Tag Archives: Clearwell

Snowed in

Friday 23 February

After our ferry crossing, we come across lots of traffic on our journey south specially around M5 south at Birmingham, we are getting used to it now though. Overnight at Winersh after dinner with Flic & Gary.

Saturday 24 February


Give me food

Cody is teething so not good at night; as a result Flic & Gary are not going out so we all have dinner at Prezzos in Woodley after a lunch near Henley.

Never make it into Henley though as too much traffic and parking would have been a nightmare.

Sunday 25 February

Breakfast in Henry Street Garden centre – could have been a bit warmer but still good. Gary & Flic off to house area hunt around Evesham whilst we go south to Andover and a visit to Jose in her new Retirement Home.


Work in progress

Her son, David, has been staying with her for a couple of weeks as she has been unwell recently and had also spent some time with daughter, Linda, in Derbyshire for a couple of weeks beforehand.

She was managing well though if a bit forgetful but did remember that Gary had been finishing off the Steam engine for David’s daughter, Emma. He is having difficulty sourcing a part unfortunately.

Gary does some painting and is, with the help of a friend, setting up a website to showcase the paintings so as I had my main camera with me, I was asked to take a few photos – they are good paintings.

Monday 26 February

A morning looking after Cody whilst Flic goes on a training walk in advance of her walk later in March to get fit and raise funds for the baby unit at Reading hospital who helped her at the time of Cody’s difficult birth.

Boy is it cold as we set off at lunchtime for our house at Clearwell in the Forest of Dean stopping en-route for some replacement crockery as we know what some of what we have there is chipped and we probably don’t have a full set.

Get held up in a traffic queue just the England side of the M48 Severn Crossing Bridge as a car has come off an overpass of the Motorway just after the river bridge and landed on the Motorway.

We were stationary for over an hour before we were let off the Motorway via an access road at the nearby Toll Plaza before we had to retrace our route back to the M5/M4 junction before we again head west on the M4, the time taking the new Bridge towards Wales.

To add to our delay the road through Tintern is closed for roadworks so we head on to Newport and then Monmouth arriving well after 5 – it is nice and warm inside.


A leaning fence

Some winter storm damage to the fence at the back of the house but it is next door’s problem so I better get on to her to fix it.

Nice to see that the side fence has held up – just as well I took some vegetation off it to lessen the strain.

Tuesday 27 February

Off to buy supplies at Cheltenham before visiting Rob and getting on with some fixing jobs around the house – maybe we will sell it.

The weather forecast is not looking good for our return ferry crossing on Thursday.

Wednesday 28 February

At long last we have been able to source a Chimney sweep as the previous one wouldn’t answer messages, maybe he has given up, and take the opportunity to replace the fire resistant bricks so that we now can have a roaring fire.


A fire to keep us warm

Whilst we should have gone out afterwards we had a lazy day especially as we have had to change our ferry back home to Sunday afternoon from Birkenhead as looking at the forecast, there will be no sailings Thursday and Friday and possibly also not on Saturday morning.

Evening meal at the Butcher’s Arms – it is just so nice to be able to go for a meal by walking there instead of having to drive.

Get talking to the owners of the cottage opposite who are cutting short their stay to return home tomorrow in view of the weather.

We have decided to leave on Saturday and stay in a hotel at Warrington – we have guests  arriving on Sunday.

Ferry cancelledThursday 1 March

Yes, our ferry originally booked is cancelled because of the state of the sea (Storm Emma) and as there is now snow forecast, we had better get to the shops for food before the snow settles even more than it is now.

Not surprisingly, the shops are beginning to empty of food.

It is now forecast to be snowing solidly for virtually 30 hours (the Beast from the East) so after we get back to the house we bed down for the day, finish some of the jobs and watch a lot of daytime TV.

Friday 2 March

A snow day is all I can say about today with only me venturing up to the garage to return items used and get out the frozen mop for Rob’s use when we have gone.

The snow is in places over two feet deep but is of course nothing compared with certain places in the South West and in Scotland.


I’m off to the garage

Will we even make it out tomorrow? The hotel only cost just over £50 including breakfast so it is not much to loose if we do fail to get out of Clearwell tomorrow but what will we do for food?

Saturday 3 March

It is warmer and there is no more snow and no wind. By chance I see our opposite neighbour Ken who lends me a snow shovel which was useful as the build up and drifting was well over 2 feet in places by our car before we agree some work he can do for us at the house.


A snowed in car

By midday, the road is quite slushy and after Ken has looked around the house for the complete redecoration we want him to do, set off on what can only be described as the quietest journey “up north”.

In places near Birmingham and Stafford northwards there is virtually no snow and our hotel is soon reached.

A golden wedding anniversary celebration is in for the night so for a meal we are pushed into a conference type room – no atmosphere, and we tell the management so. Food not bad though.

Sunday 4 March

The people going into the house at Clearwell are querying whether they can get into the house in view of the snow. I had sent them an e-mail last night to say it was accessible but to be careful as the area might be slippery. They ultimately decide to cancel but as it is their decision we won’t loose out financially.

