Tuesday 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

New Year's Eve and all is well. Another windy day with the rhino jigging about. He has had a tough week bless him. For new readers I'll explain, the black rhino head is actually a perfectly formed branch of a Corsican pine peering out from behind a chimney across the road, giving an indication of windy conditions daily. The same tree, viewed from another direction in the village, also carries the head of his mate and son. 
Lots of Happy New Year greetings at the hospital today. Tomorrow is another day off for me, and then I'm on the home straight.

Monday 30 December 2013

Nearly new year/ same hospital foul-ups

Back for radiotherapy/chemotherapy treatment but then had to wait for a review of which I knew nothing, but in the end they failed to see a need, so it was cancelled. Had what was left of my hair cut so I resemble the Strictly Come Dancing glitter ball, only more stylish.  Eating better since the children's visit and my leg continues to improve so an overall improvement is evident, although my mood remains low. Another windy, cold day.

Saturday 28 December 2013

Family meal

The weekend family get-together ended with a meal and goodbyes. Overall a great success and a massive morale boost after a series of frustrations and let-downs.
In addition I have received an appointment for my leg, only a few days after finishing (? ) my radio and chemotherapy treatments.
The new year looks to be starting on a positive thrust. Long may it last.

Friday 27 December 2013

Radio record

We set a radiotherapy record of 1hour home to home, due to a total absence of traffic today. If only....... Below is one of my Christmas presents, a fabulous Tardis Two mug which will take pride of place on the boat. The rhino was extremely active this morning indicating cold high winds, despite the blue skies and sunshine. A non cruising day.
The peace of the day was shattered by the arrival of our family, partners and grand children,13 in all.
Add 2 cats and 2 dogs in a very tiny house and some idea of the chaos can be imagined. Secret Santa proved very successful, especially the remote control model helicopter

Thursday 26 December 2013

Severe matron syndrome

I have to be on my best behaviour today after a massive fo- par late last night, adequately dealt with by Lynne and house guests. I did my usual of eating half a Bramley apple for tea, testing my blood sugar (a reasonable 8.6 ) and fuzzy-headedly collapsing into bed at some ridiculously early hour, only to awake around midnight on the floor of "the office" ( back bedroom ) with my legs somehow wrapped around the office chair , and lots of voices. Eventually I discovered Lynne had popped-up to administer my night pills with a glass of water, I had managed to spill the water on the bed, in my dozy state and made a trip to the toilet to the rear of the back bedroom, somehow ending up on the floor. It turned-out my blood sugar had been 1.8.  It is supposed to be between 4 and 8 so I had had a hypo. Lynne and Margaret managed to administer the necessary Lucozade, dry out the bed, and extricate me from the chair (not necessarily in that order) peace was restored. Quite correctly, Lynne has turned into the severe matron this morning and ordered I get a grip of my diabetes control, have a shave and generally get a grip of myself, quite rightly too.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone will have/is having/had a good Christmas, depending on your location around the globe. We are scheduled for a quiet day with the usual Xmas dinner, Morcambe and Wise on the TV and a little booze. The former I have no appetite for and the latter is forbidden with my treatment, but to hell with it for one day.

Tuesday 24 December 2013


A freezing cold day and my last radiotherapy before Christmas, but further progress on my leg. The leg doctor has actually spoken to the oncology guy and the leg op is likely to be mid-January. Considerable progress for Leicester hospitals. What could possibly go wrong ?

Monday 23 December 2013

Jaw drop

Another day blogging lost due to reasons beyond my control, but full praise to Sky who fixed it quickly once again.. Apologies.
Rain forecast for the next few days and it has just arrived right on cue, following several very sunny days.
Yesterday was full-on with a mid-morning visit from our eldest son and two youngest granddaughters and the afternoon arrival of my sister and husband. Roll on Christmas.
I managed to fall over and graze my head (indoors, fortunately). The result resembles being hit on the head with a mallet, which gives me ample opportunity to blame Lynne, if asked.
A visit to my leg doctor and radiotherapy today but at different hospitals, just to break the monotony. Christmas Eve tomorrow then a two-day break.
As usual radio treatment progressed smoothly, as did the rush across city to Leicester General where we waited a very long time to see the leg specialist who interpreted my scan results. Not good news but it could be worse. I now have chronic osteomyelitis, which basically means the shin- bone is internally infected and will require surgery to cure. Continuing with antibiotics is pointless. It is now necessary for the doctors associated with my current treatments to decide amongst themselves when surgery can take place.

Friday 20 December 2013

Righting writes

Yesterday was cold but sunny. I managed to speak to the asst consultant regarding my current bout of sickness, hoping he could up my anti-sickness pills. The answer was no but he put me back on steroids which he assured me would help, and so far they have. Lynne managed to speak to a senior nurse who confirmed a) any hair loss will be temporary and b) once the treatment is over my brain and I will retrain myself to write legibly, replacing the current doctor's style and  c) because the cells on our tongues are the most frequently replaced my sense of taste will quickly return .  My leg continues to make good progress ( it is still attached to me of course ). Each day I try to walk further although I have yet to try a village return trip.  All positive news.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Still after storm

A bright, sunny morning has followed a very stormy night. Everything seems OK.
 And very calm. Lynne has even managed to finish our Xmas cards ( the traditional posted kind ). They will not arrive till after Christmas but hey-ho, it is a Herculean achievement all the same. The job fell to Lynne as I have discovered I can't write anymore, yet another function lost, but I am assured taste returns quickly.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Zipidy do da 2

Yesterday was a much brighter day in all respects.  Brilliant sunshine and warm for the time of year. So confident was I in this new walking lark I pushed the boat out more than I should and even managed a shopping trip to Waitrose for the first time in months. ( strictly speaking I sat in the coffee lounge whilst Lynne zipped round with the trolley ). I did help pack the shopping  and get it back to the car though.
Once again my leg complained at midnight but after a couple of paracetamol I had a good nights sleep. Treatment and a blood test went well so all was good with the world. I even belatedly managed to write a few Christmas cards even though my concentration span is now smaller than a Scotsmans wallet.

Today was one of those terminally long days at the hospital. We beat the long wait to see the chemo doctor by arriving 2 hours late. We reckoned it is better to wait in the comfort of our own home rather than the hard waiting room chairs. However, one of the radiotherapy machines had broken down so long queues for the two remaining. 4 hours overall  we considered a success. No problems worth discussing.
I have Sussed-out the footwear code for hospital staff. Pretty nurses/admin staff wear clickety-clacky shoes so  they get noticed whilst rushing around carrying clipboards or patient notes. Frumpy staff wear soft shoes, but unfortunately they tend to squeak on Lino, defeating the object of wearing them in the first place. People who consider themselves to be very important  also go clickety- clacky.

Monday 16 December 2013

Highs and lows

After the highs of being afloat again I suppose it was inevitable lows would follow. Yesterday was a routine radiotherapy day. As usual treatment was on time and without incident. One of the proven siide -effects of Radio and chemo therapies is lethargy and, boy o boy did did I suffer on my return home mid-afternoon. A few hours of sleep had little affect and even tea did little to help. My appetite these days must be on a par with a mouse. We road-tested the menu of a pub near here for our planned family get-together after Christmas ( 11 so far with 2 dissenters ). The pub is very old but has recently had a badly needed change of management and the meals are huge, way beyond my current capacity.  
Our waitress kindly suggested a half portion, which was later charged as a children's meal. It was good but I could only manage half of it. No starter, no dessert.
Throughout all this Lynne manages to cope with everything life throws at her, without complaint. How? 
God only knows. Yesterday I was contemplating how to get myself admitted to hospital in the hope of giving her a break, but the idea never got beyond contemplation.
Another photo oh happier times afloat.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Poignant moment

A quiet day and we decided to make the most of it by visiting Tardis two. A very poignant moment
A bit like one of those movie moments when the navy guy returns to port after a long mission and is grabbed by his fabulous wife/girlfriend,with lots of tears and romantic music. Tardis Two is the fabulous
Wife/girlfriend and the tune in my head was dire straits "Going Home". a moving moment. She looked great. My leg was no problem for the second day running (if only I could run).
Once again I slept for half the day ( due to radio and chemo treatment I'm told ).
Apologies for the late posting, caused by technical problems beyond my control. I guess the Sky engineers worked through the night, thanks guys. 

