Saturday, 31 March 2007

Gas Street

Day two of the Make Mr David a Beautiful Boat Again Programme. David painted down to the water line on one side with black gunky stuff and the gunnels with other black gunky stuff.

All the wood that we collected on the way back from Marple has been sawn and chopped into neat kindling or logs and is ready for next winter.

And I washed all the towels that David uses for his man-jobs. They have to be washed on their own as they are usually covered in oil or black gunky stuff.

I am going to have to take all the curtains down and wash them too - but I'll put them off as long as possible as I hate having to sew all the buttons back on when they go back up.

I also managed to get in another day of shopping in.

Someone on the towpath once said to David that "It was a good life - you don't do nothing." Well I don't if I can help it. Oh! you noticed!!

Two pictures of cards today. Both Halloween cards. I love making them, but I don't know anyone who sends them and I certainly never have.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Gas Street

David washed the boat (no excuses about it being painted soon so no need).

My job was to go down town and check that all the shops were in the right place - which they were, of course.

Unfortunately for you, while we are on our moorings there is not much for me to write about.

Joe and the gang, from Second City Cruises had put up the curtains that I had made for their new trip boat and they looked good, even if I say so myself.

There are lots more gongoozlers around as the weather is getting warmer, but that also means the towpath is noisier at "chucking-out" time and more idiots think they can jump over the lock.

I have decided I want to make some more cards but in order to do that I have to make room for them - so I am going to hold a BOGOF sale on the towpath.

This card is made with a silk pansy, gold waste ribbon and gold handmade paper on a blue card.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Gas Street

Tixal Wide - Early March 2007

Well, back at the moorings - a bit earlier than expected and good to be "home" too. David spent most of the trip down in the weed-hatch, fishing lines, sticks, red sari, gold tinsel, etc, etc.

A 70th birthday card for my very best friend Janet. She designed our boat and has three dogs: two Dutch Barge Dogs, Bix and Bird and a Newfoundland puppy, Ella.
I used colour photographs and black rub-ons for footprints and bones. I then printed a Happy Birthday strip on acetate and fixed it on the back of the card and on the inside of the front.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007



So, how do you get past this lock?

strange day, we left at 0745 and got to the Wolvehampton Locks at 0945 but it felt like 0600. The weather was misty but warm and the locks were all for us (yipee!). We met one boat coming down and had an egg sandwich each from the mobile caff between locks 10 and 11. BW were carrying out a Towpath Clean-up (3 BW men and 1 volunteer). Got to the top two hours later in sunshine and moored by the wall again.

This birthday card was for a friend from the moorings in Gas Street. The balloons were decoupaged and fixed with sticky fixers to make them stand out. I wrapped wire (which I had removed from some wired ribbon) around the ends to make the strings. Then I printed a strip of balloons to go along the top and bottom of the card

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Long Moll's Bridge (No 76)

Leaving Tixal early in the morning was lovely, the Great Crested Greebe was fishing, the swan was nesting, a cock and two hen pheasants were pinching food from under a bird feeder at Tixal Lock and the bushes were beginning to sprout. And what with the lambs and the foal, spring must be on the way.

We stopped by Midland Chandlers for some filters and stuff, as usual they didn't have it.

Then we moored out in the countryside again, but even so the M6 was not far away and you could hear the rumble of traffic.

The photograph of the nesting moorhen was taken beside the Bishop of York's Palace on the River Ouse. This bird is nearly as batty as the one who keeps nesting by the Gaol at Reading.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Tixal Wide

Back on the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal. David was up and off at 0645 (it's a good job the clocks went forward!). It was misty and chilly.

We got to Great Heywood Junction at 0945 and I popped into the farm shop for more goodies (jams, cakes, fresh bread etc).

It is nice to be away from the locks on the T&M in these parts. Although there is a bridge across the bottom lock they are usually in the middle of the beam when the gates are open. This means a crawl underneath or a leap over the top. If you are short and fat like me it's not easy and also when they are wet you tend to end up with a wet bum! Note to BW: Can you, please, please, please provide all locks with a bridge over the bottom gates for easy use of locks and a walkway over the top gates; and not just where there is a public footpath. Thank You.

I won't get so much exercise but it might make life easier.

Tixal is its usual beautiful self. Notice that there are several boats still here that were when we came past 3 weeks ago. I am sure they must moved after 14 days and come back!!

