Monday, 30 April 2012

County Lock, River Kennet

Well, the sun was shining and the river was a bit high.  But hey! We've been here before.  The Thames in flood, the Trent in flood, the Ure in flood, the Kennet pretty high.  We've done it all.

The Brewery Gut was manic, the two bridge holes were difficult with the current of water and  when we got to County Lock we were met with rapids.
A quick decision - well no option really.  We had to moor up in the lock.  With the bottom paddles open there is about 4" of lock side (that is until some helpful person closed them and we didn't notice.  Suddenly there was 3" of water over the lock edges).  We called BW to let them know that we were there and two workers came to see us.  They reckoned we were safe enough and suggested we open the paddles.  Duh!!  Almost immediately the water drained back to about where it was when we started and we feel a lot better.  Still, I don't think we'll get much sleep tonight.

Shoot me if I go on a river again.  Please!

We were discovered by the BBC today.  We had not informed any media about our participation in the Queen's Jubilee Pageant, thought we might slip through the net.  But a list of participating boats  must have been issued and we were telephoned by Bernadette of BBC West Midlands Radio.  They want to interview us during the parade.

A matted photo of an Old English Sheepdog on a white card blank and a stripy ribbon wrapped around the side and tied in a knot.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Blakes Wharf, River Kennet

 Still here.  It has rained every day, for almost all of the days.  There are flood warnings out on the River Kennet and there is still a hosepipe ban! 

You can see a swan nesting in the picture; there are also a couple of coots and a moorhen nesting in the bushes and a couple of ducks with ducklings.

David went down to Southampton today to do his VHF radio course.  He passed, of course.  He is now qualified to take the boat out to sea.  Next stop the Mediterranean.

I was asked to make a card for a guy on one of the other boats here.  It was Max's birthday and the boat is called Bobby Dazzler.  Hence the strap line "You're a Bobby Dazzler to the Max!" - David thought that one up.

Anyway, I went for an easel card again - there seems a bit more scope when you are doing something special.

David took the photograph of the boat and the name panel and I matted them both onto silver, holographic card.  The boat picture I matted again onto green card and the boat sign I die-cut into an oval and added a scalloped mat.

I printed off the sentiments and matted them both onto the holographic card and green card, sticking the 'happy birthday' one down flat and the other one using sticky fixers to raise it up to hold the front of the card securely.

I covered the decorated parts of the oval topper with glue and added glitter and some green stars to bling it up a bit.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Blakes Wharf, Reading, River Kennet

Boats in the early morning mist.

Once more we left just after 6am.  I don't know how it works, but every time we have set off we always arrive at a lock at 5 minutes to 9 as the lock keeper comes on duty.

Today we had to pay another £35 for a further day's licence.  The rain set in at about then too and David had a horrid 3 hours out on the back in the wind and rain.

Blakes Lock was a welcome sight.  No lock keeper (there never is!), so I had to wind the wheels to lift the paddles and push the gates open and shut.  It's great fun spinning the wheels though.

Then it was a right turn into the back water and town moorings.  Room for a couple of boats, the other spaces filled with the usual suspects.

A picture of a working boat matted onto silver, yellow and blue card.

A strip of yellow card, Cuttlebugged and stuck onto a strip of white card which was trimmed with a border punch.  A white and blue ribbon was wrapped around the strip and tied in a knot.

I put the white card base through the Cuttlebug with a border folder to make the dots on the right hand side of the card and then added the decorated strip and photograph.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Cookham, River Thames

 We had planned for only 3 days on the Thames, which meant getting to Maidenhead for the first night.  That plainly didn't happen, so we've given up that and will play it by ear.

Another early start in beautiful weather - Old Windsor Lock with a view of the castle in front and Eaton College to the right.  Must be one of the best view for a lock ever.

We stopped for gas at Windsor Marina - they have a really good landing for narrowboats and it's not cluttered up with boats.

We saw two muntjak deer on an island, they were difficult to photograph as they were in the undergrowth.  This was the best picture and is a bit blurred.

When we came under the bridge at Cookham we were met by this sight.  Time to tie up for the day!

White base card.  Green organdie ribbon, photograph matted onto silver card and yellow, scallop edged card and two paper flowers with brads for centres.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Stains, River Thames


 Who says lock keepers are always busy?

An early start as the weather was beautiful.  Lots of rowers in every type of canoe, skiff and kayak.  It's great doing the locks early before the lock keepers come on duty.  We seem to get through the locks so much quicker - and it is so easy now they are electrified.

1st poppy of the year?

By noon it was raining so we decided to moor at by a lovely park just past Stains Bridge.  I walked into town and there was a market with a great bread/cake stall.

A grotty photo of this card, sorry.  I began with a piece of gold and pink handmade paper which was "feathered" and added the pink sequin waste over it.  Then I stuck down the ballet dress and three pairs of ballet pumps.

The whole this is stuck onto a white card base.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Teddington, River Thames

So, there we were, quietly minding our own business on the visitor moorings and the grass-cutter comes along.  So we undid the ropes and hot tailed it down the gauging lock before we got bits of grass stuck to the side of the boat.