Friday 13 December 2013

Routine break

Again slept all night, or at least until 05.30, hopefully indicating a change for the better. No radiotherapy today but I do have an MRI scan on my dodgy leg booked for midday at a local hospital. Although part of the same group as the other pathetic hospitals, from our experience, the incompetence and "why should I care" attitude has not infiltrated yet, 
so we hope to be out in time to visit our beloved boat this afternoon, something to look forward to? 
The scan was on time but it was a very lengthy walk to reach it which inevitably was more than my leg could cope with. As a result and the appearance of high winds the boat trip was postponed, in favour of a lie down, after which the leg seems ok. Don't rush me being the message transmitted.


Same weather but the rhino tells me there is a slight breeze.
Slept all night although I apparently pushed Lynne out of bed at. 0300.    Oops.   No leg pain last night but a few pins and needles attacks this morning.
I was racking what is left of my brain to remember the last time I missed an entire nights sleep ( see previous blog ). A party in Manchester and the Lyke Wake walk eventually came to mind, although there must have been one or two when camping in African Safari parks. The Lyke Wake walk is 30-odd 
Miles across the North Yorkshire moors and not for the faint hearted or sane. I completed it the day before my 21st birthday party. You try doing Rod Stewart impressions with heavily blistered feet. 

Thursday 12 December 2013

Sunny and mild

Considering it is getting very near to Xmas  the weather is very sunny and mild, reminding me of some of our boating days earlier in the year
Oh to get cruising again. My leg remained painful throughout the night and as a consequence very little sleep was obtained. The. Inflamed area remains constant but I think it is the nerve endings screaming out.
Sorry if the above scared you. It scares me every time I see it, but it looks worse than it actually is.(apart from the pain).  Apparently cellulitis of the leg is a slow healer, a very slow slow healer, as I am about to discover.
Patience is a virtue.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Intergalactic credit reversal

Me and my big mouth again. I received a text message from my hospital this morning telling me my appointment today was 12.45, an hour earlier than my appointment card. Lynne phoned to query the discrepancy and was assured the text time was correct. We rushed to arrive on time and waited four hours in the corridor, popping downstairs for radiotherapy, who kindly fitted me in at short notice. Another few hours later, in the same corridor with loads of similarly suffering patients, we reached the point of no return and Lynne popped to reception and announced we were leaving, which as usual, caused something of a stir. My leg got checked and the chemo tablets will be ready for collection tomorrow. Too many patients, doctor too slow or not having realistic appointment lengths, or sheer incompetence ? I suspect the latter.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Credit where due

We had lots to do at the hospital today. Blood test, leg check,radio and chemo, and, credit where it is due, everything went amazingly well. No hold-ups, no frustrations,nothing to complain about. The doctor did not consider my leg infection bad enough to stop tumour treatment but prescribed some strong antibiotics anyway. 
A reasonable nights sleep and a straightforward hospital visit has done wonders for my state of mind and I feel pretty good for once.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Walking wounded

As predicted,"my chiropractor" sorted out my locked ankle which has improved my walking, although both ankle and leg swelled considerably but without increased pain.
The weekend away proved a tonic for both Lynne and I , a sort of break from hospitals and grimness.
Family ties re confirmed.

Friday 6 December 2013

Journey South

With no intergalactic hospital appointments for the weekend ( they trust me to take my chemotherapy tablets at home ) we have planned a getaway and change of scenery by way of seeing "my" chiropractor in London, visiting old friends and staying overnight with my son and future wonderful daughter-in- law.
My leg has improved considerably over recent days but my ankle seems locked, something I am hoping my chiropractor will improve. 
I am unsure about a wi fi connection down South so there may be a one day lapse, or maybe not

Musical journey

The key moment tracks mentioned yesterday are not, in themselves, good or bad, they just happened to be around for key events in my life. I once compiled a life story tape ( prior to cd's ) for an aunt living in Canada, purely based on musical tracks, but with explanations, which, at the time, she and I were very proud of. I have since lost the only copy I ever made, but don't have the time or inclination to repeat the exercise. However, I am always happy for friends to mention an event in my life in return for a track title.
I have retinal screening at my GP's this morning just for a change of routine. All diabetics have an annual eye check by the NHS to spot any retinal changes early. Back to reality in the afternoon when I return to the inter-galactic Leicester hospital for routine radio therapy.
The treatment was routine with no hiccups although it knocked me for 6 and I slept through what was left of the afternoon at home.
To give you popaphiles  an interesting exercise I will now list artists relevant to incidents in my life, to whom you may be able to add a track. These are in no particular order:  Chris Montez. Joe Brown.
Beatles. Abba. Pink fairies. Hawk wind. Cat Stevens. Melanie. Marianne Faithful. Linda Lewis. Rolling Stones. Yardbirds. Jefferson Airplane/Starship. Eagles. Rod Stewart. Animals. kinks. Neil Diamond. Troggs. Simon & Garfunkel. Yazoo. Eurasure. Alison Moyet. The Who. Snow Patrol. Dolly Parton. David Bowie. Radiohead. Led Zeppelin. Bob Dylan. Everything but the girl. Walk off the earth. Dire Straits. Bread. John Denver. Buddy Holly. Joan Baez.  Etc. etc.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Back to earth

Amazingly managed to stay awake until the end of the Arsenal v Hull match. Not that it was boring (far from it) but it finished around 22.00, well past my bed-time these days. I went to bed relatively pain-free and slept until 04.00, quite a good night by my current standards. Arsenal won 2. O and remain top of the Premier league, by the way. Following yesterday's fiasco consultation I have devised a cunning plan  for post-treatment , but obviously it will remain secret as it is quite radical. Regaining control of my brain for the remainder of my life is the aim but there are a number of hurdles to overcome first.

I have discovered my taste buds and sense of smell have wained, common side effects of chemo treatment.

The rhino was very lively this morning, due to very high winds. A non-cruising day.   In fact it is positively gale force. The marina phoned to say Tardis Two is ok but the marina has Atlantic waves, no boats moving.

Radiotherapy went smoothly as usual from where we popped upstairs to the chemo unit to collect my chemo and sickness tablets as arranged yesterday. And guess what. Not only had they lost my notes but also my tablets !!!!!   Chaos ensued until the sister authorised a new prescription for my tablets, which were issued. Today I am a nonentity in the chemo department.

I am still having my ups and downs moments, not greatly helped by events at the hospital, or by Smooth Radio which seems to play "trigger tracks" on a regular basis whilst I sit in traffic. I relate all major events in my life, good or bad, to music.
"Bad" equals tracks like: The sound of silence.  Homeward bound.   There's a place.   Wild horses.
"Good" equals:  Hotel California.      Stairway to Heaven.   ( 12 string guitars, remember?)

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Another planet?

Radiotherapy went well and quickly as usual these days,despite me arriving early following yesterday's foul-up. They are a great group of people.  The consultation went well in a bizaar way . I asked if chemo would end the same time as radio. The answer was he could not say. I then asked when it was likely to end. The answer was he could not say.  
I then stupidly asked how a decision will be made to stop chemo and what criteria would be necessary? The asst oncologist merely licked his index finger and held it in the air. For non-UK residents this sign means "Christ knows" and not the driving signal meaning "swivel on that".  All informative stuff, eh?
We left wondering who was on another planet, him or us. The jury is out.

Monday 2 December 2013

Guantanimo Bay

I refuse to call what's happening to me an illness, more an invasion. This is bad enough to take, but the treatment is far worse. They tell you one of the side-effects is sleepiness, but fail to add the ability to stop you sleeping, a fact confirmed by other patients. You feel sleepy all day, only to go to bed early and not be able to sleep. An extra problem unique to me is my leg wound ache also refuses to sleep. Not an ideal situation. Now I am off those enormous doses of painkiller, enough to knock-out a rhino, the occasional paracetamol , fails to reach the same levels of pain relief.      Everyone has good and bad experiences in life, me more than most I guess, but the combination of the treatment and what is left of my brain seem able to recall and graphically edit together the bad in my dreams, whether I am asleep. Or awake.   I am told the functions of the zapped parts of my brain will eventually be undertaken by others.  A sort of multi-tasking.  I am writing this at 1.00 in the morning before attempting to achieve real sleep again.
Having already suffered water torture by being forced off Tardis Two earlier than planned I feel I am going through the entire Guantanimo Bay gambit.  What next? I'm innocent, honestly.

Talking of torture, at least I know once all this treatment is completed that will be the end of it, but there is no such hope for thousands of Spurs fans as they watch Arsenal winning game after game by large margins ( apart from against Spurs, strangely ). However, a change of allegiance and a short bus ride could quickly cure their problem and they will then be able to enjoy an hour and a half of their lives per week.

