Monday, 31 May 2010

nb Acres, Oxford Canal

After a surprisingly quiet night in Banbury we had a latish start. Well latish for us - 0730. There was a strong smell of brewing in the air, and two boats had gone down through the lock before we got there.

Then as we were rounding a corner, just before Nell Lift Bridge we saw a row of off-side moorings with lots of signs outside advertising temporary moorings, fresh eggs and rare breed meat and pens of pigs. How could we resist?

The moorings are £6 and electricity is £2 per night. The Internet was working so I have finally been able to ubdate this blog, and got all the washing done.

Dean and Sara, who run the moorings and small-holding actually live on their narrowboat, Per Ardua with their three dogs and originally bought the site just to moor their boat. Then came the pigs, sheep, chicken and geese.

They are breeding two rare breeds of pig, Sandy and Black (which is a cross Tamworth/Berkshire) and the very rare Lop.

This is Jennifer (a Sandy and Black) and she is supposed to be farrowing today, but no sign yet.



And this is "The Daddy", Jake.

David was in pig heaven.



There is a farm shop selling their meat and some water buffalo ice cream (we saw the buffalo whilst coming up the Napton Locks), there are also chicks in a pen under a heat lamp and a small incubator with eggs waiting to hatch, some emergency food supplies, milk, drinks, coal and wood.





I don't have any pig cards, but there is also flock Hebridian sheep, so I'm showing this one.


I can't remember when I got these tin sheep, but I stuck this one onto some handmade paper and then matted it onto some white and blue card.

The brown spotty paper was "grunged" with a brown ink pad and fixed onto the front of a white card blank and the sheep was stuck over it.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Banbury, Oxford Canal

Left at 0500 and were going down through Cropredy Lock as the church clock chimed seven.

The lock cottage had this board fixed on their fence.

The moorings were packed, with boats doubled moored up by the lock.





We passed the empty lock cottage at Little Bourne Lock. It was looking pretty sorry for itself, but the sign on the side says that it is now owned by local boaters. So maybe something good will come of it.




Banbury was reached by 0900 and we slipped into an empty mooring for shopping and a trip to the Vodafone shop to see if the Internet dongle was working properly as we've not been getting a signal for days. Vodafone confirmed that everything was OK, but we still couldn't get a signal on the boat - just 500 yards from the shop!
I think this card shows a picture of Somerton Deep Lock.
The photo is matted onto silver, white and yellow card. Behind that is a panel of blue and silver matted card.
The base card is white and is finished off with a stick-on fluttery dragonfly.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Top Claydon Locks, Oxford Canal

David brought me a cup of tea in bed at 0545 and set off. A dull, cold day.

We had planned to go as far as Cropredy today, but by the time we got to the moorings at the top of Claydon Locks it was beginning to rain. So we stopped here. So I am typing this up, by the fire and listening to the rain pattering on the roof.

Yesterday Ian and Alison went past on Gosty Hill, but we were too slow the stop them. Then today we passed them again, but it was too early and there was no sign of life on the boat. Later this evening they went past again and we were able to buy some diesel and coal after they had winded and were heading back towards Napton.
Still not seen any wild roses since leaving Leamington Spa. So here is a card that I made yonks ago. I matted a piece of bright pink card(after cutting a wavy edge to the bottom) onto silver mirror card and wrapped some lime green ribbon around it before fixing it to the lighter pink card.
The photograph was matted onto white, pink and silver card and then fixed onto the pink panel.

Friday, 28 May 2010

By Bridge 129, Oxford Canal

Yet another early start and up through the Napton Locks. Not a boat on the moove. Heard a cuckoo in the distance.
I have noticed that we have not seen any wild roses since leaving the lowest part of the GU, must be warmer down there.

It was certainly chilly up here. We moored up by Br 123 for a couple of hours for a snooze and a warm before setting off again.

Then just after Bridge 129 there is a straight stretch of piling and a gap in the hedge, consequently there is a lovely view over the hills and back to Napton. We decided to spend the rest of the day here.
Back to the canal theme with this card.
Starting with a blue base card I stuck down a matted and Cuttlebugged piece of darker blue card. Before I stuck it to the card I wrapped a piece of organza ribbon around it and tied it in a knot.
The photograph was matted onto silver, blue and light green card with a scalloped edge.
The card was finished off with two blue gems.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Folly Bridge, Oxford Canal

No angry boaters today, just nice friendly, helpful people.



We were off even earlier this morning and did the Stockton and Calcutt locks in the early morning mist (passing this strange boat on the way.




We reached the junction for the Oxford Canal by 0830 and even had time to rescue Coriander which had become adrift overnight.


Why do people leave their expensive boats on a couple of mooring pins and go off for days on end?

We managed to nudge it back towards the towpath with Mr David so that the people on another boat could reach the front rope. There was no central rope, so we then had to then push the back in with Mr David, so that someone could get onto the back of the boat, untangle the back rope and retrieve the mooring pin before securing the boat back on the towpath.



With all the excitement over we managed to find a space on the moorings by Folly Bridge and were moored up for the day again before anyone else had set off.