Then, we were tied up by the Thames Lock for about half an hour or so and who should come along.  Yes!  The grass-cutter again!

So we had to untie the ropes and hover mid stream until he had finished his work.

We were due to lock down into the Thames at 1330.  At 1300 the heavens opened with torrential rain and hailstones.  Fortunately it ceased at 1330 precisely.

David got wet a couple of times on the 1 hour journey (I was in the warm in the boat - naturally) and the poor lamb was sick at one point (must have been that goat curry I got from Tesco).  The new skin tank is working beautifully, no sign of overheating and David gave the engine some real welly today.

Passed this barge at Richmond.  Hope it's in the Pageant.

3 days licence for the Thames - only £70.

After getting a pumpout, water, coal and diesel over the last couple of days we've have run out of gas!!!  Liz had sold all hers - so we are a bit stuck at the moment.  Just enough for a morning cup of tea and it's take-away tonight.

Lots of blossom about.  I matted this photograph onto silver card and then stuck it onto a white card blank.

Gas Street

Sitting here under a bright blue sky with the sun shining down. Could be summer, as long as you don't look down and see all the snow!

We have had photographers en masse (if that's the right word). Even one from the Sun and Mail. Still the boats do look pretty with a covering of snow. And No - it is not cold in winter (inside).

I have had two lovely comments on the step Valentine cards - thank you both. Steve suggested one using a narrowboat. Watch this space Steve....

This is a card I have just made. The pictures were scanned from a Kleenex box!!

I started with a cream card, covered it with blue card and used my Cuttlebug (I just love the effects you can get from it) on the red card which I matted onto cream card. I then matted some brown card onto cream and fixed that over the red. I decoupaged the bonnet of the car with sticky fixers to make it "jump off the page" and matted that onto blue and cream card.
Finally I added a large peel-off "3" and the name of the recipient, also with peel-offs.

For the insert I printed another scanned photo and added the sentiment underneath.
I managed to get a spot of glue on the back of the card and as I tried to remove it it just got worse.
Crisis time. Although you never have proper accidents making cards (usually). So I just printed off another scan onto paper and stuck it over the ugly mark. And only you and I know that!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Brentwood, Grand Union

 We left early as there was a window in the river and managed to get  to the visitor moorings at Brendford before the rain.  We moored up behind Indus a David wants to interview Liz for Canals and Rivers Magazine and she will be off later today.

I walked into Brentford and caught a bus into Kingston on Thames.  Had a shock going over Kew Bridge - the tide was out.  We only ever see the Thames at high tide here.

 Here is a link to one of the boats that did the upstream tideway in the group of boats behind us Good Friday.  Enjoy.

Had some interesting news today.  A friend's son is expecting a baby in November and his son is expecting a baby in October too.  So the Uncle/Aunt will be younger than the Nephew/Niece. Confused?

So here is the card.  I began with a white card blank and added a panel of blue paper which the edges deckle cut.  I stamped out the bird and coloured it with watercolour paints and matted it onto white and then silver card and stuck it towards the top of the card.  The sentiment is a silver peel-off which was stuck onto deckle edged white card and matted onto silver card.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Bottom of Hanwell Lock, Grand Union

The weather forecast was rubbish, so we decided to stay here another day.  Not many boat movements, but the coal boat came by and we took the opportunity to buy more coal from Liz on Indus.  The weather will get better now.

A good luck card.  The base is a red card and I matted some tartan paper onto gold mirri card.

The horseshoe is ceramic and I bought it at a Christmas market in Poland or Hungary (can't remember which).  It was fixed onto the card with glue dots.

I cut the sentiment out with my Craft Robo (yes, the card is that old!!) and stuck it down at the bottom of the card with a silver star.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Hanwell, Grand Union

A floating greenhouse - by Tesco at Bulls Bridge.

We woke up to rain and left at 0900, still raining.  We filled up with diesel at Willowtree Marina and then stopped at Tesco, Bulls Bridge for some coal and oil plus food of course.

The mooring was not too good by Tesco, and the sun was now shining, so we decided to move off and do the 7 Hanwell locks.

Bad decision!  We just got into the first lock when it began raining.  Just out of the lock it was hailstones so we moored up on the lock landing until it blew over.

The sun came out again and we managed the rest of the locks without getting wet.  The same boats were moored by The Fox as there were when we were here at Easter.

Then this came out of the blue.

More boats for the Olympics.  Don't know where they are going to moor.

Back to boating, so a waterways card.  This one using a photo of a bridge with boats and a great reflection.  I matted it onto gold card and added a pink tab to the top right hand side.

I wrapped some wide green ribbon, horizontally around the front of the card and some thinner green card with pink and white dots, which I tied in a knot.

The finishing touch were three pink gems in the bottom right hand corner.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Perivale Wood, Paddington Arm, Grand Union

We managed to get a Friday 13th bug in the computer - lost the log and other stuff.  David has been working had to try and retrieve everything.