This is a birthday card that I made for David this year. The "lovely" is decoupaged which does not show up too well on the photo. Lots of shiny red and silver and silver peel-off borders. Suffice to say - he liked it.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Weston by Stone

A late-ish start for us. The Meadford Top Lock had the bottom gates open and the gate paddle on the top lock jammed half up so that the 2 1/2 mile pound from Trentham Lock was low. There was a hire boat in the next lock and he said that all the bottom gates had been left open!! Lucky for him. We met three more boats coming down the locks to Stone and then 4 more at Star Lock - where have they all come from all of a sudden?

There were no moorings in Stone so I did a quick trip into town while David did the lock and then we pressed on.

Another 4 boats going through Aston Lock so we stopped at the next piece of piling and were moored up by 1145.

The weather is still very windy and cold but as you can see from the picture, there was a fantastic sunset. Hope that means a nice day tomorrow.

We could not get to David's nephew's wedding last December so I made this card to send. I used the punched out hearts from the border down the side and rub-on lettering. Unfortunately the pretty white and blue paper behind the star does not show up very well in the photograph.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Wedgewood, Burselem

Mr David at the top of Bosley Locks in the frost

An early start and down through the locks before most people were up. The Stoke on Trent locks must be some of the most minging locks in the country. Even the Rochdale Nine (which are actually in Manchester) are not quite so bad. The paddles are heavy, the locks leak, the bridges are mucky with bird s*** and everything else.

When we arrived at Trentham lock both the bottom gates were wide open and one of the paddles was up. A lazy boater out there somewhere.
We moored by the Wedgewood factory and walked over around lunchtime to have a look at the museum etc. We got inside the building, followed all the signs but came to a locked door. David peeked through the gap and he could see people inside, shopping! We knocked on the door, several times, but no-one came. That's the second time we've tried to get in with no luck. Won't bother again.

I love this card. The look on the goalies face shows pure terror!

Friday, 23 March 2007

Westport Lake

Fun at Harecastle Tunnel again. I had phoned the BW office on Tuesday, hoping to get through on Thursday. The initial reaction was "Yes!, but I'll put you through to someone who knows."

Second Girl: "The tunnel is only open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and you need to book 48 hours in advance."

Me: "But we are on a boat, we don't know where we will be in 48 hours time."

So we booked for 1130 on Friday Morning.

We got to the tunnel mouth at 0915 and I went off to Tesco for more supplies. By 1030 two other boats had joined us and there was activity in the tunnel office.

Ivor Batchelor (Tunnel Keeper) came over to explain that although we were told we would go through at 1130 it would me more like 1230 as the other side would be coming through first as they had all their boats and we were still waiting for another three boats. British Waterways at its best, run by people in an office who have no idea what a boat looks like let along run a canal system.

We eventually got into the tunnel at 1215 and two of the boats never even turned up. At the other end the weather had changed completely and instead of warm sunshine with was grey, cloudy and cold.

We are moored again at Westport Lake and the picture is of the boat coming out of the tunnel after us, but I can't get it to upload at the moment. The Vodafone signal is a bit flaky. Sorry I'll try again later.

This is a "congratulations" card for a new baby, the scan isn't too good but it is a coloured photograph of a cygnet and a soft, downy swan's feather.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Scholars Green

A late-ish start as it was raining, and then we only travelled down to Heritage for diesel and coal, plus the elusive Canals and Rivers magazine.
I managed a walk into the village where I found a Co-op/post office and a barbers shop. The towpath was really muddy and almost impossible to walk along in places.

This is a card that was made for a Birmingham City Fan ("No!" you say).
I haven't made any cards since we left Birmingham. Just need some inspiration, some room to store them and then someone to buy them.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Biddulph Aqueduct

Back to the glorious view, though we are sharing it tonight with three other boats.

We must have had a fairly heavy frost last night as the canal was frozen over when we woke up. But the sun soon began to melt it, but not before an Alvechurch hire-boat had broken up all the ice. Talking to them at the top of the locks David discovered that they had an electrical problem and had had no heating overnight - icicles on the inside!! We left them waiting for an engineer.

We left the mooring at 0945 and proceeded down the locks. Apart from having to walk all around the locks twice as there are no walkways on the top locks, and having to close the locks after David as there are not many places to close the locks from the boat, and all the locks were empty we were at the bottom by noon.

After we moored up here I walked to Congleton railway station and caught a bus into the town. I have still been unsuccesful in buying a Canals and Rivers magazine which should have published David's review of the narrowboat Golden Cross, a hotel boat with a difference run by John and Kathryn Hackett. They are both comitted Christians and run holidays for people who cannot afford to pay for a holiday.

