Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Castlefields, Bridgewater Canal

A trip on the train to Blackpool today. Another grotty town (sorry I know I am a soft southerner, but really have you been there lately?)

The only good thing we saw was this wedding cake in a shop there. I am going to send a copt of it to Caroline to give her an idea for hers.

We had a lovely quite night last night. No generator, no couples arguing and no drunks. It only takes a couple of people talking loudly outside your boat at 2am to spoil your sleep.

Still waiting for BW to get back to us with information about taking the boat to Liverpool. Five days since we emailed them!

I am posting this card while David is not looking! It's for Rachel and George. The badge came from the internet and I made the backing paper as well. The main badge I decoupaged and added the sentiment from the Bend It font on the computer. There is room for a name and age to be added in the bottom left hand corner.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Castlefields, Bridgewater Canal

I know David gave this pub (Duke's 92 and Albert's Shed) a good write-up in Canals and Rivers a couple years ago or so, but I didn't think that many people actually read it!

We had such a lovely day, yesterday, the sun shone (though it was still chilly). We went to the Manchester Art Gallery to see the Leonardo da Vinci drawings which were lovely and all the other pictures and exhibitions too.

Then we met David's youngest sister and her husband for a drink or two in a nearby pub.

The day today began with drizzle so we went into town and caught a bus to Preston. Big mistake! Last time we were there we thought it was lovely, with that great market etc. But this time it looked like the Peoples' Democratic Republic of Somewhere East. The underpass from the bus station to the town was like going into the Land of Mordor. Paint was peeling, buildings were boarded up, everything was dirty.

So we paid a visit to the Art Gallery there which was a bit second rate and then caught the next bus back. One thing, the price was right. Bus pass there and back and the gallery was free. Didn't even stop for lunch.

The card was made as a blank card but was used as a "get well" card.

A quickie, I wrapped pink ribbon around a blue card, added a gold frame and a ready-made topper. Then to finish it off three pink hearts. Inside I printed out an insert saying "Hope you feel better soon."

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Castlefields, Bridgewater Canal

Another visit from some more of David's family. This time his eldest sister, her husband and two of their grandchildren, Ella and Beth.
We went for a stroll by the Rochdale Canal to watch a boat going through the first lock (the boaters needed lots of encouragement to go through the first lock with the water pouring over the top of the bottom lock gates). Then we went to the Roman remains as Ella is studying the Romans at school at the moment.
Boy was the boat quiet when they at left us!

David caught the sunset reflected on the church and Great Northern Building this evening. It looked like some orange floodlights had been switched on. Does that mean we might get a nice day tomorrow?

The blossom is coming out on the trees now - so here is a card made with 2 photographs of apple blossom. They have been matted onto white and pink card and then onto a larger piece of pink card. I wrapped pink ribbon around the bottom of the card and then matted that card onto silver card. The base card is also pink.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Castlefields, Bridgewater Canal

David was up early and we were off at 0600 managing to get here before the rain really set in.

Everything was going well until we got to Waters' Meeting and there was a sign saying that the Barton Swing Bridge would be closed until 4 April. So we are stuck again. If the alternator had not broken we would have been through before the closure. Most people never see this bridge swung open, we seem to catch it every time.

In Birmingham we sit in the boat and look at the Hyatt Hotel. In Manchester it's the new Great Northern Building and the Hilton Hotel.

I forgot to mention that last Sunday a fellow Gas Street moorer, Graham on nb Collingwood went past. He was off to Manchester to survey the bridges. He is now moored at the other end of the basin here.

So, to tie it all in here is a Christmas card I made for him last year of Collingwood. David "Photoshopped" the picture and it looks like a faded watercolour painting. I just matted it onto silver and turquoise card and added a peel off sentiment.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Lymm, Bridgewater Canal

Back at Lymm. The picture shows a nearly empty stretch of moorings. Although it is 24 hour moorings with no return within 3 days - three of the boats are in exactly the same place that they were at over a week ago. Seems BW are not the only people with overstayers.

We got some very expensive coal from Thorne Marine as we passed. They don't do Calor Gas, so we didn't get any, and they don't take debit cards. Obviously don't want our custom there then yet again.

We are trying to decide whether or not to go to Liverpool to visit the new link which should be opened very soon and maybe fit in the Grand National. We did the Grand National several years ago and the Mersey Cruising Club looked after us admirably. Then maybe to do the Huddersfield Canals providing we have the time.

