Sunday, 30 March 2008


We have reached Watford - home of the great British Waterways - not that we could find their offices when we tried to find them several years back!!

Though we actually saw a BW man today who was checking waterlevels. He shut a gate for David so he didn't have to get off the boat again!

The clocks went forward this morning, so we were later starting today - though Spring seems to have finally sprug. It has been a glorious day - warm and sunny. Lots of folk walking through Cassio Park and fishermen every 100 yards.

Lady Capel's Bridge - she allso has two locks - one top and one bottom!

A Winnie the Pooh card can't remember where he came from but the base card was pre-printed.

Saturday, 29 March 2008


What weather weather we are having! Yesterday we didn't move until 2pm when it eventually stopped raining. The towpaths are just continuous puddles or liquid mud. Today we left at 5.30am and got to Hemel Hempstead and are now moored opposite Sainsburys and listening to the rain again.

We finally bought a new TV. Our old one plunged to its near death when a lock swim jumped out and hit the boat while we were coming down the Lapworth locks. Because the new TV has to fit into the "hole" left by the older TV we had to check the new ones with a tape measure. Why were the majority that we liked 1/2" too tall?
The photo is of the lock just below the aptly named "Sewer Lock". The smell of detergent was almost overwhelming.

Now for a card for a 60 year old male. A photograph of the canal with a bridge and tree in the distance. I matted it onto 1 layers of blue card. I also made a strip of green patterned paper which I matted onto the darker blue card and added a black and white check ribbon and three black "gems". The sentiment is black peel-offs.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Near Ivinghoe

One very long day and then today, another short one as it has started raining.

The picture shows sunrise as seen from my bed. The clouds captured the sun seconds later and we never saw it again all day!

We are now trying to get to London for next Monday as Caroline will be attending an "induction course" there for her new job (they seem to think she is Australian as that is where she last worked).

Yesterday we had to "rescue" Natterjack from Hillmorton. It was lying across the canal with only one spike still in the ground. We managed to push it back to it's mooring and re-insert the front spike and centre one, but they were not very secure and the boat will probably float free when the next boat goes past. Why do people leave their precious, expensive boats so insecure?

This is one of the cards that I have just "titivated". A photograph of some primroses, matted onto yellow card and then onto a white hammered card.

I decided this was a bit too plain so I added a yellow ribbon and bow. What do you think? Should I have left it as it was or have I improved it?

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Near Yardley Gobion

I have been having trouble with posting my blog for the last few days. Today I was swearing and cursing as it wouldn't work again and David suggested I hit the F5 button. Clever Dick - of course it's worked!!!

We have not travelled very far in the last few days. We have had heavy, cold winds and snow and so have just done a couple of miles each day.

We got through the Buckby locks in the first tranche at 9am (don't know how as we were not the first in the queue. The picture shows what a new lock gate looks like. Notice how much it is leaking though.

We then went on through Blisworth Tunnel and through Stoke Bruern where they were holding an Historic Boat Gathering - good job we didn't want to stay there. We moored up after the first two locks and had lunch in The Boat.

Then it was just on a bit before stopping, and again for the next two days. Today David set off at 6am trying to get through Milton Keynes to see the football on Sky in a pub but after 15 mins the snow began so we stopped again. He is listening to it now on the radio. The score is going well, so he's a happy bunny.

Caroline was 29 on Saturday (where does the time go). She is in Miami but we have not heard from her. She and Curtis arrive home on the 26th - we have not seen them for 3 years now.

I have been going through all my stock of cards as Bev and Geoff on Slowhand are going to sell some in their new shop in Newbury. I have been titivating a few which looked a bit stark, I will post some soon so you can judge

This card was made from Tom's son Richard (my father was also called Tom and his son is Richard!). The background is a favourite of mine and I've used it quite a lot, it shows a grandstand and race track. I printed it out on the computer and matted it onto silver card. The name and age was also printed out and matted. The "Dinky" racing card was then fixed with sticky pads. The insert was made as a "watermark". I then made a box to put the card in.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Buckby Top Lock

I presume we are moored at the home of the Buckby Can but I can see no references to it anywhere.
This looks like a lovely peaceful spot doesn't it? The picture isn't too clear at this resolution, but on the left is the man railway line and on the right is the M1. It is far from quiet!!

