Sunday, 30 April 2017

Thatcham, Kennet and Avon Canal

 Network Rail are electrifying the line, not exactly a pretty sight.

We left early again, this time to the accompaniment of a woodpecker.  There were free  moorings at Thatcham too (now that IS a first!) so we moored up (it was only 0745) and by 1055 I was on the train to Reading and then on to London for a day's shopping.

Yonks ago I bought a roll of  stickers and made a few cards, with this one I made the sentiment on the computer and matted it onto gold card and stuck it behind the sticker.  This was then stuck onto a green card blank.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Woolhampton, Kennet and Avon Canal

 First boat moored on a lock landing, well, I know it is on the "off" side, but it is a wide canal and there could be two boats using the lock.

We were on our way by 0545 to the accompaniment of a cuckoo.  We had a pump-out and took on water at Tyle Mill and then met up with a group of Girl Guides on a youth community boat at Aldermaston so shared the locks and swing bridge to Woolhampton.

Lunch at the Rowbarge at Woolhampton after visiting the shop in the village for a paper and produce and then another nap.

We were last down here 5 years ago and  found climbing onto these locks was relatively easy (not with a windlass in one hand though).  Now I found I had to put one food in the stirrup, the other knee on the lock beam, then the other one, then sort of crouch and try and pull myself up before walking across to the other side.  Then I had to get back onto my knees and feel around for the stirrup before I could get off the beam.  From now on I'll only do it in an emergency, I'll just walk around the lock to cross the other gates.

This card, made for a lady that loves cats.  It is a pink square card with some brown ribbon fixed across the bottom.  The pink cat was a bought topper which was matted onto white, pink and brown card and then onto a larger panel of white, pink and brown card.  A swirl was stamped down the right hand side of the large panel and a sentiment (matted in pink and brown) was fixed to the bottom right and the cat on the top left.  Tow pink organdie bows were then added for decoration.

The box was made out of brown card with a pink organdie bow fixed across the top.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Theal, Kennet and Avon Canal

OK, explain this one.  How do I half fill the lock if  I can't open the gate paddles?

Left Reading at 0645, had no trouble at Fobney Lock.

Met this at near the Running Man and Burgfield, not "Moored Like a Twat", just stopping off to pick up locks from the towpath.

The first test was would there be room on the visitor moorings at Theal?  There was!  So we were moored up by 1015.

Six big locks and 1 swing bridge and I was in bed for a snooze soon after lunch.

The boat horse that pulls the trip boat from Kintbury to Hungerford.  I have used the picture several times, this time I printed out a small glossy photo and a washed out larger one.

I matted the larger one onto red and silver card and wrapped black and white checked ribbon around it and tied it in a knot.  I added photo corners to the panel which was then stuck onto a red card blank.  The smaller picture was also matted onto red and silver card and added to the bottom right hand corner.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Reading, Outside the Gaol, Kennet and Avon Canal

 The last leg of the Thames, we were off early and mooring up in Reading by 1145.

This boat is moored just before the junction with the K&A.  Don't know how it floats, there were great holes in the bottom.

And this one seems to have a legitimate reason for not moving, a moorhen nest in the fender.

There was only room for 2 boats to moor, so we took the first and went off to have lunch in The Forbury.

A stamped and hand coloured lion, matted onto black and gold card and then onto some torn camouflage paper and the fixed to the white card blank.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wallingford, River Thames

 We were off at a quarter to eight and got all the way to Culham Lock before we found a lock keeper on duty so we could pay for a two day licence for the Thames.  The Thames are so easy to use now that they are electrified and we are allowed to use them out of hours.  Mind you, we had to wait for half an hour at Sandford Lock as a hire boat had just come out and for some reason the lock would not open again.  David had to phone up the emergency number.

The moorings at Oxford were rammed and there were one or two scullers on the water.

I love this barge.

Lots of work being done on the willow trees, this stretch looked quite bare.

