Eyes, Walls And Puddings 3rd 4th February


The Old Library

It’s that time of year again when we get our eyes tested. During the week Mick had booked us both appointments at Boots. Our thought was that should either of us need new glasses then we’d be able to pick them up in a couple of weeks on our way back from Ellesmere Port and we’d be able to keep ourselves amused in the meantime.

Going to the same brand of opticians (but in different towns) each year, we thought would give us some sort of continuity. But that will only happen later this year when all their customers records will be accessible from any branch. So when my optician pointed out the little wiggly veins in my eyes he only had my word for it that they are always there and my blood pressure is okay. And I am also assuming that the wiggles haven’t got any worse over the two years since my last test and since the last time my blood pressure was checked.

My prescription had changed, especially for reading (which I was aware of). So new glasses. Before we moved on board I tried out varifocals, but these just made me constantly feel like I was about to get a migraine, so they went back and I’ve been living with two pairs of glasses since. Now that I spend my evenings knitting in front of the TV, I end up choosing one pair and either peering over the top at the TV or under at what I’m making, not ideal. So I’ve decided to go for a pair of bifocals and a new pair of distance glasses for outdoor use.

The lady who looked after me did her best to get me to part with large amounts of money on new designer frames, walking straight to those that don’t have a price tag on them! I hate this process and would so much prefer to be left alone to make my selection having had a little bit of guidance as to what frames would be best for my prescription. If I could reuse my old frames I would. It took a while for her to get the message that I wanted simple, none twiddly glasses, most definitely not pink! The first pair that I let her price up for me came up at over £450 with everything added, most of which I don’t feel are necessary for my life style. I think my reaction, which wasn’t of surprise, got the message across and she started to look at the priced range. Mick did better than me and successfully managed to put off the need for new glasses for another year.

Looking down to the basin

The sun met us on Sunday morning and after breakfast we decided to make the most of the day and go for a walk around the city walls.

Each day they open up the doors for me, but still no change! It is hardly even worth stepping off the boat here, other than to gain access through the side. Watching from inside the pram cover is different, but all really rather pointless. I’m beginning to realise why the Cheshire Cat grins, he’s grinning and bearing it!

Ring road punched through the Roman wallsRecently replaced ballustradingWe joined the circular walk just by where the new Inner Ring Road punched a hole through the walls in 1966. The footbridge over the road is certainly of it’s period and slightly strange adjoined to Roman Walls of pink sandstone at either end. Views over the basin gave us a glimpse back to Oleanna opposite the new student accommodation. These new buildings from this angle looked quite warehouse like but with a modern feel to them.

The Racecourse

Walking anticlockwise we soon came to the racecourse. In Roman times this was the port of Chester, busy and thriving, second only to Bristol on the west coast. By the Middle Ages the river had gradually silted up and the area became known as the Roodee. The first horse race was held on 9th February 1539. Henry Gee was mayor of Chester at the time and because of his surname horseraces became known as ‘Gee-gees’.

Chester Castle

Next came the Castle, it’s red sandstone standing out against it’s grassy bank. The first timber castle was built here in 1070 by William the Conqueror. In the 12 and 13th Centuries a stone castle took it’s place and was extended by successive Earls of Chester.

River DeeOld Dee BridgeThe views over the river come next, the walls dipping down to the bank, never really reaching the heights that the Bar Walls get to around York. Here there is a weir holding back the tidal waters below, although the tide was in, so the weir was submerged. At one time there was a gate added to the weir to allow boats access to the non- tidal river above. This sits just alongside the Old Dee Bridge and a precarious cat ladder leads down to it. The gate is now out of use, but there is talk of building a lock to replace it along with work on the Dee Branch of the Shroppie to enable boats access to the river.

Different archtectural styles side by sideA lion's viewApproaching Newgate the architectural styles of the city sit close to one another. The NCP Pepper Street car park a testament to the times it was built. Sitting on the very top of the stairwell was what looked like a stone lion. We shall have to return for a photo from below as it turns out that the car park was built on the site of the Lion Brewery. When demolished the Lion that had sat high on the building was removed, looked after and later positioned up on the top of the stairwell surveying all around it.

Eastgate clock towerEastgateEastgate Clock Tower is just as pretty close to as it is from below. The views along Eastgate with all it’s tall half timbered buildings is wonderful, although we seemed to be the only people stopping to have a look.

Bell towerAs the city wall popped out into the open again at the back of the Cathedral we were greeted by the overwhelming noise from the bells being rung. In 1975 a new bell tower was built to rehouse the bells from the cathedral. The building, another of it’s time, was the first free standing bell tower to be built by an English cathedral since the 15th Century and it is now Grade 2 listed.

From here we dropped down into the city for a bit of shopping. I headed to Abakhan for some wool for my next project before finishing off the walk around the walls and heading back to the boat.

Gluten free Yorkshires

We’d been made aware that today was Yorkshire Pudding Day. Oleanna was built with a double oven with Yorkshire Puddings in mind. So along with our roast chicken (no need to only have them with beef!) I had a go at gluten free puds. They came out much better than I’d expected, but definitely need eating straight away as they get a little bit tough as they cool. My Mum however wouldn’t have approved. Her Yorkshires were the very best, cooked in 1lb and 2lb bread tins and served before the meat with homemade gravy. They would rise right to the very top of the tins  and curl over still having greasy bottoms (which was a test set by my Nana to see if she was a suitable girl for my Dad). Never would she have produced her Yorkshires in muffin tins let alone served with the meat! She would however have liked the rise I achieved, it’s all to do with the eggs and really really hot fat.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 eye tests, £450! 2 pairs for less than half, 15 minutes to choose wool, £5 Tesco Indian, 1 wall walk, 1 racecourse, 1 castle, 1 river, 1 pants artist, 3 giant balls, 1 roast chicken, 6 Yorkshires, 1 new project started, 1 cat sliding into depression!