We travelled up the Braunston locks with Heron and I managed to get some lovely "home baked" bread from the shop at the bottom lock. Well worth a stop. They bake them individually so there is always a fresh loaf, well worth a visit.

But we have "stuffed up" again, or BW have this time. There are two locks in front of us which have not opened yet although they should have been on the 8th March. So we are stuck here at Buckby Wharf until tomorrow afternoon. And what is worse, the farm shop is closed too - hope it's not permanent.

Another one of my "age" cards and made just the same way as the last one.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Bridge 103, Lower Shuckburgh

We started the Stockton locks at 0645 and only saw two people walking their dogs all the way. This chimney is almost at the top. There used to be cement works around here which was used in building the Thames Embankment, apparently.

After getting a pumpout at Calcott locks we headed for a favourite spot out in the open near Lower Shuckburgh.

This card was made using a silver peel-off matted onto lilac card and then onto some torn pink mulberry paper. The base card is white and you can't really see it in this picture.

Sunday, 16 March 2008


Bascote staircase lock. For those who don't know, a staircase is when two locks are joined together so instead of doing one lock and then travelling through a "pound" to the next, the bottom gate of the top lock is the top gate of the bottom lock. You can get 2,3,4 and 5 lock staircases - probably the most famous one is the Bingley 5 on the Leeds and Liverpool. This one is only two, and it shows Mr David moving into the bottom lock while I am filling the top one.

The weather turned wet and windy during the afternoon so we decided to spend two nights just past the top lock and near Long Ichington.

We saw on the news today that the lovely church at Radford Semele has burned down. We normally moor opposite it on our way out of or into Leamington Spa, but we didn't this time.

I did a series of "age" cards. I made the tabs on the computer and coloured them in with gel or metallic pens. I wrapped the ribbons around a piece of silver card and stuck the card onto the base card.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Fosse Lock 22

We are on the move again, at last. We came up to the lock around lunchtime and were told it would open at 4.30 pm. In fact it was open by 1.30 pm. We had decided that we would wait until the morning before going through so stayed below the lock, but Slowhand went on through.

A card that I actually stamped!!! I made 2 impressions and painted them with water colours and then cut out the 2 children, the mother's head and "bump" from one of them which I then decoupaged onto the base. I then matted it on yellow card and onto flowery paper. I used my picture corner stamp and fixed it all with 4 brads. I then printed the sentiment on the computer before matting that onto the yellow card.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Tescos, Warwick

This is what a canal looks like when there is no water - MUD. It is the pound above Lock 22.

Yesterday we had to get some water so we winded (turned the boat around) and went back to the bottom of the Cape locks where we just managed to wind again which saved us having to go up the two locks and then come back down again. After getting the water we stopped off at Kate Boats to get some coal and, hopefully, someone to look at our electrics as we are having a problem, but there was no one there to help (what a surprise!). So it was on to next door and Delta Marine. There they said they were very, very busy, but if we waited they would have a look. Three hours later a man came and looked, said it was a loose wire and charged us £42 for the privilege. We moored up outside Tesco and did a shop and as we could get the TV from the spot we moored at we decided to stay.

Today, Slowhand moored up behind us. They had returned to above the locks at The Cape which is why I hadn't seen them when I walked up to Fosse Lock on Sunday.

I have spent most of the day finishing off lots of cards that were half made. I just have to photograph them now.
This one was made from a freebie from a magazine, matted onto pink and purple card. I used 2 rows of peeloff roses along the top and bottom.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Leamington Spa

A photo of the offending lock. I walked up to it yesterday as the weather was so lovely. There was no work going on at the time but the bottom gates have been removed. There doesn't appear to be a lot of boats waiting to go through and I didn't pass Slowhand, so I don't know whether they got through on Friday or not.

There was a lot of wind and rain in the night and the towpath is full of puddles.

I took a bus ride into Rugby for something to do but came scuttling back to the boat as it is quite cold out.

