Thursday, 30 August 2007

Minworth Greaves

Two longish days to get us within striking distance of all the locks into Birmingham.

As usual we set off very early and just before the flight of locks there was the boat in front of us!!! Today we even had two set off just as we were coming up through a lock.

At Sutton Stop (picture of the new police station - though we never saw any policemen) we met the BW guy who spent August Bank Holiday winding a lock on the T&M for people going to the boat show at Burton. We were moored just below his lock and kept him watered with cups of tea all day. He wasn't there for us at 7am when we left though.

We have just come back from an awful meal at the Kingley Canalside pub and restaurant. Definitely cannot recommend that unless you like lots and lots of chips, and a thick coating of breadcrumbs around your fish.

This Christmas card was made by covering the front with paper and then threading silver string through the glittery snowflake. The string is fixed on the back with sellotape which is covered by the insert.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007


Sorry - no up to date picture. This one is of Plank Lane on the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool. For some reason I can't find the photos.
Braunston, as expected was full of boats, mile upon mile. We crept through very early in the morning. We got to Hilmorton top lock with just one boat in front, fortunately these locks are
doubled and before we could get into ours there were already 4 boats behind us waiting to go down. There were boats in all the locks coming up so it was a nice easy run.
We stopped soon afterwards and left them all too it.
Today we were up early again and on our way and the boats are beginning to thin out a bit. We moored up just after the turn off for the Ashby Canal and I walked into Bedworth to do some shopping.

No 3 of the Christmas set. This one uses the backing paper that I made and printed, torn at the top. A re-used Christmas Card tree mounted on cold card with notched corners and red string tied around it, then mounted on green and red card. Three holographic peel-off stars are lined up in the top right hand corner.

I have almost made our family Christmas Cards and have made up some sets of 5 cards of canal scenes which need to be photographed before I can post.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Bridge 103

Another glorious day. It started off all misty and then the sun came up.

We spent the night on the top on a short piece of piling. Just around the corner there was lots more, and by 4pm it was full of boats.

So it was up with the sun, but we still got piped at the locks again, and followed a boat down. We did mee two or three coming up, including Yorkshire Pudding a fellow Warble boat. Time for a quick chat and catch up. When we got to the last lock the start of the rush was under way. There were boats everywhere.

So it was on to one of our favourite spots, in the middle of nowhere on the Grant Union/Oxford Canal. David got to watch the Grande Prix on TV and then listen to United actually with their first match this season!

And the boats just kept sailing past..... There must be one continuous line of moored boats right into Braunston,

This is the picture of the butty of the pair of working boats we saw yesterday. They had been on a round trip from Braunston and were heading back there.

The second of my 30 Christmas Cards. I made the backing paper on the computer and printed it off. The bells are made from plastic and I mounted them on gold, green corrugated, red and green card. I then cut notches with a notch? punch in the corners of the green card and threaded gold string around.

I tore the top of the printed paper and stuck it to the card and then tore some red paper to go on the bottom. The corner motifs are peel-off bells.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Below Bourton Lock

We met an Ent at the bottom of Napton Locks....

We were up early again to get through the locks and lift bridges. Just managed to get past the two working boats before they set off. Pics tomorrow.

David took on water in Banbury and I did the shopping in M&S and got back just before the lock was ready.

A lovely day. Everything seems so much nicer in the sunshine. I even had to water the plants today.

Here we go - the first of the 30 cards that were ordered. They are all made with 14.5 cm square cards and they all have a personalised printed insert. AND every one is different.

This one was stamped with black ink and embossed, then hand coloured with water colour pencils. I cut it out and then matted it onto white, gold, black and purple card with a tartan bow. There is a strip of the ribbon on the back, under the matting.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Below Pigeon Lock

Back at Pigeon lock after a couple of hours out in the wind. The river bit wasn't quite so hairy coming back as we were travelling up stream.

