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Down Under

by wilvir

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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Chief Seattle (1786–1866) leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

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Cruising The Sky

120' above the River Dee.

2nd Mar 2014, 19:01   comments (2)

Llangollen (Collen's Enclosure)

Llangollen, Llangollen Canal.

1. The view upstream from Llangollen Bridge
2. The River Dee thunders past 'The Corn Mill'.
3. Llangollen railway station from The Corn Mill'.
4. Horseshoe Falls.
5. Llantysilio Parish Church
6. Our quiet berth.

We left St Martin and made for Llangollen, stopping west of Whitehouse Tunnel for a night before heading across the Pontcysyllte aqueduct and joining the Llangollen Canal proper.

The run into Llangollen is a feast for the eyes as the hills rise and fall as a backdrop to the tree lined slopes of the Dee Valley.

On arrival we moored in the canal basin and over the next three days dodged the rain as best we could to make our way down to the town to shop and enjoy a meal or two, which I had no choice but to accompany with some good beer. The 13th century Corn Mill pub and restaurant was a great place to sit and watch the swollen River Dee thunder past virtually underfoot.

Our last full day saw us walk the towpath to the source of the canal at Horseshoe Falls and follow the riverside path up to Llantysilio Parish Church overlooking the River Dee. Snowdrops,in abundance, had sprung up in the churchyard amongst the tilting headstones, adding to the atmospheric charm of the place.

On our return we dropped into a pub to warm ourselves in front of a blazing logfire and partake of some liquid refreshment.

Leaving, we climbed a steep path back up to the canal above and the comfort of wilvir tucked into a sheltered corner berth of the basin out of the wave-making wind that had arisen.

The following morning we awoke to snow on the ground and clouds, heavy with more, descending into the valley, which started to release their cargo as we prepared to leave. But leave we did.
16th Feb 2014, 20:12   comments (5)

Here Comes The Rain Again

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Photo: Here it comes again.

Taking advantage of what appeared to be a break in the weather, me and Gunner ventured out over the weekend just as the sun broke through the gloom that has descended upon us these past weeks. Fooled by the feel good factor of fresh air and the sun on my face, I climbed a hill away from the canal to take in the view and as you can see from the photos I was in for a soaking. Underfoot,water seemed to defy gravity as it clung to the high ground, refusing to drain away. I was constantly having to drag my feet from the mud and water sucking at my boots . Then the rain came. The sky took on a threatening, dark mood as a wind came from nowhere, driving  a squall before it that seemed to want to hit me head on, no matter which way I faced.
After taking a few snaps of the approaching weather, we made for the shelter of a hedgerow way off in the distance. It would at least provide us with some sort of wind break and take the anger out of the rain that was now visibly falling like a curtain across the landscape, blotting out the horizon as it approached at a rapid rate of knots.
We made the lane on the other side of the hedgerow just as the rain hit, with Gunner wagging his tail and looking at me as if to say 'good decision'. I don't mind weather in any of its guises for the most part. I've always invested in good quality outdoor clothing and footwear as I spend the majority of my time 'playing out' and thankfully I  was as dry as bone, even though water was running off me.
I have to admit, this over abundance of rain leaves a lot to be desired, and has brought misery to great swathes of the countryside as water inundates every hollow. As an old countryman said to me last year, 'If they looked after land drainage like we used to, it looked after you'. His knowing smile said it all.
While Southern Australia suffers a heatwave, Canada and the USA a deep freeze, England is enjoying a bath. Ha!
We turned for home, skirting the slopes down to the canal, until, reaching a bend, the lane disappeared underwater. A stile, pointing across the sodden countryside, would take us in the general direction of the canal about half a mile away. It was slow going, with Gunner up to his belly at times the going was that soft. I've taught Gunner to lead in every situation unless I call him to my side. To see him work difficult terrain such as this and, at the same time, looking or holding back for me, is what having a friend like him is all about.
Not many weeks ago we were walking amongst dry woodland around glacial meltwater. So, deep in thought, I made my way back to the boat and wondered about living in a cabin on the shores of a mere, surrounded by pine trees, mixed woodland and a little owl for company. Another one of my dreams......

28th Jan 2014, 10:25   comments (0)

Yesterday Mirrored by Today

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23rd Jan 2014, 17:59   comments (0)

The Beauty of a Days End

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21st Jan 2014, 17:01   comments (0)

My Little Owl

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A little owl befriended me from a far off distant tree,
A little owl who, on the wing, often accompanies me.

A little owl whose very thoughts seem to mirror mine,
A little owl who hardly rests as we seek to keep in time.

A little owl who soars aloft, yet hardly makes a sound,
A little owl who stays by me, with no one else around.

A little owl, I always hope one day I will have known.
A little owl snuggled up at night, like me, free, but never flown.

A little owl, a fleeting glimpse, made seen by sun or moon,
A little owl so loved and missed, when she must fly away too soon.

My little owl.
15th Jan 2014, 17:32   comments (4)

A Country Soaked

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Welsh Frankton, Llangollen Canal.

1. Another squall blows in atop the Montgomery Canal.
2. Evening falls all to swiftly as these clouds arrive to darken the sky.

The weather has been changeable to say the least recently and hell bent on asserting the natural way of things.

The towpaths are inundated by run-off from the fields that slope down to the canal and lakes have formed or grown overnight where the water has nowhere else to go. Grazing livestock are particularly vulnerable as I often find dead sheep in the cut because farmers fail to fence field boundaries bordering canals and rivers. The wind has also found out the weak and rotten hiding amongst our trees and provided a good source of fuel for the stove. It's definitely not doom and gloom for those of us that live 'off-grid', especially for the likes of us living on a boat.

The EA's once in a hundred years flood prediction crystal ball seems to be another climate change hockey stick too. The Somerset village of Mulcheney is again currently isolated by flood-water with all roads leading to it under three feet of water. Mulcheney is saxon for 'Big Island'. They knew a bit back then!

Spring is on its way though!
8th Jan 2014, 01:13   comments (3)

It's Been Awhile

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Colemere, Llangollen Canal.

1.The sun sets on 2013
2. A special place.
3. Another sunset over the mere.
4. In reflective mood.

Christmas crept up on us this year, with hardly a murmur, yet all about was chaos. We seemed to be cocooned in an oasis of calm. Even though wind and rain did their utmost to reach us carried by storm fronts that wrought their ire across the south and west of the country. We fended them off with the help of being moored in a hollow, protected by high ground. The intensity of the wind filtered by the surrounding trees that seemed to roar with defiance at the intrusion. Yet, most evenings, I was treated to some of the best sunsets I've seen for ages; especially across the mere.

Walking the mere fading in the late afternoon, into twilight and then darkness, has been particularly cathartic for me. It has enabled me to reflect on my life both past and present, melding the two into something very special. The mere has been here since the ice age and with the sun, moon and night sky mirrored by its surface, space, time and distance take on real meaning and reflects, for me, how very precious life's loves are. I love life, this fleetingly fragile existence in the grand scheme of things. Just make sure you tell those that walk with you through every aspect of yours how much they matter too, especially at this time of year.

For special people, special thoughts, and wishing everyone a welcoming Happy New Year from me and mine to you and yours where-ever in the world you or they may be, as the sun sets on yet another year.
31st Dec 2013, 16:54   comments (1)