Wednesday, 30 April 2008


I can definitely say that my new locking gloves have been a success. After 112 locks and several swing bridges I don't have a blister or callous. I got then from Nautalica at Sunbury and wish I had bought two pairs.

Yesterday we set off for Reading and followed a boat with a crew that hadn't lowered most of the paddles and had left ALL the gates wide open. We caught up with them at Southcot Lock and even though they had seen us they just got back on the boat and set off - all paddles up and gates open. When I "thanked them" the bloke just said "Sorry!" I was so cross that when we caught up with them at Fobney I couldn't even look at them.

Arriving in Reading we managed to get the boat stuck across the river and needed the help of two lads from two of the other boats moored up. We had to set up a block and tackle to get the boat turned around. It just goes to show, after nine years of boating we can still make a simple mistake and get into real trouble.

It has rained all day - so we have not moved.

These two cards were made by using the same holographic peel-offs. The first one was stuck onto silver card, white card and lilac mulberry paper and then onto the card. A pink iridescent ribbon was then stuck across the bottom
The second one was stuck down onto white card, pink card, lilac card, purple card and white card and a lilac checked ribbon. Two lilac gems were then added to the bottom right hand corner.

Monday, 28 April 2008


Yesterday we stopped of at Bev and Geoff's Pitstop for diesel and a pumpout. You can just see the stand with all my cards on by the front door. Don't they look smart?

Later we met up with our friends on Wildflower they were on their way to Newbury and we were on our way from Newbury. We met up at the moorings at Woolhampton and had a great lunch in The Angel pub.

The swing bridge at Woolhampton is still not working properly and there is a BW man there to work it for boaters. He was supposed to arrive this morning at 0900 but we did not see him until 1000, then the Padworth swing bridge was being worked on, but was open. Passing a boat just past Ufton bridge said that they had had to wait 20 minutes for BW to come out and fix that one and they had been stuck at Tyle Mill for 2 days because of the broken swing bridge there. Fortunately we did not have any trouble at either, but it just about sums up the state of the K&A these days.

This horse pulls the trip boat from Kintbury to Hungerford. He stopped by the cottages opposite the wharf while the boat turned around and a lady came out of one of the cottages and fed him carrots. I matted the photograph and also printed out a larger picture on plain paper using the "draft" option on the printer. I then matted that in the same way and added the ribbon and photo mounts.

I have made a series of cards using this photo because I just love it, so more to come.

Saturday, 26 April 2008


A very early start - 0545 (see below). It was warm and sunny and we were in Newbury for 1100.

I managed to get a picture of a train speeding on its way to London at Little Bedwyn. I wasn't quick enough to get the downline one which is even closer to the lock.

Several years ago we were travelling up the Grand Union and came upon a group of lockwheelers charging boaters for their services up and down the three locks (forget which ones). Many were dressed in old boaters' gear so I used this photo to make a basic card - a photo matted and that is all.

David has also used the photo in one of his articles in Canals and Rivers!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008


I can't believe that I have not posted for so long. I don't know why, too many ghosts maybe?

This is the lock at Little Bedwyn where the express train whizzes up behind you and makes you jump out of your skin. Of course, there were no trains while we did the lock today so I could prove it.

We spent the night at Crofton (below)

Then it was up to the summit - through Bruce Tunnel and down the other side to Wootton Basset. We spent the night at Pewsey. Still a grotty mooring. BW have put in rings, but the bank is still crumbling away and there were so many boats there that had obviously been there for more than the 48 hours permitted. I walked into the village and bought the first lardy cake of the trip.

It rained all the next day, but because David hates the mooring at Pewsey he decided to get wet and cold on the back of the boat. There was a free mooring on the Wharf so we moored up there.

My brother and his wife visited us on Sunday and on Monday we took the bus to Salisbury (David getting to use his national bus pass for the first time!). Tuesday we took another bus to Bath.