Just along from us on the moorings was this boat (with the butty to live on I presume). A garden and a greenhouse.

Lunch in the Folly Pub (under new management). If we go on like this I’ll end up wider than I am tall.






Early evening I took a walk up the locks and found this. There must be a mindset for this. Why bother to stop and bag it up if you are not going to dispose of the bag properly? They had even gone to the trouble of finding a piece of wood to hook the bag over the fence.






This time a card for a Harry Potter fan. Blue card base, Cuttlebugged blue card behind a drawing of Harry and crew which I cut out from a notecard along with the school badge.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Blue Lias Public House, Grand Union Canal

The weather seems to be getting worse. I started off the first lock in a short sleeved top, changed for a sweatshirt at the next one, put on a cardi for the third and ended up with a coat and scarf for the rest of the long climb up to Napton Junction.

At one point there is a long stretch of canal with one side overgrown with tree branches and the other with reeds, so there is a narrow channel down the middle. There was a boat approaching us just before we got to the narrow bit, so David hung back to let the oncoming boat through. When this boat Nogin or Nosum (didn’t get the full name) came up to us the man on the back let out a stream of abuse, effing and blinding and asking why David was “in the f****** way”. Just can’t please some people! And, guess what? When we got to the next lock, the gates were open!

The pounds going up the Long Ichington Locks were all rather low but the one below the Bascot Staircaise locks was very low and I had to flush extra water down when David got stuck in the middle.

Just two more locks and we were at the Blue Lias pub by 0930 so we moored up for the day and had lunch there as David is doing pub reviews for Canals and Rivers. While we were there the hotel boats Snipe and Taurus arrived for a lunch stop.
The second of my last session of cardmaking. A picture of a boat in the mist. I picked out the red from the boat in the matting and decoration to help it stand out more.
I used a white card blank and Cuttlebugged a strip of red card to stick along the left hand side of the card. The matted photograph was then placed in the top 1/3rd of the card. Below that I added a silver butterfly that was once fixed to a hair grip.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Radford Semele, Grand Union Canal

A small sign at the top of Hatton Locks.

It needed to be at least three times bigger because the bicycles were whizzing past so fast they couldn't read their instructions!

An early start to get the 23 locks out of the way. The weather was good and we were on our own. We met two pairs and three single boats on their way up and managed the Hatton Flight in 3 ½ hrs.

Then it was on through the two Cape locks where we arrived just as a wide beam was entering the top lock.

A short stop for a visit to Tesco for a “heavy lift” of bottles etc and then we sailed on past Leamington to Radford Semele for the rest of the day.

The burnt out church there is covered in a large silver tent while it is being restored.

Noticed that the wild roses were in bloom and also the yellow flags were out
Got some mojo back for cardmaking after we first set off and made a few more canal themed cards. This is one of my favourite subjects. Children in large lifejackets. They always look so cute. I cut this photograph using my Nesties and made a silver mat the same way and then cut out a scalloped mat to go behind them both. I used my Cuttlebug to impress the flowers onto an odd shaped piece of orange card and stuck it onto the yellow base card before adding the photograph.
Finally I added an orange butterfly which "flutters".

Monday, 24 May 2010

Weston Hall Bridge, Grand Union Canal


The weather forecast was predicting high temperatures, so we set off at 0530. Well, David did. I had a cup of tea in bed before I got up.

The lift bridge just before the locks was a pig to lift yet again. It went up centimetre by centimetre with every turn. Then it was the Lapworth locks. It was good to see that BW has looked after them this winter. NOT. Stiff paddle gear, leaking locks. And one of my favourites. The selling off of the lock cottage and all the land so you can’t get along the off side of the lock. Usually there are signs stuck to the fence asking you not to use the other side, but they always seem to end up in the water (wonder why). This year they have let the weeds and nettles grow to discourage use.

Met one boat coming up the flight. They closed all the lock gates behind them. Thanks! And then another one at the bottom. They sat on the water point until the lock was ready for them. Hope this is not a foretaste of things to come.

We moored up just after the junction and listened the cuckoo – and not on the TV this time.


There must be a reason why I chose this card today. Can’t think of one though! I took a photograph of boats in the mist and matted it onto silver, white and black card. Black ribbon was suck across the width of the card and the photo fixed over with stick pads. Three black gems were stuck to the bottom right hand corner and a silver sentiment peel-off stuck above them.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

DICKENS HEATH, Stratford on Avon Canal

We set off at 0715 in brilliant sunshine and headed down the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. There were masses of moored boats, including two doubled up on the water point! Through the chicane at Selley Oak and then a left turn onto the Stratford on Avon Canal at Kings Norton. The plan was to go just past Hockley Heath and moor up past the first lift bridge, but the weather was lovely and we saw a bit of piling and stopped for the rest of the day at 1115.

During the afternoon we heard the dulcet tones of one of Graham’s boats.

We had seen him set off, with Mike on another boat, yesterday morning on our way back from a pumpout (£9.00 at Sherborne Wharf). They had been doing the Birmingham ring and were on the last leg. About 10 minutes later Mike turned up with the second boat. We noticed that Graham had all the girls on his boat!

