Thursday, 20 August 2015

Still lots to do

aboard the boat, and it looks like we won't be taking it down-river to the Northampton Waterways Festival.

We went to see the boat, soon after it came out of the paint shed.

She's looking magnificent - outside. The very dark green looks almost black and is so very very shiny. But, the paint is not yet cured, and the thought of people and dogs trampling over the back deck to reach the bank, from their own boats fills us with horror.

Then there's the inside to sort out and clean. Lots of paint dust entered through the top vents when the sanding was done. I reckon we'll need about 3 days of hard work to get her shipshape again.

There's also the work waiting at home, before the kitchen installers come to rip out the 1961 kitchen. We must empty both kitchen and utility rooms so that the lino fitter can lay new flooring between rip-out and installation of the new kitchen. We also have to paint the walls and ceiling after the plaster has dried.

That doesn't leave nearly enough time to cruise down to Northampton in time for the Festival.

I have cancelled our bank-side berth and we will probably visit by road one day over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Owning a boat is meant to be enjoyed. When we visited yesterday, I took some pictures of a plant we have seen along river and canal banks both in the UK and France. I wanted to identify what looks like a large orchid.

Thanks to Google, I found it - Impatiens Glandulifera (Poor Man's Orchid.)

Almost all 0f the plant is edible, including the seeds.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hitchin Festival

has come to a rather soggy end.

But, a month's worth of fabulous activities and events could not be spoiled by a drop of rain.

Hitchin Stitchin's yarnbomb installation was given a final fanfare in The Comet as it was taken down and packed away ready for the next event at Moggerhanger Hospice on 7th August,

The installation will then take pride of place at Festiwool on 14th November,

Bucklesbury staged its own  celebration on the final Saturday.

The British Schools' Museum hosted many Festival events,  and opened the new Ladybird Books' Exhibition last week.

For a whole month, we enjoyed a Food and Wine festival, a French market theatre, music, art, and much more.

We even had the opening of our own Gelateria.

What a wonderful town in which to work and live.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Hitchin Festival

©Woolly Chic

begins today - a month of art, music, theatre, and other fun events.

Yesterday, I was part of the team from Hitchin Stitchin who  set up the art installation in St Mary's Churchyard.

Health and Safety at knitting was much in evidence

It attracted a lot of attention during the day. Hopefully,all the photos taken by people walking through the churchyard will hit social media and bring more people in to the Festival.

Knitting installation. All done with plastic bags.

Come and sit and knit under a tree,

Crochet - granny squares.

Contrary Mary by SueH, Swing with shells,  by me.

Mine is the Nursery Rhyme tree. Mary, Mary, quite contrary.

With silver bells,

cockle shells, and lollipops.

Fruit tree - oranges and lemons (and cherries and apples)

Hickory, Dickory, Dock.

Festival of wool.

Pompoms in the Indian Bean Tree

Picking pompoms.

This way to St Mary's - a medieval wool church.

The local solicitor's bench.

Lollipop tree.

Flowers in the sun.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Into the paint shed

much earlier than we had planned.

This morning, we drove up the A1M early, to clear the roof, and front and back decks. Kris, the painter, wanted the boat in the paint shed today.

It didn't take long to get the boat ready for moving, and the rain held off until we were ready to go to lunch.

The paint shed is newly-erected, across the lake from where we are moored.

We have a lovely set of enamel pots (for one) to use aboard. Two lovely, tiny teapots, and a rare 1950s Italian coffee pot  for MWNN's breakfast coffee.

We're looking forward to cruising to the boat festival in Northampton. Our new paintwork will be a great advert for Nene Boat Painters.

I'm hoping the cruise to Northampton will help to  spread the word about Friends of the River Nene.

Hitchin Festival

kicks off next week, with an  Installation in St Mary's Churchyard. Members of Hitchin Stitchin' have been preparing for this. Some of us have even chosen our trees.

It was while touring through the churchyard, avoiding the marquees, that I became aware I was being watched.

I began to feel like an extra (one who wouldn't last long) in Hitchcock's The Birds.

 It was lunchtime, of course, and there were people eating, but I couldn't help feel that these plump ducks needed no extra padding.

