Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wrenbury to Beeston - Friday and Saturday !

Elaine here ...

On Friday morning-ish we got ready to leave Wrenbury - Paul took the dogs for a walk around the village before we set off ...

He spotted the innovative Olympic rings at a local school - made from tyres.

Nice building !

There was some sort of scarecrow festival coming up - so this was one of the competitors ... !

Another beautiful building ...

We left Wrenbury and, after a few locks, the first stop of the day was at the services at the top of the Hurlston locks - Geoffrey decided it was time for his walkabout while we filled up with water ... 

Paul took the opportunity to 'de-fur' Geoffrey - he likes it !

There was a very friendly and helpful lock keeper at the Hurlston flight - and there was only one other boat coming up the flight - so we got through really quickly (not like when we went up the flight - it took us hours!).  The Lock Keeper said it had been manic in the morning - so I am glad we are lazy and don't get going til later in the day !!

At the bottom the the Hurlston locks ... hmmm decision time !!!
We decided to head for Chester ...

We pulled up in Barbridge, tidied up all the stuff and then found the dogs, collapsed in their respective heaps - poor loves had had a hard day ... it's hard being a doggy - gongoozler !!

... and this was the PUB OF THE DAY - ER, YESTERDAY ...
The Old Barbridge Inn again - where you can moor up at the edge of the garden !  We decided to treat ourselves to a Friday night nosh at the pub - seemed rude not to!  We didn't have too far to stagger home afterwards anyway ...

This morning we had a little walk around Barbridge, which took us about 5 mins - but it let the dogs stretch their legs anyway !  Then, we set off on unchartered territory - UP the Shroppie ! 

We see a lot of these dolls in boats along the way - no disrespect to anyone - but we really find them scary !  I guess they are traditional ?

This tickled us ... this little kid in his canoe with all the cows watching on ...

Cute kid!

A Heron with his ducky friends ...

... and then a great beast emerged from a boat - now, that is the size of dog you need on a narrowboat !
 The canals here are really wide, compared to those we have been on of late ...
Our first encounter was the staircase locks (2) at Bunbury - thank God there were two lovely lock keepers working them !  It was the first double lock we had gotten to in ages, so that was new in itself but what really threw me was that they had two boats in the lower lock, coming up - so I assumed they would come up together and then we would go in after they had moved out - but no, they opened the top gates for Paul to come in - now that really played havoc with my lock-brain (that had a headache in it too, incidentally !). 

Quite ingeniously, what they do is a little 'narrowboat dance' in the middle - when the locks have equalised with each other, they open the 'middle' gates, one boat moves into the space in the 'top' lock and then Paul took his place in the 'bottom' lock, then the other boat that was in the 'bottom' lock moved into the 'top' lock - and then we shut the doors (gates) - and each went our separate ways - up and down ... marvellous !

After that we had a few more double locks to do - so we got used to doing them again ... once again, we were 'Nigel-No-Friends' in the locks - so Paul had to make sure it stayed put at the side of the lock !

We passed by this curious little building at one of the locks ...

The 'last' lock of the day was the 'Iron Lock' - 'cos it is an Iron lock- apparently made of 'cast iron flanged plates to overcome running sand below it' -  a strange looking beast !

We reached our destination for the day, which was Beeston - just near the 'Chas Hardern' boats -

Paul got very distracted when tying up the boat as he spotted a 'Pullman' train passing by - the 'Northern Belle' - all the passengers were all waving at us frantically - sweet ain't it ?!  (Paul Googled the train trip later and found out that the cost is 225 pounds for a day trip !).  He said to mention that it was a 'vintage diesel engine' ... whatever !

We had a late lunch and then took the dogs out for a walk on a discovery tour of Beeston - and also we thought we would walk up to the Beeston castle, which we thought was on this mound that we could see from our boat ...

turned out not to be ... read on !

Here is our 'PUB OF THE DAY - PART 1'
...nah, it was shut down - with a development application on it to building some housing - shame, it would have been a nice pub to visit too ...

