Friday, 29 April 2011

THE WEDDING, we watched it at Adderley.

Make me a liar then, having said no signal at Adderley what do we find? Big fat signal, can this be my new lead? Or has T-mobile set up a new mast? Who knows.

Needless to say I only took a couple of photties, not expecting to need them, but here's one of a working boat coming up Adderley.
We had a good transit down until the second to bottom lock when a hire boat coming up started emptying the lock as we were about to come out from the lock above, as there was already a boat in the pound we had to exit the lock and were at the mercy of the by-wash and the wind. They seemed confused when I queried their use of the locks. I am a very tolerant bloke but one thing that winds me up is someone taking my lock! As they crossed the pound the by-wash shoved 'em up the bank so I sniggered in a most unpleasant manner.

Grimsby at the bottom of the locks.
Today was THE wedding. Alright, I'm an unrepentant royalist and we both thoroughly enjoyed the whole shebang. Say what you like about us as a nation but no other could have put on a show like that, all that pomp and show yet it still felt like a family event.
In true naval tradition we then spliced the mainbrace, the toast was "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, God bless them."
I have heard that shares in Moss Bros. and Kleenex have rocketed.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Vernacular architecture, deranged broccoli and some more working boats.

Hopefully this will be our last day around Market Drayton for a while although it does boast some splendid buildings.

This one somehow makes you feel less than welcome as you walk up from the canal, but it does improve.

These are both in Shropshire Street and show that it was a very prosperous town in the late 18th. century.

But these three are my favourites, not a good angle but they are superb, I could admire them for hours, with the birds singing while the bumble bees bombinate amongst the wisteria flowers, mind you the traffic on the main road does detract a bit but you can't have everything
The market was in full swing, however I was a little concerned

by the mental state of the broccoli, or possibly the stall holder.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch cut, the ex working boats were still coming through.

G.U.C.C.Co town class?

Ex Cowburn and Cowpar Starling, she normally resides at the old Cadbury wharf at Knighton so she was close to home.
Tomorrow we are moving down to Adderley for the weekend and if memory serves me aright there is no signal down there. Mind you we will have a "Do not disturb" sign on the boat as we watch the final of the snooker so blogging must take a back seat and no corybantic excesses like our time at The Anchor.

Watch this space...........

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Traffic at Tyrley.

Dieseled up at Norbury and now on our way north, all family visits behind us for a while. Snooker on the telly though, so all moorings must have a clear shot at the satellite.
Once again we came down Tyrley locks, the descent made much more interesting by the boats heading south after the Easter gathering at Ellesmere Port.

I must apologise as I didn't note the names of the boats, I was rather involved trying not to get in their way, but here comes the first, out of the top lock.

Just below the lock I had to dodge the next one, they don't take prisoners and they told Jill they had to be in London by Friday, I'm not sure but could they be taking the bride to church? That'll fool the disruptive elements!

They hustled us through the second lock where another waited for us amateurs to clear the way. Perhaps some roses and castles might get us a bit more respect, but personally I find them a bit pretentious when painted on a modern boat, not to mention twee.
After this we were thankful to find no more on the flight and we could appreciate the arboreal charm

 of the bottom two locks, a couple of weeks ago the trees were bare, now look at them, complete with swathes of bluebells, which didn't show up on the photo's.
We managed to sneak in on the moorings at M.D. just as another old working boat came through the bridge.

So it was out satellite dish, tune to snooker and put the feet up. I suspect that tomorrow will see many more boats coming through.

Watch this space.........

Monday, 25 April 2011

Grandsprogs take over.

The boat seems very quiet now, the family departed this morning, back to Plymouth. Olive kindly let us leave the car in her car park and as we only had a couple of days we just went down to Market Drayton and back.

But first a little refreshment in the garden.

Next morning we set off, amazingly the children love wearing their life jackets, I suppose it's just something different.

As we got into Woodseaves cutting we could see, up ahead, a small cruiser that seemed to be behaving somewhat erratically and as we came closer it was obvious that it was being bow hauled. Now if you have ever seen the towpath at Woodseaves you will know that of all places you can bow haul a boat Woodseaves is the last you would choose, the towpath consisting of a mile of wet mud. Being a perfect gent I was going to offer them a tow but because of traffic coming towards us I was never able to get within hailing distance. We eventually caught up at Tyrley moorings, it seems their engine had started overheating in the cutting and they had no option but to get ashore and haul, they and their dog were slathered in mud and well weary. Not a place I would want to breakdown.

On the towpath at M.D. soap bubbles were the order of the day, until Elliot shook the bottle and reduced the contents to foam.

Back on board Elliot settled for a biscuit while Esme

had a bad hair day.

Warning, don't try this at home. Tyrley locks, again.

Back at The Anchor we did a little fishing, we did catch five roach, much to Esme's delight but then it was dinner and an early night. Amazing how tiring small children can be.
I know that this post has been pure self indulgence but it's my blog so there!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A few old boats and a new lead.

Ready to welcome the next lot of family, Olive has kindly said they can leave the car in her car park for the weekend and they arrive tomorrow, sometime. It is apodictic that small children are inclined to be rather demanding so please excuse the fact that there will be no posts for a few days.
The canal has been busy for the last few days with ex working boats heading for Ellesmere Port for the Easter gathering, so here are a couple of pridian photo's.

 Ex Willow Wren

and this conversion, it must be one of the earliest still extant, it was converted in the 1930's, and I don't think I'm being tendentious when I say it is a most attractive boat.

I'm not sure about this one, tug, icebreaker?

