*****Is going there and back to see how far it is.*****

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!

Life on the cut through my eyes.

Daisypath Anniversary tickers
*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****

Monday 30 April 2012

Ellesmere to Frankton Junction.

Travelled 3.15 miles in a time of 1 hour 20 minutes.

Wow today's weather was such a contrast to the weather we had yesterday. Gone was the lashing rain and strong winds and it was replaced by sunshine and a breeze, even Paddy was excited about going for his morning walk. I think he had visions of a nice dry walk, but he still got wet paws.

Our first port of call before setting off was to move over to the Sanitary Station, to take on water, empty both toilet cassettes, because they were now both full, we also had three bags of rubbish and a couple of empty boxes to get rid of, so the complete package. Actually getting over to the other side was more difficult than it should have been, with it being a little shallow Hadar was finding it difficult and this was compounded with boats wanting to come past us, so no sooner we got into the centre of the canal and in a good position to reverse on to the station moorings, another boat would want to come past, eventually we made it though and had the station and had one of the four water taps to ourselves. Keith emptied the cassettes, whilst I connected the hosepipe to the tap and began the tank refill. He then got rid of the rubbish and as he did so two boats joined us on the station and attached their hose pipes to the other tap.


With three of us now filling our tanks the water pressure had gone from fantastic to almost nothing, so it seemed to take forever to fill the tank, it in fact took over an hour, no sooner the middle boat turned his tap off we had full flow again and finally we were all filled up for another two weeks or until we wanted to take advantage of another water tap.


Whilst waiting for the water tank to fill, I watched the Sparrows going in and out of the gaps in the timber work on the dry dock. Sparrows are so over looked because they are little brown birds, but they are very sweet and always have something to say.


10am and we were all done and ready for the off in front of two other boats.


I had thought it may have been better to let them go, but that proved not to be the case, because once we got away we left them someway behind us and we were going fast. We were once again out into the countryside, which is very rural and quiet.


Fields and farms was the order of the day, plus the twists and turns of the canal, which was where we met most of the boats coming towards us. We had a slight bump with hire boat, who was not concentrating, but no harm done.


11.20am we arrived at Frankton Junction, Montgomery Canal and moored up just past bridge 70 Rowsons Bridge. We locked the boat up and walked down to the Montgomery Locks, to see if the lock keeper was there. We were told by a boater moored up to go down, he does not arrive until 11.45am. Keith wanted to ask about depth on the canal, because we want to do the Montgomery on our return journey. 11.45am on the dot, Mr BW man arrived and told us we would be fine, there was no problem with depth on the Monty, so we will definitely be going down when we return, we just have to book in before 10am the day before we want to go down. There were five boats waiting to go down and a hire boat waiting to come up, so it is beginning to get busy on the Monty.


After some lunch, Keith, Paddy and I walked down some of the Montgomery, the last time we did it was six years ago.



We had some spectators.


The Graham Palmer stone is beginning to look a little sad, as the face on the stone is falling away, when we walked past it six years ago, Paddy got scared and just kept barking at it, this time he did not bat an eyelid, he just walked past it as if it were not there. The Montgomery looks incredibly tranquil and beautiful, so I am looking forward to us doing it in the coming weeks. I will post more about it when we actually do it, that will give you something to look forward too.


Paddy really enjoyed his 2 mile walk, but was almost out on his feet by the time we got back to the boat. His age is beginning to tell now.


Whilst Keith settled down in front of his computer, I went out and collected a bucket of sticks for the back cabin stove, which I will use tonight to dampen the fire down before bed, in the mean time I have Hunters Chicken cooking in the oven for dinner. The weather has stayed nice, with a keen breeze, we are expecting showers tomorrow.

What Religion is Your Bra?

Thanks to Sarah for sending this to me via e-mail, it made me giggle, so thought I would share it.

A man walked into the ladies department of Sears

and shyly walked up to the woman behind the counter and said, 'I'd like to buy a bra for my wife. '

' What type of bra?' asked the clerk.

'Type?' inquires the man, 'There's more than one type?'
' Look around,'
said the saleslady,as she showed a sea of bras in every shape, size, colour and material imaginable.

'Actually, even with all of this variety, there are really only four types of bras to choose from .'

Relieved, the man asked about the types.

The saleslady replied: 'There are the Catholic, the Salvation Army, the Presbyterian, and the Baptist types.

Which one would you prefer?'

Now totally befuddled, the man asked about the differences between them.

The Saleslady responded, 'It is all really quite simple. .

