Old Friends Return

John, Christine & Tilly came up for the day – for lunch, for walkies and for afternoon tea. They used to be our close neighbours on Poppy Eyebright and have returned to since the land – being closer to their ever growing family – how many grandchildren?

It was great to spend the day with them:

A return to Jubilee Park & Millennium Wood
The stars of the show – Tilly & Toby
The other stars – twinkling, John . .
and Christine
Lots of action photos – both dogs keen to be outside & enjoying the rather lovely sunny day
The “part collie” dog shows thru here – throw ball, throw ball!
I don’t need a ball – I’m freeeeeeeeeee!
It was jolly nice weather and good fun seeing our old neighbours again. A grand lunch at the Wheatsheaf, a grand walk and then afternoon back on the boat.
Grand day out indeed

Valentine’s Day

Thirty nine years ago, we got engaged. Italian restaurant, Southampton. So today, we chugged on, to bridge 37 – only an hour and a half but chance to have a pub lunch.

A very foggy start – with an evil looking, post-apocalyptic sun
It soon brightened up into a gloriously sunny day & deserted
We moored just past bridge 37 and sauntered up to South Kilworth
Past the Stanford reservoir
A long road but beer & food at the end
We were very lucky, they are normally closed lunchtimes, in winter, but a walking party had booked in, so yes, we could eat . . 2 x lasagnes and beer! Happy Anniversary!
It were a long road back but downhill.
We decided to chug onwards to the Welford junction (to swing the boat) and then go back past bridge 37 and on to bridge 33 for the night.
It was a good day for photography, so clear & bright – you could see the Death Star quite clearly
Viv gets to drive for a bit
She looks really professional! Calm & relaxed (ish),
Scenic bridge 40
Steve, hmm, the right caption would be “Plonker”
Viv took this – chaotic swirls?
“Better out than in” would be this caption – my perfect bridge for reflections. Is this really February? Sun hat on and coat off!!
Don’t often get his photo – Steve putting up the aerials and his weather station – always asking, where the hell is North?? See the website weather.vivatek.co.uk
Beautiful mooring spot by bridge 33. Spot the very tired doggie?
I did try and wait for them to pose in their “heart” position, well, it is Valentine’s Day.
It is a very scenic spot
And here’s my Valentine – feeding those swans . .

Out on the boat

We always said we’d go out if the weather was agreeable and lo, it came to pass! After days of icy cold and high winds – the Met Office relented and said, “Oh, alright, if you must, here’s some sunshine!”. With the forecast of low winds, full sun and rising temperatures, we gaily slipped our moorings and crept out of the marina for the first time this year. Heading for bridge 27 and maybe beyond for a few days . . .

It really was blindingly bright and very quiet
We met a few boats who had the same idea but otherwise serene
The boat seemed fine – the recent service made the engine sound just grand
I did point out the wildlife to Toby but he wasn’t interested
All wrapped up but the thermals & longjohns weren’t really necessary – the boat reached 26 degrees inside.
Approaching bridge 26 and Gail’s favourite mooring spot – no one here!
I could be wrong but they seem to have cutting a lot of the branches – but more on the offside, still it’s better than nothing.
The favourite mooring spot – quite idyllic and they’ve upgraded the 4G signal (EE) – I managed to get 50 (yes, really) Mbps!!
I think we’ll stay put for a bit.

Winter Escape – more . .

So where are we? Trefin – house is Hafan – the big one, centre right photo
And zoomed out – gives you some idea of proximity of the sea
A few cottages going for sale – this one opposite Hafan, up the valley
Quite nice – annex too – all for £585,000
How the other live, eh? Blinis for tea.
Lots of snowdrops on a walk from the woollen mill, down to the two beaches; Aberbach & Abermawr
Lots and lots of snowdrops (near Melin Tregwynt)
Footpath to Aberbach beach
Two cottages on this path – this the last one . .
Didn’t think it was for sale but lovely position
acres of bloomin gorse
Aberbach beach – Toby swim – tricky getting us across here
Short walk round to the other beach – Abermawr
Wonderful beach, submerged, petrified forest plus failed terminal for Brunel’s transatlantic rail terminal
Meanwhile, the woollen mill – Melin Tregwynt has given its cafe a wonderful makeover and is open everyday! Time for some cawl.
The former cafe was very dated and small – this one is much more chic
with lots of local scenes
and the shop . . . all homespun . . woollen blankets £260!

Winter Escape – Day 2

The gales of Sunday now seem a distant memory. We plan a trip to St Davids and then a walk from its small port, Porth Clais around the coastal path to Porth Lysgi. A gloriously sunny day. Cold but warmish in the sun.

Porth Clais


Panorama
A call from Stephen Davies!
A beautiful morning and not a soul about
Another panorama – the sea looks almost calm today
The small bay of Porth Lysgi – scene of many a dog (and Steve) swims in the past
Toby gets his swim

A small compilation of videos from today’s walk

Winter Escape

Whilst not quite as exotic as the trip to Mojacar, as we did last year, we do need a break from the confines of the boat, the marina and the winter! We’ve had a few days of sub zero temperatures plus some snow . . .

A sprinkling of snow then a freeze

Toby loves it!

Yes, the marina did freeze over but only for one night.