A belated Mothers' Day card. I have had some lovely sparkly, feathery butterflies for ages and needed an excuse to make a card with one. They are so delicate that they could not possibly be posted without damage.

I covered the card with some turquoise and lilac paper and inked the edges with a green ink. I don't like doing this as I usually mess it up, but this time it seemed to work. I added a the turquoise and gold butterfly and a turquoise organza bow. I printed off the message and matted it onto some lilac card and inked the edges again with the green ink pad.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Moore, Bridgewater Canal

Steve drove to Manchester to pick up the new alternator and it was wired into the boat by 4pm. Although it was just about to start raining, David was so stir crazy we left immediately the bill was paid.
We had filled the back tank with diesel (first time since the silly new price arrangements last November - though with a commercial licence we pay the lower price anyway) and the front one with water and pumped out the holding tank earlier in expectation.
Thank you to John and all your staff at Claymoore. You really looked after us in our hour(s) of need.
We got to Moore to find one of the boats was still there so had to put in a spike in the bank for the back rope. Naturally by 1.30am it had pulled out and we were across the canal. And, of course, it was raining!
Caroline enjoyed her meal at the Fat Duck and even tried the snail porridge!

John very kindly took 20 of my cards to sell along with some notelets and a pack of Christmas Cards! Says it is going to be his mission to sell them all. Hope so!
This is one of the 3 Mothers' Day cards that I made for the boys working in the boatyard. Lovely lime green and lilac flowered backing paper strip with lilac border, lilac and yellow flower with brad centre and three daisies. Three lilac gems in the top left hand corner and a peel-off Happy Mothers Day (they copped out and didn't add the apostrophe). Is it Mother's day or Mothers' Day? I think it's for all Mothers - so must be Mothers'. But I always came bottom in class for English.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Preston Brook, Bridgewater Canal

Claymoore Narrowboats has been holding an open day this weekend. Unfortunately the weather was cold and there was very little sunshine (not like dahn saaf). There were lots of visitors and David earned his keep by skippering the day boat to let the visitors have a go at steering. He took them down to the tunnel entrance and then brought them back a round trip of about 1/2 hr each time.

Not only is it Mothers' Day, it is also our daughter's 30th birthday. She was supposed to have been born on Mothers' Day in 1979 but came early and arrived on her Grandfather's birthday. She is off to The Fat Duck at Bray for her birthday celebration.

I made her a 3 page card (one for each decade?) and used photographs of her two kittens. I scored a line about 1cm from each side of the centre fold and on a separate piece of card and fixed them together with brads.

The front was made with a Cuttlebug embossed matt, lace, ribbon and silk flowers.

The second page was made with the Cuttlebug again with a pop-up butterfly, ribbon and gems

On the last page I made a panel and added a peel -off 30, a rub-on happy birthday and the footprints were supposed to be rub-ons too but they didn't work so I just stuck the strip down. Finally I added a paper flower.
On the opposite side I matted another picture of the cats.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Preston Brook, Bridgewater Canal

Still here. The old alternator has gone off to be either repaired or replaced. We have been moved about from mooring to mooring, like musical chairs. Still we've got electricity, water and a Spar shop within walking distance.
Of course the weather has been lovely and we are stuck between the workshops and a boat and cannot see out of the windows.
I made a trip to Chester on the bus yesterday - lots of daffodils and blossom and warm sunshine.
Making good use of the Cuttlebug. Black embossed card matted onto silver. I cut a slit and tied some pink ribbon around and through and tied it in a knot and added a couple of toppers.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Preston Brook, Bridgewater Canal

David made a very early start while I stayed in bed. Love canals with no locks. He likes to get up and go very early and I would rather not.

We had a very uneventful trip back down the Bridgewater, stopping off at Moore again for a newspaper and got to the boatyard just on 0900.

They very kindly let us moor up outside and let us have a land line so that we now have electricity again.

After lunch we had a visit from Rachel and George, David's niece and her husband who actually live very close to Moore and had walked down the towpath to see us.

I forgot to mention that on Friday I was sitting trying to upload the blog when I noticed white smoke coming from the radio next to me. Considering that it was not switched on we couldn't work out what happened and were thankful that it hadn't been the day we were off the boat in Chester. Might have lost the boat. And, does this have anything to do with the Alternator packing up?

More irises (I love irises). I stamped, embossed and water coloured this one then matted it a couple of times.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Lymm, Bridgewater Canal

I thought Friday 13th was supposed to be the unlucky day. Not so. Saturday 14th can be worse.