I was supposed to have a full day at the hospital today with radiopherapy treatment and a chat with the consultant. Similarly tomorrow but this time with the chemo consultant, who happens to be the same guy. Today, after treatment, a blood test and a long wait they announced they woul combine the two consultations tomorrow.   All those wasted letters and our preparations, for what?
Once again piss-up and brewery spring to mind, but we're lumbered with them to the bitter end (excuse the pun).


Not a good weekend, with yesterday either spent in bed asleep or in the bathroom. It is fair to say these chemo tablets do not agree with my stomach or my stay -awake brain cells. My last chemo treatment (over 20 years ago) resulted in a dramatic loss of weight to the point where I could have fallen into a piraña-infested lake and walked out an hour later looking much the same. A discussion with the oncologist is planned. 
Back to hospital for my "routine" radiology treatment today. My memory is starting to work in a stranger way than normal,whereby I try to remember a name or an object, only for my mind to be totally blank at the time, but whatever I was trying to remember unexpectantly appears in my memory  hours or days later in neon, uninvited

Very quick radiotherapy session today. In, bang crash wallop and out within ten minutes.

It is time for me to consider the future of my hair. (Which one? I hear you ask). This treatment is guaranteed to cause fallout.  Go for the total baldie look? Or a wig? The Sir Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Saville looks are both no no's, as is Wayne Rooney. Sir Clff Richard?  Rod Stewart. Ziggy Stardust. Art Garfunkel.  Any further suggestions?

Saturday 30 November 2013

Doctor Who 50th.

Starting my second day off for good behaviour with a lightly aching left leg, only level 1 on the pain-scale but enough to stop me sleeping. The car washing exercise was certainly over ambitious. This leg repair is going to be a long-term project for sure.  No graphic dreams last night. The previous one was more than I need, thank you. It was like one of those horror movies you sneaked into the cinema to watch when a kid but regretted for the rest of your life.  I never did, but watched a few TV programmes I later regretted. It is currently the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, which allegedly young children used to watch from behind the sofa when it first started. I never really watched it but it would take more than an upturned dustbin armed with a sink plunger to scare me.

Free weekend

I've earned myself a weekend off and the sun has come out.  It is a measure of my leg progress I propose to wash the car this afternoon. No hospital visits, only chemo tablets to take at home. Apart from an upset stomach and graphic dreams I seem to have got through the first week of treatment relatively unscaved.  Last night's dream made yesterday my last at 64 and a half years exactly. The headstone was in the shell of the old elm tree on Aldbury village green ( I was born within 1 mile) .Lynne had returned to London, and our current house was rented/leased. Luckily I was still here when I woke, if, indeed, I had been asleep? Believe me, it is a great time to reconcile any long-running feuds or misunderstandings, a couple of which I am now in the process of doing.

Friday 29 November 2013

Brain then mouth or laptop

It's raining but overall a little warmer. I have yet to get my head round how fast the internet works and how quickly my comments get transferred to people without computers. I have managed to copy Sally Bercow several times already, hence my avoidance of Facebook and Twitter, so at least national newspapers have missed a story or two.  The thought of the Daily Mail regularly  trawling through my blog raises a smile, but even so it is amazing how much interest it generates considering the content matter.  I have now reinforced my determination to engage brain (or what remains of it ) before typing blog, and apologies to anyone I have inadvertently upset or offended. The "if the cap fits" scenario.
My radiotherapy procedure takes around 15 minutes per time but it fills the day once you allow for transport and parking. I'm getting bored of it already with only 6 weeks to go. I get Xmas day off apparently.
Having reduced my drug tablet intake considerably it is time for a moan about the size of them. You swallow them, only for the damned things to stick in your throat and taste awful for ages. Whatever happened to those small, round, throat sized pills which were swallowed without choking?  They also used to be white, whereas now they are every colour under the sun and some multicoloured. (Capsules- huge rectangular things), they have to be large to fit the colour-scheme on?  White, small, smooth pills again please.

Thursday 28 November 2013

John Wayne character acting school

One of the chemo/radiotherapy side effects manifested itself las night, physical sickness, but I have been given tablets to combat it. So far so good.    The exercise I gave my leg yesterday has moved the pain from joints and nerve ends to muscles, less localised but more subtle. I removed my morphine patch yesterday and have yet to notice any difference, which raises the question what was that huge pile of painkiller tablets actually doing, apart from attacking my liver and stomach?
Having reconsidered my wretched verdict on the hospital yesterday I have no reason to change it, other than to sympathise with the front-line staff who are doing their best in almost impossible circumstances, bless them. Even they have lost faith and belief . Top Brass are trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot and failing miserably. Never mind patient care, look at the low % of deaths.
The nuclear physics department appears to be run by a group of kamikaze renegade consultants. Never mind what it actually is, let's treat what we think it is or would prefer it to be. Laboratory monkey or what? Have another banana and get on with the treatment.  
I mentioned an old film called " a man called horse" a few days ago. Did anyone manage to find it? Hopefully not because it was also crap and starred Richard Harris who attended the same character acting school as John Wayne.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Carry on nurse

At long last, my first chemo and radiotherapy. It was a traumatic experience for both Lynne and I. Without any scope for contradiction we can officially confirm Leicester Royal Infirmary is crap.   Patients confirm it, hospital staff admit it. Who am I to argue?   They could not organise the proverbial in a brewery, which does little to raise my confidence. We arrived on time for our 11.15 doctors appointment and were eventually seen at 12.30 with the reception staff recommending we never arrive on time in future. Point taken.  The asst. oncologist greeted me with "what are you doing here? " to which I replied " You tell me and we'll both know." He explained the proposed combination of chemo and radiotherapy is "unusual" but nothing to worry about, which again raised my confidence. He continued to explain the aim of stopping my tumour growing further and some of the side-effects likely to be encountered, again failing to raise my hopes.  Our next extremely long wait was for the pharmacist to supply the chemo pills, which appeared at 16.30.      One of these must be taken daily on an empty stomach half an hour prior to radiotherapy, which must be completed within the following hour.         Still with me?           We got home at 19.00. Enough said.   The staff were most apologetic and generally embarrassed. Lynne was in tears and I was close to the end of my tether.   Radiotherapy is 5 days per week so we are returning tomorrow,  hopefully in a better frame of mind. During my treatment I was enertertained by Blondies' greatest hits, all four of them. Staff have offered to play my own Cd's in future.
I left my wheelchair in the car but suffered for it by the end of the day, but hopefully the exercise will help my leg ultimately.
Thanks for the helpful suggestions on getting my new pain patches to stick to my hairy parts, requested yesterday, which generally involved waxing or tweezers. I would need the pain patches after both exercises. !!!!!
Roll-on tomorrow.

Tuesday 26 November 2013


Nothing major to report overnight other than my new "nerve pads" seem to work,if we can get them to stick onto my hairy body and/or body parts. The pads are meant to be a replacement for pain relief drugs. Quite how they work is difficult to explain,but more on that later. They look like giant elastoplasts and can be cut to size to fit the pain area. I am assured they contain no drugs.
It seems my original bullet wound caused havoc in my nerve wiring .wires have been floating around unconnected for months. I reckon the pads contain thousands of personal nerve ads. Once we can get the nerve endings reconnected walking can re commence. 
Unfortunately I am too hairy for the pads to remain in-place long enough for nerve reconnection to take place. How to resolve this problem? Answers on a postcard please. 

Sunday 24 November 2013

Something boaty

After several months of boating inactivity I feel the urge to naughtically re-link my blog, hence this photo of theBridgewater monument in all it's autumnal glory. The duke of bridgewater was a pioneer of the canal system, his namesake still serving Manchester.  The monument can be found on a huge National Trust estate in Hertfordshire where I was born. Ironically my youngest son currently lives a stones throw from the Bridgewater canal in Manchester . It is one of our must-visit canals for the future.
Remaining on a boating theme, engineers at "our" marina will be "winterising" Tardis Two this week, basically ensuring frost and ice cannot cause damage ti vital components. On her last visit Lynne noticed the first signs of ice forming on the marina and with my leg problems not improving put plan B into operation.
However, back to the routine of hospital visits today, yawn,yawn. This one is with the consultant in charge of my leg (so to speak), and should prove interesting, particularly as I intend wheeling myself into his consulting room. A picture replaces a thousand words.