The Catholic type
supports the masses;

The Salvation Army type
lifts the fallen;

The Presbyterian type keeps them staunch and upright;

The Baptist type
makes mountains out of molehills.'

Have you ever wondered why A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, G, and H are the letters used
to define bra sizes?

If you have wondered why, but couldn't figure out what the letters stood for, it is about timeyou became informed!

(A} Almost Boobs..

{B} Barely there...

{C} Can't Complain!..

{D} Dang!...

{DD} Double dang!...

{E} Enormous!...

{F} Fake...

{G} Get a Reduction...

{H} Help me, I've fallen
and I can't get up!...

Send this to
all that will appreciate it!

They forgot the German bra.


Sunday 29 April 2012

The big drought.

We may be forgiven for thinking ok what drought, but we are still in drought conditions despite all this rain. Over the next 24 hours they say we will get a months worth of rain, and I do not doubt this with the amount of rain falling here in Ellesmere. The rivers are on flood alert as well, so if your on a river stay safe.

Apart from the hazards that the rain brings the wind is also bringing another hazard and that is falling trees. Just seen a photo on Facebook from Working Boat Alton, where a tree came down behind them, so I just hope that if your moored up under trees you are safe. There has also been a land slide on the Shroppy at Woodeaves Cutting, which will be looked at tomorrow by the engineers. It is all happening out there.

Dry and Wet Weekend.

Saturday morning I was pleasantly surprised to see the sun out as I opened an eye from beneath the duvet. It did bode well that after rain all day on Friday we may get a dry day. After getting up, Paddy got his walk, whilst Keith sorted breakfast out. back on the boat, I riddled the back cabin fire out and it soon showed a spark of life, the kettle went on ready for coffee later in the morning. Keith went off to Tesco to see if he could get some boot laces as his were a little threadbare, so whilst he was gone, I did a bit of hand washing, which was then hung out on the back counter. I make a line up from the swan neck back to the handrail, this allows me to hang a few items out when the weather is nice.

With that job done, I then turned my attention to Paddy, who was in need of a good brushing, because his coat is falling out in handfuls at the moment. So I took him off the boat and on to the grass, where I got several brush loads of hair out of him. The hedgerow alongside the boat, has a lot of Sparrows in it, so I left the unwanted hair for them to use for nesting material, and within seconds they were on it and it was gone.


I watched where they headed off to and it looks like they are nesting in the British Waterways buildings.


Sparrows have been in decline over the last few years, so it has been wonderful to watch these guys and to listen to their high pitched chatter.

Dog brushed, I then got on with polishing the side of the boat, this is the side I could not do before, because the sun was to strong. Looking back that was the 27th March, when we were having an early Summer. Boat polished and dog hair all gone, Keith was back in time for coffee, he had got chatting to Anita and Steve who we met at Etruria last year.


The local Pen and Cob were in an amorous mood.


It was all very lovey dovey after the Cob had almost drowned his wife. I have not seen any nest building, but I guess they will be getting to it very soon.

For the rest of my day it was a matter of fixing the TV aerial again with Keith after we lost our signal again completely, we discovered it was the new cable we fitted, it was just not man enough. After that we did very little, after lunch we sat and watched films, sold a couple of key rings and had a fellow Facebooker coming to buy some cabin strings. Dek arrived later in the afternoon after he had finished work and his volunteer work for British Waterways. Dek can be seen volunteering on the Audlem locks. Dek came over to buy some cabin strings for his boat NB Tern from Keith, so of course we spent a good hour just chatting. It was nice to hear from his point of view about volunteering. It was however sad to hear that he does get verbally abused by some boaters. I think it is completely unacceptable that some people feel they have the right to verbally bash people like Dek, who give up their time to help out on the canals. No wonder some people are put off by volunteering when you get treated like that. Many of the lock volunteers are boat owners or ex-lock keepers, so are more than qualified to help out and they should be given more respect (ok rant over). We spent a wonderful time nattering to Dek before he was on his way back to his boat. By this time I was chilled to the core, as I had been stood outside in trouser and a short with nothing on my feet. Normally I do not feel the cold much, but the wind had got up and had chilled me. Still I was soon back into a  nice warm back cabin. The rest of the evening was spent in front of the TV watching "Britain's Got Talent" and "Terminator Salvation" which is the newest Terminator movie. I only managed to watch it until 10.30pm, I was then away to my bed.


