Athens time

Monday, 31 August 2009

Sailing the Solent

The Solent is a stretch of water on the south coast of England, situated between the mainland and the Isle of Wight.

(picture with reference to Wikipedia)

Even though it is a big stretch of water, compared to the open sea it is relatively sheltered and apart from being a major shippinglane, favoured by yachts and pleasurecraft.

Cowes on the Isle of Wight is one of the major yaching centres and there are many beautiful spots, lovely harbours and marinas dotted around the Solent.

It can get quite busy and on a lovely sunny summerday there are lots of yachts and boats to be seen;

The variety of boats and ships goes from very small folk boats,

to yachts,

to very big yachts;

traditional barge type vessels,

to massive tankers....

This does mean you have to look out for shipping all the time, keep yourself to the 'rules of the road' (which exist just as much as if you had visible roads and traffic signs, you just have to know them all without these aids) and give way to those who have right of way, which of course include the big containerships as they are not easily manoeuverable.

It can get very busy, especially near Cowes where a lot of traffic is entering or leaving Cowes as well as having a major turning point for the big commercial shipping around a sandbank just in front of the entrance.

Here is the speedferry leaving Cowes;

and the passenger ferry entering (yes... it is the IKEA ferry! a good way of advertising..);

When you are leaving Cowes and see one of the BIG boys coming towards you...

You do start to feel very small indeed when within minutes this ship is about this size...

Very scary when it looks as if it is coming right for you!! (and sometimes these ships were hooting big deep horns at tiny boats that were in the way.... eeeeeek.....).

This time however, we knew we were not in the main channel and that the boat would turn before it got to us, which it did, so rest assured... we were never in any danger... but just imagine how scary that would be if you got it wrong like some boats did.....

Most of the time, away from the main channels it was very leisurely and more looking like this;

Occasionally seeing some of the big racing boats, like Icap Leopard;

or some of the many big yachts who have taken part in the Clipper Round the World Race and now are back here for the most part having groups onboard for Corporate Entertainment.

And when the day is done, and a good, energetic, sunny, breezy, fantastic day on the water is over, you can feel your skin glowing from the sunshine, and you anchor in a creek, or moor in a marina and have a good sleep in your bunk, being rocked to sleep gently by the movement of the boat.

These two, in one of the smallest craft on the Solent, are on their way to just a good nights sleep like this...

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Giveaway on Trends and Traditions

Heather Mulder is having a giveaway on her lovely blog. There is a quilt involved, a miniquilt and lovely charmpacks.

Wishing everyone the best of luck!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Sailing the Beaulieu River

We have sailed to many places. This time, we have explored the South of England and the waters between the mainland and the Isle of Wight. The main water being The Solent, with many little rivers and tributaries leading into this from the land.

One such sleepy little river is the Beaulieu river.

It meanders through the landscape and as it is a tidal river, at low tide you can see the mudbanks near the shore (see above). At high tide these are completely covered, sometimes higher than the grass you see here. It is a paradise for birds and many waders and other birds find a fantastic habitat here.

On one bend in the river, there is a little shipbuilding village called Buckler's Hard. The origin of the name is not clear. It is thought that because there was a stone beach at low tide, the place could be used as a landing place (a hard) and that the local Bucklers family frequently used it.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the land was owned by John,2nd Duke of Montagu. He was intending to build a town here (Montague Town) to build a free port for the import and export of sugar from the West Indies. He only got as far as two rows of houses and eventually the village became a shipbuilding village.

Many big ships were built here, among which the Agamemnon, one of Nelsons favourite ships, launched on 10th April 1781. Another the Euralyus, seen here in a painting in the museum of Buckler's Hard.

When finished, these enormous ships would be launched and pulled by several boats, manned with rowers, to the open waters. It is mindboggeling to think how ships of this size could be handled on a river so small. I would imagine they waited for very high tide!

The remnants of the wood for the docks and launching slipways can still be seen at low tide although of course heavily affected by being under water most of the time.

The working shipyard at the marina is still called the Agamemnon Boatyard.

Some of the houses are part of the museum and have been furnished as they would have been at that time (and some have been rented out and are actually used as houses although to our standards now very very small). There is the masterbuilders house, the biggest of them all with the best view of the river (being closest and on the corner) which is now a pub which serves delicious food in authentic surroundings. Also reconstructed is a shipswright cottage, which was more luxorious than the labourers cottage, a shipswright being a skilled professional. The shipswright enjoyed real beds. The labourer had a sort of mattress on the floor. It did however have a quilt on it and as my son said... "oh no, mum has seen a quilt, hide the camera..."

Originally one of the houses was also a school house. When the children started going to the nearby school in Beaulieu village, the old schoolhouse (which was occassionally used as a chapel) was turned into a Chapel proper and named St. Mary's. You can recognise the chapel by the bell over the door. (double click on the photo for a better view)

View from the Chapel

Inside the Chapel is a beautiful altar cloth with images significant to the naval history of Buckler's Hard and others of family importance to the Montague family. The names of some of the ships built here adorn the cloth top and bottom.