There were our first swallows, kites, ducks, geese (the proper ones) greebes and most other waterfowl on the water.

We arrived in Wallingford around 3 o'clock and moored up on the left by the swimming pool.  There would have been room on the town side if the gin palaces had moored more considerately.

One happy birthday card.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Oxford - Oxford Canal

These are the new signs by the locks leading down onto the river sections.  I don't know what was wrong with the old ones, they worked perfectly well.  These are powered by solar panels and flash the appropriate state of the rivers.

A quiet day in Oxford, some shopping and a bit of siteseeing

The light blue panel was embossed and then matted onto a darker blue card.  Some spotty blue ribbon was wrapped around the bottom and tied in a knot.  The sentiment was printed onto white card and stuck to the bottom right hand corner with sticky fixers and two gems stuck on each end.

To finish off, the panel was fixed to a light blue card base and three gems were added to the top left hand corner.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Oxford, Oxford Canal

Ah!  the tranquil canal.  Only the A34, another major road and the railway just behind.  Blissful!

The last drag into Oxford today.  Lots of static boats, 4 locks and 3 lift bridges.   The hawthorn was just blossoming by the locks and the smell was delicious.There were only 2 boats on the city moorings and one of those left just after we arrived, so we virtually had the place to ourselves.

I have made several cards using this picture of a coote on her nest in a liferaft.  This one I matted onto silver, green and pink card.

I took a piece of floral paper and rubbed the edges with green ink and fixed it to a white card blank and then added some embossed green card on top.  Then added the photograph.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Bridge 223, Jolly Boatman - Oxford Canal

 Now here is a sight you don't see very often, and she was the third one we saw this morning on the towpath.

I tried to creep out of the front door, but it squeaked and set  her off to the bridge.

Where she looked around the corner and couldn't decide what to do next.

She finally decided to jump into the canal

 So she leapt into the water with a great splash, swam across to the other side and disappeared across the field.

And I took lots of pictures of the bridge and missed all the action!

We met 6 hire-boats today, all full of single men, is there something we should know?

One of my least favourite lift bridges (Mill Lift Bridge) has now been electrified, so it was just a matter of pushing a couple of buttons and not hanging onto the end of a chain and then sitting on the beam.  Greatly improved.

We got diesel at Enslow Wharf and while tied precariously to another boat at the wharf and "traditional" type boat put putted past and a speed of knots, knocking all the boats about and pulling all the ropes.  And they say it's the hire boaters who don't slow down!

Apart from that, there was no room in Thrupp (0f course!)  I never know why so many people want to stay there there is nothing much to do there.

We were looking for somewhere to stay the night though and finally found a spot by the Jolly Boatman pub, so we went for lunch and had a lovely meal each.

Now here's a card for a boy.  A blue card blank with a part embossed brown card matted onto light blue card.  Navy ribbon was wrapped around the panel and then stuck onto the card blank.  Three die-cut and embossed stars were added with a computer generated banner and a blue ribbon knot.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Chisnell Lift Bridge - Oxford Canal

Considering this is Easter week, there have been very few boats about.

Today we were out for 3 hours and travelled 6 1/2 hours, working 4 locks.  Did a bit of river cruising and it was sunny, but the wind was cold.

We moored up just before the lift bridge, which was open but sometimes it is closed.   I said to David, "If that bridge is down tomorrow, you're in trouble!".  Well the bridge went down and several boats went through and struggled to get the bridge to go down after going through.  Eventually it was left open.  So David was relieved.

Forever Friends.  A cute little bear, this one carrying a red rose.

I wrapped some rosebud ribbon around silver card and fixed it to the front of a long card blank, then I added the bear with sticky fixers and the hearts down the right hand side with the sentiment on the bottom.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Between Haynes and Foxes Lift Bridges (170/171)

 All the lock workings have been greased recently and there is grease all over the locking mechanism, so when you touch it you also get covered in grease.  Someone came up with the great idea of using a stick to flick the lock up or down and left it on the top of the paddle gear.  It caught on and most of the stands now have a stick on top.  Now why didn't I think of that?

