Category Archives: Knitting

Dripping. 30th July

Guildford Big Willows Meadow

Ahh the smell of Willow

I’d had chance to explore this outside yesterday evening in the lovely sunshine. Fantastic willow trees with long sideways branches, brilliant for running along, I made sure that they were all mine.

Today the outside turned wet, then wetter still. It didn’t put off the people in the long zoomy boats or me. She and Tom were quite happy for me to be outside, out of the way, they were trying to put things away. She says they’ve got too much stuff again and need to get rid of things, I thought it best to keep out of arms reach just in case I was classed as stuff.

Rain never really bothers me, I quite like how it makes my fur glisten but today it played a trick on me. There I was wanting to gain some height for a better vantage point. I did my calculations and prepared my potential energy, converted it to kinetic energy leaping up. All had gone well and my landing position was looking suitable, no split second alterations of trajectory for landing. Paws set for landing only to discover the grab rail, named for it’s normal grabability, was the slipperiest thing in the world!

Instead of landing with grace, I all of a sudden, had to dig more kinetic energy out of my back legs and launch myself back onto dry land! ‘Tilly’s gone in!’ But I was out already! Tom opened the back door for me. My then chosen position on the sofa to dry off not a popular one. ‘Good job you’ve got lots of towels Tilly’ as I was She handled into the bathroom and unceremoniously rubbed down whilst trying to get back under the bathroom door. 

By the time I had stopped dripping everywhere it was someone elses turn. There was a knock on the slippy roof, it was Tom Adam. He wasn’t quite as soaked as I’d been but he’d made a good go of it, maybe he was too big to fall down the gap between Oleanna and this outside.

Me (just), Tom Adam, Tom and She

Tom Adam sometimes lives on a boat called NB Briar Rose and sometimes lives in a house, he also works for the BBC in that there busy London outside. I let them all sit around for ages chatting boats before I came through to say hello. How come he wasn’t told off for making the dinette soggy, wrapped in a towel and then dragged into the bathroom?!

Three new flavours, Yumm

Tom Adam was the reason I got on the cover of Canal Boat Magazine. Once he’d dried off too I was given lots of Pocket Pillows, three different flavours! Was this my fee for the cover? Or just a present? I don’t mind which, he can visit us again.

The rain stopped for a while so we all went outside to say goodbye, I made sure I showed him the best branches to climb should he and Tom Adrian tie up this outside in future. Really hope he got back to his car before it started to rain again. What a drippy day!

Yesterdays sunny opposite to today

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 tidy boat, 1 soggy moggy, 1 soaked sofa, 1 cat towel, 1 hour drying, 1 damp Adam, 2 hours drying, 3 cups of tea, 1 packet biscuits, 3 packets pocket pillows, 4 chin rubs, 1 nice Tom, 1 sprint up the willows, 1 sour dough pizza, 1 head mended, 2 pockets ( not edible) added to my cardigan.

All ready for the pockets

Edwin and Gertrude. 27th July

Godalming

The Pepper Pot, once the town hall

Godalming Museum is small but crammed full of information. Quite often such places are all about face, information here and there all jumbled up. Others consist of someones collection of bits and bobs and not much else, these range from mildly interesting to far far too much eagerly collected information that over powers you and to appreciate them fully you’d need a year or two of concerted effort. Godalming Museum is very well thought out, packed with information should you choose to look it up.

Lutyens with his T square and Jekyll with spade and cat

There is a room dedicated to two locals, Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. Lutyens was a famous architect who adapted traditional architectural styles to the needs of his times, designing numerous country houses in the Arts and Crafts style, the Cenotaph in London and much of New Dehli, India.

He was commissioned by Gertrude Jekyll to design Munstead Wood, a house for her and this was a start of their professional partnership. Gertrude would design the gardens that went long with Edwin’s houses, quite a package, if you could afford them.

A model of a statue of Gertrude sadly never made

The room is filled with sketches, cartoons and a scale model of what would have been a wonderful statue of Gertrude had it been made.

Maybe some of this would help with my back

Upstairs are rooms about the history of Godalming. Shallow places on the River Wey encouraged the Saxons to settle in the area. The river also became a natural barrier for King Alfred holding back the Vikings and in WW2 pill boxes were built along it’s length. Mills played a large part in Godalmings history, with corn, fulling, paper, gunpowder mills and tanneries. In 1881 the River Wey powered the worlds first public electricity supply, but sadly due to flooding and technical difficulties the town returned to gas lighting three years later.