Well if you had seen the weather forecast, you will know what the weather was going to be like and oh boy did they get it right. The wind was blowing when I woke up at 6am and then at 6.30am the rain began, followed by hail and more rain. There was only one thing for it and that was to stoke the stove and put the TV. Keith got up and made us a cup of tea and we settled down in bed and watched some paraolympic rugby, what a fantastic sport and incredibly physical. The GB team stands a good chance of a medal in the paraolympics, so good luck to them. at 6.45am someone started up their boat engine, and I thought wow someone is off early, but no they had just decided to sit on the mooring and run their engine early. No consideration some people and no consideration to the regulations of no running your engine before 8am unless on the move.

8am it was time to get up, because Paddy was stirring in his bed. By 8.15am we were off the boat and sploshing up the towpath in the rain. On the way back, my morning was brightened by the sight of a Kestrel battling again the wind to catch some breakfast. All this rain must be a nightmare for the wildlife trying to catch food for their growing families. I know Barn Owls really struggle when it is wet, because their feathers become water logged and broods have been known to starve to death, if they do not have a larder of food to fall back on. The Kestrel did swoop down on something, which was probably a mouse and flew off with its catch.

Back on the boat Keith was cooking us Mushrooms on Toast, and whilst they were cooking, I got on with lighting the saloon stove, because the temperature was on 3.9c outside, which meant it was cold. Breakfast was very much enjoyed as was the following coffee. I then got very brave and ventured to Tesco to get a few items we would need for the coming two weeks, just in case we could not get to a major store. I was well wrapped up at the rain which was now lashing down. The wind had really got up as well, which was making it fun and games for the hire boats which were on the move. I do feel for them, they have paid a lot of money for their holiday on the water and here it is lashing it down and blowing a gale. I got into Tesco which looked like a ghost town, there were not many people about due to the weather. I was in and out in a blink of the eye. On my way back to the boat laden down with my booty, a private boat pulled into the moorings down the arm, and it was clear the lady on the boat was not impressed with having to move in the rain.

She said "Why the F did we move in this weather".

He said " We moved in this B*****d weather, because you said we needed shopping, so don't shout at me".

She said " Well you could have said No"

He said "There is just no pleasing you woman".

As I walked past them mooring up I had a little giggle to myself. I have a feeling it will be a frosty walk around Tesco for them.

Back on the boat in the warm and dry, the shopping has been stowed away and I am not venturing out anymore, so it will be a day either online or watching Sunday films.

Friday 27 April 2012

Why write a blog.

why I blog

That is the question indeed.

I began writing blogs back in 2005 and yes blogging was a new experience for me and I am grateful for it, because of my blogs I have met some wonderful people. I began blogging when we had our other boat "Misty Lady". In many respects I wrote the blog as it ment I kept a diary of our trips and the start of the building of Hadar. A new blog was started for Hadar on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2005 and followed her build, launch and it continues today with her travels. But why should I want to write a blog of my own, and I have asked myself this question a few times, because at the end of the day it takes up my time to sit and write down my daily doings.

Blogging is not an easy decision, mainly because once you start you feel you must keep it up. For me it is like keeping a paper diary, but in this case it is not secret, it is open for all the world to see.  Some days I must admit I do wonder what on earth I am going to write about, because I would hate to bore anyone, as I am concuss that there are people out there following my every word. I also realise that there are people out there, who are scrutinize my every word, sentence, full stops etc, etc, but to me it is not about how I write, it is what I write about that counts. At the end of the day, if someone does not like the way I write, they need not come back again, although I hope they always do.

People will know that by reading my blog they are having to listen to my arguments and sometimes my drivel, probably more often drivel, because I am not very good at arguments. I try not to get politically involved in any of the heavy stuff, mainly because most of it is way over my head, and that would really turn people away I am sure. I have a lot of opinions, many of which I chose to keep to myself and many I just think will bore people if I wrote about them, not only that I refuse to sound like a "Grumpy Old Woman". By the way I am reading their book at the moment and I have not stopped giggling, because I agree with 99% of what they wrote about, which is scary.

I realised that by Blogging, I have become a bit like public speaker, so I have really put myself out there and expect that some may not like my type of writing, but that is fine, because we cannot all like the same thing, if we did it would be very boring.

When I sat down and committed  to this blog, I like others blogging for the first time had no following and never expected any, because this was just about me writing down my life afloat. But now I know I have followers, I do try and make an effort to make my posts sound interesting and to give an insight into my life. Blogging can be very addictive, but hey there are worse things to be addicted, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex in public places, catnip (Marmite is addicted to the latter).