We arrived late for my appointment, chiefly down to the fact we arrived at the wrong hospital. If you want to make a mistake make a big one !  Leicester has two main hospitals, the Royal in the city centre and the General on the outskirts, about 20minutes apart if you know where you are going, which we do not. Letter headings from both hospitals are virtually identical so mistakes are easy to make ( that's our excuse ) my consultant wheeled me into his consulting room and was complimentary regarding Lynne's drug reduction programmer . My athletes foot has virtually gone ( what is the singular and plural of athletes foot ? ) otherwise the message was : use it or lose it ( my leg ) whilst healing  continues, return to normal will be a very long process.

Saturday 23 November 2013

1970's revisited

Courtesy of channel 4 last evening was spent with Save the Whale comrades from the 1970's, John Denver amongst them .Not that I ever met him or even attended any of his concerts, but a fan I certainly was. The fact that Whales still exist is largely down to him, Greanpeace and similarly-minded people, all subconceously reunited last night.
Woke with no pain this morning but 10 shuffled steps to the bathroom quickly upped this considerably, which tends to indicate nerve damage to those in the know, our current doctors and surgeons excluded.   Lynne has gone to consult with the boat engineers regarding the ongoing electrics problem and I am "holding the fort", feeling generally below par and a little grouchy for some reason.

Friday 22 November 2013


A quiet day with the minimum of hospital appointments planned, this one for counselling. Nothing earth-shattering emerged, other than my present hospice cocktail intake needs to be reduced, which we are already working towards. These counselling sessions are like gold dust, few and far between. I have managed to book another one in a month's time with the opportunity of an "emergency session" whenever necessary.  From there the day was my own to use as I wished. After a 4 hour snooze I am currently watching the Brazil F1 practice sessions and surprise,surprise, both Red Bulls head the first and second times sessions.  I think I now need a second snooze, only longer.  Roll on the next F1 season.

Thursday 21 November 2013


Visited yet More doctors and pharmacies today aiming at improving/reducing my current drugs useage.I was proud of the fact I could remain awake for at leasta few hours daily, despite the amazing drugs cocktail taken. I learned today my cocktail is known as the Hospice, but it is not available outside the health services and certainly not at any reputable cocktail bar. Please note you would need your credit card if it were.   Having been assured the drugs will eventually work but not kill me beforehand I remain on the same routine for a little longer.  Ignore the above as I slept for 23 hrs non-stop and enjoyed every minute.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Have I got news for you

Busy morning answering calls from the hospital cancelling treatment appointments only made yesterday, but hey-ho I am retired with nothing better to do. The most recent blood test (I have reached the Tony Hancock "empty arm" stage, confirmed by an inexperienced blood removal nurse ) reveals I still have a small infection within my body ( surely not the leg?) by the way, the more experienced nurse eventually found some in the other arm. What is their official title?  I always refer to them as Dracula.

Tuesday 19 November 2013


Another day spent in another hospital, this time practicing my wheelchair skills in the Leicester Infirmary where final changes were made to my radiotherapy mask. Chemotherapy  via weekly tablets has been added to my treatment list by way of insurance, both treatments begin this week. winter has arrived as today was cold with lots of falling tree leaves. We are very close to having the best drug control for my leg pain.The label of unicycle refers to my previous habit of making forward progress slowly so I am hoping  to have broken the cycle (sorry). 
This morning promised to be be busy and full with another trip to Tardis two and commencement of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy on my tumour. In the event foul weather stopped the boat visit and my oncologigist postponed the tumour bombardment until my leg infection is cleared, maybe next week.

Monday 18 November 2013

Whoopee doo

Having spent yet another day in A and E we cadged a lift home from a friend and I managed a pain-free night. We have collected a virtually new wheel chair from the Red Cross, bless them, ready to launch myself on the world tomorrow.I'll be wheeling myself around the house practicing today. The key to this brighter day is a better, stronger painkiller, which only leaves the question why wasn't I on this one from the start?  

Sunday 17 November 2013

World pain elevation record

My pain meter scale burst through it's top this morning. OK I accept agony is agony whatever level of measuring scale you use but it is difficult to explain to anyone who has not personally suffered it, particularlly doctors.  I intend going fully armed for my next visit, including a wheelchair and a detailed drug chart. To a doctor treating any leg injury a wheelchair is the ultimate, and very public, admission of failure. I had considered using an elephant but getting on and off could prove difficult, and I am not entirely sure It would fit through the doors or into the lifts

Saturday 16 November 2013

Soul destruction

Rough and painfull night equals no sleep. A heavy dose of morphine sorted that out and I stupidly opted to help Lynne move the boat this afternoon. Let me tell you it is soul destroying watching someone you have only just met drive your boat around a marina. As always an experienced boater willingly offered to help. Tardis Two stil looks stunning, whoever is on the tiller It was well steered and now allows some young lady andher yet unborn child to be as near dry land as possible. However,Itmakes my one-legged hike from land to the boat much more of a challenge.

Friday 15 November 2013

11 and rising

On a pain scale of 1 to 10 I awoke on an 11, for no obvious reason, other than my leg was trying to tell me something. It succeeded. The visit of my Macmillan nurse yesterday alleviated many of my concerns regarding radiotherapy and morphine addiction and she left me with lots of usefull contacts for future discussions if required. We were able to successfully deal with my extreme pain this morning within my freshly acquired morphine boundaries. Another good tip I've found for dealing with pain is a wooden spoon. I promise I did not get the idea from 50 shades of grey, but from a very, very old film called A man called Horse. Gripping the wooden spoon handle between the teeth at the height of pain seems to help. Teeth marks in our wooden spoon handles gives an indication of useage. 
I have swopped my morphine patch for a meatier version so will review the result in due course. Remember the boat, Tardis Two? We aim to visit her sometime soon to swop pontoons with a heavily pregnant lady who wishes to be nearer dry land and the car park for obvious reasons. We need a dry windless day if possible. We may need to borrow someone to steer unless my leg makes a remarkably quick recovery.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Pain thresholds

A bright sunny day outside, whilst inside it is dark and gloomy. I always measure my pain levels on a scale of 1(low)to10 (high). Since getting out of bed it has been a constant 7 despite an army of painkillers. Having a shower is a major pain-creating excercise, as is sliding up and down stairs. No fun. I have often admired the courage of people who jump off bridges or multi-storey car parks but now realise this out-of- character courage is simply created by a set of circumstances over which you have no control. Similarly defending your family unarmed against a pride of lions. The circumstance I need to know about is my likely quality of life after radiotherapy, thus I have booked a chat with my Macmillan nurse ASAP.

Wednesday 13 November 2013


Stress is a major health issue these days but there seems to be no way of measuring it. Another Dragon's Den sure-fire winner? We have had more than our fair share over the past year or so. My tumour, and subsequent woes.Lynne having to undertake all the driving duties when she hates driving and previously did very little. Her nervousness spilling over to me .my mobility and driving going from extensive to nil. And so on. The intention of buying the boat was to relieve stress for our retirement, but having the bloody thing built proved unnessessarily stressful and now Lynne is lumbered with the full range of boating duties,pending a remarkable leg recovery for me. The hospital have arranged a leg scan for me....... But why only now for chrissakes? On a brighter note, Arsenal still top the Premier league and I am no longer ducking snowballs or jumping icebergs at home so stress levels there are reducing.

A pain in the........

Making my way downstairs for tea I was suddenly overcome with an excruciating pain from my dodgy leg. The reason remains a mystery although it should be noted morphene takes you way out of your body and into another universe, so anything could have happened. A slip?a knock? As a result getting to the loo at night is a painfull exercise, as is getting up and down stairs. I guess ballet dancing falls into the same category.life can get pretty frustrating at times but the alternative is equally as uncertain.
One (or two plus points) is/are my athletes feet are improving. When are the next Olympics?

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Square one?

I walked back from the village yesterday without problem, although the usual leg ache returned with a vengeance once I sat down,requiring a shot of morephene for relief, which  sort of nullifies the reason for my extended hospital stay. I appear to be no further forward, which is disappointing to say the least. With the continued frosty atmosphere at home I'm beginning to think I may have been better to stay in hospital, although an eventual boxed exit would have been the likely outcome.

Monday 11 November 2013

The sound of silence

A late wake-up after an extremely peacefull night. No pain so assume morphine patch doing it's job. It also makes me sleepy apparently. I can imagine getting arrested for attempting to sell part of my "drugs haul" whilst asleep. Psst,want to buy half a morphine patch, cheap? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday 10 November 2013

Out again

A painless and relatively noiseless night resulted in me being released for a second time. Completion of my release letter and drugs haul coincided with arrival of Sunday lunch and, sadly, the passing of a nice guy in the opposite bed with pneumonia.(we noticed at least an hour before the nursing staff) So, by early afternoon I was away into warm sunshine, although the atmosphere in the car and house remained frosty. At this point I would normally say it is great to be home, so there we are, I've said it.
Nottingham hospitals have better food  and nursing care but overall Leicester wins-out, with the exception of spotting dead patients.
Hope you wore your poppy with pride and managed to reflect over the lives given to preserve your freedom.