The fender maker's shop. But he is never open when we go past (probably because we usually manage to go past before 8 o'clock). The shed used to house a herb and plant seller but she seems to have gone now.

A quick get well card for a canal nut. The scene is looking towards Gas Street Basin with the Hyatt Hotel standing tall in the background.
A photograph, matted onto white and red card. The sentiment was done on the computer and matted onto red and silver card.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Still Outside Oxford

Either my photography is getting better or I have got a brilliant camera. I think it might be the latter. Though this photo is just a little blurred, the butterfly was very obliging and stayed for ages.
We left this mooring and went down into Oxford - still lots of grungy boats and no real decent moorings (the only ones miles out of town). We managed to find a spot just before the river lock, opposite the site where BW evicted all those boats.
So into town for breakfast and shopping. Then we decided that as we couldn't get any telly and it was grotty we would come back here.
I wasn't too happy about the three lift bridges I'd already done that day, but we were soon back. I was so tired and stiff that I was in bed by 7.30pm!!!
I have just finished an order for 30 Christmas cards and begun some sets of 5 cards themed on the canals - will start uploading soon.
This card was made from a kit from Lakeland (of course), though I have only used some of the elements. Handmade paper wrapper, paper and dried flowers, tied with silver string on a hessian backing; more handmade paper, white card and pink card matting on a white card.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Outside Oxford

I just love the name of this boat. We first saw it in 2004 around the time of the IWA Boat Festival in Burton on Trent. I hope they are having a great retirement.

We have made our way to the outskirts of Oxford. Lots of boats, queues at locks and masses of moored boats.
I managed to hurt myself again yesterday trying to get to a lift bridge that should have been open. I slipped on the wet wood of the style and then the bridge was too heavy for me to pull it down so David had to get the front of the boat up to the bridge and climb off into a thistle and stinging nettle patch to help me. I took great delight in dropping the bridge and it bounced back almost to the open position again.

This card I made for a Christmas craft market in Birmingham a couple of years ago. The market was a wash-out, but that's another story. I found the angel dolls (all feathers and sparkles) in a cheepo temporary decorations shop and I just fixed them with sticky fixers onto shiny pink paper and onto a DL card. They also came with a box. The wording was "To our Little Angel" - so it didn't have to be specific for Christmas. Anyway, they went quite well. In fact when I visited the Victorian Market in Worcester last Christmas I saw a stall with someone selling something very, very similar. I think that might be flattering.

Friday, 17 August 2007


Another 0600 start but we only got through three locks before we met the first boat and from then on in we went into each lock after a boat and left the lock open for the next one coming up.

We reached Banbury by 1000 and found a spot to moor up. We had intended only to do some shopping and then travel on but decided against it which was the wrong decision. There is a noisy band playing in the Club outside and it's 1030 already!!

Caroline phoned today to wish me a happy birthday. She had tried the day before but we must have been out of signal reach. So all is forgiven and forgotten.

I had an accident at the lock in Cropreedy (not sure of the spelling but can't reach my Nicholsons to check) - the piece of metal that locks the paddle up slipped while I was trying to put it in and the windlass swung around until the paddle went down fully - unfortunately for me my hand was in the way and I now have a big lump on the back of my right hand. I'm not blaming BW, but why is it when they sell off the lock cottages they sell off all the land too and you just get about 1 ft to negotiate along the edge of the lock. In this case the hedge was overgrown and I could not get a proper position for winding the paddle up. Well that's my excuse anyway.

We were amazed at all the boats in and around Cropreedy, especially below the lock. Mostly "stayers" and "long termers" even on the 14 day spots with stuff all over the towpaths and even a couple breasted up.

Hi there tiger! Isn't he cute. He's a stamp from Australia. I stamped him onto watercolour paper and coloured him in and then mounted him on black and gold card. The paper behind is tiger print tissue paper.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Claydon Top Lock

I know it's another picture of the moorhens, but they are so cute.

An early start to go up the Napton locks before the queues began and got to the last but one lock before we met another boat, although there was a single-hander who got up two minutes to late and had to follow us up.