We set off for Lymm with high hopes then David noticed that the batteries were not re-charging. We have been having trouble with readings and stuff (techie things). We stopped at Thorne Marine but they were not interested in helping us so we went on to Lymm, moored and I went for a paper. David phoned RCR but they couldn't/wouldn't help. So we went on to the two boatyards past Lymm. Again, one was closed and the other one thought I was mad for thinking that they might be open and might help us!! So I phoned Claymore Boats at Preston Brook and the man said that he was on his own at present but we could bring the boat in on Monday.

So we winded the boat at Bollington and came back into Lymm for the night. We had to let the fire go out (needs electricity to pump the water through the radiators), switched off the fridge, and sat in blankets and read by candlelight - very romantic.

We have had to cancel visits from 2 more of David's family because we didn't know where we would be. And on top of all that MU lost 1-4 to Liverpool at home!!! Can things get worse?

Let's hope tomorrow is better.....

A decoupaged card. You can't see it but there are about 3 layers on the Mini.

Moore, Bridgewater Canal

Like it, like it! Ours would be mortified if we left her the boat too. She hates them!
We were cheeky and went through Preston Brook tunnel 15 mins early. Well it was 0745 and we could see that no-one was coming the other way. Consequently we were moored up at Moore by 0900 and I was on the bus to Warrington by 1000.
We are now in Scowcroft Country and had a visit from David's eldest brother and his wife and we all went for dinner at The Red Lion. A very decent meal and David's review should be in Canals and Rivers any day soon.
A bridge on the Shropshire Union (I think) matted onto silver, green and blue. Green ribbon and three plastic flowers.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Dutton Stop Lock (nearly), Trent and Mersey

Today we were messed about by BW three times!

1st: at Anderton Services. They were recovering the towpath with wet, white chalky stuff. I jumped off the boat to get rid of the rubbish and David suggested we top up with water, but thought better of it. So back onto the boat. The ropes were covered in the white stuff and so were our shoes. We now have white marks all over the boat.

2nd: at SaltersfordTunnel. We had to wait for 3 boats at Barnton Tunnel so we were too late for the time slot at Saltersford. BW were putting in drainage pipes so we could not tie up while we waited the 40 mins before we could go through. We watched them throw stones into the cut, cut off pieces of plastic tubing and anything else they could think of. I suppose they will have a job dredging next!.

3rd: We always try and stop on the pilings just before Dutton Stop Lock. BW had very kindly dredged, but put all the mud on the towpath side so that we had 4" of sticky wet mud to step into to tie up. So we now have muddy footprints to go with the white chalky ones.

Rant over. We passed a new football stadium at Wincham where the Manchester United Reserves play so we were not worthy - though Michael might think it was another team that we are not worthy of (see yesterday's comment).

A symphony of blue and green. Matted photo, blue ribbon, silver peel-offs and stamped motive.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Bramble Cutting. Trent and Mersey Canal

Nearly a day to justify the red sky last night. It started out very cold this morning but got milder and the sun almost came out several times.

The usually busy Middlewich Branch was really quiet - we only met one boat and that was on a skew bridge - of course!

The picture is of Stanhorne Lock. Too high I couldn't get over it and too low I couldn't get under it. My fault, I'm short and fat!

There was work going on by British Towpaths all along the canal at Middlewich. There was a workboat in the top lock and the driver having a sandwich and cup of tea (the one between the 9 o'clock start one and elevenses) but he moved out when he saw us and he had also left all the gates open for us on the way down.

Middlewich was almost eerily quiet and I checked on the stoppages to see if we were going to be held up. But no. Just quiet. I was let off the boat by the visitor moorings for a quick trip to Tesco and met up again with David while he was emptying the Big Lock.

We finally found all the boats - there are 4 here 2 on the Bramble Cutting and 2 on the moorings almost opposite.

A white hammered card with a silver 3-aperture frame. In each aperture is a different coloured silk ribbon rose.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Between Bridges 5 & 6 Middlewich Branch, Shropshire Union

A start stop sort of day.

We set off and it began to rain so we moored up at Hurleston Junction for an hour. There are good moorings there but there is also a ledge just under the water and even with the round tyre type fenders out we were banging. So we set off again and ended up just after Venetian Marina.

Yet again, no Internet connection so another retrospective update.

The full moon rose in the east and behind us the sun set in the west.

Two beautiful shots and David took them both.