Still on a birthday theme: This little fellow (bought in a charity shop) was fixed to the card with freezer twists (I put a big safety notice in with it). I started with a red card and added a strip of silver, then a piece of star paper matted onto blue paper. The No 1 was made from the silver paper and matted onto the star paper and then the blue paper and I printed the "happy birthday" and the child's name onto silver paper and matted it onto the blue.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Leamington Spa

Slowhand and Mr David coming down the Cape locks. Most of the crews are doing something useful, Bev is just looking pretty!

We are spending our second night in Leamington due to the mis-reading of the "stoppages" list. The 2nd lock now in front of us is getting new gates and will not be open until next Friday!!!! Geoff had checked with BW before he set off as he has to get to Newbury by the end of the month and was told that it was clear all the way. So I'm not taking all the blame.

After yesterday's card for a 5 year old, I add one for a 1 year old - only one cygnet this time!! And made in the same style as yesterdays.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Budgebrooke Junct

Well, the dreaded Hatton 21 have been done and are behind us, for a couple of months, anyway. We took them slowly and only used one gate and one paddle each time as we were on our own. I have worked out that you don't push the bottom gates until you have counted up to 24 slowly after the Hannabal Lechter slurps. It's not an exact science, but it's almost there.

There were masses of violets growing in the hedgerows all the way down and the weather was just right for locking - not too hot, not too cold.

Early evening we were joined by Geoff on "Slowhand" - he is on his way to take over a marina and shop in Newbury.

A birthday card for a 5 year old? I took a picture of these five cygnets and mounted them onto purple and green card. I then added a swan's feather, a peel-off 5 and a Happy Birthday.

Weston Hall Bridge, Turner's Green

We awoke to a fairly heavy frost, so hung around until 0830 before setting off. As the locks leak so badly, most of them were against us, but we did cross paths with 2 boats, which helps. Still the 19 locks were done in 2 1/2 hours and mostly in sunshine, and we turned right into the Grand Union Canal, stopping at the first bit of piling we could find. Time for a snooze, now, I think to get over all those locks.

Having said I don't often stamp, here is one I made some time ago. The stamp came free with a magazine. I tend to stamp in the colour I want and then emboss with clear embossing powder (you don't get the little flecks that way (and no matter what I used to get rid of the static, I always manage to get some!)). I cut the image out and matted on white and gold card and then onto pink, embroidered, handmade paper before sticking the lot onto gold card before adding it to the base card. The sentiment was cut from a third impression and is the wording from the side of the stamp. This was also matted up in the same way.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Drawbridge 26, Hockley Heath

We have only travelled 3 3/4 miles today. Who says you have to do 9 hours? It seemed longer because we stopped twice, once to visit the fabulous bread shop at bridge 20 and then again to post some letters and buy the milk that I forgot to get earlier in Hockley Heath. We then moved under the first drawbridge and moored just before the boatyard.

This gave me the excuse to catch the bus into Stratford on Avon and check out Lakeland and the Blue Moon craft shop.

I bought a beautiful stamp of Marilyn Munro which I must use soon and lots of coloured stamp pads. I don't do nearly enough stamping.

This card was made from the cover of an exercise book. I just cut out the frame and then matted it a couple of times before sticking it to the card. Couldn't be simpler.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Bridge 15, Stratford on Avon Canal

You are just chugging along nicely and then you come around a corner and there is a boom across the canal. The workmen were painting the bridge and were using the boom as a bridge. They are just moving out of the way for us.

We set off at 9am this morning. Lovely sunshine but a cold wind. Then there was hail, but we had already stopped by then.

I went for a walk along the towpath and found a row of boats - all obviously "continuously" cruising as there were no mooring permits. They all looked pretty permanent though and the majority actually had current licences. I noticed this one though - the handwritten notice said that the licence was sent for on 31/1/08 - it is now 3/3/08 and where was the boat licence from April 2007?

A card that I have actually stamped. I am usually too lazy to stamp, emboss, paint and then cut out, but I enjoyed this one. I painted her with sparkly paints that I got from The Works and added metallic highlights so she glitters seductively. I then matted it on pink and then turquoise card and put a pink organza bow tied across the bottom