Today I got the duvets washed in the launderette and walked down to the bottom of the Caen Flight to take some photographs. The sun shone and it was really warm. When I got back David was ready to set off (more rain forecast for tomorrow, so he thought he had better get a few miles in).

This boat is moored just past the wharf at Devizes. It is painted in army khaki and has camouflage netting all over it. The cabin at the back is the roof of a Landrover!

The Caen flight from the bottom. A truly beautiful sight with all the lock beams at exactly the same height and distance apart.

I noticed these signs on the way down. This one is quite acceptable but...

Seeing this one I just want to put the throttle down and speed up. Sorry. The boats never seem to move, there is no-one living on them - so they should store everything inside securely, and let us get on with it. At our usual tickover which we do when we sail past any boats.

Now for some cards: This one was made from an old broach found in a charity shop. Tartan ribbon was wound around some silver card and stuck to the white base card. The yellow bow and the Scottie dog with fixed with sticky-fixers.

This one is stamped onto watercolour paper and coloured in with watercolour markers, the matted onto green and red card. The background paper matched the green of the mat and that was also matted onto red card. I added a large brad to the bottom right had corner and the sentiment was also stamped and matted to match the design.

And finally, one of David's early morning picture of boats in the mist. I matted the picture onto a dark purple card then some silver Dufex card. To keep in with the muted colour scheme I used a lilac coloured card blank.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


We moved up through Newbury lock late Monday afternoon and left yesterday in the mist and frost of an early morning. The sun soon came out and we had a glorious run into Hungerford. I heard a cuckoo and saw several swallows - so Spring must be here.

Lucky black cat? A photo matted onto green card on a white base card. I then added a white spotted green ribbon and three gems in the bottom right hand corner.

Monday, 14 April 2008


The picture I promised of "The Boat in the Way".

We had a good trip to Newbury, sharing most of the locks with a hire boat which had two boys for crew - both were very keen, so I didn't have much work to do.

We caught up with the 6 girls at Bull's Swing Bridge, they had blown a gasket in the engine and hadn't made Newbury.

We arrived at the Greenham Island services and found Bev and Geoff in all their splendour. We filled up with diesel, bought coal, had a pump-out and filled up with water then moored opposite.

We spent the night there and did some shopping today. I went to the hairdressers and then at 4.30 this evening (as the sun was shining) we moved the boat up through the lock. One less to do tomorrow.

Bev and Geoff are going to sell some of my cards - I meant to take a photo of their shop with all my cards on a stand in the doorway, but I forgot.

Yesterday I was asked on two separate occasions about selling my cards. Both made their own, so my hopes were dashed.

Today someone actually knocked on the boat and bought one!

This card started out on a white card blank. I stamped the lion and matted it onto black and gold card and then onto some camouflage paper. (that was the original card but I though it was a bit sparse). I cut it off the card and re-mounted it onto an apricot coloured card blank, added a ribbon and the happy birthday peel-off. I then used peel-offs stuck onto some more camouflage paper and matted it onto black and silver card.

The wording under the lion says "Thought I'd drop you a lion"

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Above Woolhampton Lock

We met lots of lovely people today, after that shower yesterday.

The girls had just hired their boat from Aldermaston Wharf and were heading for Woolhampton (they didn't know what was coming!).

We were met at Woolhampton Swing Bridge by a BW guy who said that the bridge was broken and he would have to wind in manually. Well at least that meant I didn't have to.

After the bridge there is a very strong stream as the river joins the canalised part and then a lock. You have to get the lock gates open before you swing the bridge - so I set the lock. First David came through the bridge and into the lock, then the little Otter Ot came through and moored up by the pub and finally the girls came through into the lock. David and the BW guy had walked them all through the manoeuvre but it was still daunting and with lots of shouts and encouragement they made the lock without hitting anything.

After we got through the lock we reset it so that the Otter boat could come through - the picture shows it just as the stream hits the boat side on - pretty scary eh? Lots of encouragement again and shouts to "Put your foot down" and everything went well. No one hit the boat and only the hire boat hit the side of the lock.
To add to the fun there is a boat moored "in the way" - you can tell it is in the way because the off-side is lined with rubber tyres. I took a picture and will show it later (when I can find it).

