Sunday, 26 August 2012
Over the fence at the back of our house, a neighbour was chatting about the weather, the other neighbours and the time of day. The subject of engines came into the conversation and the question did I know about narrowboats. (Barges). My limited knowledge about Perkins diesel engine resulted in an invitation to take a look at it and fix a few issues in exchange for a weeks free rental on the Bridgeater Canal. First visit I located a few leaks in the fuel system and sorted that out. Second visit saw us put-putting down the canal for about 3 miles only to find the engine over heating to 180 degrees, so we returned. The 'free week' coincided with Sharon having a week off work, and a bank holiday weekend so plans `to take the dogs for a few days in the Cheshire countryside at the top speed of 4mph was on the cards. The next berth at the marina had a live-on-board chap who said he was a marine engineer, so with permission to have a look, we set up our gear for a Wednesday sailing. The barge wasn't done and the week was running out, so a change of plan. Get the dogs 'sat out' with family, get the tent out, the motorbike and go to Wales to see the Cardiganshire coast. Early rise, loaded and we set off in a threat of rain but ready for anything. 40 miles down the M56 motorway, I pulled over for petrol, and the bike won't start. Battery flat, NO turn-over..... nothing. With the help of a passing Cheshire Police breakdown truck, I got a jump start and decided to go home rather than take a chance. Car loaded (with more stuff than we had on the bike), we set off again and eventually arrived in Bala with the rain looking inevitable. 15 minutes we were set up, kettle on and it started. Rain, thunder, more rain and a blessing that we were not on the bike after-all. Good old Fish n Chips in the town, a few pints, game of pool, darts and a bit of a shop for breakfast stuff, and we were in bed for 10pm. The campsite was mad busy due to the holiday weekend and the combination of the rain, thunder and partying families a fractious night was the result. The man next door had pitched under a tree that had the effect of bullets hitting a door as the dripping rain added some volume to the rest of the mayhem. In a short respite from the rain, the morning saw us pack up very quickly and hread for the coast. The coast road (A487) is very similar to Highway 1 on the west coast of America, though perhaps not quite as long, or winding, but with the sea on the right and hills on the left, it was close enough. The sun was out and getting warmer, we found a quiet site for £15 a night which though expensive for a 9ft x 4 ft patch of grass was not as bad as the £19 at Bala. With a visit to Aberaeron the highlight of the weekend, we enjoyed that essential English Saturday night meal................ a curry, and a Beer and live band across the road on the harbour. A real gem of a town, busy and very pretty with almost every building a different colour than its neighbours. A 'real' sunset and a 11pm return to camp, the weekend was a real result. We will return to the area, and would like to go back on the bike and I can recommend the area to any traveller. Back home now and with Monday off work, time to reflect and plan another trip.