Stitches

From the 17th Century Godalming became the centre of the framework knitting industry. Framework knitters worked long hours producing stockings in wool, silk and by the 1760’s cotton. Several framework machines are on display far more complicated than my knitting machine back in Scarborough. How I would love a sock knitting machine, giant french knitting for grown ups!

Please Father Christmas

A wall of magnetised photographs of local people ‘The Peoples Gallery’, all collated as Artists, Heroes, Writers, Booksellers etc caught our eye. Just browsing through the photos you want to know why they were important. A computer and large lever arch files hold a lot of information about everyone. From Jack Philips the junior wireless operator on the Titanic, who learnt his skills at Godalming Post Office. To Galton and Simpson who wrote Hancocks Half Hour and Steptoe and Son. To Chennell and Chalcraft who were hung on 14th August 1818, on the Lammas Lands for murder and parricide. To Mary Tofts who gave birth to rabbits!

Mick managed to find details of Charterhouse School, where his Great Uncle Norman taught mathematics from 1909 to 1945. Sadly he wasn’t famous enough to manage to get on the People’s Gallery.

At 15:58 we stopped what we were doing and waited and watched as the clock mechanism from the old Town Hall wound itself up to chime 4 pm. Chains, whirling things and of course a bell sounded the hour.

Church Street

A large map adorned a wall of one of the archive rooms. This showed the layout of the town with illustrations of the buildings to be found there. On leaving the museum we decided to have a look at a couple of the streets that had looked interesting, so we walked down Mill Lane towards the station.

Sugar coated cottage

Pretty house after pretty house. The roses on the house at the end of Mint Street such a picture.

Different textures, angles nothing at 90 degrees

Further down one skewed property made me want to get a sketch book out to record it’s uniqueness, my photograph doesn’t do it justice, the lense removing the gingerbread quality it had.

Property Game

A semi, it possibly floods every now and then.

An old mill sits by a mill stream, maybe this was where electricity was generated. The station sits proudly on the other side of the narrow valley, a KX telephone box from the 80’s spoiling the view along with modern ticket machines outside.

Choices!

Plenty more properties delighted our eyes as we made our way back into the main shopping area. A sweet shop with chilled medication naturally drew us inside. Over the last few hot days we have had a distinct lack of chilled medication, so it was time to make up for it. Both opting for Salted Caramel cones, mine a gluten free one, the first I’ve tried. Despite the usual shrinking factor that tends to come with the lack of gluten and an extra 50p (!) it was just as crispy and tasty as a standard waffle cone.

Gosh mine looks bigger than Mick’s in the photo

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trips into town, 2 hours at the museum, 8p short! 2 many knitting needles to count, 1 caseless clock, 15th century buildings, 2 many famous people, 1 very pretty town, 1 museum well worth a visit, 3rd shore leave in one day, 1 packet boat back on it’s mooring, 1 pram cover re-erected.

Planning Ahead. 2nd July

Cassiobury Park to Black Jacks Lock, 85

As nice as this mooring is for both Tilly and us it was time to start moving again. Just as we were about to start rolling back the covers NB Augustus with Alan and Sue on board came past. They had to reset the lock which gave us enough time to catch up with them to descend together.

NB Augustus leading the way

Our sharing was short lived as they only planned to cruise into the next pound after filling with water. We also needed water and planned on going further today so carried on down the next lock and under our first underground bridge alone.

External garden shed

This being our fourth trip into London the more eccentric boats are familiar to us. One was moored just above Common Moor Lock. The bath tub at the stern has more than just a mannequin in it now, the roof top paraphernalia seems to have changed a touch too.

Wise words

A boat was following us with two chaps on board, I opened the second gate for them to join us. Just as we were about to wind the bottom gate paddles up the chap from their stern disappeared below. The other chap was a bit surprised that I wasn’t doing anything, until I pointed out that his mate had vanished below. I wasn’t going to wind a paddle with nobody at the helm. After he’d sorted the kettle he bobbed back up and the paddles were wound up.