So to all my dear readers, please bear with me if a particular subject doesn’t interest you. I will try to make you feel with me. Either pro or against. At times you might shrug and go away…that’s fine too. There is always tomorrow. Thank you for reading today's offering.

Ellesmere town centre.

Map image

Yesterday we went food shopping at Tesco, and Marmite made a B-line for the shopping bags.


If there is a box or a bag she is in it without fail.

This morning (Friday) I woke at 6.30am, rain was gently tap dancing on the roof of the boat, which meant we were in for another soggy day, but this was not going to upset our plans for the day. because I felt it was a little early to be getting up, I got up and made Keith and I a cup of tea, to get our day off to a good start, we lay in bed and watch ITV's Daybreak before I got up again at 8am. Paddy was then stirring for his morning walk, which would be done in the rain again, much to his disgust. On returning to the boat Keith had put breakfast up for me, so I fed mog and dog and then I enjoyed my breakfast.


Despite the weather Keith and I were going to venture into the town to have a good old fashioned nose around. So having donned our wet gear, we locked the boat up and set off on our voyage of discovery, with the rain gently falling still. We past the former canal warehouse, which is looking a little unloved, the company's name is painted on the end of the warehouse. Latterly before nationalisation in 1948, the company was owned by the LMS railway.

There are some delightful Tudor and Georgian buildings in Ellesmere.


The Ellesmere Hotel has a claim to fame.


Thomas Telford's was appointed  in 1793 to manage the detailed design and construction of the Ellesmere Canal, he took on men to oversee much of the construction one of those men was Thomas Stanton, who became general accountant, Thomas Stanton
was paying contractors and arranging the sale of surplus assets, he undertook almost all the day to-day administrative affairs of the canal. In 1811, he was an agent and he took on the role of an engineer. Thomas Stanton died in 1845 and is buried in the grave yard of the  Blessed Virgin Mary. When Thomas Telford died he left some money in his will to Stanton. To Thomas Stanton, Ellesmere formerly my Clerk Four hundred pds 400, that was a lot of money in those days.SAM_0652

He is buried with his wife Harriott.


The church over looks the mere, which we will either visit over the weekend or on our return journey from Llangollen, a lot depends in the weather, there is no point walking around it in the rain and I want to take some wildlife shots if I can.


There are so fabulous half timber buildings in the town, with their windows and doors at quirky angles.


We pootled around the town looking in the antique shops, in this particular shop the owner had a wonderful fire going.


The old Town Hall.


Lots of history in the old houses.


I love the old signs.


The White Hart pub is reputedly the oldest pub in Shropshire. It could date back to the 16th century. it is a grade 2 listed building.SAM_0657

I thought the cobbles outside were fantastic.

As we looked in the antique shops, we got chatting to the shop owners and before we knew it, it was lunch time, so we had lunch at La Belle Vie, Keith and I both had their mega breakfast, which came with tea or coffee.


I asked the young woman serving us what the building had been before they took it over, she reckoned it was the original town hall, but was not sure. We went in search of Ellesmere Castle, but alls we found was the sides of the motte are clad with trees and its summit is occupied by a bowling green. So nothing to see really, however I did come across this great lane.


I have to say that Ellesmere is a pretty little town, which seems to have faired pretty well in the present climate. Everyone is very friendly and I love the old buildings. The wharf area is going to be transformed over the coming months and years, with new homes shops etc, so we will look forward to seeing what happens to the area. The old warehouse which is listed is also set to be transformed.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Cole Mere to Ellesmere.

Map image

Travelled 2.9 miles, in a time of 1 hour.


Like with all other parts of the country yesterday was extremely wet, which had been forecast, so we stayed in the warm and dry. The rain does not bother either of us, but why get wet for the sake of it? But it did not stop the contractors cutting the grass and strimming the edges. So rain does not stop everything. The rain got heavier throughout the day and some very soggy boaters came past us every now and again, it has to be said many of them were on hire boats.

This morning it began with light rain and the sky did look full of rain. So for a we waited to see what it was going to do, with the rain settling to a spit spot here and there we set off from our mooring at 9.40am.


But having started off the rain returned and got heavier and heavier.


Our short journey took us past Blake Mere, which we will stop at and explore on our return journey.


We then travelled through the 87 yard narrow Ellesmere Tunnel.


It was very shallow, so we struggled a little. On coming out of the tunnel the rain was lashing down now.


On arriving at Ellesmere we ventured up the arm, winding was a little tight, so I got the pole out to help the bow round.


I did remember the arm from 6 years ago, but since then work has taken place and one notable addition is the new Tesco store.