Still on my waterways theme. This is a photo of some celandines, matted onto yellow and sliver card and then onto a sunshine yellow base card. I thought it looked a bit plain so I added the two 3-D butterflies that I bought from Lakeland a few weeks ago.

Do you think I have gone too far?

Friday, 11 April 2008

Shenfield Mill

A really great day, not. First of all the wobbly County Lock, then the frightening Fobney Lock (see picture. The river is coming in from the left and the outlet from the water works is coming out from the right. You have to jump off your boat onto the wet metal walkway!! Then as we were leaving Burghfield lock a boat came around the corner towards us and the woman on the front shouted out "Don't shut the gate!" (we were still in the lock and I had opened the outside gate so they could get in as they had a wide beam. She then got off her boat and came down to the lock and glared at us. She never spoke again and the man on the back could barely say "Good Morning". Nice people.
Then when we got to Garston Lock there was a boat coming down who left up paddles and things and took ages to get through.
And to finish off at Sheffield Lock the boat coming down turned the lock against us, took ages to get through and we got wet in a rain shower.
I just love boating....

A photo of a dog mounted onto white and gold card and stuck to a blue base card. I used rub-on paw prints to walk over the card and added a white ribbon bow over the paw prints that did not transfer properly.

Thursday, 10 April 2008


One of the things I love about boating is that one night you can be moored up under the sight of England's greatest castle at Windsor and a few nights later you are moored under the sight of Reading Gaol. The sublime to the ridiculous maybe.

We set off very early from Marlow as we thought all the locks were electric, unfortunately the first three were not - or if they were we couldn't work out how they worked - and they were very hard work. Lots of turns and to add insult to injury we had to empty the locks behind us and close the paddles. Fortunately by the third lock the lockeeper came on duty half way through.

Then at Blake's Lock which is on the River Kennet, but still under EA jurisdiction, we arrived just as the lockeeper went for his lunch and we had to do that one too!!

We were so tired after a long day and all that work that we decided to stay here for an extra night. Yipee! I can do some shopping, and there is a Hobbycraft not far from the mooring.

Me and Er, Meander, Me and Her - there are lots of variations o boat names on this theme. I thought it would make an appropriate card from a husband, partner, lover to send to his other half. It is just a photo, matted onto white and silver card and then onto a white base card.
I used peel-off for the sentiment and matted that with the same card.
I have "gone off" peel-off sentiments at the moment as most o them look a bit amateur, though sometimes you just have to use them and sometimes you can get away with it.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


With the snow all gone but still a bitter wind we left Shepperton for Windsor where we had a great mooring not too far from the town. The Royal Standard was flying from the castle but we didn't see the Queen out on her horse this time.

Today was even warmer, but the wind was still cold. We are now at Marlow. While I was cooking the dinner I saw this balloon from the galley window and sent David out to take some photos. It eventually floated right over the boat.

And now a card - the photographs were taken from a boat called King Louie. I first saw it moored up on the Trent and Mersey Canal, but we passed it again a few days ago moored on the Grand Union. I matted the pictures onto turquoise and gold card and then onto more turquoise and gold card before fixing it to the white card. I then added six white gems, three on the bottom right and three on the top left.

Sunday, 6 April 2008


Is this not one of the most spectacular moorings in Britain? Hampton Court Palace on your doorstep.

We came up the Thames from Teddington in a very civilised manor - lockeepers all the way. One just has to stand there holding a rope around a bollard to keep the boat straight - oh! and watch the rictus smiles on the faces of the plastic boat owners when they see a steel narrowboat in the lock with them!!

We woke up this morning to snow, so we decided to stay here for an extra day. It seems impossible that after the beautiful, hot, sunny day on Friday that we could have snow today - in fact we had about 5 inches at one point. Now it's sunshine and snowshowers.