The paddle
Nice name

Lot Mead Lock needed topping up and I took great care with the ground paddles. This is where I found out why you should never try to stop a windlass from spinning should you loose grip. Some of these paddles just want to go down and take quite a bit of effort to lower them steadily, this one had got the better of me and necessitated a cab ride for an xray on my forearm a few years ago. Luckily my radius had enough give in it to just flex with the impact and not break.

The new education room

The chaps stopped for lunch and left us to carry on to Batchworth. Here the lock cottage, if it can be classed as one, is up for sale with planning permission for a large extension. Across the way on the River Chess new buildings are going up and if you are like us eager to see the model canal in action you have missed your chance. It has gone, replaced by an education building with kids eager to go on the boat through the lock.

Danger Weir

We stopped and filled with water whilst a Continuous Cruiser told us about his range of miles on the Grand Union and he did his best to put us off going into London. Unless things have changed drastically over the last two years we know what we are heading into, we’re under no illusions about London. Anyhow this morning luck had been on our side and we’ve managed to get a mooring.

On next to Tescos. Yes we got lots of shopping the other day, but fresh perishables were needed. Also without the freezer at the moment we need to shop more often.

Stockers Lock

In the afternoon we decided to take our time a bit more, no rush to get into London now. We worked our way down the next few locks.

Still there
above all our heads

Passing the hanging monkey. Just how much longer can he cling on for? He’s been there for five years at least!

Approaching Copper Mill Lock

At Copper Mill Lock I had to close the bottom paddles properly, they’d been left up by a few inches, hard to spot at a quick glance. Then on past the rapids and found ourselves a spot just before Black Jacks Lock.

What at first look is an idyllic mooring, is one of the noisiest! Parakeets swooping and squawking, kids playing and screaming at each other, dogs barking and cyclists zooming past. We’d remembered the towpath as being wider here, but sadly it’s not, so the barbeque will have to wait for another night.

New lick of paint for the arc

This evening we started to plan the next few months. We’ll be needing transit licenses, will a week be long enough on the Basingstoke? How long on the Wey? Where do we need to be for easy access to Chippy in three weeks time for my final panto model meeting? There’s lots of new water planned, places to see and explore.

I’ve just received a review for the pair of socks I sent off the other day.

“They say a picture can tell a thousand words but in this case no picture or words could say just how much it meant to me that Pip would take on my difficult request, to spend more time than money could buy, and on carefully crafting these very special socks for me. What a generous and beautiful woman you are Pip! And how I will cherish these darling socks you’ve made for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart 🙂 x” I think she is happy with them!

8 locks, 6.52 miles, 2 lock buddies, 1 handy tip, 1 more reason to go into London, 1 full water tank, 16 life jacketed kids, 1 Tesco mooring, 8 cool hooves, 1 monkey, 1 annoyingly busy towpath, 2 many squawking green birdies, bet they are all squawk and feather! 1 cardigan arm almost completed, 1 very happy customer.

All Of North London. 23rd June

Wendover Arm to Cow Roast

Mick thought it best for us to move today to be closer to Cow Roast for tomorrow morning. This would save us an hour or so cruise time before checking into the marina for a couple of nights.

Winding at the end

After breakfast we winded only disturbing three fisherpeople and made our way back to Bulbourne Junction. A day boat was already out and about, not going quite so speedy as the one yesterday thank goodness. However meeting another boat on such a shallow stretch meant we had to pull right over the bottom of Oleanna scrapping on the bottom and us listing until she found enough water again.

I stayed below to get on with some work. The date for my next meeting has been set and there’s is quite a bit to do along with cruising down to London with constant locks. I’ve also had a request from the Production Manager to send her the model so that she can show it to some builders for quotes.

Tilly!!!!

So today I made sure I put everything together, made notes of what still needs doing, took photos, checked my sketch drawings making note of any changes so that I can work on these whilst the model is away. Then anything I could scan was scanned. If the postal service lets us down I need to have enough information to be able to recreate the model. Maybe it would just be easier to take the model myself to the meeting, but this week has got busy and the meeting is in Bristol.

Mick turned us back onto the main canal at the junction and then cruised us along the summit pound. To me there seemed to be more boats moored up, some breasted up, but maybe that was just a distorted view from below.

