Monday, 25 March 2013

Escape from Froncysyllte

I had ordered a rather large Tesco delivery for last Friday, but due to the snow, it was cancelled.  This left us rather short of supplies - in particular, red wine.  So, as it was an emergency, Dai, our next door neighbour, offered to run Dave into Chirk, as he has a 4X4.
So they dug it out, and off they went..

Bread and milk supplies in the shop were being rationed to 4ltrs milk and one loaf per person.  Never mind the milk - it's the red stuff we wanted - which there was plenty of. 
By yesterday afternoon (Sunday), the roads had been cleared, so Dai took me to a quick trip to Tesco Cefn Mawr, just as it was about to close (we didn't realise it was almost 4pm), so I did a very quick run round, and managed to get a few essentials.  I hadn't left the moorings since the snow started, so it was quite nice to see the outside world!

Looking down to the moorings from our gate.

A VERY quiet Llangollen Canal

There haven't been any boat movements past us for days now, due to the number of fallen trees preventing passage.  Three hire boats came out of Anglo Welsh at Trevor Basin on Friday evening - in a blizzard - we wished them good luck as they went past.  One boat appeared to be a stag party - or perhaps they were all tranvestites with bad make-up.  Unfortunately the boats didn't get very far, and have spent the weekend within 4 miles from their starting point, without any facilities, after spending a fortune on hiring the boat.  There are other hire boats displaced too, which will have to be returned to their hire bases at some point. A lot of hires have now been cancelled, just what the hire bases around here didn't want, after last summer's wash out. What a disasterous start to the Easter break.

Since Friday, the snow just didn't let up at all until yesterday afternoon (Sunday).  I haven't seen snow as deep as for years - if at all!

Nemo will NOT go out.  We have tried throwing him out a couple of times, but he just runs back in through the cat flap.  Can't say I blame him - when this is what's outside!



Even more snow piled up on the barbeque

We had been keeping check on the amount of snow, but the twelve inch ruler has disappeared here.  The snow was in fact deeper "up top" as we were a bit sheltered here with the bank of the limekilns!
I notice that the water level has gone down about 4", I assume CRT are anticipating a thaw, so have reduced the level.  That coupled with the amount of snow on the roof, we seem to be listing somewhat.  It's now 10am on Monday morning, and the sun has come out! 
Let's hope thats the end of it then.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Llangollen Canal Closed - Lion Quays to Llangollen

Due to the number of fallen trees, and broken branches resulting from the weight of the snow, the Llangollen Canal remains closed from BR19 near the Lion Quays all the way up to Llangollen apparently (as per CRT stoppage email).  We know there are trees & branches blocking the canal between the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the Lion Quays, due to first hand experience of our neighbours Rick & Hazel.  They needed a pump out, so decided to take a little cruise to Chirk Marina as they had a rare couple of days off together.  Dave hitched a lift with them by boat on Friday morning, as the roads were blocked due to the snow, (thus ensuring there was someone available to open up and do the pump out in case other marina staff couldn't get there due to the blocked roads.
So the three of them set off from the moorings for a picturesque potter, armed with a chain saw due to a large branch blocking the canal just past our moorings - which they cleared with ease.  Unfortunately, when they got to Chirk Marina there was no power - so no pump out.  Not a problem, (they thought) and they continued on to the Lion Quays with the intention of returning to Chirk for said pump out the following day. Another bit of bad luck - the Lion Quays had no real ale on.  On Saturday morning they set off from LQ's to get that pump out, unfortunately there was a rather large tree blocking the canal at Chirk Bank.  They then moored the boat there, and started to walk back to the moorings to retrieve their landrover - a manual pump out was on the cards.  So they walked the 4 miles back to the moorings in two foot of snow, taking these photos on the way....
Fallen tree on the Chirk Bank side just after Chirk Aqueduct

This tree just missed the boat moored in the 'layby' at Chirk Tunnel

Another one along Chirk cutting

Between Irish Bridge and Glen Coed (I think)
They dug out the landrover, collected water containers, more wood from their wood store, and bits & bobs which were left behind, as they only intended to be out for a couple of days.  As they were blocked in Chirk Bank, they decided to reverse back to the Poachers Pocket - at least they would have a pub to go to.  Plan C was executed, and they moored up at the PP - only to discover that it wasn't due to reopen to the public after the refurbishment until Monday evening.  It was open to Marson's employees only, for staff training purposes.  Plan D:  turned at PP and started off to Lion Quays again, where they happened to be members of the Spa, so could at least use their 'facilities'.  Scuppered again - by another fallen tree at BR18.  So reversed back to the Poachers, where they remain - with tanks full and empty, but not in the correct order!  At least they now have a phone signal. (we haven't had "3" or Orange/TMobile for a few days).  Chin up guys - the Poacher's reopens tomorrow night - I just hope their real ale selection has improved with the refurb!

After reading NB Bendigedig's blog, Elsie writes that the top end of the Llangollen is also blocked due to the number of fallen trees - but I don't know exactly where they are.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Dave's summer season starts with 8ins of snow!

We're back in our mooring in Froncysyllte (aka The Fron).  We usually bring the swallows back with us after our winter travels - but not this year!

Today was Dave's first day back in work for the summer season at Chirk Marina.....
This was the scene at 8am this morning .... almost 8" of snow had fallen overnight.
Dave did get into work, by hitching a lift by boat, but as there was no power in Chirk Marina, he was back home within a couple of hours, as he couldn't do anything there.

I had made a rather large Tesco order - which was supposed to be delivered this morning, needless to say, it was cancelled. Not rescheduled or postponed in any way. Just cancelled, so I'll just have to start the whole process again. I didn't have a mobile signal on the boat this morning on either Orange or Vodafone, untill around 11am when the phone went nuts with loads of messages and missed calls coming in, one of which was from Tesco. Vodafone signal is coming and going, mainly going, but Orange seems to be working now.

Using the BBQ seems a very long way off.

Our garden bench

I think Dave was a bit premature in setting out our garden table!
looking down on Dai's boat
Scene from the front of Beefur

As we were out and about this morning, a couple of boaters appeared on the towpath opposite, and said there were a couple of trees down just behind our moorings, so Rick & Hazel pushed their boat accross, with Dave riding shotgun, and managed to chainsaw the tree so the canal was now passable with care.  I'm sure there'll be alot of trees down today.
I will return to our trip up the Llangollen back to our mooring on a future blog - including the story of the bloke with an attitude problem who made us move away from where we had moored opposite his house - but that's another story!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Woodseaves, Tyrley and Mandarin Ducks

There has been  an awful lot of work going on at Woodseaves by the look of it.  Loads of vegitation and trees have been cleared from the cutting during the stoppage here during November and December.  At least the sun has come out.  We sure have had a mixed bag of weather this week, from snow blizzards to sunshine - within the space of a few hours some times.

The cutting sure looks different now.....
compared to how it was in September.

Hardly any water coming down the bywashes at Tyrley

another couple of comparison photos from last September - this is the same by wash
Someone's got a sense of humour, unlike Dave - having to clean out another elsan point...
this one at Market Drayton on our way through.  It's a recurring theme now.
There sure are some dirty boaters out there!  Is it any wonder CRT are closing down facilities, when people abuse them.  Blimey, you wouldn't leave your own bathroom in the state that some boaters leave the elsan points.

And so to bird of the day, well two of them actually...

Shame they're both males!