We were up and off by 0700, arriving at Cropredy at 0815 where we spent an hour taking on water.

Then it was on to Banbury where we arrived at 1145.  David went off to do some shopping but I had to return to the boat.  I have had a bit of a tummy problem and cannot go far from the toilet.  I also had excruciating pains in my legs and could hardly work for a short time.

So, after Banbury we stopped between the two lift bridges just outside the town.

This was David's Birthday card last year.  I found the pictures on the internet and printed them out 3 times.  I matted one set of pictures onto some lilac card and matted that onto holographic silver card and then onto a white card blank.  I cut out details of the pictures from the other two copies and decoupaged them onto the base pictures.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Bridge 147 - Oxford Canal

 A really early start - 0545!  Noticed someone complaining on Facebook that people go past her boat very early in the morning.  Whoops!  Does she know she is missing the best part of the day?

Everything was going well until we got to the middle of Claydon locks and we were met by a CRT worker.  The pound between locks 20 and 21 was empty.  We had to wait for an hour for the water to be replaced.

Then it was on through Cropredy where we took on water and got rid of the rubbish and it was on to Banbury, stopping off for a pumpout at Sovereign Wharf (they are only open on Fridays, so we were lucky!).

A quick shop in Banbury (I have not been too well for the last couple of days and couldn't manage the town, in fact I never even got it to the front door of the mall!).  The it was on to a piece of piling between two open lift bridges.  And it was still only 1pm!!!

Two pretty boats on a pretty card.  I matted the photo onto silver, blue and red card and fixed it to a green card blank.  Then a topper of dandelions and a ladybird was added.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Between Bridges 130-131, Oxford Canal

 The ascent of Napton locks was lovely, the weather was warm and we were accompanied with the bison for three of them.

The it was a bit of piling in the middle of nowhere, just us and one other boat (for a bit, anyway)  by the evening the place was full.  But it is such a lovely spot everyone wants to stop here.

A Christening card, or it could be an Easter Card with different wording.

The white, embossed card was matted onto gold mirri card and a white ribbon was wrapped around the front before it was fixed to a white card blank.  A white ribbon bow was then added.

The crosses were die-cut in gold and white and stuck to the front of the card.  Three yellow daisies are stuck to the bottom of  the cross and above the bow.

The sentiment was printed onto white card and matted onto gold mirri card.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Napton Bridge, Oxford Canal

 A bank of primroses by one of the locks.

A fairly uneventful day, met a hireboat for the last 3 locks at Calcutt and followed then onto the Oxford.  They turned off at the boatyard and we moored up by the pub.  Yet another one that looked quite dead.

I walked into Napton on the Hill to the shop/cafe/post office to get some supplies.  Perhaps a bit to far via the lock, but the shop at the lock was not open!

For this card I matted a piece of decorative paper onto pink card and then fixed it to the front of a white card blank.  I die cut a circle of the paper and matted that onto a circle of the pink card and added a smaller green circle and white circle with the sentiment stamped onto it.  Three gems and a bow were added for decoration.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Cuttle Bridge, Grand Union Canal

Ten more locks today, so it was an early start (as usual) and we reached the pub moorings at The Cuttle Inn at 0945 and moored up.  The pub looked dead and we had arranged to meet our daughter and family for lunch, so when a space became free opposite at The Boat Inn we moved across and had a lovely lunch there.

The Cuttle Inn did open, but it certainly was not very welcoming, and there were no signs of life at 1230, so they lost out.

The Grandsons had a great afternoon on the boat, we walked up to the lock to watch/help a boat down which fascinated the eldest one.

A gatefold card made from a kit which came free with a card making magazine.

I cut a circle out of the front flaps and added decorative paper to the front of the card, adding roses and gems in the corners.