We marched on, in Paul's inimitable style, in the general direction of the afore-mentioned mound !  We staggered over some waste ground and then through some animal auction yards (empty) and then we found a stile to climb over ... the dogs were going berserk by this time, with all the smells and also loads of rabbits running around them!  We trudged on along a precarious muddy track, over a couple more stiles and found ourselves in the middle of someone's flash driveway --- and lo and behold the actual Beeston castle (ruins) was in front of us ... on a proper hill - but miles away !  We also noticed another castle to the left of Beeston castle, but that turned out to be the Peckforten castle - neither of which were where we thought they were - sitting on that little mound near our boat ! We really should do a bit more research before stepping out !  The dogs' adrenaline rush had subsided by this time and they began to flag !

Anyway, we staggered back toward the canal - along a fairly busy country road with no pavements - taking our lives in our hands.  We made it back to the canal, but then Paul suggested we just walk a little further in the opposite direction - thinking that there must be another pub in this place !  We marched on a bit further and asked someone ... 'no, they said, not near here - but if you go up another lock, you will find one right on the canal'! 

Say no more, we went back to the boat, pulled the pins and got the windlasses out again !  (However, we didn't reset the GPS / Navygator system - just forgot really !)
We did the next lock, which was Wharton's lock.  From the Lock, we could clearly see the Beeston castle ... 

 The dogs were being terrorised by a Swan while they waited for us to do the lock ...

... and while waiting for the lock to empty, I spied this Heron, having a paddle through the bridge !

We found a lovely mooring (again) - and went off, with the dogs, in search of the elusive PUB OF THE DAY ... and here it is 'The Shady Oak' - a quirky little pub, with a big garden and a campsite.  It was pretty busy, but the staff seemed to be coping well and the meals looked good and reasonably priced.  We only had a swift half and went back to the boat for our dinner ...

Actually on the way back, we made a detour down a little street beside the canal and found this amazing scene ... not a bad feature to have in your backyard !

We got back to the boat and got our dinner ready, when the phone rang - it was Paul's sister, Kerry - who had come up to surprise us (from Milton Keynes) but couldn't find us where our GPS / Navygator / Waterscape record said we were (because we hadn't plugged it in when we had moved down a lock - oops ... the one time ... !)  Anyway, Paul gave her directions and they came and found us ... they had driven up on their motorbike!  We did offer them to stay the night, but they decided they had better get back, so we went to the pub again and had a drink and a chat and then they headed off back down the M6 - yikes!

Anyway, here are some pics of our visitors ... I said they have a lovely 'orb' over them but Paul said I had a smudge on the lens ... hmmmm ... I like the orb better !

Tomorrow, Paul's nephew Liam will come and join us for a little holiday - so we will get to see his Sister, Lynne, and Brother-in-Law, Mick, tomorrow too when they also drive up from Milton Keynes to drop him off !

I am soooo excited to be having a lock-buddy for a week or two !


  1. They're Rosie and Jim -- Google them and you'll get all the details!

    You've also done the 'Bunbury Shuffle'.

  2. The dolls you keep seeing are Rosie and Jim. They are characters from a children's TV show that ran during the 90's. The plot was that they - two rag dolls were kept on a narrowboat, 'nb ragdoll' together with their friend 'duck'. When the owner moored up and left the boat duck gave the signal and Rosie and Jim sprang to life for another episode! Google Rosie and Jim and read about it.

  3. The dolls are called: Rosie and Jim. They used to be on children's television with there own narrowboat called "Ragdoll" (I used to watch it back in the 90's when it was running.) here is a link for more info:

  4. Well Paul & Elaine you had to ask... it's Rosie & Jim of couse... LOL

  5. The dolls are Rosie and Jim. They are characters from a kids' tv series from about twenty years ago. The usual fantasy stuff - they are on the boat and get up to adventures when the people are not about - they also have a duck friend as well. Unfortunately people now think they represent csnal craft throughout the UK. You will get twenty year olds singing the theme tune ..Rosie and Jim..Rosie and Jim or worse still asking Where are Rosie and Jim? Answer is On their holidays in Ibiza..that shuts them up...

  6. Thanks for all the info re the dolls.......