Saturday 9 November 2013

In out, in out

Another very noisy night, more like Waterloo station rush hour than a hospital ward,caused by a group of  patients simultaneously kicking off, getting a few security guards involved. It was past midnight when some form of normality was attained and thereafter I slept till 0800. I suspect this new pain patch is not working as well as the previous one, removed yesterday for my scan. The weekend duty surgeons subsequently authorised my release and a check on my new pain patch, although Lynne is doubtfull  I am fit enough for the "real world". Hopefully she will eventually be convinced sufficiently to give me a lift home, otherwise I'll resort to a taxi.   Until then the atmosphere remains "frosty".
Wear your poppy with pride

Friday 8 November 2013

Bachelor boy

A very lively,noisy night reminiscent of university parties in the old days,but with no booze (no change there, then?)the night duty staff nurse was an obnoxious so and so and we soon came to verbal blows, ending in her storming off with my insulin and blood tester kits. My regular night nurse calmed me down and lightened the load. My pain levels have considerably lowered,which has to be good news.
The old boy in the corner bed is named Cliff, so every time nurses call him,the old Bachelor Boy hit with The Shadows springs to mind. I refuse to do Congratulations 
The guy in the next bed ate his plastic pudding spoon last night and attempted the same thing with breakfast this morning. It is a lively ward with an age likely to be of interest to the Time Team.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Houdini Porter

Still in hospital surviving athletes feet. During late evening yesterday I was whisked-off for an x-Ray in a turbo-charged wheelchair. The Porter checked me in and parked me in a doorway where I watched the world go by until the x-rayist hung me over her machine, zapped a picture and wheeled me back to reception for another porter to rush me back to the ward. Where the hell did the first porter disappear to?
Yet another wasted day lounging on a hospital bed until Lynne arrived to sort them, like a demented whirlwind. A decision was made to give me an anti-pain patch to encourage me to walk a little and exercise my leg more. T
There was talk of me returning home but with the new regime it was decided to leave me in hospital and begin a pain-management recording system,the results to be reviewed in due course.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Musical hospitals

My leg had been particularly painfull  yesterday so in desperation Lynne phoned the out of hours GP service. The days of a GP finding his /her way to your house are long gone. These days you are given an appointment time with a GP at a local hospital, so off we jolly well went to meet a larger than life character  who obviously had missed his anti-flu jab this year. He recommended we persuaded our GP to send me for an MRI scan on my leg, so next morning that is what we did. To cut a very long story short I ended up on ward 36 of Leicester Royal infirmary where I remain to this day.As usual I have spent 2 days on a very geriatric ward awaiting a doctor's visit, only to be told I have atheletes feet !  To be fair they have upped my painkillers which makes life reasonably better. This ward is particularly noisy as most of the residents are the wrong side of 75 and obviously suffer with acute wind and low pain thresholds (though not necessarily in that order).interestingly when my blood sugar was low the nurse gave me a sugary yoghurt called Farticip. No kidding.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Bowling along

We are off to Coventry today to watch our youngest daughter competing in a bowling tournament. We aim to park next to the entrance so I can hobble in without causing too much of a human traffic jam. I managed some sleep last night so our plan of 24 hr painkiller supply seems to be working, even though the pain stills comes and goes. My frustration has reached the point whereby a wheelchair may prove the solution to my non- mobility. My reluctance to getting one is mainly down to sympathy with Lynne who will get lumbered with pushing me around (no comment ). Lancashire has fabulous scenery Due mainly to sweeping hills and valleys. In other words, not ideal wheelchair terrain.
From my couch the weather looks overcast and dull. I will observe the flood plains during my trip to Coventry and report later. Wear your poppy with pride.
I can confirm the Yorkshire team won the national inter-counties bowling tournament by a very narrow margin from Surrey. Leicestershire were nowhere to be seen, indicating they must have been eliminated earlier in the season, or perhaps they do not have a team? 
The rivers are full but the flood plains are no longer flooded. My leg has been particularly painful today.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Wine supplies replenished

WearOur friends with a house in France returned to the UK yesterday, somehow eluded port customs and filled our shed with white, red and rose boxes. We only drink "socially", so we will be very social over the next few months, either at home or aboard. Drunk in charge of a narrowboat sounds an interesting charge. Looks Warm and sunny from my couch but I expect the flood plains remain.....er.....flooded.
Wear your poppy with pride.

Friday 1 November 2013

London news

As promised, the second opinion was phoned through from London this morning. The team concluded from my scan history the tumour remains at level 2 ( non cancerous ) , albeit a bit bigger, and therefore zapping  it with both radiotherapy and chemotherapy would be " over the top", radiotherapy will arrest its growth but chemotherapy will contribute very little , apart from damaging me,although it would be needed at some time in the future.
It appears the Nottingham team may have panicked ( unless they just needed biopsy practice ) Whilst pleased, I can't help feeling like one of those unfortunate laboratory monkeys or Frankenstine's monster. Leicester are going ahead with plans for my treatment.
Leg news is less encouraging. It still hurts like hell.

Stand off

Managed some sleep last night, but only after a quite unpleasant stand-off whereby my pain killers were used as a bargaining tool. I now understand how effective torture can be. The solution is for me to take charge of the painkillers and take them as required, rather than by the recommended 24 hr maximum doseage. Surprisingly pain recognises no timetable. The new painkillers are a striking shade of blue but , despite being taken daily, apparently take up to 5 weeks to kick-in, by which time I can phase out my current pill taking regime. I will then be on only 2 pills per day, albeit very pretty. As a couch potato I can only report on the weather as it appears outside my window. Yesterday was very dull with no sunshine. Today appears to be following the same schedule, but even so it is good winter cruising weather and we are missing it. Due to my short-notice GP visit yesterday I had to rearrange my first counselling session to next week. Great. I have waited many months to get it and then had to postpone it. Ho-hum.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Why me? 2

I am moving very, very slowly to plan Z . With absolutely no progress on my leg pain and another sleepless night and yet another visit to my GP, I now have some mega painkillers which I can take at night. This morning I had to resort to the undignified  act of sliding downstairs on my bum as my leg pain was sufficient to prevent conventional progress. Walking anywhere is a problem so I am virtually a prisoner in my own home. During the night I noted this house has no facilities for hanging myself, which is somewhat inconvenient. Having said that my leg pain would prevent me getting into position to do it.
Lynne has locked the drugs cupboard and is considering getting me into hospital on suicide-watch, (joke ) bless her. Her sleep patterns have also been disrupted lately so we both have frayed edges.After a decent sleep I am feeling much better and editing my blog written earlier, apologies to those who read it, pre -edit.I have also got over the why me syndrome. I have been type-one diabetic since the age of 3 (bad luck?) and had lymphoma/pneumonia mid 40's, ( bad luck ?) neither of which restricted later life. There is no family history of either, so perhaps it was just bad luck. On a brighter note I survived a Jumbo jet hijack over Germany and a flight back from Lusaka aboard the oldest (and only) Boeing 707 still flying, further hindered by the fact it only had 3 working engines ( good old British Caledonian ) It seemed to take forever to get off the ground and was late arriving at Gatwick . I also walked.1.5 kilometers through a game park in Zambia and survived, supposedly rescuing a Swedish guy, his young son and Volvo, axle deep in a dry river bed.I remember getting back to Chichele lodge wearing brown shorts and having bleeding feet in Jesus sandals, my mouth feeling like the bottom of a budgies cage. If I can survive all that this small hiccup should be a piece of cake?

Wednesday 30 October 2013

The why me? Syndrome

Yesterday was a do nothing relaxing day. I exercised my leg  a few times as instructed and things got a little easier, apart from the pain. It is just a matter of timing the tablets, bearing in mind there  are limits to how many you can take within24hrs. It goes against my best instincts to take painkillers when I am not in pain but it seems the only way forward as once the pain starts it takes about an hour to get it under control again, which equates to an hour of agony. Doing nothing all day gives more than enough time for the "why me" syndrome to start, despite my best efforts.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Storm,what storm?