It is lovely to be out again. There are still bluebells about and the lilac and hawthorn bushes are all in bloom. The space above the water is covered in masses and masses of midges. We even saw some swallows and heard a cuckoo, but it turned out that the cuckoo was at Wentworth and on the telly watching the golf.

While I was out one day several weeks ago, two men came to the boat and asked
David if I could make a card for them. David, having great faith in my abilities, said that of course I could! They wanted a pothole, they said, with a man standing by it saying “Not a Category 1 as far as I’m concerned".

I can’t draw for a toffee, so it was straight onto Google and there I found this giraffe in a hole. I know, it’s been Photoshopped, but hey! I then Googled “road workers” and came up with these four Playmobile men. The rest was easy. I printed off the pothole picture three times and decoupaged it with sticky pads. I cut out the men and made a speech bubble and printed in the words. I matted the photograph and the man’s name and fixed them onto a white card blank, adding three black dots to the right hand bottom corner.

Inside I printed out an insert sentiment and added a picture of the tub of instant road repair kit.

It was a hit with the two guys who ordered the card. Just hope Mike enjoyed the joke too.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham




Do you think David would let me put pictures of all my cards over the side of the boat? No need to answer. I'm lucky to get the banners in the middle windows.

This boat is selling jewellery and I thought I had got a photo of the web address, but I don't seem to be able to
see it now. Sorry.

I did notice that they had a nice BW
Trading Licence sign in their window which I don't seem to have. Must look into it.





There were two programmes on the TV this week with canals in their content. The first one was by Chris Tarrant on the "Brindley Lock". It was quite an interesting (if repetitive) programme about how Brindley came up with the idea of making the locks narrow and shallow so that they would not cost so much to make. And somehow, he is supposed to have invented the "Brindley Lock" which is 7'6" wide??? And to give an example they kept on showing the Hatton Flight.

The second programme was a detective mystery. I didn't watch it (too gory) but I was listening. The murderer supposedly stole a boat from Birmingham and took it down to London. When they went on the boat it was HUGE! But I suppose you can actually get to Birmingham in a wide beam if only to Typhoo Basin.

The point is. If there are inaccuracies in just these 2 programmes. Can we believe anything we see on the TV?

Rant over. The sun is shining and we should be off on Sunday. Can't wait. Though it will probably be raining again by then.



Here is a pretty waterways card.

Started with a white card blank and used a panel of blue card matted onto silver which had been cut with scalloped edged scissors. A thin red ribbon was tied around the bottom of the panel and tied in a knot. Next I die cut the photograph and then matted it with Nestabilities die cuts before fixing it to the card. Nice and easy, nice and colourful.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

Sorry for the delay - the Internet has been a bit flaky every time I tried to upload any photographs.
Entertainment on the towpath - Though I managed to miss all the performances!


Some pics of Istanbul. The Blue Mosque, which was fascinating. We managed to get in 10 minutes before it opened, so almost hand to all to ourselves. Istanbul is celebrating the City of Culture this year, and they were also holding a tulip festival. There were flowers everywhere.

Pashminas stacked up in the Grand Bazaar. 66 covered streets full of goodies. What's not to love?

And another stall, this one of glass lamp shades. Luckily the ceiling on the boat is too low for hanging lamps.

Our journey back consisted of a 21 hour train ride on the Bosporus Express (average express speed of 25mph and stopping at every station) from Istanbul to Bucharest. Then 6 in a couchette to Budapest overnight. After a few hours in Budapest we took another overnight train to Munich. After booking tickets to Paris we had a tour of Munich and a schnitzel before leaving Munich for Stuttgart, changing trains there we got into Paris at 11pm. We spent the night in a hotel near the station and at 5am we were waiting for the first train to Calais.

And finally, after 6 trains and about 50 hours of travelling over 4 days, one of the best sights in the world. The white cliffs of Dover (and we still had 2 more trains to go).

I was asked to make an "In Memorandum" card last weekend. It is not something I have come across before, so I was a bit stumped.

The brief was for lilies and a photograph which was coming later.

So I started with a square easel card using half the front of a square card as the mountain fold. I Cuttlebugged a smaller square of yellow card and scalloped the edges with fancy scissors.

Using circle and scalloped Nestabilities I made a white frame and a yellow frame, fixing the smaller, yellow one on top of the white one making a frame for the photograph.

Consequently, the photograph did not arrive, so I used the white centre from the frame and Cuttlebugged it and used it as the backing of the frame. (The edge was hidden by the smaller, yellow frame.)

I wrapped some white organza ribbon around the yellow panel and then fixed it to the front flap of the card. Then I tied another piece of ribbon around the bunch of Arum lilies and stuck it over the frame. (I was going to put them on the edge of the frame if I had had the photograph).

To finish off I printed out "Kirsty "and cut it out with a mat using Nestabilities and stuck it to the top right hand corner with sticky fixers. The"In Memorandum" and the date was also printed out and matted with yellow card, scalloped the edges with scissors and fixed it to the front half of the base of the card with sticky fixers.

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