Sunday, 31 January 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

Yesterday - Anson off to the Hawthorns with West Bromwich Albion fans.

Woke up this morning to snow and we cracking of Ice. We were iced in again! Fortunately, the ice didn't last too long and we were able to get out for a pumpout at lunchtime.

February tomorrow and the nights are beginning to draw out. Just waiting for the stoppages to be finished and we should be off again. Can't wait.

Continuing with our story....

The Boat was due to be ready for the end of April and would be shown at the Braunston Boat Show that year, so we arranged for David to leave the Army for 30 April 1999. He was entitled to a resettlement course and he would be paid for his accommodation and any course he wished to take. He decided that maybe boat building might be a good idea and Kevin and Janet agreed. In fact, they even agreed to accommodate him.

We forgot one major thing. Boats NEVER arrive on time. There were problems with one of the boats in the line before us and consequently our boat would not be ready in time. We were due to leave the Army and consequently would lose our married quarter. No home, no boat. What now?

Kevin and Janet came to the rescue. We could stay with them while the boat was being built. What a pair! We had only met 3 or 4 times and we were invited into their home for weeks (and as it turned out months).

Back to the Valentines. A white card blank, silver card embossed with the heart blocks embossing folder. A piece of ribbon fixed underneath and then fixed to the card. The sentiment was printed out using the computer and matted onto silver and red card, and the two cut-out hearts were cut out on the CraftRobo.

David treated me to a Black Cat Cougar cutting machine for Christmas (and my Birthday, and next Christmas) as I was finding the CraftRobo struggling a bit. This new one does all sorts of wonderful things but I need to get to grips with the illustrator software (Inkscape). I just cannot get my head around that. He keeps on asking me when I am going to use it, but I haven't got the courage just yet. I am going to have to get on with it soon, I want to make a card with a dolphin jumping out of the centre of the card when it is opened.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

Well, the ice has all gone, but I couldn't resist publishing this picture. It was taken by Bruno, who lives on Calstock. The sign says "Caution Slippery Surface"

I was telling you about how we got here. Well after paying our deposit for the boat we heard nothing for ages and ages. We went to the Braunston Boat Show and visited the Warble boat - a huge beauty called Shiraz. The couple who bought it had about 7 kids and the bunks were all fabulous. We got lots of ideas and were assured by Janet and Kevin that we hadn't been forgotten. (In the past 10 years, we have never seen Shiraz out on the water. It was moored at Braunston, but I've never spotted it there either.)

All the canal magazines were devoured with great attention. Things we liked were cut out and put in a scrapbook for future reference. We visited the boatyard to discuss what we wanted and needed. But as we had not been on that many boats we took their advice as they were boaters as well as builders. Fortunately they made good sense and didn't let us get too carried away, explaining that you can't fit a quart into a pint pot etc, etc.

Then finally, one day we had a PLAN!

Our very own Mr David was almost an actuality.

What with all the snow and cold and everything, I thought a photograph of better times might buck us up a bit. (The sun came out today, and we started to get wanderlust.)

The picture is of the Napton locks with the windmill on the hill in front. It is matted onto silver and green card. Behind is a panel of green card fixed horizontally and behind that a white panel matted onto silver. I made a green tab which I fixed on the bottom of the photograph and added two green bubbly type peel-offs on the right hand side. The picture was then added at an angle

Friday, 15 January 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

The ice breaker commeth! Some of the chunks of ice were 6" thick in places. We are free at last.

On Wednesday we had 12 hours of snow which covered everything again. Then the thaw began and we have had a couple of days of rain. There is just a bit of ice left in the canal, but we were able to get around to Sherborne Wharf for a pumpout before the red light came on.

The colour of the water has changed here though it is a steely teal colour. I don't know whether it is because all the particles have sunk down to the bed of the canal or what. Usually the water here is fairly clear but black as coal. Time will tell I suppose.

The front of this card was originally the front of David's birthday card last year. I cut off the back part and then stuck the front onto an easel card adding a panel behind the button and another strip along the front with a sentiment message.

Don't like anything going to waste, especially a great card.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

A dull cold day with snow showers. BUT the ice does seem to be melting. There is definitely water laying on top of the ice in the canal.

Yesterday there were about 20 Koreans walking across the lock over the ice. Rather them than me. There is at least 4ft of water underneath the ice.

Morons have been throwing everything on top of the ice to try and break it, so there is rubbish everywhere including food for the vermin seagulls and pigeons.

So! Where was I? Ah yes. We are finally back in England and life in the Army is drawing to a close. What to do? Yes, we think living on a boat would be fun but our 15 year old daughter has a problem. Since Granny used to drag her to Devizes Wharf to look at the boats on her exeats she hates boats. Especially Narrowboats. Still; she's in boarding school; and then she'll be off to university - in all truth she left home when she was 7 1/2. Nasty unloving parents that we are.

We start looking at boats. Went to a couple of boat shows. Visited a few marinas and saw lots of second-hand boats. One or two had possibilities but most seemed to fall apart when touched. Curtains would fall down, doors would not shut properly, smelt of damp, etc, etc.

