Monday, 23 December 2013

Home for Christmas


We are now back on Chyandour after spending ten brilliant days with the crew of NB. Swamp Frogs,Rob and Suzie Conroy,in Paphos on the island of Cyprus.We had a few interesting experiences while we were there and also on our journeys too and fro.I mentioned,in my last blog,the situation we found ourselves in when we were heading out to Cyprus,well,or journey back was equally eventful.Everything on the return flight went smoothly until our approach to Birmingham at the height of the storm last Wednesday night.It was just after 20.00 hrs.and as we came into land the plane was being buffeted and we could hear the wind as it hit the fuselage,it was a bit unnerving.The pilot pulled the plane up just a few seconds before we would have landed and with engines at full power we climbed away back into the clouds.After taking the plane around the pilot brought us on to another approach but this time we didn’t get as near to the runway before he pulled up again.The pilot explained after this attempt that,on the the first approach the wind had been too strong and on the second,there had been another aircraft on the runway and the Control Tower had turned him away.Of course as you can imagine,by this time things were getting a bit stressful and a lot of people were holding on tightly as we made the third attempt.The ground did look uncomfortably close as we came in but we landed safely and there was a round of applause for the pilot and crew who were very good throughout.The next day we discovered that the plane on the runway on our second attempt had had to make an emergency landing

Our journey from the airport also had it’s moments,again because of the storm,the trains into and out of Brum’ were all over the place. We finally got back to Chyandour at Alvechurch Marina about midnight and then had to set about lighting the fire,turning on the gas and water,and firing up the central heating for a bit to take the chill off the cabin.Next morning we said our farewells to Kate in the Marina office and headed to our next rendezvous in Birmingham.Our plan is to spend the next few weeks in the company of Andy and Dianne,off NB.Fanakapan,cruising some of the BCN,weather permitting of course.All the food and drink we are likely to need,and a lot more besides,has been loaded onto the boats and tomorrow we will be heading to places that Lisa and I haven’t been.Originally our plan was to head off today but the weather forecast is a bit grim so tomorrow will do,we aren’t going far until after Boxing day anyway,we’re just going to find a secluded mooring somewhere.

This weekend we’ve had the pleasure of visiting Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market again,this time with Janice,formerly of NB.Jandai,who came out to see us for  a few hours on Saturday.It was nice to see her looking so well and it was great to meet up again,Jan and Lisa barely had time to breath as they caught up on the gossip.On Sunday our lovely little Granddaughter Beatrice brought her mum out to see us,we haven’t seen her for three weeks and though she isn’t walking or talking yet she has changed quite a bit.I’ve also had the chance to look over some of the old Ordnance Survey maps of the Birmingham area in the new library.It’s great to seek out the old canal arms and basins that are now hidden or filled in.As you cruise the BCN there are loads of bricked up bridge holes that used to lead somewhere,perhaps to a wharf,to a foundry or to an engineering works,all of which no longer exist.Bridges still cross the canal, once connecting parts of businesses that have long gone,now no longer serving the purpose that they were built for,nor any other purpose at the moment.There’s Chance’s Bridge and Hartley Bridge just before Steward Aqueduct,they served Chance’s Glassworks which was one of the pioneers in glassmaking but closed in the 1980s after over a 150 years.

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Lisa and I in the Avakas Gorge and a boulder firmly (thankfully) wedged in between the sides of the gorge.As you can see we’re wrapped up well,the weather turned rather cold a few days after our arrival in Cyprus and they had snow for the first time for 20 years,though not where we were.

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Rob,Suzie and Lisa strolling along the waterfront in Paphos,the weather was starting to get warmer at this stage.Part of the Paphos Archaeological park which is close to the harbour.It became a World Heritage site in 1880 and there are loads of things to see there.

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Rob and Suzie taking in the culture and the Paphos Odeon which was built in the 2nd.Century AD.

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A couple of the many mosaics at the Paphos Archaeological site.Some were under cover,others outside in the open.

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A couple of boats moored in the harbour at Paphos.

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A couple of pic’s of the sunset from Paphos Harbour.I’m starting to get the hang of the new camera now.

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Aphrodite’s bath,she wasn’t in it but she’d left the water and it was still warm.The view over Polis on the North Western coast of Cyprus from Akamas where we walked from Aphrodite’s bath.

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The four of us at the monastery of Ayios Neophytos,9 km north of Paphos. Founded at the end of the 12th Century by Cypriot hermit Neofytos.It got warm enough for us to get into the sea on the last couple of days of our holiday,quite a change from the previous week.Here Suzie is pointing to an Octopus which turned rather aggressive just after the pic’ was taken and attacked her,she rushed out of the water and so it turned it’s attention on Rob before he managed to get out too.

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See,we did get a swim in the end,in spite of the earlier cold weather and the man (or woman) eating octopus.Oranges growing at the side of the road,there were loads of these as well as Banana plants all around Paphos.

Well,that’s all for this week I’m afraid.Since our last blog we have again done no locks and only 11 miles,giving us a Grand Total of 535 Locks and 962 Miles since October 2012.Take care everyone and have a very Merry Christmas.

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