat disturbed nights sleep, what with someone running their generator till goodness knows what time and the loud music coming from Telford's Warehouse, which is an 18th century former canal warehouse. I was then up at 4.30am feeling a little under the weather, so got up had a drink, sat in the saloon with Paddy and Marmite for company, before heading back to my bed at 5am. I then fell asleep till 7.45am when I was woken up by dogs barking on the opposite bank, where two fishermen had been fishing all night. I got up and made Keith and I a cup of tea and we had the TV on for half an hour. I was then up, dressed and ready to take Paddy out for his morning walk.
Along the towpath I saw my first Bluebells of the Spring.
Tower Wharf takes its name from the old Water Tower which used to be close by. Parts of the yard date from the 1840s. In its commercial heyday, the boatyard is said to have employed around 200 people, servicing the huge fleet of canal company working boats.
It comprises a workshop, former saw mill building, former blacksmith’s workshop, covered slipway and dry dock.
The boatyard is now owned and worked by Pete and Yvette Askey of J.P. Marine. It is fantastic to see it in working order once more.
Back at the boat I lit the back cabin stove to take the chill of the boat, as it was a colder start to the day than we have been used to over this past few days. Keith made us Mushrooms on Toast for breakfast, which we had bought the day before, so I suggested I walk back up to Tesco to buy some more for over Easter as they were so nice. I was just about to leave the boat, when there came a knocking on the engine room door, it was Jenine and her son Alex, they had come to say hello. We had a lovely chat with them before I headed off to Tesco to purchase more large Mushrooms, on my return we prepared the boat for the off.
Nesting not far from the boat were a pair of Swans, apparently they had previously nested in the dry dock, but with it now in use, they had to find somewhere else. The Cob was being very protective of his Pen and her nest, but did allow me to get this photo.
11.40am we set off from our mooring and said "Cheerio" to Jenine, William and Alex, they will be heading off tomorrow from their Winter mooring.
Loved this paint job on a boat at the wharf.
On route I saw both these old bikes on the towpath, no more than 30 feet away from each other. Now clearly someone took the time to get them out of the canal, so why did they not take them away. Leaving them on the towpath, just means someone else will chuck them back into the water. I really do not see the point. Cruising away from Chester and towards Ellesmere Port is a plain journey, there are fields and couple of gold courses, but nothing special in scenery. We tried mooring in a couple of places along the way, but the canal was just to shallow, Keith even walked ahead to test the depth of the canal with our mop handle. He came back to the boat saying that we could get in at Caughall Bridge, No.134, near to Chester Zoo, which was where we had moored some 6 years ago with our old boat "Misty Lady". 1pm we moored up and I then put some soup on the back cabin stove for lunch. Both Paddy and Marmite have moved into the back cabin where it is nice and warm, whilst Keith and I settle down to watch "Tobruk" on Film4. This mooring will be our home for at least the weekend.
Thursday 29 March 2012
Having had such a lovely time yesterday, we thought we would do some further sightseeing again today, but that only happened after I bought a new compact camera from Currys. I have bought the same Samsung camera that Keith has, so we can use the same software. I will see if my Canon can be fixed when we head back to Market Harborough later in the year, if there is any water to get there on.
We firstly visited the largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain and dates to the 1st century. It was used for entertainment and military training by the Romans. The amphitheatre was only rediscovered in 1929, when one of the pit walls was discovered during construction work, in 2004-5 excavations by English Heritage and Chester City Council revealed two successive stone-built amphitheatres with wooden seating.
We then carried on down to the river for a walk along the banks. But stopped to have a coffee at Hickory's restaurant, which had a strong smell of smoke coming from the kitchen, which is completely normal, as the meat is smoke cooked. The coffee was a little expense at £2.25 a cup, but we needed a coffee so we paid the price.
On a sandstone knoll overlooking the river Dee, is the curious Anchorite's Cell in the grounds of St. Johns Church. It may have originated as a private chapel. In the 16th century it was used as a meeting house of the Company of Shoemaker's. It has seen service as a grain store and in the 1970's it was an architect's office before being converted into it's current use as a private residence. It may have also been occupied by a hermit monk, the unique medieval cell is home to a powerful, mischievous spirit that springs to life at Halloween. It is now a two bedroom house.