The huge storm forecast for yesterday largely passed us by,or was it the other way round? Motorways were busy with lots of road-spray and there were lots of fallen trees the closer we got to 
London. It was an emotionally draining day and we were truly knackered by the time we returned home, but with better understanding of my current leg and tumour situations and the ways forward, quite healing in their own right. Through all this trauma the most heartwarming aspect has been the tremendous family support I have received. Far more healing than any prescription. That and the boat gives me increasing courage to see this thing through. I don't really have any choice as I lack the guts to take the only alternative.
Wear your poppy with pride

Monday 28 October 2013


A wild and windy day for our trip to London, but hopefully it will be worth the effort. Cancer Counselling arranged for Thursday. Flood plains are.....er....flooded.

Back to the hurdy gurdy of motorway driving, a real contrast to narrowboat cruising. Leg sorted but will take a few days to settle, brain tumour confirmed as no immediate worry but it might as well be zapped anyway. There is never a right or wrong time to do it apparently. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy the best option but only the former available on the good old NHS. More begging on street corners? 

Sunday 27 October 2013

Windlass panic

At last, a photo of the offending object. I awoke with an identical leg pain in my left arm and hand. Long ago I was told the tumour on my right brain would eventually affect my left body side, eye, arm, leg, speech etc. Naturally I did what every mature, educated male would do..... I panicked. Maybe the leg pain had been due to the tumour all along? was this one spreading to my left arm ? What next ? Lynne knocked some sense into me and proved other parts of my anatomy had not been affected, which was a welcome relief. More questions for the consultant tomorrow.
The lower one was the culprit, being older and considerably heavier than the upper, newer one. As you will see, the older one has two sizes to fit varying lock spindles, giving more chances of slipping off worn older ones, as happened to me at some considerable cost to my leg.

Saturday 26 October 2013


The Liverpool pathway I assume has a number of crossroads with signs pointing to " save" and " carry on spending", then "treat" and "kill". At this point I am unsure which crossroads I have reached, hopefully the first.  The high costs of MRI scans must already be in the equation I suppose, but radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy have yet to be added, plus my increasing age?  Oh to be a fly on the wall for the next doctor's pow-wow. As previously stated I could live with things as they are if my leg could get sorted, but I appreciate the tumour is bursting into life and things could change on a regular basis in future. 
All the necessary scan images and surgeon's letters are in place for my second opinion meeting on Monday, as is an appointment with a chiropractor in whom I have absolute faith (no pressure ) so I am looking forward to Monday evening when a few more pieces of jig-saw should fall into place.
Sunny and warm today but high winds forecast over the next few days. 
Our youngest son is spending a few days with us, emptying the food cupboard. He witnessed his first fit in Zizzies restaurant a couple of evenings ago, which proved something of a shock for him. They are commonplace for Lynne and I  but an eye opener for first-time viewers.

Friday 25 October 2013

Mars and Uranus

Having learned the probe into my tumour missed the new bit and grabbed a piece of the old bit I could not help comparing it to the recent Mars expedition where  a rocket with probe was launched from earth and arrived without problem on the site it was aimed at, grabbed a bit of the surface for analysis and was a great success, whereby my probe only had to find a large tumour in my head. Missing it equates to the 
Mars probe actually landing on Uranus. Imagine getting a chunk of Uranus instead of Mars. It would be an international disaster.

BMW indicators

Following our not-so-good news at the hospital recently our drive home was interrupted by a BMW driver (who else ? ) using  his offside rear wheel arch to exchange paint with our near side front wheel arch by moving into our lane while we were still in it, but without indicating of course. Even if he had, a scrape would have been inevitable, but it was an old BMW before they fitted indicators as standard. The guy was such an obnoxious b@st@rd we decided to arrange repairs via insurance, which seemed to upset him a lot ( shame ). Unfortunately the incident did little for Lynne's driving confidence so any journey near city/town centres  is now problematical. Thank you BMW.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Surviving Russian roulette

Another sleepless night and yet another elimination process pursued. This time I've arranged a visit to another chiropractor in London ( an old friend from rowing days ) in the hope of solving my leg mystery, once and for all. If you are wondering what the hell yesterday's blog title was about, TOWIE is the shortened slang version  of The only way is Essex, a hit TV show featuring amateur actors in an unscripted glam-rock "soap" of life in Essex, a county in South East UK. Think Roxy Music combined with Friends. The show was, and remains, a great success , rocketing some participants to stardom and riches both sides of the Atlantic. 
Slow Boat round Britain has now passed the 8,000 hits stage from around the globe, thanks again. I (or a yet to be nominated friend/family member )intend morphing it into a book at some later stage, depending on my mental/physical capabilities at the time, plus a sympathetic publisher of course. Just don't expect a glamorous book signing ceremony in Selfridges, is all I can advise. Eat your heart out Joan Collins.


Traditionally corgi's are Welsh, but our two guests I reckon come from Essex, or more precisely, Barking. They bark at the telephone, the Dyson, the microwave, the TV, the doorbell, people walking by, other dogs barking, opening the front or back doors, the upstairs floorboards creaking, the cats, when our dinners are ready etc. etc, you get the picture.  Deafness has descended. Having contemplated yesterday's events we have now arranged a second opinion on tumour treatment from our original consultant in London next Monday, by which time all my scans and a letter from my oncologist will be with him, thanks to my new cancer support nurse who seems very on-the- ball. This is the first time the c word has entered the equation ,but I guess it was inevitable at some stage. Something else to get my head round. My biggest concern at the moment is Lynne, who on the surface is coping and dealing with everything really well (as usual ) but underneath is a cauldron of  concerns. At this stage her health is far more important than mine but I am at a loss regarding how to help, other than trying to remain positive. Suggestions on a postcard please.
By closing our local branch the"World's local bank" has just de-localised itself ( never mind customer care or convenience, admire the profits ).

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Russian roulette

A strange day, raining again. I went for my appointment with the oncologist at Leicester General hospital to discuss the biopsy results and proposed treatment. He was totally honest and said the results were inconclusive, as was the decision by the consultant/neurology team, who by a majority decision recommended heavy doses of radiotherapy. The oncologist disagreed and suggested I get a second opinion, preferably from St. George's in London. An appointment has already been made.
The problem seems to be the biopsy probe missed any alleged new tumour growth and retrieved a chunk of the original at level 2. The heavy radiotherapy doses proposed are for level 3  and above. No surprises, my decision was not to go ahead with any radiotherapy pending a second opinion, a bit like Russian roulette ( deer hunter style, which is not for me, thank you very much ) Whilst at the hospital I managed to get my leg checked-out for dvt.  The scan revealed no blood clots, which eliminates yet another possible cause without revealing the actual answer
The flood plains remain........er..........flooded.

Monday 21 October 2013

Elimination process

My head zip has gone. I half expected one of those unmarked Transit pick-up trucks to pop into the doctor's surgery for the scrap metal but I suppose there is more value raiding builders skips for old baths and washing machines? I also have an appointment this afternoon with a local chiropractor to hopefully eliminate yet another possible cause of my dodgy leg. Short of amputation I think we will have worked our way through the medical encyclopaedia seeking a cause/remedy. All that remains is to keep Lynne away from a chain saw. Heavy precipitation today. The flood plains are.....er.....flooded.  The canal and River Trust have entered the 21st century with a free app for places to visit on British canals and rivers, which looks pretty good. 
Chiropractor wants me to have a vascular ultrasound on my bad leg as it is considerably warmer than the other but I cannot get a GP appointment till next week so the results will have to wait yet again.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Sciatica and blackouts

Having spoken to "our" chiropractor and our GP friend we have come to the conclusion my ongoing leg problem is most likely caused by sciatica ( nerve damage ) rather than the infection first diagnosed. The reason for this joint (excuse the pun) conclusion is the pain is very mobile from ankle to hip rather than static in the wound site. I intend seeing a chiropractor at the first opportunity and hope for an early improvement as this non-mobility caper is driving (again, excuse the pun )me nuts.
While we were away cruising the council switched the street lights off half way through the night, presumably to save money, although they have got their priorities right by adding Christmas lights to each lamp post
 Staples out tomorrow.

Saturday 19 October 2013

Saving private Sadie 2

With Sadie gradually making progress with her foot and leg injury we have been attempting to piece together her travels during her missing period. She was found by staff in a Premier Inn car park approximately one and a half miles from our mooring almost a week after going for her normal mousing mission. At some point she needed to cross a busy dual-carriageway, lots of scrubland and the not-yet-completed M 42 motorway, which raises the possibility of being hit by a vehicle, although she shows no signs of related injuries. Another theory is a conflict with another cat, or a mink, presumably before booking into the Premier Inn, where she was found to be injured. A phone call to the local cat rescue centre, a quick read of the chip and her adventure was over. A very lucky cat. During our boat trip the council decided to switch off the street lights at night, presumably to save money.  Here we are fighting in Afganistan to give girls an education ( I think ?) and we cannot afford to light our streets. Fact is stranger than fiction.