I sent this card as a thankyou to friends who had us to stay for Christmas. I had persuaded them to watch the ballet - I don't think the men were too impressed.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Bosley Top Lock

David set off at 0600 this morning while I stayed in bed until a more civilized hour. The wind was bitterly cold but the sun was warm if you could get out of the wind. He was quite relieved to moor up and thaw out. Three Alvechurch boats came up the locks, hope they weren't planning to do the Cheshire Ring, there is still a blockage at Marple.

I have booked the Harecastle Tunnel for Friday - so there shouldn't be any trouble there.

I am having trouble with uploading my posts. They look really good in the preview, but when they get uploaded they don't look the same. What am I doing wrong?

A "shaker" card for a new baby, the tiny nappy pins are loose in a flat box with an acetate front. This box is then fixed to the card with an aperture. When you shake the card the nappy pins move around.

Monday, 19 March 2007

High Lane

We awoke to a white world this morning.

Then most of our plans changed. We arrived at High Lane to get the windows taken out so that the steel could be de-rusted and repainted before being replaced for the repainting of the boat. This became impossible, so we had to cancel the boat painting itself and the dry-dock and everything else. So we will wind tomorrow and head back for Birmingham.

The holiday we'd booked in Scotland while the boat was out of the water has also had to be changed - but we managed to change the pick-up point from Manchester to Birmingham.
The really good news, though, was that the police telephoned regarding the broken window - we can claim the costs through the Courts, so maybe he won't just get off with a caution.

This is a card that I made for our friend Julia who was about to have an operation on her shoulder.

No opting for the steering now when there are locks to be done!!!

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Clarke Lane Bridge

We stopped off at Macclesfield on the way here to do some shopping and managed to find 4 books in the charity shops. More importantly, we had to find a pub showing the Manchester United v Bolton match for David. Fortunately the Puss in Boots pub by the bridge 37 where we moored was showing it. The match proved a good result for all you MU supporters.

This card was made for a horse loving 9 year old. The horse is covered in silver glitter and is mounted over a pink marribou feather. It also has ribbons and flowers tied to the spine.

Hag Footbridge, Higher Poynton

The weather was supposed to have been good today with snow tomorrow!! What did we get? Lots of hail showers with sunshine and blue skies in the middle. Consequently we have not travelled very far as we "don't "do" wet or cold".

At around lunchtime we were disturbed by the North Cheshire Cruising Club racing to a point further along the canal and then racing back to their moorings. We can't criticise them too much as we need to use their moorings tomorrow when the windows come out. Suffice to say that one or two of them did slow down and most waived as they went past!!!

A thirtieth Birthday Card with a model motorcycle fixed on the front. This card was presented in a decorated box.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Bosley Top Lock

Still here.... We do not need to be in High Lane until Monday as we have arranged to get our windows removed and de-rusted prior to the re-paint. We also have to have the window replaced that was cracked in Gas Street Basin by a drunk (we were on our moorings, with both gates locked and heard a bang. He jumped over the lock (nothing unusual there) and was probably looking for a way back to Gas Street. He had 20 odd boats to choose from - many with more windows and no occupants but he chose us. David went out and found him and helped him through the gates, even offering him some money to get a taxi home. When he got back to the boat he saw the cracked window. He phoned the police who were very helpful and they actually caught him via the CCTV. And guess what? He got a caution!!! We get a 400.00 bill. Still the glass only cracked as it is laminated and he didn't get in - that's the second time it's happened to us - the last time was in Chester where the perpetrator left his bike behind so we nearly made a profit that time.

A stamped, embossed and hand coloured dragonfly mounted onto handmade paper on a lilac coloured card

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Bosley Top Lock

Another early start at 0630 and up through the locks arriving at the top at 0915. This is the first time we have done the locks on our own. One Easter Monday we met a boat in every lock.

We had a very expensive BW DIY pumpout at 12.40! It was cheaper to get someone to do it for us at Caggies!! That is our thanks from BW for demonstrating against the cuts - they double all the services!!

The picture is of a moonlit sky - I think it was at Coven Heath.

And a card for the dog lovers among you

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Biddulph Aqueduct

The fun began when we got to Harecastle Tunnel. John on Roach had mentioned before that he was booked to go through but I didn't take too much notice as we've been through the tunnel at least twice a year since we began boating in 1999, and most often in March; we have never had to book before.