This is the card I produced as a good luck card for the couple who are just starting out on their new job at Newbury Boat Yard. It is a photograph of Gas Street (to remind them of those they left behind) which was mounted onto creamy paper and orangy red paper. I made faux stitches around the edge of the cream card. I then matted that onto another piece of cream card with faux stitches and some ribbon. I punched out 3 small circles from the brown paper for dots and used a peel-off for the sentiment.

Friday, 4 April 2008


We moved down, early, to the Brentford Basin so that I could do some shopping (what a dump). We then travelled down through the Gauging Lock with Sunrise and waited for the tide. At 1245 the lock opened and we were in the lock and out into the Thames in about five minutes. The trip up to Teddington was very pleasant. The weather was warm and sunny and we almost didn't need coats.

We were ushered through the lock at Teddington and moored up and I went back to get a licence to sail the boat on the River Thames - £32 per day!!! or £115 for 15 days. We only needed five days but it was cheaper to have 15. Work that one out. Plus another £5.50 for the mooring. No wonder we stick to the canals.

On the way up we saw the original "Swampy" He has moored his contraption in the tideway for years - I think there are no laws to move him on while he is moored away from the bank.

We also passed a heronry and two trees full of cormorants, plus of course the green parakeet birds that have now colonised the riverbank.

Still on the waterways theme - this card shows a picture of the back of a boat (stern) with two pairs of boots lined up by the back door (not too clear in the pic, sorry!). I mounted the picture on pink and silver card and onto a pink base card. I then added a waterlily stopper in the bottom right hand corner.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Below Hanwell Lock Flight

OK! Remind me not to fall in...

Yesterday was a busy day, we took on water and had a pumpout. We travelled all of four miles and did five locks and ended up below Widewater Lock opposite the boatyard. There were lots of signs of spring, cootes on nests, a bumble bee and a swan on a nest. But not many boats on the move.

Today we almost made it to Brentford, stopping just 2 locks early. Lots more signs of spring: bluebells!?!, cowslips, a ladybird and David saw two adorable little black powder puffs with red beaks - the moorhens have started to hatch.

We should be on the Thames tomorrow if all goes well. The lockeeper said that we didn't have to book and could just turn up at 1245. This is new; normally they need at least 24 hr notice.

With luck we should be at Hampton Court tomorrow night. One of my favourite spots and as I've just been reading a book about the 6 wives of Henry VIII it will be even more interesting.

I've been stamping again. I stamped onto thick watercolour paper left over from a painting course I once went on. Then embossed the impression in clear embossing powder and coloured in the figure with watercolour pens and a silver gel pen It was then mounted onto yellow and black card. The backing paper was torn in a diagonal and stuck to the base card. I made two stars from yellow card and swiped a silver ink pad around the edges. The sentiment was done on the computer in a font with stars at the ends of the letters and mounted onto yellow and black.

I have been experimenting with swiping card with ink pads. Most of the examples I have seen look stunning, but I do not seem to be able to get the same effect. Must be doing something wrong.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008


Another three days and another three miles travelled!! Yesterday we moored up and took the bus and train into London where we met our daughter Caroline. We managed to see her for a couple of hour before she had to return to Birmingham and we caught up on all the news and heard all about her journeys through South, Central and North America.

Today we left very early (it was a noisy mooring almost underneath the Underground), and got to Rickmansworth where we moored outside Tesco for some shopping and then moved across the canal to the visitor moorings. David needed the satellite to work for the football tonight (we are winning so far). As we were moored up before 8.30 this morning I walked into Rickmansworth and caught the Underground back into London and managed to spend £80 in Blade Rubber (stamps not clothes!). So lots of fun in store with my new stamps.

Another stamped card - I used my new doodle stamp and some pink ink. I didn't emboss this time. I also ghost stamped the backing for the flower which was a silk orchid. This was mounted onto gold, white and pink card and then stuck on the base with sticky fixers. I'm not too happy with it, the doodle looks a bit smudged. I'll just have to practice some.