 After a week in Paddington Basin (you are only allowed to stay 7 days and not return within 2 months - hence there is usually room!) we set off in the early morning, stopping off at Little Venice for a pumpout and water.  You can see from the photo, still no mooring spaces - in fact there were some 3 abreast.

The weather has been better than expected - though bad weather is on the way.  Oh! Goody!  On the Thames in the wind and the rain.

A pretty Pooh card.  It began with a white card blank.  I took a strip of patterned paper and punched out a decorative edge and then stuck it towards the left hand side of the card.  Then I used a piece of green card with some green ribbon wrapped around it over the patterned paper.  The ribbon was tied in a knot at the bottom of the card.  I die-cut a white oval and a patterned scalloped oval which were stuck together and the pooh topper was added with two butterflies.  A flower topper was added to the bottom right hand corner.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Paddington Basin, Grand Union Paddington Arm

 Right, back to real life and canals for a bit.

Ed and Julia, very kindly, came back to help us through the locks back to Paddington and we set off at 0830 in the rain.  Galatea and Doris Katia had already left, so the locks were against us.

The picture shows the 14 day visitor moorings at Victoria Park.  Glad we didn't want to stop and get out of the rain.

The last three locks were done with Olio (or something similar) and as we reached the last lock this new water taxi boat (specially bought for the Olympics) was leaving the top lock - leaving gates open and travelling well over 4 mph.

We later found it in Paddington Basin, tied up on the edge of the winding place and also noticed that it had NO licence!!!

At least there was room to moor in Paddington as there are security guards for the landowners to move boats on after 7 days - and they are not allowed back for 2 months.  Now why can't BW do that?

It did not stop raining all day.  So we were grateful to tie up and go and have a pizza and get warm again.

I have not been posting cards lately, as there have been lots of pictures of our trip, but we saw our first ducklings in Brentford and there is another family in the basin here.

The card shows a moorhen nesting in a tyre fender.  (Apparently that is one of the scams of the linger-longas - fill a tyre fender with straw and hope a bird nests and then they can't be moved on until the birds have fledged.)  Anyway, this one was on the wall of the Archbishop of York's landing stage on the River Ouse.

I matted the photograph onto silver and red card and added a silver photo corner to the top right hand corner.

Some green ribbon with red flowers was stuck across the bottom of the white card blank and I added three glass gems to the 3 right hand flowers.  The matted picture was stuck above the ribbon.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Limehouse Basin

After a day of R&R in Hanwell, a beer festival and BBQ we set off back down to Limehouse where we were met by Ed and Julia who were crewing again today.  Somehow the fleet was dramatically reduced to only three boats going back - ironically we were with the two boats we set off with.  Was it something we said?

When the river lock opened we noticed that the water hadn't changed, and in fact both the top and bottom lock gates were open at the same time.

Everything was going well, and then we saw this paddling towards us.  Don't know how far he got, but the tide was just about to change against him.

We are just about to practice travelling in formation - 3 abreast.  It will be 5 abreast in the

The river was very quiet until here, when we were joined by the DUKW to sail past the Houses of Parliament.

Heading for the centre of the centre arch of Tower Bridge.  Only managed the left hand side arch before.

The water got really choppy about here and the waves were breaking over the bow.  At one time both Julia and I got our jeans wet and water in the boat 'cos the door was open.

The most difficult bit was stemming the current outside Limehouse lock, crossing the river with a trip boat coming down stream and then getting into the lock cut without hitting the wall.  It was 2 out of  3 (and it wasn't us! - Ed navigated the boat with skill and panache and got a standing ovation from the crew as we entered the lock.

Then we all went for a meal in The Narrow pub, overlooking the lock entrance and early to bed after another exhausting but exhilarating day.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Below Hanwell Locks, Grand Union Canal

 Well, we did it!  We joined the St Pancras Cruising Club on their Easter jaunt to Hanwell from Limehouse and up the Thames to Brentford.  We were joined by Ed and Julia, our friends from Wildflower and set off at 11am.  The weather was glorious, cold but sunny - perfect for the trip.

 Leaving Limehouse - turn right.  Pool of London in front.

 Looking back from mouth of Limehouse towards Docklands

 Galatia following us out of Limehouse

Couldn't catch the waves coming over the prow.

The Prospect of Whitby.  Way back my London friends would never take me there.  I never discovered why.

Tower Bridge in front.  Will we go under the central arch this time?

No!  The Tower of London and the "Gherkin" in the distance.

The Millennium Bridge, it now blocks a great view of St Paul's (seen in the background).

 Through the Pool of London.  Lots of fast trip boats to stir up the waves!

The London Eye and City Hall.

David's old office.

Big Ben.  We were 6 minutes early for the 12 o'clock chimes.

Big Ben again.



After going past the Houses of Parliament the river goes really quiet and it is almost boring.  Though, today, there were lots of preparations for the Boat Race tomorrow.

We were on the river for just over 2 1/2 hours and then it was into Brentford and up through the gauging lock and then a couple more where we moored for the beer festival at The Fox.