Rain, rain, rain

Well I am not sure where our summer has gone, it just seems to be mainly grey mixed with copious amounts of rain and the odd appearance from the sun. Hardly cruising weather! It’s also put back a fairly urgent job we need to get sorted on Hannah the Narrowboat. Our cruiser stern is looking quite sorry for itself as the boards towards the back are breaking up and need replacing, well actually the plan is to completely rebuild the cruiser stern including the wooden structure below decks as they are shall we say, a little springy! Looks like we may just do a temporary fix and then go ahead as planned after winter as it’s not going to be cheap and we have been hit a little by the lady of the boat not earning due to her operation which is taking longer than expected to recover from.


What with all the rubbish weather we have pretty much been confined to the marina, not that I mind that much as we do have a good spot with a nice green space right next to us we use as a garden. We did actually brave the wind and inclement weather this Sunday and decided we were going to have a BBQ. Although not what I would say warm, the rain did hold off and we were able to eat outside albeit wrapped up in autumn attire!


I do actually feel quite sorry for the holiday boaters when the weather is not what you would expect for August as for many this is the only time of year that a lot of families can get away and spend quality time together aboard a Narrowboat and we all know hiring a boat is not cheap by anyone’s standard. Hopefully they can take it all in their stride and enjoy it despite the rain. Of course we are used to the inclement weather now that we have owned Hannah the Narrowboat for just over 6 years and we always find something to do. I work from the boat so during the week it does not matter too much to me if it’s raining outside but I must admit that if work is quiet I can be susceptible to a bit of cabin fever. I enjoy my photography and video making and the weather does make a big difference on that score but lately I have been playing with my new iPad Pro doing more digital artwork. My job is more orientated towards Graphic Design so I rarely get to paint or sketch for my own pleasure but that has all changed now that I have discovered that Apple has really hit the back of the net for digital artists with their latest tablet offering – it truly is very similar to using natural media but with the added advantage that you can erase stuff easily, duplicate elements and not create a mess on the cratch table with real paint!


I have been following a guy on YouTube who uses his iPad Pro to create amazing pieces of art which inspired me to step out of my safety zone of creating sterile commercial graphics and do something a little more painterly instead. The picture above was created in ProCreate – perhaps the stand-out art app out there and used by many professional artists and took around 3 hours to produce. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed doing something a little different although it won’t win any art competitions! I have also started sketching out a scene featuring Narrowboat Brighton at Watford locks as seen below. Of course it’s only at it’s first stage and will take a lot more than 3 hours to finish it, if I ever get around to it as it was more an exercise of seeing if sketching is viable on an iPad.

Another advantage is that I can actually use the iPad Pro for work as I can produce illustrations fairly easily on it, much easier than using a mouse and you can mix you media on it as shown below – the frog is hand drawn and the background is a blurred out image which I think works quite well.


In think you can see I’ve been far from bored during this rainy period we are going through, that’s the great thing about our Narrowboat, we have equipped her with everything we need for it not to be a disadvantage to be floating rather than on solid ground in a brick box. I love the fact that I can work just as efficiently aboard the boat as I can in the studio, in fact it’s more inspirational aboard the boat as all you have to do is look out through the window for ideas.

I’m now having a little play to see if I can actually produce professional quality musical compositions on the iPad Pro too and early signs are quite encouraging but I do feel at the moment songs would still have to be polished and mastered on my Mac in Logic Pro. Having said that the iPad Pro is great for getting ideas down with my wireless midi keyboard.

That’s just about it for this blog post, I know it’s not been focused on the great outdoors we are lucky to live amidst as per usual but hopefully it gets across that even when it’s terrible weather outside there is still plenty you can do aboard a Narrowboat.

Life off the boat (and sometimes on)

Sanity Bypass

So just what the heck do I get up to when I’m not aboard Hannah the Narrowboat. Well, I’m not old enough or rich enough to be retired yet so I have to try and earn a few pennies to keep the blood alcohol levels topped up. My real job is as a Graphic Designer which  I can do it from almost anywhere if I have a WiFi connection to send the files off to the clients. However, I have also been a musician for many years professionally and do have a rather cool studio set-up which I can’t fit on the boat – if I could I would probably live full time rather than half time on the boat!

The canal is an inspiration place for both of my ‘arts’ and I get a lot of the initial ideas for the music to my songs from it. As technology is getting ever smaller and ever better I can actually make what I call ‘musical sketches’ on the iphone sitting in my pocket or of course I can fire up the laptop. For any of you lot out there that are into music making and songwriting then you can find my debut album on iTunes and all the other major streaming services – just search Sanity Bypass and the album is called ‘Safety Pin’. I am currently writing the second album and trying to do most the initial ideas on Hannah the Narrowboat but really do need the proper studio for serious recording. Once technology can furnish me with studio monitors that use very little power and I get my finger out and convert under the lounge seats to store my guitar and a midi controller keyboard (and the heaps of stuff that makes it all work) then I would be elated to record the whole lot aboard our boat – not sure our marina neighbours would be too happy though!

The video below is my latest creation – first proof so to speak, needs a lot of tweaking but it’s essentially all there.