Then our plans are all changed. David is offered a job at the Ministry of Defence, a flat in Notting Hill and another two years service. We take it. Well the pension will be a bit more by the time we eventually leave and our back door is straight onto Portobello Road!

A visit to the IWA boat show in Henley. The first boat we visit is very "twee", all chintzy with bows tying up the curtains over the portholes, a glass dining table and wrought iron chairs and Did I mention the chandelier? Not exactly us. When we get on the next boat we are shooed off by a dragon lady saying that we can't come on board they are expecting a TV crew. Won't buy a boat off her then. We make an appointment for third boat inspection, and whilst waiting for our slot we see the Warble boat. "I know!" I tell David, "We can't afford one. But let's just go and look." (Fingers Crossed!)

So on we go. We meet Janet and Kevin, the couple who design and build the boats. They are great fun. We have a rapport. The boat is absolutely beautiful. The curtains do not fall off, the draws glide. There are lots of security features and the woodwork is to die for. It is perfect.

"But we can't afford one." We say.
"We'll make one for you on a budget" Says Kevin.
"But we still have two years to do in the Army" Says David.
"There is a two year waiting list!" Says Janet.

Well; what can you say? I uncross my fingers and wrote a cheque for the deposit there and then. And, we still have not seen the other boat we had the appointment for. So we'll never know how good their boat was.

Back at work my boss asks me if we had a good Bank Holiday. "Yes" I say, "We bought a boat!"

To be continued.....

More of my Valentine cards for the troops. I wouldn't say I was cheap, but all the hearts were retrieved from Caroline's Order of Service booklets that were left behind after her wedding!!

All the cards have a white base. This one has a white Cuttlebugged panel, matted onto pink card. A pink ribbon was then wrapped around it and fixed at the back and the whole panel stuck down onto the card. I then added the sentiment (done on the computer) and matted onto pink card and the two stamped and embossed hearts.

On this one, I Cuttlebugged some shiny black card. Wrapped a dark pink ribbon around it and then a pink organdie ribbon, tied in a knot (another bit of an Order of Service recycling!)

The sentiment and hearts were then added.

This third one has a black base again, but I added some paper lace made with a punch and a large pink ribbon with a knot at the bottom. Again with the sentiment and hearts.

And finally, a pink Cuttlebugged panel, some pink organdie ribbon and bow, sentiment and hearts. Finally adding a little pink gem on the ribbon.

This time I got really clever with the Cuttlebug folders and used two at the same time!! making the scalloped border at the bottom, which I then had to cut out.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Gas Street Basin

David has been having fun taking photographs out in the snow. This is the bridge over the Worcester Bar Lock. Personally, I've seen enough snow for this year - it can thaw now.

Not much happening, what with being iced in so I thought you might like to read how we got to be here on this boat, surrounded by ice and snow.

No? Well tough!

When David left the Army after 35 years (and 27 years of married quarters) we had no idea where we wanted to live. We never had a yearning for a semi on an estate. An oast house? awindmill? aconverted chapel? (probably all too expensive.) Well then, a double decker bus? a railway carriage? or a boat? Always loved boats. Used to buy canal magazines if going on a journey. Let's look into that.

I can't remember when, exactly, we came upon the idea of actually living aboard a narrowboat. I know we were going to hire one on the Llangollen when we were living just outside Shrewsbury about 28 years ago. But David got a posting and we were in Budapest before we could do it.

While we were in Ashford, Kent about three years later we visited the IWA boat show at Brentford and went on all the boats. I fell in love with a Warble built boat - David said it was far too expensive, and anyway we still had years to do in the Army.

Then we got posted again. First to Edinburgh, then Germany and then Cyprus. It was another 8 years before we were back in the UK.

To be continued.....

I have just made 19 Valentine cards to be sent out to Afghanistan for the troops to send back to their loved ones. Just one more to go to make the 20.

I made then all just using Cuttlebug embossing folders and some Nestabilities dies, plus ribbons, gems and brads etc.

Everyone card different. This one started out as a tissue box. I cut it down and embossed it with "Birds and Swirls; wrapped a pink ribbon around it and used two matted and embossed pink hearts. I typed out the sentiment on the computer and matted it up on pink and silver card and stuck it down. Finally I made a bow with the bit of ribbon that was left over and fixed it with a heart shaped brad and three pink gems.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Gas Street Moorings, Birmingham

One of the best bits of living in the centre of Birmingham are the firework displays (is that good grammar?).

New Year's Eves are a wonderful. This year we had a full moon and an almost clear sky. There were stars in the sky and then even more with this display which lasted five minutes. And, the even better bit. You are back in the warm comfort of your home almost before the last light fizzles to the ground.

We have not done much since then. A bit of shopping on Saturday and we had planned a trip to Stratford-on-Avon this morning but just as we were about to leave it started snowing and you know what the railways can be like if it snows... So we declined and as the train left Snowshill Station the sun came out and it was too late.

Still, we got to say goodbye to Sandy who is leaving for a job in Rugby. He will be sadly missed and we all hope he does well.

I love making fussy cards with lots of ribbon, bling and flowers. David usually hates them. But I also like (as does he) simple cards like this one.

I simply stamped the flowers onto white card and matted it onto gold and green card before fixing it to a white card blank.