Friday 18 October 2013


My staples have loosened, presumably due to the area swelling reducing, but with their removal scheduled soon it poses no problems, I guess. Apparently the surgeons do not replace the coin-sized plug of skull bone which will result in a small dent on top of my head. I am hoping this will result in a small micro-climate conducive to luxuriant hair growth. The biopsy result shows the tumour has not changed type significantly and can be treated by daily radiotherapy at one of the Leicester hospitals starting in about 3 weeks, for 6 weeks with another scan 3 months later.  Good news.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Hanging about

Time is really dragging while I wait for the results of my biopsy. What makes it worse is my inability to get out of the house for a walk or to look round the shops, my leg wound effectively restricting me to the settee and a foot stall. We have arranged to visit some boating friends at Stensen marina this afternoon, which should be interesting as we have managed to avoid the place for several months. I do not expect anything to have changed too much, but it should reinforce our belief us and Tardis Two are better off elsewhere. Our new "home" is yet to disappoint us in any way. It is a sunny and bright day, but I have yet to test the temperature.

Wednesday 16 October 2013


When I was wheeled out of theatre some one commented I had more tube connections than London, the removal of which resulted in widespread "waxed areas" on my arms. The other areas of obvious damage are where the clamps were fitted to keep my head from moving during drilling operations. This raises the image of my operation taking place on a Black and Decker Workmate bench bought from Argos in their summer sale
Another friend has suggested  I use my zipped head as a money box for poppy collections, but failed to explain how I get the money out again. With Poppy Day looming don't forget to wear one and give a generous donation for it. The British legion and Help for Heroes are the only organisations who give a monkeys for the welfare of our returning troops, injured or otherwise. This is our one opportunity each year to show our gratitude so make the most of it. 

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Home alone

Back to reality today. It has been dry, warm and sunny with lots of elaborate cloud formations. Having concluded life has been stressful for us both over recent weeks we have opted to address these issues head-on, by arranging us time. With this in mind we opted to visit the boat and marina this afternoon. It proved particularly relaxing and eased a few tensions. It has been tough for me but even tougher for Lynne so we need to ensure a more even balance in future. Awareness is half the solution. Sadie  now has problems with her leg as the infection seems to have spread, so yet more anti-biotics are scheduled. Fortunately she has given up the struggle to stop being given them which is a great relief to us.

Monday 14 October 2013

Glass half full/half empty theory

Yet another trip to the GP,for the next stage of leg treatment. Result.... More of the same, plus counselling to help cope with life's current ups and downs, which will be welcome. I need to concentrate on the plus points rather than the downs. After major brain surgery I am very much alive and able to live a fairly normal life for some considerable time. Making the most of it is the key, but I may need some assistance with that. I am naturally pessimistic (glass half empty), and find viewing anything as glass half full difficult, although I can understand the logic. I have 7 staples in my head, neatly arranged to resemble a zip,allowing an interesting start to any conversation.  Sadie is progressing well. Her foot and leg are still swollen and the collar drives her nuts. Giving her the anti-biotics is good fun but Margaret and Lynne have got it down to a fine art and the whole exercise is now completed with minimal injuries to all concerned. I will need to undertake the Margaret role in due course, which should be fun. I have always fancied the idea of being a big cat keeper. 

Sunday 13 October 2013

Passing the time

My recovery is progressing well, the slowest being my leg wound, which causes me grief whenever I get to walk even the shortest distance, restricting me to indoors, but even then getting up and down stairs can be a problem. To fill the time I have made a list of preferred films,some old, some new and of varied genre's, as follows;
High noon.                  Dances with wolves.                            Waterworld.                Woodstock.
The Graduate.             Airplane.                                               There's something about Mary.
I am curious, Yellow.    The Mission.                                          Dambusters.              Tommy.
Abba the movie.           A fist full of dollars.                                High plains drifter.       Hang 'Em high.
Beaches.                      The notebook.                                      Castaway.                   Life of Brian.
Little big man.               The terminal.                                        One flew over the cuckoo's nest.
Forrest Gump.               Straw Dogs.                                         Out of Africa
Born  Free.                     Gorilla's in the mist.
We had Sunday lunch at our "local" where the landlord had missed us for the summer. He is moving to another pub nearby sometime in the near future, which is a bit of a blow.
A trip to blockbusters is on the cards.                                        

Saturday 12 October 2013

Like a hole in the head

At last, a peacefull nights sleep. No hourly checks, no clanking of the tea trolley, no alarms, no screams, no bright lights,  relative peace.despite having two of the barkiest dogs in residence, my sister's corgis. It is raining this morning but the rhino seems quite pleased to see me and the feeling is mutual. There really is no place like home. My head is sore and my leg hurts, otherwise all is well.
Sadie is now wandering around with a large "funnel" collar to stop her chewing her bad leg, which is still swollen. We make a wonderful pair.

Friday 11 October 2013

Dad's home

As you can see I managed to escape hospital with the minimum of fuss. At least Pheobe seemed pleased to see me, but not half as much as I was pleased to be home. the operation apparently went well and they were able to remove chunks of the tumour for analysis via a skull hole the size of a 5 pence coin( see photo). They should be able to tell me their proposed treatment next week sometime. I spent yesterday in the post-operation recovery ward which proved to be very noisy, absolutely ideal for my recovery. The ward sister was very authoritarian and we got along really well (not).She made her apologies before I left but I put it down to an extreme case of chalk and cheese and we parted friends. The hole in my head is remarkably pain free but it is amazing how much the top of your head moves when you smile,frown,squint , laugh, cough etc. Try it.
Thanks to everyone sending best wishes during my hospital stay. Greatly appreciated.I cannot miss this opportunity  of also thanking my family for their great support over recent very difficult times. It makes me very proud to realise our hard work in parenting has proved successful 

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Lost in space

Returned to hospital ward D 11 as instructed and obviously surprised everyone. My bed was there but there was someone in it so they quickly moved me to ward D 8 where I surprised them also, particularly as it is a spinal injury ward. One of my doctor's found me the next morning but to the rest of the team I was "lost" until one phoned home to speak to me. Lynne was less than impressed and told him I was in his hospital and which ward. He found me quickly and arrangements are now in hand for an operation Thursday 10th October.

Monday 7 October 2013


By lunchtime today we had achieved; a change of painkillers for my dodgy leg. ;  a review of my "carer" relationship.   ; a review of my pain measurement criteria. Lynne and I always work on a pain table of 1to10.  1 being hardly noticeable and 10 being pretty bad. As a general rule I have tended to underplay the seriousness, not because I have a low pain threshold or anything, but I appreciate now this strategy does me no favours in my quest for pain relief so I in future I"ll top-load my assessments and compare the results.It certainly worked this morning, resulting in a doubling of my previous pain killer dose. 
Otherwise it is another day waiting for action. I'm scheduled to be back in hospital this afternoon when hopefully I will know what the immediate future holds. Strangely I am fairly convinced they have made a major foo-par by jumping the gun and now having to find an excuse to get out of it with minimum embarrassment. Thus my money is on no action and further monitoring, which is the lesser of two evils I suppose.
If I get that verdict and a cure for my leg I'll be a very happy old man.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Geriatric day out

By way of a change for me,  ( leg wound/tumour), my sister (bad back) and brother -in-law ( 2 bad hips) our "carer" Lynne decided on a day-trip for us all to Ashridge estate in Hertfordshire, which was a great success, lifting the doom and gloom that had pervaded us all over the past week or two. I suffered 4 fits today which we traced to the pain-killer I am taking for my leg, so we will attempt to change them tomorrow? I am like a walking Boots the chemist.
Talking of injuries, Sadie our wandering cat returned with a very sore and swollen front paw .Pheobie  suffered injured pride once her sister returned. In her absence she had attained top cat status on the boat and in the house, only to return to "normal" now. So much for sisterly love.