There was not many mooring places, in fact only one possible place for us to get into and we did attempt to moor up, but it was too shallow, so we initially moored up on the Whitchurch side of the junction, doing a swap for places with Les & Jacqueline on Nb Valerie, who very kindly offered to let us moor in their place and they would moor where we had tried, which was lovely of them.


Having moored up, we chatted for a while with some other boaters, who bought some Brasso from me, they suggested we may like to move in behind them because boats do tend to get hit by other boats missing the turn, so we moved away from the junction to opposite the BW maintenance yard. The likelihood of being rammed by boats manoeuvring at the junction is quite high, especially with the weekend approaching. Very much like Foxton junction.


With us now safely moored up behind NB Rose, I made us some soup for lunch.


Lunch was then followed by a shopping trip to the new Tescos alongside the end of arm, which is fantastically handy. We spent an hour shopping, before walking back to the boat in the rain. Thankfully the heavy stuff waited until we were on the boat in the warm. We are going to stay here for a few days so we can take in all Ellesmere has to offer.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Prees Branch to Cole Mere, Little Mill Bridge 55.

Travelled 5.5 miles, worked 2 lift bridges in a time of 2 hours 15 minutes.


We left our over night mooring on the Prees branch at 9.00am and I got ready to work the first of the two swing bridges.


This time I did not have a fisherman in attendance on the bridge bollards.


We were back on the main line at the junction at 9.25am and heading off North West towards Cole Mere.


We cruised along another straight embankment, which I find quite impressive. To our right and left there was woodland and bogs as we left Whixall Moss, we crossed over into Wales.

IMG_8691 IMG_8692

So we said "goodbye" to England for a short while.


On passing Bettisfield, I spotted this large statue in a garden.


Dandelions seem to be in abundance this year, the towpath and some fields are covered in them. The canal twists and turns, which made it difficult when we kept meeting boats at tight bends or bridge 'oles coming in the opposite direction. It is not a problem when  they know what your doing, but when they do not it can get a little hairy. The open countryside became hilly with woodland on both sides as we reached Cole Mere we could see it from the boat, we pulled on to the 48 hour moorings, whilst I held the centre line, Keith stepped off the boat, to see how far the moorings went up and whilst he did so, a boat came past us in the opposite direction at such a speed, I had to ask them to slow down, because other wise I would have been pulled over. I just about managed to hold on to the boat, which at the moment weighs in at around 28 tonne. The gentleman did say sorry, so I thanked him.


Having moored at 11.15am, I made us a packed lunch and a flask of coffee, we then took off to walk around Cole Mere.


Cole Mere is on of several mere's in the area. Cole Mere is the only one of the glacial mere's in North Shropshire to have a full circular walk which is 1½ miles/ 2.4 km. It was made when a
huge chunk of ice melted. It was dumped and buried by a glacier
in the last Ice Age 11,000 years ago.

On the mere there is also a sailing club.


As we walked around the mere we could hear a church bell peeling, in the distance we saw this very sweet little church.


On reaching the car park, we diverted to the church of St. John the Evangelist to have a look around.


Next to the church is St. John's Wood. In 1860's Lady Marian Alford had St. John's church built in memory of her son Lord Brownlow. It was also for the people of Cole Mere and Lyneal. Until 2009 the woodland had stood unloved and unnamed, so the name of St. John's Wood was taken up. In the 1970' and 80's a cash crop of Sitka Spruce was planted. The trees were removed in 2008 to allow the natural woodland to take over. Yew tree saplings are in evidence, where they have self seeded and the wildlife has taken over with the help of locals.


An insect hotel has been erected, by the Sunday school children. There are different areas for different wildlife, butterflies and birds. It was such a peaceful place, that Keith and I decided to sit and have lunch there over looking the mere.


The view across the mere was breath taking.


After lunch we continued on our walk around the mere and were alarmed by this sign about Killer Shrimps, which have come across from Europe.


The bird song through the woods at times was deafening. Most of the time we could hear the birds, but seeing them was another matter. However we did see, Robins, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Tree Creeper, Black Birds and Chaffinches.


There was a lot of Spring flowers, including Wood Anemone, Blue Bells, Primroses etc.


Ferns were unfold from their Winter slumber.


I also spotted a Speckled Wood Butterfly and an Orange Tip Butterfly. There were a couple of Great Crested Grebe on the water and the usual Mallards and Canada Geese, a pair of Swans flew in probably from the mere in Ellesmere.

Both Keith and I enjoyed a lovely walk, and I certainly recommend it.


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