A shaded cruise

For a summit pound there isn’t much to look at as the majority of it is along a cutting. Trees blocking out much of the light for most of the way. Mick hoped for a space as close to the marina as possible, but he overshot and ended up having to reverse back for a space.

The towpath is narrow and quite busy here, a vast contrast to the Wendover Arm. This afternoon we must have had every single north London child under the age of eleven come past, there was a constant stream for over an hour. Most were very polite, but we did get a tap on the windows and one lad shouting in at us. Not bad going really.

A cuff for me

0 locks, 4.23 miles, 1 right, 1 shady summit, 1 overshot mooring, 1 shoe box full of panto, 1 feline assistant overstepping the mark, 1 very hot and humid grey day.

With the aerial on top of the pram cover

Baby Baby! 19th June

Leighton Buzzard

Ted, my god son, with his brand new first cousin once removed

With thundery rain forecast we decided to stay put in Leighton Buzzard today.
We woke to the news that my best friend, Emma in Australia had become a Great Aunt overnight. Photos of Nellie and Steve with their new baby girl were flying through the air from hemisphere to hemisphere, all are doing well, no mention of a name as yet.

A good shop front high up, might be useful for Panto

What to do on a wet day in Leighton Buzzard? Mick wanted to get some new waterproofs so we went into town to see what we could find. A branch of Millets came up trumps with a new bright blue (lined in red) coat and some considerably more sober black over trousers. I’ll make sure I warn you before I post a photograph as the coat is very bright! Sadly they didn’t have a new coat for me, I don’t do pink and pockets closed with buttons don’t make sense to me. A more practical coat is required.

Next we walked up to find Lake Street.

Yesterday Mick had decided to see if he could find out where his Grandfather had been born. His family are pretty good with family history and he knew that Phillip had been born in Leighton Buzzard, but where exactly? Last night he’d signed up to ancestry.co.uk and got hold of a copy of the 1871 census which listed his Great Grandfather William Henry Chignell a year before Phillip was born.

1871 census

The family is listed as living on Lake Street. No house number is shown, just a schedule number. Half of Lake Street has been redeveloped over the years, so it may be that the actual building no longer stands, but it was worth a try. Lake Street is also where the library is, so we went in to see if they could help.

Knitted ladies
Blue Tit

The two ladies sat at the desk did their best to be helpful. House numbers should have been listed by that time, but no more information was found. Mick was signed up with a library card so that he could use the library’s Ancestry account for free. Here he searched through all sorts of records sadly to no avail. I on the other hand wandered around looking at a knitted display and reminiscing of my days when I worked as a book seller.

Phillip was born somewhere on this street

A couple of suggestions have been made to try looking at Family Search and to ask at the library to see if they have any Victorian trade/people directories that his father may be listed in. Thank you Kath and Kay. William and his family moved around quite a lot, in the census he is listed as being a professor of music, an organist, elsewhere he is listed as a travelling salesman. A birth certificate for Phillip might give us more, but as we’re just passing through more local detailed searching may have to wait until next time we’re in Leighton Buzzard.

The library

Dark clouds accompanied us back to the boat, maybe the really bad weather was about to hit. Tilly complained that she wasn’t allowed out. Jewsons has easy canal towpath access for cats and they constantly seem to be using forklifts, so Tilly had to wait until they closed for the day, but this still gave her a few hours of exploration.

Late afternoon we received our second lot of baby news for the day. Ruth, Mick’s niece has had a baby girl, Penelope, a couple of days ago. All are doing well and Anne, Micks sister is on hand for Granny duties. So the next generation are increasing in number, wonder how they will trace us all in the future, all on line I suspect.

As we waited for the deluge to arrive I packed up my socks ready to be dispatched tomorrow. They have turned out rather well I think, I’m glad as they have taken a lot of patience firstly in finding the yarn, then getting it and thirdly knitting it up. I’ve actually knitted three socks to get two. Out of interest the other day I looked to see if there was any tracking information about the two orders that didn’t arrive. The second parcel arrived in Rode Heath 10 days after I got a refund! Glad we didn’t wait for it to arrive unlike today’s almost none existent rain.