Pottering around in Northwich about 4 years ago I came upon this tin cow in one of the charity shops. She is a fridge magnate so I just stuck her onto the card with some sticky fixers and added a "get well soon" peel-off. The recipient can remove the sticky bit and use it as a fridge magnate if they should so wish.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Nantwich, Shropshire Union

Thanks to the comment from John of nb Epiphany I have corrected the post to Adderley Locks - trying to post without the Nicholsons and short term memory loss. Sorry for any confusion.

A quick, straightforward run up to Nantwich today. Hack Green looked inviting, as usual, but we have never stopped there for the night.

Arriving at Nantwich for 0915 and by 1000 we were on the bus to Chester for some shopping and lunch.

Who was it who said that the towpaths are unsuitable for horses? Obviously not this one!

As we came out of the bottom of Audlum locks yesterday we saw our first lambs which reminded me of this card.
The sheep have been stamped and embossed and then background hand painted with water colours. I can't remember now, but I think I added some shiny gunk to the sheep to make them stand out a bit This has then been mounted onto some green mulberry paper and fixed to a yellow card.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Bridge 80, Shropshire Union Canal

We started off this morning at 0700 in glorious sunshine. We were moored just as the heavens opened and the wind was blowing just 3 hours later!

All the Audlum locks were against us (including No 9 - no eggs, flowers or fruit in the box today).

Then at Lock 10 my fantasy home. I always imagine how I am going to convert these old stables into a comfy home. Electricity from the wash behind the canal (haven't worked out running water or sewerage yet). And I could sell my cards and ice cream from one of those shuttered windows to passing boaters.

I nipped into Audlum for a newspaper and found a new Co-op shop. Very handy. . We always used to have breakfast at the Old Priest House but we have not stopped here for a couple of years now as the village seemed to be going downhill shopwise. It was looking interesting today though and I didn't have time to explore it as David was doing the lock outside the Shroppie Fly by himself!

As we hit the bottom lock (figuratively speaking) the sun disappeared and the wind came up. We just managed to get ourselves moored up before the storm began. What a change in the weather!

Here is the other card that I made with a tennis team. The same, but different.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Bottom Adderley Locks, Shropshire Union Canal

The only drawback of being in the middle of nowhere is that there is probably no mobile telephone or Internet connection. The bottom of Adderley locks is one place where neither our Vodafone or O2 will work. It is lovely and quiet though.

When I walked past this boat I could not understand the question. It is often fun trying to work out why people have named their boats and it was not until I posted the picture that I saw the wine bottle and glasses on the left. Now it makes sense. Bet they are happy with the proposed drinking restrictions due to come into place soon.

Set off at 0830 as we wanted some coal from Victoria Wharf, so we were late in starting, but not going very far. The five locks at Atherly were pleasant and we met 2 boats on their way up. By 1030 we were safely moored at the bottom of the locks in time for the football at midday. At least the satellite dish works in the middle of nowhere - just need clear sight of the satellite.

While selling my cards at the IWA festival last year a lady asked me for two cards with a tennis theme for her ladies tennis club. Of course I didn't have anything suitable but found a shop on the Internet which made these polymer clay figures. So with a couple of toppers and some mulberry paper I came up with this.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Market Drayton, Shropshire Union Canal

OK sort this one out.

As we usually travel very early in the mornings and moor up for the day (and consequently overnight) anytime between 9 and 10am. Does this mean that we couldn't moor here today? And if so, why? Are the moorings full of boats coming to the market on Tuesday and Wednesday? Is the market that good? We've always managed to miss it. There are boats moored herringbone fashion on the opposite bank. So if they cannot get out when boats are moored on the bank, they must be pretty miffed if they want to leave on Wednesdays.

We left Norbury under a sharp frost but when the sun came out it was quite warm. There were quite a few boats out (mainly through Tyrley Locks), but the locks were all leaking really badly there was not much advantage in travelling in the opposite direction to the other boats.

Shopping in Market Drayton, a very expensive hot chocolate and Victoia sponge cake in the cafe, lots of miserable shoppers, chaos in Morrisons and the taxi firm said they had no taxis!!! Fortunately the supervisor phoned another firm for David (we'd forgotten our telephone) and we had a lovely lady drive bring us back to the boat. So now we can eat again for a few days.