So, we booked a week away in Hafan – a coastal cottage in Trefin, Pembrokeshire – our 8th visit. It is such a good property – big rooms, cafe opposite and pub across the road plus a short walk to the coastal path and the sea. It did take most of the day to get there, as we are no longer in North Somerset. So a 0906 start saw as driving down the M1, M6, M42, M5, M50, M4 . . . three stops and then arriving Trefin at 1602. Some rain but worse was to come – with the Met office forecasting gales of 60+ mph overnight and 50+ winds the next day.

This is the small bay just yards down the road, site of the old mill.

And here’s a compilation of short videos to give you some idea of the strength of the wind . .

It did knock the breath out of you and even caused Toby to wobble sideways

Never seen it this bad before.

Feeling slightly fortified as the Mill Cafe does wonderful food – especially the Welsh breakfast (like an English but with 2 added items – cockles in butter plus a laver bread & oat pattie! Yum). Viv had bacon and a pancake stack with maple syrup!!

The circular walk back to the house . . .

Viv – ensconced

 

Better Out than In?

We may be sliding towards the end of October and the “fun” of living on a boat in winter but the sun is still out and even though our friend couldn’t make this weekend, we planned to go out & lo, it came to pass.

The Open Road ! Very quiet this time of the year.

Steve’s lacquered bear is keen to be out!

Ah, these guys are back. Doing their bit for mooring nicely – not doubled up or moored near a bridge, oh, they are doing both! As usual.

Viv drives – wearing her new knitted poppy – thanks to Jude Calver on nb Black Bart, see RoxyChicKnits to get yours!

I call this the lightning tree – as it dregs up that awful song!! Architectural though, isn’t it?

These guys are cute and were hiding at the bottom of the field. Might be me but I couldn’t help but think of what food to get for Christmas . . . .

It is almost Hallowe’en –  Or is that a spooky reflection causing Steve to look ghostly?

Another Victor Meldrew moment for Steve (and others it seems) as they do insist on mooring tooooo close to the winding hole (over on the right). Long boats have to turn early but that would mean smashing your stern into this ickle boat . . . steel v. fibre glass?

Meanwhile, whilst the temperatures head south (1 degree tomorrow), we have the stove glowing nicely . . .

And Viv makes her sherry trifle – using two jellies (strawberry & then lime) to create a kind of Tequila Sunrise effect! All part of our calorie controlled diet, honest. We can share . . . if you come out this way? But be quick . . .

Our favourite spot! Betwixt bridges 27 & 28.

Summer Lingers but a friend returns

I know a song: “There’s Something wrong with the Weather!” – this warmth continues with temperatures exceeding 17 degrees here. A walk up the Hemplow Hills & the marina Kingfisher seems to have returned!

Toby seems to have a new lease of life – very bouncy & active!

Can the same be said about Viv? Well, we are trying – with longer walks.

A brief flash of blue – and a small bird sits opposite our kitchen window. Yes, the local kingfisher has returned.

Didn’t hang around for long but nice to see him back. Oh, he’s moved to Mr Crabtree . . .

And a very short video . . . they do bob you know!

Early Autumn

After the trip to Whitstable, we were then off again, this time to Viv’s folks in Barry, Wales. Just for a few days. Staying in the local Travelodge – which wasn’t bad at all.

Then back on the boat – Viv paints the design on the cratch table – which needed redoing.

The weather remains amazingly warm & sunny, so off to the Jubilee Park in Crick to walk Toby

Lots and lots of berries about

 

Autumn colours

Can you spot the Boggle?

He does love a ball game

The mornings are getting colder and the leaves are dropping

Still amazed at the abundance of berries – here’s a bush with just sloes

These are spindleberries – they were used in the hand spinning of wool.

And after the walk – the pub! And another Church End brew on today:

Starting to get brilliant sunsets but also misty, foggy mornings

The Old Boiler

 

Well October has come around so quickly. It was only July when we visited Mum and made the bold decision to go for a new boiler (old one was 38 yrs old!!) plus a new big radiator for the big lounge. The “stuff” was to be delivered on the Monday morning, with the men arriving around 12 to begin to take the old out & put the new one in . . . sort of went to plan. The radiator didn’t turn up. Not until Wednesday in fact! Still Mum was glad to have us around and to leave Steve to chat with Paul the installer, all about the new smart pumps, modulating boilers, 3-port valves and the posh Internet ready thermostat – yes, Steve can access it and control it from his computer!  Time for more shopping and the odd pub visit . . .

View from  . . . the bedroom and yes, you can see the sea.

Back to the Tankerton Arms for a beer or two . .

Nice selection – inc a dark beer – Sleep Delays?

Yes, a lot more pipes and bits on show!! A smart condensing boiler but so many pipes, pumps and controllers!!

We wanted to find a country pub, that did good food, gave us a nice ride out and let dogs in . . . We found the Duck Inn, Pett Bottom! Only 12 miles away but middle of nowhere! Wonderful food – a real gastro-pub. See the Duck Inn

Good real ale, a big gin menu and the food was really excellent.

I’ve been expecting you . . . .

Quite hidden away but quite a gem . . the hot October weather was a bonus! In fact, too hot to cause the new central heating to come on!!