People use St Mary's churchyard for a picnic lunch on fine days, and this was a fine day.

Not so the following day, when The British Schools Museum's Fair in the Square was taking place alongside the first full day of Rhythms of the world.

The Market Square was almost deserted when I arrived to do a stint on the bric-a-brac stall. Friends of British Schools were manning each stall and no one needed any help.  It was bucketing down, so, after distributing a few leaflets and taking these photos, I headed back to the car.

I volunteered for the wrong spot. I think the Museum had more customers than the Fair, as there was a quilting and sampler day there, and tea and cake!

Monday, 1 June 2015

It's National Volunteers' Week


It seems only fitting that this month's meeting of British Schools' Museum should fall this week, too.

But many of us were alarmed by the opening statement of the meeting. Sell the museum?

Of course,we should have realised that the 'selling' was in the sense of making our presence known to a wider audience,

We were all encouraged to become Ambasadors for the museum under our newly apppointed development officer,  spreading the word of what a  unique (the only purpose-built British School with a Lancastrian school-room left tin the world) museum we have here in Hitchin.

There was a special guest at the meeting, the chairman of the British Schools Museum Trust.

He, and three fellow-trustees, were there to celebrate the work of the Volunteers, (there may have been fizz and chocolates),

and to present certificates to all volunteers who have served the Museum in recent years (some for moe than twenty) .

Many museums could not function without the work of their volunteers.

Wish us luck on Thursday?

One of the founder-members of the Friends of British Schools Museum, Yvonne Limbrick, has been nominated for a 'going the extra mile  in this year's Share Museum's Awards.

As for me - I am already booked to do a session with the Education Team, leading a People and Places workshop in July, and working with the Assistant Curator's team on the museum catalogue database in June.

So, here's the beginning of doing my bit as an Ambassador outside the walls of the museum.

There are a number of events coming up in the next few months that will be of interest to those on my FList.

First up is Magna Carta Day, on the 14th June.

The museum will be open from 2 - 5pm, and admittance will be free.

At 3pm there will be a debate (prior booking required) followed by tea,

On 20th June, the Museum will be running the annual  the Fair in the Square.

On 28th June, Ye Olde School Run will be held in aid of the Museum. A day of fun for all the family, including a Town Treasure Trail, with a first prize of £100

Closer to my heart, there is a performance of Where the Working boats went, by Life and Times, on July 9th.  Part of the Hitchin Festival for the past couple of years, this will be the last performance of this show.

There is also a host of children's activity days planned, including

a celebration of 100 years of Ladybird Books

and the Doctor Who exhibition, in August,

Please share this Blog entry with all your Twitter and Facebook friends and family. We are working to raise more money this year for the exciting developments at the museum, as well as the regular running and maintenance.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Long weekend messing about in boats

There is a new family at the marina.

Mum and Dad Swam and their seven children.

They live on the opposite bank to our boat.

The parents spent the weekend teaching the children how to find food. First port or call is our neighbour's boat. The male is very agressive and attacks the boat's hull for attention and demanding food when a human appears.

Here he is chasing off Mother Moorhen.

Teaching the babes to forage for weed.

We spent a lot of time working inside the boat, getting it habitable for cruising, before going into the paint shed in July. The first night aboard was a little uncomfortable because we hadn't packed enough pillows, and the microwave died in the middle of re-heating the cottage pie I'd made at home.

A quick trip to Waitrose, near Rushden, solved those problems, and also provided a lovely picnic lunch, the following day,

Ron is beginning to like the marina. He loves the walks and is very aware of his own private swimming pool behind the marina office.

He went AWAL off the back deck on the final day and MWNN found him having adventures in the office garden.

Having been reluctant to overnight on the boat when we set off on Saturday, MWNN was keen to extend our stay an extra day. We had a lot of lovely walks as well as all the exercise of the work that needed doing.

The moorings are in the sheltered safety of the lake, with access to the River Nene just a few hundred metres away

The last job on leaving the boat is to put on the covers. We haven't quite got the knack of putting on the rear 'dodger'. It may need adjustable 'bungies' to save the skin on the knuckles.

I may go back to do some more clearing and cleaning while MWNN is away cat-sitting in Wimbledon.