The bendy bits at the top were as beautiful as ever and I managed to get some washing done.

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself by dinner time as it was my birthday!!! and no one had mentioned anything yet. My daughter had not phoned and, of course, there were no cards as we are on the move. David was cooking the dinner and just before he served it up I reminded him - he'd had a bad day so that really set him up!!

So, a card to cheer me up. I printed out a clip art of this gorgeous dancing bear and stuck it onto what card, then purple, light pink and dark pink and finally onto a lightish pink card. I ran glitter glue over the frills and top of the bodice and probably should have put a bit on the bow in her hair. And as it is quite an old card of mine had put peel-off flowers in the corners of the matting.
There are several other clip-art pictures of the bear in several ballet poses. I must dig them out.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Top of Napton Locks

Another early start - 0600 and even so there was a boat behind us by the time we got into the bottom lock. All the 9 locks were for us so it was quick and easy and we managed to find a mooring just after the top lock before it began raining.

There are a couple of moorhen families here and they are very brave. One of the mothers actually took food from my hand! The chicks are so sweet and watching them take food from their mothers' beaks is fascinating. We took this, and many more photos, from the side hatch.

I made this card with a Dinky type jet plane. A photograph of the sky for the backing, matted on silver card and then onto a white card. There is room again for a greeting or name and I made a box for it to go into as it won't fit into an envelope.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007


The picture is of the dreaded Hatton Flight - fortunately now just a distance memory.
We took a couple of days to get here, sharing the locks except for the last three which we did this morning, early, before it rained again.
There are lots and lots of boats about and three huge marinas around the junction.
A lovely lunch at The Wharf pub and the rain set in again.....

A pretty card made from yellow paper roses, yellow organdie bow and mounted on silver card, blue card, gems and a dragonfly peeloff.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Radford Semele

An early start as there were lots of locks today. We shared the locks with nb Jessica - we breached up the boats so there were three of us to lock.

A quick trip into Tesco (again there were no boats moored there either) and then on to a mooring just outside Leamington Spa where we were serenaded by the church bells all afternoon.

How come BW can spend money on installations and not on repairing locks? Though I must say it is rather beautiful. This one was opposite the old BW works towards the top of the Hatton Flight.

Looking down the locks towards Warwick.

And a card for a child. Just a straightforward cutout mounted with sticky fixers onto a torn piece of mulberry and then glued to some gingham paper

Friday, 10 August 2007


A beautiful sunny, hot day. Considering how many boats there were about, we only met 3 boats coming up the locks.

A quick trip to the little village shop by the moorings in Lapworth turned out a dissapointment, it is now a carpet shop! Fortunately we saw a couple walking up the locks with plastic bags and they showed us another shop which we didn't know about, so we could get some bread and ice cream (which we saved for after the bottom lock).

We stopped at Rowington as there were lots of moorings. Normally the moorings both sides of the bridge are heaving with boats. Do they know something?

The bridge above is covered in a creeper and is totally covered.

An acceptance card for a 60th birthday. I made the backing paper again, this time from a photograph I took in someone's front garden. I made a photo box in Word and added the word "Acceptance" onto it and then printed it onto normal copy paper. Holographic peel-off strips and a prima flower with added sparkle.

I then printed out the insert with a formal acceptance

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Shirly Draw Bridge

The cracked window has been replaced and after a pumpout we set off at around five o'clock, stopping about half an hour later for the evening.

The moorings, both sides of the bridge were very busy - hope that doesn't bode ill for the Oxford Canal.

There seem to be lots of wild plums around this year - though they are very small and still quite hard. I bought two cooking apples, ready for the blackberries which are now plentiful in the hedgerows.

I made this card for the birth of baby Jack. I made the backing paper on the computer and the hedgehog is a peel-off which I mounted on silver and blue paper. Notice the influence of the American blogs I have been reading - ribbon and a bow!!!