We walked up into Grosvenor Park to see if we could find the miniature railway and found the Squirrel population very friendly.
The railway does not operate until April.
The Spring flowers did look fantastic in the sunshine.
We walked over the Queen's Park suspension bridge which was built in 1923, replacing an earlier footbridge.
We walked on down to the meadows and watched one of the trip boats out on its hourly cruise.
On walking back in the opposite direction we came across an old water wheel from a former mill site. The wheel was restored in 1988. In the 16th C there were eleven water wheels in operation. Six of them for grinding corn, two for pumping water and three for fulling mills to clean and treat cloth. This is the last remaining wheel.
Chester Weir and Salmon leap is grade I listed. It was designed to provide a head of water for the medieval mills on the river. It did look splendid in the sunshine.
Before crossing the bridge back into the centre of Chester we went and found the shrine of the Roman Goddess Minerva in Edgar's Field. The shrine dates from the early 2nd century and is carved into the face of a sandstone quarry. Minerva was the Roman goddess of war, knowledge and craftsmanship. After visiting the shrine one Chester's churches bells were ringing to announce 12 noon, which meant one thing, it was time for some lunch.
We ended up having a curry club lunch and pint at Wetherspoons, which hit the spot a treat, because after lunch we went food shopping in Tesco. On returning to the boat, I put the frozen food in the freezer and then got ready to move off to descend the Northgate staircase locks.
I still could not hear any sighs, as we passed under the bridge of sighs.
Top Lock was full.
I had to empty lock two and three, so we could descend the staircase.
Those darn high gear paddles were a pain. I did however have some help with the gates, as two young ladies dressed in school uniform asked if they could help with the gates. I am never one to refuse some help. I also got chatting to some people who were on holiday in Chester for a week, they were thoroughly interested in how the staircase works.
Having exited the last lock we made our way to a mooring on Tower Wharf, where Jenine, William and Alex are moored up. having secured the boat, we stood and had a lovely chat with Jenine and William for a while. It was then time to put away the rest of the food shop. I am looking forward to an evening with my feet up and a good nights sleep, because last night was not a good night for me, as I had that flippen camera on my mind.
Wednesday 28 March 2012
Last evening we met Chris and Steve, who are having their boat AmyJo built by Fernwood. Steve is an blog reader and had been in contact with me via my blog, so as we were coming to Chester we thought we would meet up. Having shown them around our boat, we headed off to The Lock Keepers Inn by the canal for a couple of pints and a jolly good natter about boats and their plans for their boat. It was nice to swap stories and ideas nd wonderful to see how keen they are to begin their life afloat. Before we knew it, it was 10.45pm and it was time to say cheerio to Chris and Steve, as they had to get up for work..... Oh that nasty four letter word ha ha ha.
This morning I woke to the sound of ducklings and the early morning traffic along the main road, but I had enjoyed a good nights sleep. After walking Paddy to a small park and back again, Keith and I had breakfast and then headed off into Chester to become a sightseer, like the thousands of others we would see throughout the day.
Our sightseeing was to begin with a walk around the city walls which were started by the Romans when they established the fortress of Deva Victrix between 70 and 80 AD.
We had our first glimpse of the beautiful Cathedral as we strolled along the wall. From about 100 AD they were reconstructed using sandstone, but were not completed until over 100 years later.
The red sandstone is showing its age and in places along the wall work is being carried out to restore some of the wall and the towers. If you come to Chester you must walk around the walls.
There is a good view of the staircase locks and Chester Racecourse.
The wall then took us along the River Dee.
Which looked stunning in the morning sunshine.
The River Dee is about 70 miles long. The trip boats can do about 14 of those 70 miles, they were hoping to get a few people on board today.
Having been down to the river, we climbed steps back on to the wall and walked above the city.
The city was beginning to get really busy, we came into contact with a few sightseeing parties who were on guided tours, and noticed a few school parties as well.
The Eastgate clock is really stunning. The clock's faces and mechanism were paid for by Edward Evans-Lloyd, a local solicitor and freeman of the city. The official opening of the clock was performed on 27 May 1899, which was Queen Victoria's 80th birthday.