Mismatched pair

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 short showers, 0 deligue, 0 house number, 1 library card, 1 new set of waterproofs, 1 security tag, 1 square headed bit in a set for £31! 21 days for 24hr delivery, 2 new babies!

What’s The Emergency? 18th June

Diary Bridge to Leighton Road Winding Hole

No work today, a boating day. Well that was until I got emails this morning which required me to scan some plans. Once that was done we could be on our way.

Just as we were about to untie and push off NB Penny Flight came past, we asked if we could join them at Stoke Hammond Lock, the answer was positive so we followed them.

Stoke Hammond

Stoke Hammond is one of my favourites along here, possibly because it’s the first proper lock for a while, but also because of the flowers and plants, the lock cottage and pumping house. The grass was a little bit long today and the flower bed around the sign is protected by chicken mesh. Maybe rabbits or just over keen Fountains grass cutters.

No end to the ends!

Along the next pound I took the opportunity to start weaving ends in on the pair of socks I’ve been knitting. If the yarn had been how I thought this wouldn’t have taken long at all, just two ends, one at the toe end and one at the top. But as I’ve had to alternate the yarn and mix it up quite a bit to get the required look the red sock had 32 ends the yellow sock 26! I could have worked them in as I went along but I find that tightens things up and you want socks to be stretchy.

Soulbury Three Locks

A boat came round the bend from the bottom of Soulbury Three Locks so I expected the lock to be just about empty. As I walked up I could see that there was a couple of feet of water already in the lock and that there was a paddle half way up. Was this intentional? I walked up to find a Lockie, one spotted me and he said they’d been refilling the lock for two boats coming down, but if the lock wasn’t that full then we could empty it and come up. He then managed to stop the two boats above from emptying their chamber, making them wait for us to start filling ours.

Passing up the locks

The next pound had to be negotiated, four boats two coming down two up. The descending boats moved to the outside and let Oleanna and Penny Flight through the middle. The locks were busy, the Lockies not having chance to drink their tea for hours, everyone was moving before the forecast rain set in.

A mile or so further on small drops of wetness started to hit the roof, my socks were tucked onto the Nicholson’s shelf to keep dry and we donned waterproofs. With spaces close to The Globe pub we decided to pull in for lunch, leaving Penny Flight to ascend the next lock alone.

Three for three locks

Now yesterday I moaned about speeding boats, well today I am very justified in complaining about the boat that shot past us as we ate our lunch. Blimey we only just got chance to clock it as it passed us, I’m not sure even spring lines would have stopped us from moving and biffing the bank with the speed he was going at! We decided to wait a while longer as we really didn’t want to share a lock with them.

What’s the emergency?

After a good pause we pushed off again. Pulling into the side, a dog walker said he hoped we weren’t in a rush as the previous boat had left all the gates open along with the paddles! Our speeding friends, there really must be an emergency! Not to worry, it’ll give us practice for when we get closer to London.

Freshly painted, apart from the fence

On past the Wyvern Hire fleet, quite a few in today, and then past the long line of permanent moorings. There was space for us outside Tescos, just behind the speeders!

Trabant

A reasonably big shop, cat litter, wine, heavy things as you can take your trolley right to your boat here, so we made the most of it. Returning to the boat our neighbours had moved on, only to be found partially blocking the next bridge hole at the water point not filling up. We pootled onwards now in the rain. A space alongside Jewsons showed itself so we pulled in, we still want to be able to access town tomorrow. Tilly was allowed out for a couple of hours. She then regretted staying out after 7pm as the heavens opened! She returned absolutely soaked.

Wide beams would have to nudge past them

5 locks, 6.06 miles, 6mph! 2 gates, 1 paddle, 1 bottom leaking gate, 4 boxes wine, 10 litres wood cat litter to share, 4 boats in a pound, 58 ends, 2 socks completed, 1 missing vault, 1 invoice, 1 giant pack of Dreamies.

All Hands On Deck. 16th June

Not quite Pole Position to Pole Position

On Saturdays we buy our newspaper, Sundays we read it in bed with a cuppa in hand. This morning however this was curtailed a touch.

First there was some yapping, then a bit of boat moving noise, no engine audible. I peeked through the front door blinds, the boat in front of us was being clung onto by a chap with the centre line. Time to get dressed, the opportunity to move up 60ft was not to be lost. All Hands On Deck!

