Having posted pictures last week, I thought I might add a bit of information about what we did and so on…
We met my in-laws – Mr D’s mum, his sister+husband+two children, and his brother + wife+1 child – and picked up the two boats (Lowri and Nerys) just outside Ellesmere, in Shropshire. We had a larger boat, for MiL, sister + family + child, and one for Mr D, me, brother + wife. The beds were not terribly comfortable – but that’s only to be expected, I guess! – but generally everything else was fine. The only real problem was not having enough space for all of us to sit and eat together. We ended up balancing plates on knees, sitting outside/half inside/perched on steps etc…but we managed!
So we pootled up towards Llangollen, going through two locks and passing over the Chirk and the Pontcysslyte (now I’m sure that spelling is wrong but I’m too lazy to google it to find out the correct spelling!) aqueducts. Pictures are posted on the last post. We moored up about 30 minutes outside lllangollen and then sailed into the Marina the next morning, giving us a day to look around. Mr D, MiL and I went to Plas Newydd (that’s the black-and-white house in the photos)and here’s a few more photos of it.
Then Mr D & I went to a great pub for lunch – The Corn Mill – we pigged out on delicious things. (Tangent: isn’t it strange how one can beso full of dinner that you can’t finish it, but still have room for a slab of barabrith bread-and-butter-pudding with vanila ice cream and apricot sauce? I maintain I have two stomachs: a dinner stomach and a pudding stomach. I certainly look fat enough to have two stomachs!!! ) Then we decided to walk to the Horseshoe Falls – the waterfall/weir at the point on the River Dee where water feeds the canal. It was further than expected and I’m afraid I didn’t quite make it, but Mr D did. We met some ducklings which were very keen on Mr D’s bootlaces!
Later on that evening, there was much hilarity as a dog from another boat leapt into the canal basin to try to catch one of the many ducks. Of course as he swam towards them the ducks swam to another part of the marina. For all the owner called its name (“Tetley! Tetley!”) the dog refused to come back. We started to get a bit concerned, as the dog was getting very tired but stubbornly refused to come to shore. Finally a random bloke leapt into the marina and fetched Tetley out. Later, we saw Tetley wrapped, shivering, in a blanket looking rather hang dog.
We left Llangollen and returned to Ellesmere. Judith (SiL) decided that she wanted an Indian meal to celebrate her birthday, so we found one in Ellesmere. It looked a bit dubious, and the waiter started off being very dragonian with us (“Right. Drinks. Lady One, what do you want? OK, next. You, sir, what do you want…?!”) But he loosened up by the time we’d got our mains, and complimented the children on their appetites and choices. Finally he gave them a lollipop each, saying “Here you are Babies (they are 9, 10 and 12 but with sweets on offer they weren’t complaining about the soubriquet!) You are our future. Have a lollipop!” (Is that a non-sequitur? I can’t help but think so!)
We then pootled on to Whitchurch (where I persuaded Mr D to eat in a thoroughly nasty pub. He left his sausages. That shows how unpleasant it was. Mr D seldom leaves food, if it can be helped.) (I finally redeemed myself by finding a good pub in Lancashire – where Mr D chose sausages once again, but this time ate them All Up) and then turned around and pootled back to Ellesmere. Later, Mr D was thinking we should have gone the Whitchurch direction first as there are more locks that way, and the kids would have got more involved. But we all liked Llangollen and the aqueducts, so I guess it’s swings and roundabouts. The children enjoyed themselves, reading, chatting and painting, so I think it wasn’t a bad decision, per se.
Here are two paintings:
Matthew's "Canal Art"
I’m not including any of my rather pedestrian efforts in this!
Then Mr D and I went on to Liverpool, where we dumped our bags at mum’s then hopped on a train to the city centre. Lunch at a lovely new tapas bar, Lunya, followed by an hour’s whiz round the shops (nowhere near long enough for me!). Then “Toy Story 3″ in 3-D (grown men were snuffling all around me at the end!!!) . We had 15 minutes to rush to Pret A Manger for a drink-and-a-biscuit, then back to watch “Inception” on the I-Max screen. I enjoyed both films, but preferred Toy Story! (I didn’t have to think!!!) Back home in time for a sandwich before bed (bliss! Real beds! Lots of room!)
Then on Sunday we met an old school friend for a walk along the canal (you’d think we’d had enugh of canals!) and across the fields around Lydiate for a cup of tea and a cake.
Peacock at the Tea Shop!
The following day, we (mum, Mr D and I) met up with my sister, my brother, his wife and two of their children. At a canal (what again!?) – the longest, highest, deepest tunnel (or was that the highest, longest, deepest?!) in the UK. see HERE for details (Oops, sorry! I find out that we ventured into Yorkshire.) We went on a boat into the tunnel. Here is mum and Ailsa wearing their hard hats (as they sat outside the boat!)
Then we went to a pub and had a yummy meal (that’s where Mr D had his chicken and black pudding sausages. I had a fish-and-chip supper. But it was very high class fish-and-chip supper, with puréed peas (no mushy peas here!) and home made tartar sauce. And fab English bitter.) Then back to Liverpool…back to Canterbury (where MiL lives) then back to France. A good time was, I think, had by all.