Friday, 30 September 2016

Where do I start?

From where I left off I guess over a week ago!  The lack of news has been due to being busy and bad or more often than not, no internet connection.

Friday 23 September 2016
Chester to Ellesmere Port
8.5 miles, 2 locks

The journey from Chester to the Chester Zoo moorings is pleasant, but after that I found it thoroughly depressing.  One does expect industrial areas around canals, but many of them have some aspect of interest, but I found nothing to commend this stretch of waterway.  There was a lot of floating weed and the rubbish along the towpath just got worse and worse.  There is a long fenced off part to the side of the towpath that has been cut several times and the remains of fires along with piles of bottles and cans was just appalling.  A real skid row alley I am afraid. The highlight (and not that exciting) was this one splash of autumn colour.

This typifies the rest of the trip to the Boat Musuem at Ellesmere Port

But make it we did

So we have 66.5 miles to go to get off the Shropshire Union heading for home.

We went down the two locks into the Boat Museum basin and moored up at the end of the wall

Sadly there was no traffic on the Manchester Ship Canal or the Mersey

We explored the Boat Museum and were particularly taken by this old working boat

It is only when you go inside the living space that you realise just how little room there was for one person, never mind a whole family!  Chris is demonstrating that a Cross Bed is far from a new invention.  It is just a whole lot smaller than what we are blessed with today.

The cupboard front becomes the dining table

There are a lot of very old boats waiting to be restored - many years of work in progress I am afraid.

The row of cottages built in 1833 have been homes over the years to shipwrights, railway workers, blacksmiths and porters and their families.  They now recreate homes from the 1830s, 1900s, 1930s and the 1950s, so many things to recognise from our childhoods in the last one.


We were glad we went, but it is not somewhere we would want to go back to, at least, not by boat.  The mooring is safe enough, it is just the getting there and back we would not want to do again.

Saturday 24th September 2016
Ellesmere Port to Chester Zoo Moorings
4.5 miles, 2 locks

It was a journey that had to be done is about all I can say about it.  The weather was good which helped ease our passage.

We spotted quite a few of these 'Beluga' aircraft overhead in our time in this area.  They really are a very odd shape.

We went up the two locks out of the museum before getting our heads down and going for the return trip.

This boat

has appropriate decor above his 'garden gate'!

Sunday 25th November 2016
Chester Zoo

What a wonderful day we had.  Our son, his wife and three children drove over from Derby, picked me up and we headed for the zoo.  Chris was left on the boat to walk the dogs and read the Sunday Times!  I am afraid his arthritic knee is probably not up to a day of walking round a zoo.  The weather was perfect - dry, mostly sunny and fairly warm.  We had about 2 minutes of spotty rain - not bad for the end of September.

Seeing our 13 year old granddaughter, Molly, walking arm in arm with her Mum I realised she is nearly as tall as Jo!  It was only yesterday that she was a bundle in our arms.

 I am glad to say that she is more than happy joining in family fun - long may that continue.

Noah, 9, and Evelyn, 8 in December, were able to both get into the model of an orang utang nest for Mum and baby

but Molly - well she is just too long!

So to the zoo.  It is by far and away the best zoo I have ever visited.  The enclosures are very large and well thought out.  The animals have enough space to be invisible if they want to be (we only saw the tummy of one tiger and the rump of the another!)

They try to re-create the animals natural habitat.

These chimps look really under stress don't they?!

Who can resist an 'ah' for a baby elephant

And just a few more of my favourites



My personal favourites are the orang utangs - the larger of the two babies seemed to be teaching the younger one how to climb
 Whilst the adults just 'hung about'

The inside areas are no less well thought out - large, airy with many twisting pathways around the myriad of plants

As you wander through a world of many different coloured butterflies

 and birds

 The above is only a very small selection of what there is to see.  It is a place we will go back to and get the rest of the family along to join the fun.  The one creatures we had to see were the sloths. We found two who were both being entirely slothful curled up, fast asleep high above our heads.  So why was seeing them so important - young Evelyn is fascinated by them and I think it would have ruined her day if she had not found them.  I asked her what is was about sloths that fascinates her.  The answer 'well Grandma, I think I was born to love sloths'!

They took me back to the boat where we all had supper together before they headed home.  I am afraid the postscript to the day was not a good one for Noah who was having a tug of war with Molly when she let go, he fell backwards and has unfortunately broken his coccyx.  No horse riding for a while I am afraid.

Monday 26th September 2016
Chester Zoo Moorings to Chester 
4 miles, 0 locks

Just a short trip this morning, but it was a full waterproof day including gaiters.  The dogs and I walked the first 2 miles as they were going to be left whilst we went to Telford's Warehouse for lunch to meet up with Kiera's owners, Jane and Chris, back from their holiday in Majorca.  The food was excellent and it was good to catch up with their holiday news.  Kiera was, needless to say, delighted to see them back and happily trotted off home whilst they staggered off with her 'luggage' - bed, food boxes, towels etc.  Monty was very subdued for a couple of days as he really misses the company.

The weather cheered up and we set off to walk the rest of the wall we missed last week.  First we headed to Northgate to find the Cheese Shop again to stock up prior to hosting dinner when we meet up with Sue and Ken on nb Cleddau on Tuesday.

With our purchases safely in the bag we headed off from Northgate - clockwise this time

I thought 23 City Walls was a good address, but this beats it hands down

As we went past the Cathedral garden there was a Gyr falcon being exercised.  After an impressive flying display he/she landed on the lure

to claim his/her reward

We walked across Eastgate with this impressive clock


Passage across the bridge was quite a struggle as this party of tourists were all up there taking photos of each other and the clock.  We waited and waited and then had to weave!

And so ended our visit to Chester - a place we both loved and will come back again.

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