Monday, 15 April 2013

At Last!

Our first spring day for 2013!  The sun came out and it was very mild.  There were numerous walkers on the towpath and we were able to get a few tasks completed bay 9.30am.  NB Tacet went past so they were obviously able to negotiate County Lock in Reading.  We have been watching the change in the river conditions on the Thames and are likely to remain moored here for the next week!

Jan’s interested had been aroused by something on Parisien Star’s blog when Elly wrote about visiting Hobbycraft . She was immediately onto the iPad and located a store in Reading.  The retail park is only a short walk from Reading Railway Station so we caught the bus to have a look.

Jan was after some canal scene cross stitch patterns but came away disappointed.  Perhaps next time!  The adjacent store was Decathlon and we’d previously heard of it from our youngest son who had mentioned the chain was a good shop for cheap sports clothing and equipment.

This expedition was more successful with me purchasing a pair of lightweight shorts for £3.99 and two pairs of lightweight thermal gloves at £1 each.  Jan is still trying to work out how we managed to go shopping for her cross stitch patterns and end up buying me shorts! (Jan here, this normally happens on our shopping outings)

The plan was to treat ourselves to a traditional Sunday pub roast lunch so we made an indirect return to the town centre passing by the Jail Loop.

The Jail Loop is shown in purple above.

There were a few boats on the 24 hour mooring in the loop and we assumed they were waiting for water conditions to improve before moving.  Now we’ve had an opportunity to inspect the loop we are thinking it might be an ideal final mooring on the K&A before launching ourselves onto the Thames.

The other interesting thing at the loop (apart from the prison!) were the Abbey Ruins.

The Abbey was founded by Henry I and he was subsequently buried there.  It was largely destroyed by Henry VIII as part of his dissolution of the monasteries when England split from Rome.  The last Abbot was tried and found guilty of treason at the Abbey and was subsequently hanged, drawn and quartered.

We wandered around the town looking for a pub serving a Sunday roast settling on The Monks Retreat which proved to be part of the Wetherspoons chain.  Jan had the beef and I chose the pork.

They were good sized portions but the quality of the food was nothing to write about. 

There was just enough time to slip into Sainsbury’s and buy a loaf of bread for dinner before catching the Jet Black 1 bus to Aldermaston where we enjoyed the last of the sunshine.  Hopefully there will be more of it tomorrow!


Judith Emery said...

Jan can get good canal cross-stitch kits by post from Abacus Designs at Audlem Mill via their web page. The kits are very clear with pre-sorted threads, they do a lot of other crafty kits, rag rugs etc.
Love your blog, Reading Goal loop is a good mooring, once out on the Thames Reading Tesco is a good mooring to stock up.
Judith on nbSerena

Unknown said...

Hobbycraft ... "Jan was after some canal scene cross stitch patterns but came away disappointed".

I was previously interested enough to investigate (but not interested enough to spend money).
Jan might be interested in the free programme 'PatternViewerInst.exe' (
This is a 10MB Windows programme. There is an 'England' download site.
It installs a programme called 'PCstitch', which claims that 'If you can picture it you can stitch it'.

What it doesn't say is that while it will work directly with any(?) pattern files you can find (web exchange on a Cross Stitch forum?) creating a pattern from your own jpg file will cost $4.99 (I assume that's US dollars).
You do get a rough preview before you buy.
There are some free samples in the Pattern Category box.

I must confess I found 'enjoying' cross stitch pictures to be a rather subjective pleasure, which I haven't experienced. Perhaps the ones I've seen have been cheap rather than quality!

Alternatively you can search Sandras-samplers shop on ebay for canal patterns. Similar stores with different products may exist, Sandras samplers was the one I found in 2005.

Good Luck, Davidss.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Judith,

Yes, we know about Audlem Mill having stopped there on one occasion when hiring! I've purchased many canal cross-stitch patterns on-line whilst living in Australia but didn't bring the completed article with me to hang on the cabin walls. However, re-doing them will give me something to do during those winter months and wet days.



Tom and Jan said...

Hi David
Thanks for the links. Jan has a Windows based program to convert photo's into a pattern but it doesn't do a terrific job. I'll have a look at your links and see if they do a better job!