So we got to the tunnel and there were three boats already there. David spoke to the BW operative and was told that we needed to book, there were notices everywhere, and that we were very lucky there were other boats there, and that you have always had to book in Winter....

Harecastle has always been my least favourite tunnel, mainly because the first time we did it no-one had told us that they shut the doors on you and then they set off this awful howl of the turbines and all the fumes go flying in front of you; really eerie. Anyway we went in the tunnel, following Roach at 0830 and were out the other side by 0900 I also got the ironing done!

It was lovely to be back on the Macclesfield Canal again, we haven't been up here for three years. It must be one of the prettiest canals and all those beautiful stone bridges... We were amazed to see so many unlicensed boats though; is there no Patrol Officer along here?

We moored at Biddulph Aqueduct, just past Congleton (but within walking distance of the shops by The Queen's Head). This must be one of the most breathtaking moorings in the country (see photo). It is a pleasure to do the washing up with a view like that outside.
A blokie card, what can I say?

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Westport Lake

We left Stone at 0630. There was a very heavy frost and the locks were treacherous, when we got to Trentham Lock David tried to knock me into the cut by nudging the lock gate open while I was still trying to get to the other side. I landed in a nettle patch!!

There was an awful lot of rubbish in the water before the Etruria locks and the gearing was just as awful as usual the top two locks being really difficult to wind the paddles. Why is it that when you get close to a BW yard the standards drop?

The steelworks on the big bend have been flattened completely - lots of "regeneration" in the pipeline. Oh! Goodie.

Mooring at Westport Lake we noticed that there was a lot of work going on there too; they have moved the car park. The old one used to be listed as a Doggers' Spot! Hey Ho!

A card for the owners of a new boat (makes a change from a new house card anyway)

Monday, 12 March 2007


Another gentle cruise into Stone, arriving at 0930. There was just room to moor between the locks and in front of the Restaurant Trip Boat. Breakfasted in town and did some shopping.

Noticed a new canalside building site - McCarthy and Stone are building apartments for the over 50's (maybe I'll get to end my days beside the cut after all?). They have put in some nice new piling but I don't suppose we'll be able to moor there.

Just before it got dark the coal boat nb Roach arrived, after John had moored we joined him and some friends in The Star. I can't remember the last time I was in a pub.

The DEFRA Cuts Protest Meeting in Birmingham last November

The card I have just made to send to Caroline in Australia. She will be 28 on the 22nd March (where does the time go?). I cannot take any credit for this card - it came from Lakeland Limited - I just stuck the cat on the back sheet and the sentiment on the front. The difficult bit was threading the beads onto the elastic thread as the holes were a bit small.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Sandon Lock

We left Tixal with a glorious sunrise at 0630 (see picture) and headed north on the Trent and Mersey Canal. David was still suffering with his cold so we didn't go too far and moored up just before Sandon Lock at 0930.

This baby card was made by knitting the shape and then putting the stitches onto halved cocktail sticks (it's easier doing it that way than trying to knit with the cocktail sticks!!). A bead is then stuck on the blunt ends of the sticks.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Tixal Wide

It was so lovely here that we decided to stay for another day. The weather was sunny, there was a pair of swans building their nest opposite, a couple of Great Crested Greebes were frolicking, a buzzard was circling overhead and the lambs were gamboling. Heaven.

The card was made for a fellow moorer in Gas Street Basin, I removed the age numbers before she received it so as not to upset her.

Tixal Wide

Friday, 9 March 2007

Tixal Wide

Tixal Wide at Sunset

Left at 0745 for a four hour cruise to Tixal. We stopped at the offices of River Canal Rescue to pay our dues, but no-one answered the door. Trever had promised us a cup of coffee if we called in!

Tixal was fairly empty and we managed to slot in between a boat and a fisherman (the excuse was that we needed the clear sight for the satellite dish).

I walked into the village and then to the farm shop at the junction for provisions and a stock up of goodies.

A lovely day, though the wind was chilly.

And a card for a boy

Thursday, 8 March 2007


A gentle cruise along the Staffs and Worcs up to Penkridge mooring just outside, past the school and before Longford Lock (no not on the lock landing!). There is a big market in Penkridge on Wednesdays and Saturdays but we managed to get there on Thursday. Anyway there is a good craft shop in town so I managed to spend some money in there. I also noticed a new, large wool shop in town and yet another hairdressers opening up. It doesn't seem to matter where you go by canal, you can always get your hair done.

Yet another Mother's Day Card and another wildlife picture from David. Hope you like them