Ferry crossing uneventful and relatively smooth with virtually no swell until we get to the outskirts of Douglas harbour and we are indoors at about 6:15, 3 days late!

20180317_141624We missed some really rough seas at home.


Back to Southampton and Storm Doris


19 February

No more port days, only two more sea days until we get off and it is back to long trousers for day wear. Yes, the musical director,

Dane is being pressed into service for the classical concert this afternoon, so it was the French pianist who missed the ship and we later understand Matthieu took a local taxi to go up Mt Teide but the taxi driver abandoned him, so Matthieu started to walk back only to be mugged and lost his bag.

Nothing on this morning but Crows Nest is crowded as it is cold and windy outside so there is nowhere for the sun worshipers to go.


Last night dinner

John & Deirdre a having difficulty finding room in their cases, have packed their “Black Tie” wear as tomorrow is a casual night only to see that the Horizon says tomorrow’s dinner and Captain ‘s cocktail invitation is a Black Tie event.😠

Evening entertainment is firstly from Jenny Williams with more singing, partly from the musicals, and the Blue Jays who I think we have seen before with their 1950s Rock and Roll songs.

The lady beside me obviously was just going there for something to do as she didn’t clap once despite it being one of the liveliest shows we have seen.

Still very rough, doubt we will get much sleep although I did manage an hour late morning.

20 February

Yes, not a lot of sleep last night but today we manage to stay awake for an interview with John Lyons the actor who can be seen on stage later in the year in Dial M for Murder and Father Brown.

He related the story that when he was 13 he was helped by Reggie Kray when he was seriously attacked in an E London Road by another gang and even taken to A & E by Reggie.

A back-down by P & O who realise that in error they advised in earlier information that tonight was a casual night but Horizon newspaper said Black Tie. Tonight’s dress code is therefore “optional”.

A “special” tea in the Peninsular restaurant for P & O’s 180th year but it didn’t seem overly special other than the extra calories it gave us!

Probably a 70% / 30% in favour of those dressing up tonight although perhaps this is slightly generous to those wishing to dress up. Entertainment tonight is the comedian, James Martin with more of the same type of comedy – not as good as two days ago and made even worse by the cackling of the two couples behind us.

21 February


Group Photo with Brenda & Mick

Our last full day and we are now crossing the Bay of Biscay en route to Southampton with Sarah, Ali and Harry being passed in way off Andorra. Another calmish crossing (Force 4) of Bay of Biscay.

An early morning talk by last night’s comedian, John Martin, who talked with a great deal of authority on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 during WWII – fascinating story with a film, Operation Anthropoid that could be worth watching.

Packing for our departure tomorrow, where is the present we have bought for Flic’s baby? It is getting cold, down to below 60F so we opt for lunch in the Peninsular Restaurant.

Talk to Brenda at some length and Captain Box passes and joins in – he says he has to be more careful with what he says to the crew of his personal boat than the P & O ships!

Some wonderful paintings on show from the art class held throughout the cruise and a good display of craft work including some cards, necklaces and sewing.

Entertainment tonight, another helping of the Blue Jays, a drink in the Crows Nest with John & Deirdre, Brenda & Mick and their friends Wendy and Colin.

22 February

Docking at about 06:00 after extra engine noise from about 5:00. Breakfast in the Oriental restaurant and good bye to John & Deirdre who are getting off earlier than us, hiring a car to drive back to Bromham – let us hope it goes well as John’s mobile phone stopped working before the 2nd US port so many weeks ago.

Our departure time is 10:10, and hopefully Flic has had a bit of rest at IKEA waiting for us whilst we spend time watching supplies arrive for the next cruise – up North to Norway to watch the Northern Lights.


Supplies of potatoes for next cruise

And now for the journey home but no sooner than we have got into Flic’s car, we are told of a problem at Clearwell with a burst oil tank so that is going to be expensive and need resolving quickly.

Now for the 2nd piece of bad news, because of Storm Doris, tomorrow’s ferry home across the Irish Sea has been cancelled.

We have an enforced extra day in the UK – our ferry is now 14:15 on 24 February – so book a hotel and go after an Ikea visit with Flic & her friend Laura go off to our hotel at Tamworth where we were able to extend our stay for an extra night.


Laura in IKEA


23 February

Storm Doris has arrived with a vengeance and our visit to a local shopping centre to stock up on a few emergency provisions resulted in us parking well away from the building – there have already been reports of roofs being lifted in the vicinity.



Find our way to Sally’s cousin, Alan who lives nearby.  No Debbie, she is at work, but a few dogs to play with before we set out for lunch.

Our drive to the lunch venue – the Littleton Arms Hotel at Penkridge – is thwarted on three routes by fallen trees but eventually we reach the pub for a lovely meal.

By now the trees aren’t bending so much in the wind, the rain isn’t quite as bad as it was expected to be and after more cuddles with Louis we retire to our hotel.

24 February

Uneventful drive to Heysham for a surprisingly calm crossing home to Douglas and mountains of post including a Jury Summons but more about that later.

Our cruise is over – and what an adventure sailing up the Amazon for 1000 miles as well as all the other ports of calls en route.