QUICK!!!

We were out the doors and untying within minutes. Pulled along we now had THE view up the parkland towards the Nags Head, it was sunny too. We’d now have to stay another night. The bollards not quite spaced right for our length, so Mick tied a spring line then we could settle down for breakfast.

With eggs needing eating it would have been daft not to have a cooked breakfast.

Not bad, not bad

They moved the outside without the big noise. It’s a similar outside to yesterday, but now there are trees that way and this. There’s also a good wall with gaps that I can get my arms down to feel for any possible friends. She came out for a while and we had a game of stick on the big grassy bit. Then She wandered off to see if she could find Houdini’s daffodil.

Mine, all mine

Apparently this outside is one of the places they chose to remember their previous second mate at, they planted some mini daffodils in amongst the trees. She was being silly, no way was she going to be able to see them, yellow time is long gone, even I know that!

See you later

As Tilly and I played the sound of a Russell Newbery engine got closer. The large windows gave it away as NB Tyseley came past, crew sat out the front enjoying the sunshine, still wrapped up in waterproofs. Not much further for them to go today, just around the next big bend is Lionhearts Cruising Club where their next show was this afternoon.

Lillian in Pole Position

At 2pm we picked up our folding chairs and walked up through the park. We paused near the gates for a photo. We’d moored in the same position in March 2015 for the solar eclipse and taken a photo then.

Oleanna in Pole Position

Today the trees are in full leaf and Oleanna’s blue doesn’t sing out in quite the same way as Lillian’s yellow, but it was a photo that had to be taken.

Am afternoon cuppa and a play

Lionhearts Cruising Club had not taken any chance with the weather today, two marquees had been erected, one with a bar and tea and cake, the other the auditorium for the show. We claimed some seats, no need to have brought our own, and then got ourselves a cuppa each. Mick had a scone with his and after a short delay I got a couple of slices of gluten free cake. Very nice it was too.

Our neighbours at the park

Marianne the Artistic Director of Mikron came over for a chat. After a week on board with the cast she was looking forward to a few days back at home near Marsden. The weather, falling trees and reduced opening hours of locks have all been a problem to them this year. The canal tour is planned to within a few hours, so any delays can leave the cast/crew stuck away from a venue. yesterday they had had a show at Bilsworth at 1pm, by the time they’d packed up from it and got through the tunnel they would be at least an hour late to get down the locks. She had had to make numerous phone calls to find the person who was able to give special permission for the locks to be opened for them. With 24 hours between shows, 15 miles, 8 locks, around 7 hours cruising they really had to get through the flight on Saturday. Luckily they were granted permission.

We sat back and enjoyed the show. All Hands On Deck. In true Mikron style with minimal set and props, numerous musical instruments even more costume changes the four actors worked their socks off. Lily and Ginger are two new WRNS, they go through training together and end up one in the engine bay the other deciphering morse code. It is a poignant tale of these two Wrens battling through all that was thrown at them. Songs and a few laughs, a very enjoyable afternoon. We hope to catch Red Coats their other show a bit further down the Grand Union.

Brick kilns just by the cruising club

The afternoon had stayed mostly dry so we walked back through the parks canal side back to Oleanna. Tilly had another hours exploration before a friend of hers caught my eye, so she was picked up and brought inside, her friend scurrying off into the wall.

My sour dough starter has been woken up over the last couple of days. A bowl of pizza dough is sitting overnight and a sponge is now doing it’s thing ready for a loaf tomorrow. Have to admit I put the sponge in the fridge as I was a touch worried that it might have taken over the boat by morning!

The view from Pole Position

This evening we have enjoyed a joint of pork, better crackling but still not quite perfect, a couple of glasses of wine and I am 15 rows away from finishing off my latest commissioned pair of socks. Then I’ll have all the bloomin ends to sew in.

0 locks, 62 ft, 1 pole position, 1 beautiful mooring, 6 hours of cat freedom, 1 friend at least, 1 rescue, 0 daffs visible, 5 on a boat, 2 marquees, 100 plus, 2 redundant chairs, 1 scone, 2 slices cake, 1 great show, 160 grams starter, 200 grams starter, 1 run away sponge, 1 joint pork, 15 rows to go, 1 lovely Sunday, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.