The museum and guidebook (to which I reference dates and facts with thanks) are very interesting. The museum even houses Nelson's baby clothes! Including a very cute white little cap!

It is a really interesting, picuturesque, historic place which is well worth a visit if you are ever that way. I thoroughly recommend it!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Hi Guys, I'm Back !

We went on our sailing holiday and the Wifi reception in the harbours was terrible. One day I managed to get to my email and wrote a reply, only to lose reception and lose the entire mail... so I decided not to post as it was too hard to load anything.

But... back home and a lot of washing and unpacking to do before doing any crafting. I think you all know about that one!

The holiday was lovely. Of course Quiltie came too and settled into the boat nicely, cheering up the bunk.

So time to move onto new projects. Firstly this means sending off the Christmas blocks for Modernjax's Christmas Swap, and doing the September block for Wendy for the start of our Eurovision Bee. It promises to be great fun and I can't wait to join in. Not having posted anything for 2 weeks means I am a bit behind but soon will catch up on what is happening everywhere.

If I have missed anything, please drop me a line. I'd love to hear about it!

On to the washing etc and then new projects. And yes, some sailing photos coming up too once I have unloaded the camera onto the computer. Likewise, I have not loaded up photos with the wifi being bad so once I have sorted them, I will post those too. See ya all soon (she said, disappearing behind the washingmachine..)

ps... this post is dated monday 10th August because that is when I originally tried to write a post before giving up... strangely, that still comes up as the date... even though I am publishing on the 24th... weird isn't it?

Friday, 7 August 2009

Yay! My quilt is finished !!
(with a special thanks to Dana and all the Old Red Barn Co peeps who went through all the trials and tribulations with me!!)

My quilt is finally finished and after I had sewn on the label and washed and dried it (yes... that WAS scary.... but it came out ok!!), I took it for a little outing to the beach..

As I was hopping along merrily, taking photo's here and there, a lady who was sitting on the beach with her friend spoke to me. She said: "What are you doing?" so I answered "I am photographing my quilt". She then asks me "Is it ART?"... I thought about that for a bit... then decided to say "Yes!". After all, what we are doing here ladies (and quiltdad) is an artform, is it not? The lady turned to her companion and said "See, I told you so, I was right!" and then explains to me... "You see, we had a bet going on. I said that lady is an artist. She looks like an artist, and I was right!" and she looked triumphantly at her companion.

Who was I to disappoint her? So I took some 'arty' shots .....

and did the expected thing artists do... they don't just 'snap' pictures.... they pose the object and instead of standing up etc, they lie in the sand... Suddenly I felt not so selfconscious but quite celebrated! As I was going about my work, I heard people passing the news along in low voices...' artist at work.... murmur murmur murmur.... art project you see' and when I came by on the way back, they all were suddenly very engrossed with their bags, towels and books.. I wonder what it is with being an artist... If you really were one, would you be seen to be strange, funny, special, or ... not to be approached? mmm... it was a very interesting experience.....

Did like my last photo with the ferry though.. and no... the quilt is not on the sand, neither is it in the water! It is safely on the stone, happily watching the ferry. I look after her, we are thick like that, my quilt and I...

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside....

Today was a lovely day for a paddle in the sea....

What was that mum... which wave...??

Oops... aaah... got swamped...

I don't care...., but ok.. I'll come if you insist......

I have been Tagged !!

Oh, it was ages ago....and I kept saying... ok, watch this space... and then got waylaid....

Here we go then.... I was tagged by Lauranie, who said the following;

Ok are the rules:
List Six Unimportant Things That Make You Happy
Mention and link to the person who tagged you
Tag six of your favorite bloggers to play along

Now I was thinking about it and came up against the word "Unimportant".... You cannot say then e.g 'spending time with my family', as that is VERY important so that is out...

Then, thinking on, I realized that all the UNimportant things that DO make you happy, are actually VERY important just BECAUSE they make you happy.... so they ARE important therefore... So basically, this task cannot be done! Lol!

Overthinking much? I thought so...

So here are a few things that make me happy.... (oh six, sorry, I am not very good with this keep to the rule thing...)

1)the times that you know that everything is done and you can do absolutely nothing (or sew!)
2)the times you are doing the above and you don't get interrupted....
3)when my dog is enthousiastic and makes me laugh or comes to me when I am sad
4)when the sun shines, the waves are lapping on the shore and the world seems to stand still for a moment...
5)when your new fabric comes through the post and it is even better than you imagined it
6) and the KILLER fabric SALE (couldn't agree more... copied that one... now wouldn't you?)

I am not going to tag... but amongst my regular commenters there might be some that feel called to the task? (or anyone else of course...)

Want to play everyone? Please join in! (and let me know you have done so and tagged back to me.. I like to know.. I am nosey like that!)

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Sheree's Giveaway.

A bumper one this one... A pattern, buttons, scraps, fabric... it doesn't stop!
Look for it ..... here!