The bow seems to have been borrowed from a 1900's cruiser (Warship, not hire boat).

Is it ex Grand Junction? Whatever it was I liked it.
Many people seem to be having problems with their dongles, well mine was a bit erratic (T-mobile) but I bought a longer lead recently and it has a little box near the female socket, I presume it is a booster of some sort as I'm now getting a usable signal in places that were dead spots. Just thought I'd let you all know, a new lead works wonders.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Only a few photo's and a cry for help.

Back at Market Drayton, the new gnashers needed a bit of adjustment so there was not a lot worth recording. We're starting to feel as though we are nailed to this bit of the Shroppie but, after another family visit this weekend, we will escape.

The road goes ever on, how English is that? High Offley (Again). Well I can't help it if I've found my spiritual home at The Anchor.

I think this is a comma butterfly, but as I'm no entomologist I won't swear to it.

This was an orange tip, except that he waited until I'd got the focus perfect and as I pressed the button, zoom and he'd gone. My photography is right up there with my entomology.

The vicar has a new mowing machine to keep the chuchyard tidy

while these two were keeping a low profile.

I just had to add this one Jill's best ever shot of a heron.

At last I've managed to make the template designer work, or more likely it has started working of its own accord, so I've changed the appearance of the blog but now Blogger, in its wisdom, has decided that I'm not allowed to leave comments on other blogs and as usual their help page is about as much use as a glass eye. Anyone out there got any ideas? If you have and can post a comment, give us a clue, but please in plain English.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Saturday night at The Anchor.

Saturday evening and the boats have gathered at

The Anchor, the pub has been slaking the thirst of passing boaters for nigh on one hundred and fifty years and for most of that time it has been in the hands of the same family. It is a time warp, both in decor and the entertainment it offers. As in all the best pubs there are is no piped music and no electronic machines, it does have good beer (Wadworths 6X) and a fiercely loyal clientele who regularly provide their own entertainment.

Mal is one of the stalwarts, he has a mooring opposite and a wonderful repertoire of songs, from the hilarious to the tragic, here he is singing Hard Working Boater, I know you can't hear it, just take my word.

It wasn't long before he was joined by Dave on accordian and I'm afraid I don't know the chap on the fiddle, but he was very good on that and on his mandolin.

The ensemble rapidly expanded and by this time we were all singing along, even when we didn't know the words. Even I added my contribution with a rather off key rendition of "Bell bottom trousers, coat of navy blue"

Nathan had by now joined in with his mouth organs and the roof was being well and truly raised.

But alas, all good things must come to an end and Olive, our revered hostess, called last orders and started to collect the glasses so it was time to drink up and toddle off to bed. Thank you everybody, especially Olive. An evening in The Anchor is like being in someones front room, it is so intimate. Long may such islands of civilisation survive in todays world.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Mutiny, avast ye dogs! Also a family visit.

On Tuesday we moved up to Goldstone Wharf to await the arrival of eldest daughter and family. The ostensible reason for the visit was to deliver a pup whose circumstances had rendered him homeless.

A beautiful young staffie dog. Unfortunately the otiose incumbent of the position of Armadillo's boat dog

has one hamartia, a total inability to even consider the possibility of another dog joining the crew. On sighting the new animal, instant mutiny, threats of g.b.h. and a total refusal to allow him anywhere near the boat.
So we got on with the visit, the family were camping and a b.b.q. was planned,

 owing to inclement weather it was moved on board, much more civilised. Then, to keep the grandsprogs amused,

out came the uckers board. A naval game of great skill and complexity and with a little assistance my team lost.

So we changed to Pass the Pigs, there was close scrutiny of my scoring, as if I would fiddle the numbers. (I lost). Over to Pit, if you've never heard it played you don't know what noise is, it is possibly the loudest card game yet invented. Guess who didn't win. We finished with Old Maid, thankfully a quiet conclusion.

As they prepared to leave they all looked rather cheerful, they had dreaded leaving the dog as they had fallen in love with it while they were looking after it, so we never got the new crew member.

"Result," says Marmite as she curls up in her corner, mutineer and still the incumbent boat dog, smug old mutt.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Coracles, Bill & Ben, bagpipes and araucaria araucana and more besides.

Mmmfglorslopbubble, that was about the limit of my vocal ability after the tooth wright had finished today. Splendid was the way I dribbled my cuppa down my shirt this afternoon. To be honest I exaggerate immoderately, he did a fine job, one minor filling and a damn good descale. Just got to pick up the new false choppers on Wednesday. If you're ever in Market Drayton and in need of dental work go and see Mr. Sommerfield at Poynton House Dental Surgery, he'll sort you out no probs!
Well M.D. has thrown up a few surprises today,

 seems to be a coracle, the chap in it lives just opposite the moorings,

with these two in his garden. He then transformed into the town crier, complete with frogged red coat and tricorn hat but by then I had put the camera down and didn't get any photties! We then set off for town and in the distance we could hear what sounded like bagpipes,

which it turned out to be, the Royal Irish Regiment were parading through the town with band playing, bayonets fixed

and flags flying.

Proud men of a proud regiment, recently returned from Afghanistan, well done and thank you lads.

Having had dentists, coracles, town criers and the military we then sighted these strange objects,

they are the seed cones of the Chilean Pine (Araucaria araucana) a.k.a. the Monkey Puzzle Tree, seen many of the trees but never seen the cones before.
To round the day off,

just one of the ex working boats heading for Ellesmere Port for the Easter rally.

This is for the aaahhh!! factor.
All in all it's been a day of many parts.