Wednesday, 27 April 2016

TALES FROM THE RIVERBANK: This morning Elwood rediscovered his love of nesting in the dirty washing!

Wednesday is washday in this household (or should I say 'boathold' - although to my mind the 'hold' is the rather smelly bit under the floorboards - but I digress!) Washday means a trip to the laundrette since we have no washing machine on board. So dirty clothes, sheets and towels are packed into capacious Clas Ohlson bags and off we go. This morning, as is my wont, I threw the towels and tea towels from the forward shower room and galley up the steps into the saloon in preparation for packing into said bags, and went to strip the bed in the aft cabin. In the meantime the mad hound found this pile of towels and decided to rake them out into a nest, carefully positioned right at the top of the forward steps. Anyone who thinks cats have cornered the market in finding the most awkward and inconvenient places to sleep should spend some time with a determined dog.

What, no pillow? How's a dog supposed to sleep?

Seeing Bonzo there reminded me of his previous love of dirty clothes nesting, so I went to find an old photo I remembered. Gosh, I had forgotten how cute he was (for about 2 weeks!) he is still lovely, but you definitely can't call him cute now - he'd never forgive you!

Caught red pawed?

Friday, 15 April 2016

Late, great author, Terry Pratchett, likens inspiration to random particles sleeting through space leaving searing, white hot trails across any brain they pass through. I don't often have such 'eureka' moments - I tend to get a slow burn rather than a flash of inspiration. But there is no denying that the strangest things can prompt a new idea. I try to keep my camera handy (not having a camera on my antiquated phone!) but the most important thing is to keep your brain handy.  See what's around you, interesting patterns, shapes and colours crop up in the most unexpected places.

Love the way the paint has weathered to just leave a flash of bright green

Over a barrel - great crackle effect

Sunday, 10 April 2016

 A Frosty morning this week, hopefully the last for this year, Brrrrrr.
Amazingly long ice crystals

Interesting Pattern


Tuesday, 17 November 2015


There is something about pinecones that I have always found very appealing. Perhaps it is because, despite an amazing variety of sizes and shapes, each one fits together so beautifully. One of nature’s most intricate seed pods. Have you every really studied one? They are worth a good look if only for pleasure of seeing their unique tessellations and myriad colours. As they ease open to release their burden they reveal a smooth inner surface which contrasts the rougher, matt exterior. This inner surface itself has range of subtle colours from deepest brown to a rich red.
If you just thought a pinecone was a pinecone, think again. Next time you are near a pine tree, have another look.

Friday, 30 October 2015


Well it is actually rather prosaic, on our boat the first rule isn't anything nautical like always obeying the captain, or wearing life jackets on tidal waters - important though both those are. The very first rule of boating as far as we are concerned is ALWAY USE SOMEONE ELSE'S TOILET! Like the majority of boaters on the inland waterways, we are not on mains drainage. Seems obvious when you point it out, but many people who live 'dry side' don't give it any thought - and why should they? Whether it's 'bucket & chuck it' or a black water holding tank, one way or another it has to be got rid of. This is not a job either of us relish so the fewer times we have to do it the better.


That's much better; GET THE KETTLE ON! Not just because a constant stream of hot drinks always makes the day seem brighter, but unless we are cruising every day, we do not have an unlimited supply of hot water. If we want to shower on board (which is entirely feasible we have two shower cubicles on the boat, but since they also contain sink and loo, too, they have to be wiped down afterwards - easier to shower ashore when such facilities are available) any quantity of hot water necessitates the use of the immersion heater. Spontaneous showers are a thing of the past, it takes at least an hour to heat the water for a shower. Another reason for getting up early on the boat.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


‘An anchor for my soul’ and ‘Afloat on the ocean of life’ are two lines from a song called ‘Land Ho!’ by British rock group, Supertramp. This song really resonates with me for some reason and I find some of the lyrics particularly poignant. I think we all need an anchor for our soul; a calm centre of being – something that brings peace and contentment – something the roots us (and routes us) in the world. Personally I don’t think this is something centred around a person or place because these are things that ultimately we have no control over. This is part of who we are and what makes us happy. Sadly some people may never find that inner core of happiness, some may never even know to look. I am lucky enough to have found my anchor.

 Sewing is the anchor for my soul.

Rarely does a day go by that I hasn’t seen me sewing something. If I can’t actually get to my sewing machine, I am hand sewing, or designing, scribbling and planning the next project. I even take sewing on holiday with me. At the moment I am making boat curtains – much the same as house curtains only these generally aren’t more than 2 foot long, but they are some really odd shapes, and there are lots of them – the boat I am doing at the moment has 26 curtains! That’s bread and butter sewing, the stuff I really love is patchwork. I love the way everything fits together and take great pleasure in making things as accurately as possible. I am not so good at random or spontaneous stuff – I leave that to those who excel at such things. I particularly enjoy foundation piecing which is an excellent method of reproducing complicated blocks.

This pattern was from PAPER PANACHE in the USA

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


Can't believe we actually finished it or that it has all fitted in! We spend this weekend moving all our personally belonging out of storage in Yorkshire, and into our storage in Norfolk.
One overloaded (!?) truck
Storage unit packed to the roof
It took 6 hours to load up the large truck we hired, and almost 10 to get it all stowed away once we got home. Yes, we definitely have too much stuff.

The whole operation was made more interesting by me snapping my car park entry card so when we got back to the marina with the loaded truck on Saturday night, we couldn't get in! We scratched our heads for a while, then remembered we had a set of step ladders on the truck - with them and help of a piece of carpet over the very sharp spikes, we managed to break in and retrieve the other car park card from the boat. Could have done without that in the dark at the end of a loooonnng day.

I hope it is a very long time before we have to move this lot again - I guess we will be staying on the boat until we can face it!

I haven't sewn anything for four days and I am getting 'didgy' I must go and get my fix.