The wall then took us to the Cathedral. We paid our £6 each which included gift aid and stroll around this vast place of worship. The cathedral, formerly St Werburgh's abbey church of a Benedictine monastery, is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I am not really a religious person, but I do enjoy looking at Cathedrals and Churches, this one is beautiful with its ornately tiled floors, painted ceilings and the wood carving are incredible.
In the Cathedral garden there is a kind of inner peace.
After leaving the Cathedral, we carried on with our wall walk, which took us to the Bridge of Sighs.
The bridge was built in 1793 to link the Northgate gaol to a chapel in the Bluecoat School. It was built to allow condemned prisoners to receive the last rites before their execution. It was built at a cost of £20, which was a lot of money in those days and it would of had railing to stop prisoners escaping. It is said that sometimes you can hear the sighs of the condemned prisoners, I have to say we did not hear anything today, but then we did have the traffic to contend with.
It was time for some lunch, so we made our way back to K1 a Chinese Buffet, we found out they only do the buffet on a Fri/Sat/Sun now, but we could have a three course lunch for £6.50 each, which we thought was pretty good. The food was exceptional and well worth the money. After lunch we decided to find the market, which was in Princess Street. The market is inside, but there was nothing we really needed, I did buy a new zip for my work trousers for a pound (last of the big spenders). One of the stall holders told us that the market is getting small and smaller and they feel like they are being squeezed out.
In the centre the shops are very ornate, and something we have never seen before anywhere else is the two tiered affect with shops on two levels, this makes the buildings very tall.
I personally love Chester, it is a stunning city with a long and varied history. Having walked our feet off, we are now back on the boat, with the TV on and a cup of coffee to hand. I have had a wonderful time here so far. The only downside to my day was to come back to the boat and find a tornado had been through it in the names of Paddy and Marmite. I have no idea what they got up to, but there were books on the floor, rag rugs in a heap, Paddy's bed in the middle of the floor and one of our cameras on the floor, which now has a broken screen grrrrrrrr. I have an awful feeling it maybe expensive to repair grrrrrrrr again. It looks like Marmite knocked it off of the cupboard, so I guess I can partly blame myself for putting it there, but it has been there for a while and been quite safe, but it seems no more. I will have to see if it can be repaired when we get back to the Leicester Line later this year, well that's if there is any water later in the year.
Tuesday 27 March 2012
Travelled 11.1 miles, worked 7 locks in a time of 5 hours.
After another frosty night, we woke up to a stunning sunny morning with a fabulous view.
We were already for the off at 8.45am, with a view to getting close to Chester.
We descended Iron Lock and past Chas Harderns, where Chas was busy working on one of his boats, so we had a quick chat as we past by.
I waved to the gentleman in the signal box.
The deer were out on the deer farm.
We got our first glimpse of Beeston Castle a former Royal Castle.
It was built in the 1220s by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, (1170–1232), on his return from the Crusades. It has a long and exciting history. We hope to walk up to it one day. Past bridge 114 Nixons Bridge, there this about a mile and a half of boats moored on the offside. 6 years ago when we were last this way, a lot of them had no licence or an out of date licence, that has changed, every boat was up to date, so someone has done their job.
This made me giggle as we made our way towards Chester.
We had thought of stopping at Waverton, but it was only 11.30am, so decided to carry on into Chester, which meant I had 7 double locks to work. I was a little fortunate because some of the locks were in our favour.
Chemistry Lock which was my second to last lock of the day.
As we came out of the last lock Hoole Lane Lock, the floating restaurant boat.
It was then onward to the moorings at Tesco.
An RSPCA man was in action fishing three ducklings out of the canal.
I do not know why he was doing what he was doing, but maybe the parents had left them.
We found a mooring behind the Mecca Bingo Hall at 1.45pm, we tied up and the kettle went on for a much needed coffee and I made us both a bacon sandwich.
After a late lunch we thought we would take a stroll into Chester to get our bearings.
I can see I am going to love Chester with its beautiful buildings. We are now back at the boat and the police helicopter is flying overhead so something is amiss. I am off now to feed mog and dog, plus feed ourselves, so I will post more tomorrow.