I love this picture of Mr David all shiny and new moored up in Millwall Docks with Canary Wharf behind it just after 1 January 2000. I made the card using an old plastic bag which is sort of holographic and matted it onto red card. The picture I also matted onto red card and then added two photo corners and some navy ribbon before fixing it all to the card. I sent it off to one of the card magazines and they printed it!!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Norbury Junction

David set off at 0630 this morning while I stayed in bed. He got cold. I didn’t.
We got to Norbury Junction at 0900 and moored up for the day.

Saw this plate on a bench by the canal. I want to know more. Who are the guys? Are they still around? What was the name of the boat? What is the West Riding Narrowboat Co-operative? What has it got to do with Norbury Junction?

We had dinner in The Junction pub along with a couple of boat crews from co-owner boats. One crew came from Cornwall and the other from Cumbria. The couple from Cornwall were on an ex-Challenger boat. Their syndicate had managed to find another operater so they are carrying on as before the Challenger Synicate went down.
Now a plea for help.
We have a Mastervolt inverter, Mastervolt battery charger and a Mastervolt MICC remote controller on our narrowboat.

The batteries are new but the remote will not allow the batteries to charge to 100%. Each time they are charged they go lower 97% then 91% then 83%; they are now at 76% and will not go higher. We were able to run our washing machine whilst on the move and the batteries higher than 80% but no more. The inverter gives a ‘low-battery’ reading.

The Mastervolt rep has visited twice reset the Mastervolt remote and has gone off to think. We have e-mailed Mastervolt in Holland- no reply! The rep cannot find the solution, do you have a solution? Have you heard of any similar problems with battery charging whilst cruising?

Most grateful for any pointers; we have tried most ideas (letting the batteries go below 50% and recharging, a different battery charger all no good); there’s lot of beer for a solution, (well a beer).

And finally the card

One I made for Caroline when she started her new job (almost a year ago, where does the time go? I used backing paper stuck to ¾ of a square card with a pink gingham ribbon down the join. A topper with sentiment at the top and a handbag and boot topper. I added a bit of ribbon and a gem on the bag and three gems on the boot and used rub-ons for the sentiment down the side.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Wheaton Aston, Shropshire Union

We have been out of range with our Vodafone dongle thingy for a couple of days so this post and the next one are backdated.

A beautiful sunny day. We set of at 0830 and arrived at Wheaton Aston at 1000. Only 2 boats on the water points and one on the pumpout station, but he was moving off. We did a pumpout and then moored on the first available 48 hr mooring by the winding hole.

A walk into the village to see if the French Restaurant was still there – unfortunately not, but the local shop was going strong (last time we were here it was closing down).

Moving on - A slight contradiction in terms? – securely moored on a ½ hr waterpoint mooring – though it did move on later on in the afternoon, so perhaps not.

A decoupaged card for a new mum. She actually looks spookily
like my niece who had a baby last January!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Park Bridge, Shropshire Union Canal

A very early start (6.30) to get down the locks before the rain set in.

A hot bacon and egg banjo (army term for sandwich) at the stall between locks 9 and 10 and then surprise, surprise, a new bridge at lock 17. Thank you BW for thinking of the poor lock worker having to cross the lock hanging onto a wet paddle shaft by one hand and carrying a windlass in the other.

Oh! no they haven't. It is for their non-fee paying customers to help them cross the lock without balancing on the wet paddle shaft by one hand. Sod the boaters. You can't even get through past the open lock gates.

We managed to make it to the mooring before the rain really set in, and boy did it rain. I was oblivious to most of it though, I slept most of the afternoon. 22 locks are much harder than they were 10 years ago!

A very pretty card which is a stamped and hand painted iris mounted onto yellow and lilac card and lilac organdie ribbon.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Broad Street Basin

WE DID IT!!!!! We pulled the electricity plug out at 0945 this morning and set off for Wolverhampton is glorious sunshine, but a cold wind.

And Oh! what a wonderful sight. A dredger on the main line. Maybe on the way back we'll be able to do all the left hand side narrows without getting stuck.

David only had to go down the weed hatch once and we scraped over a couple of big things along the way.

We have moored up at the top of the locks with an Anglo Welsh hireboat behind us. Let's see who gets up first tomorrow to do the locks.

A card for a middle-aged couple's engagement. I printed the wording, with a red background, onto card and stuck this onto silver card. I made a couple of small holes in the red and silver card and threaded the red ribbon through with the heart charm and tied a knot. I then stuck this down onto a white DL card. Nice and easy. One day I'll be able to cut out the letters on my CraftRobo, but I'm not quite there yet.