The inside was decorated with a contrasting paper and a topper which was matted onto a white circle of card.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Radford Semele - Grand Union Canal

 I don't know how many times I have been through Shrewley tunnel before, but I never noticed the small tunnel at the side before!

 A nice early start and we were at the top of the Hatton flight by 0845 to discover that a boat was 3 locks in front of us, going down!!!

This magnificent gentlemen was watching us do the top lock.

Then a volunteer lockie turned up and helped us down to the 4th lock where Silver Lining was waiting for us.  So instead of stopping off at he garage for the night we went right down to the bottom with the help of two volunteers and the crew of the other boat.  And then on through the Cape locks and when we got to Tesco (to do a heavy lift shop) we discovered it was closed (Easter Sunday).  So it was on to here, one of our favourite spots on the GU.  We got here just as the rain showers set in.

I don't like his card very much, here goes.  A brown card base with a panel of patterned paper matted onto dark brown, cream and light brown card on a dark brown card base.  Brown ribbon is wrapped around the panel.  The two bird cage panels are also matted onto cream, light and dark brown card and fixed to the card and two brown bows added at the tops.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Near Br 64, Grand Union Canal

 Just before we left Birmingham we took delivery of the new covers for our settee.  They look really great (if very expensive!).  I am also in the process of re-vamping the curtains which are now 18 years old and were beginning to show their age.

When we woke of this morning we had no electricity!  Why do we always have a crisis at the start of our cruises?

Anyway, I phoned Dylan at Swallow Cruises and he promised to have a look at the batteries when we passed by his boatyard.  Which he duly did and pronounced the batteries as fine and they were reading 100%.  So it was a bit of a mystery.

We had intended to stop at the top of the locks but we met a boat at the last lift bridge coming the other way, so decided to go for it.  Big mistake!  There was a boat in front of us, so we only had one lock for us until we got past the Boot Inn where we met up with a lovely female volunteer lock keeper who helped us down to the junction.  There were more volunteers re-surfacing the towpath and generally tidying up and painting Lock 18.

We moved onto the Grand Union canal and immediately felt the benefit of deeper water.  No scraping noises and lots of power.

This is a "card in a box".  Basically a box shaped card that can be folded flat to fin into a normal envelope.

The inside of the box has 3 tabs and the die-cut items are fixed to them with strips of acetate so that they look like they are floating when the box opens out.

I used lots of baby related die cuts to make this card and yellow gingham paper to make it gender neutral.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Railway Bridge, Stratford on Avon Canal

 Our last view of the James Brindley having it's makeover.  It should be almost finished by the time we get back.

This year's cruise is, hopefully, down to Devizes on the Kennet and Avon Canal.

We set off early-ish and were moored up just before 1pm.

The Stratford on Avon canal is so shallow that we were scraping along the bottom in places, even though we were in the middle of the canal.

It's that time of the year again.  Blossom is blossoming everywhere.  To here are 3 cards I have made from photographs.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Norwegian Cruise

We have just spent almost two weeks on a Norwegian cruise, sailing along the coadt up to the Russian border and then back down to Bergen.  Well, almost back to Bergen, but that s another story.

We had lots of sunshine and snow showers but the views from our cabin at the back of the ship were stupendous.

Then, we were just manouvering into port above the arctic circle, doing a sort of winding movement.  We were stood at the front of the boat in the saloon when I said to David that we were not going to make it.  (I've been stood on the front of our boat while doing that manouvre and I know when it's not going to work).

Anyway, the next thing, there is a crunch!

After about an hour of discussions etc we were all called into the cinema for a briefing and told that we would have to evacuate the ship to be taken by bus to the nearest airport and flown back to Bergen

In a way it wasn't such a bad plan, we got to see views that we would not have seen had be stayed on the boat.

And we got to do a smaller fiord cruise and a trip on the Flom Railway which was pretty spectacular.

So, I know it's not Christmas, but the scenery is similar.

This is a tri-shutter card and came as a kit, so all I had to do was stick the pieces in the right places.