Saturday 5 October 2013

Released-but tagged

Lots of surgeon activity yesterday, but related to the MRI department, not me unfortunately. Following 3 days and 3 nights of wasted time ( and bed) I finally had a scan at 1800 hrs last night, although the engineer complained he had been waiting over an hour for me, where had I been?  I told him in no uncertain terms but realised afterwards I had probably shot the messenger. I then had the choice of staying in hospital for the weekend and a Tuesday morning operation slot, or going home and returning Monday. Guess which option I took?  I was therefore released on condition I kept my hospital wristband on which apparently ensures my bed cannot be re-allocated and the Tuesday op-slot maintained. I somehow doubt their hospital computer tracking system can be that good, considering it lost me for 3 days whilst still on the premises and in the same bed. Of course their still is a chance no surgery will be required if this second scan merely confirms the first one was faulty. In some ways I will be pleased but equally it will merely add fuel to the  frustration fire already built for lighting. The week has been a terrible strain on me, my family, relatives and especially Lynne, who outwardly copes well but internally gets tremendously stressed, understandably. I am helpless to do anything about it, which again only adds to frustration levels. My leg wound is causing grief, resulting in another hospital visit to the urgent care unit, more painkillers and anti-biotics. This time I'll have enough to complete the course whilst in hospital next week, as they are only willing to dish out drugs related to their own treatment.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Hospital almanac.

Believe it or not, I'm still esconced in hospital awaiting my scan, late Thursday evening. I am more bored than the Dulux dog. "They" hope to get it done sometime tonight or early Friday morning with half a chance I can be released for the weekend ( which weekend ?). My threat of walking out failed to motivate them this afternoon. I reckon bed placements and MRI Scans are arranged by a large committee of old biddies who meet monthly in the KFC on Wandsworth High Street whilst Status Quo tracks blare out on the in-house stereo. How else can you reasonably explain such chaos? At least it is non-cruising weather, which makes my imprisonment marginally easier to accept.

Hospital diary, cat's return

I am able to blog today as absolutely nothing has happened on the medical front, although I have been an in-patient for over 20 hrs. The hospital phoned 1600 yesterday asking me to attend as an in-patient as soon as practical, although the only spare bed was on orphaepedics where I was signed-in and later moved to neurology, where I have remained, waiting for a further, but improved MRI scan ( remember the previous machine broke, which is typical of my luck with any electrical gadgets ) pending a decision on a biopsy to ascertain further treatment. The aim is to improve my quality of life for the maximum time possible, which suits me. 
The medical staff have been fantastic, it is such a shame the administration cannot match them.How difficult can it be to organise a scan, followed by a review and an operation without me taking up valuable bed space for a night and a day? Although a young yob was admitted from A & E having had his skull cracked in a street fight, shouting and swearing, accompanied by 2 police " minders". The nurse did a brilliant job in shutting him up whilst persuading him he would die if he chose to leave. I would have let him go, but I suppose that is unfair on the police?  
As we received the hospital call we also heard from a cat rescue centre in Coven, saying Sadie had been found and handed in, virtually a month since first disappearing, but in reasonable health. Lynne collected and returned her home during my first morning in hospital...... A good sign?

Tuesday 1 October 2013

NHS incompetence-DHS efficiency

My phone call from Nottingham hospital last Friday promised I would be contacted yesterday confirming details of my admission and operation, but of course nothing happened , our phone calls late afternoon were unsuccessful. 40 minutes on the phone this morning equally drew a blank until Lynne spoke to the neurological surgery ward sister who confirmed my pre  - op would be later today and my operation tomorrow. Progress.It appears NHS incompetence is not only confined to London.
On a happier and more successful note DHS successfully completed the transfer of 8 gorilla's fromPort Lympne wild animal park to the Congo. The family are doing very well and have settled into their new wild home without problem.
With the knowledge my operation will take place and when,
life is a little more relaxed, although i'm not sure that is an accurate description.
Until the next blog, goodbye.

Monday 30 September 2013

Perfect affair

We had a trip to the marina yesterday rescuing essential items for home ( and having Sunday lunch cooked for us ) . The more I see of Barton marina the more I like it . The marina residents are friendly (most boaters are ) and the staff are equally so. The weather was brilliant and the transfer of our goodies and foodstuffs to the car went well. It was only when we were leaving I felt the urge to hug and kiss Tardis Two at the end of a warm and wonderful 6 month love affair, and all above board as Lynne had been there throughout. What more could you want ?  I have not made so many sacrifices over so many years to achieve this love affair to have it shortened  so much or stopped entirely. A further day hanging around waiting for a spare hospital bed to become available plus a doctor's appointment to check on my leg. All exciting stuff.
My leg passed it's examination with flying colours and should not have any affect on my planned operation (no infection) . It is certainly less painfull. 
Sunny day again so I'm hoping I don't miss good cruising weather whilst suffering hospital food. I apologise in advance for my blogs suddenly ceasing but I do not wish to inflict the daily routines of an intensive care ward on you, but rest assured, blogs will resume once I'm home again although I can give no indication of timescale at this point. Keep checking.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Life's crossroads

Supposedly there are crossroads in every life giving the opportunity of reflecting on life's past decisions.
It appears I may have reached a crossroads, deep into my journey. Due to my clinical depression and the search for reasons I have had ample reflection time previously so nothing new is likely to arise.
Recent studies have revealed anti-depressants interfere with blood sugar levels in diabetics, so I was wrong to blame the anti-fit drugs, sorry guys.
It is strange how things change quickly. We had planned cruising for a few more weeks in October, then basing the boat in a marina, but fortunately the latter has already been done and by the time we are ready to cruise next spring I should be fully fit. No fits, no dodgy leg. A few days hospital rest will also benefit my leg. Funny how everything , however grim, has a plus side.
When I had lymphoma over twenty years ago I had a very young daughter to get me through it and I'm sure she will do the same all these years later but no-one is going to dump her into my arms on my hospital bed this time ! Thanks to all the family and close friends for their support, particularly to Lynne.
I suspect Tardis Two and our new lifestyle will be used as the light at the end of yet another tunnel but I fully intend to use it.

Friday 27 September 2013

Sat nav mystery

We drove to Chester following sat-nav directions on A roads the whole way. No problem. Following a full days baby sitting we returned home,again following the same sat-nav directions. Motorways the whole way. Both trips took exactly the same time, but why the different routes? Strange but true. We did not ask for a solely motorway or non-motorway route. Had my bullet wound re-dressed this morning but walking is still not easy On a brighter note (I think) the Nottingham hospital phoned to book me in for an operation next Wedneday. My latest scan has indicated some changes in my tumour which they want to investigate asap.
The short notice is something of a blessing as it cuts down worrying time. Also my time recovering in bed will assist my wounded leg. The glass half full/ half empty syndrome.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Billy J Kramer

Foggy day so far but the sun is struggling to make an appearance. It's dustbin day today but all those months away on the boat have broken the habit of putting the bins out. Lynne remembered half way through a romantic interlude and rushed downstairs in her dressing gown to ensure our recycled rubbish reaches India or China as scheduled. Who said romance is dead? It never happens in a Mills and Boon novel. After all the attention it received my leg is a lot better today, thankfully. Lynne is going to move Tardis Two to her winter moorings before we disappear to Chester for baby-sitting duties tonight. Chester is a lovely city, having managed to combine all the modern facilities and shops  with  historic features, including a city wall and cobbled streets. The Billy j Kramer hit " do you want to know a secret " has stuck in my head since the weekend, which is odd as I hated it at the time it topped the charts. To put you out of your misery his backing group were called the dakotas.

Tuesday 24 September 2013


Warm and cloudy today. Very busy schedule in this order  :Doctors leg check, hospital x ray, dentist filling, Nurse leg dressing but the evening remains free. The X-ray results take a week to reach my doctor, which is tough luck if it is broken as I suspect it is. The dentist replaced my "crunchy moment" filling so I have a full set of knashers again and all my own. Unfortuneately the continuing leg saga will restrict our boat movements for the immediate future.
We have been booked for grandchildren-sitting duties in Chester later this week but we'll drive rather than return by boat due to time restrictions . 2 hrs by car versus 3 days by boat equals no contest.
The leg remains painful  but otherwise I am OK, no fits or side effects,all good news.

Monday 23 September 2013

Surprise, Surprise

Sunday 22nd was a brilliant day, the sun and very warm weather made a return for Lynne's birthday and all the hard work put into organising a special day reached fruition with satisfying great success ( and relief).The plan by our youngest daughter was for all our children, plus partners and 5 granddaughters to arrive on the boat ( out of the blue, so to speak) and then have a birthday meal/ celebrations at the Dragon pub in Willington. Sounds simple until you consider the distances various family members live away and the young ages of the grandchildren. The cunning plan concocted by our youngest daughter was for all to overnight in our house and us to be on the boat, thus making sufficient bed space for them all and the opportunity for a spectacular surprise on birthday morning. Her problems were the difficulties of getting the family together for a weekend several hundred miles away from home and organising the meal and a joint present from them all. My problems were keeping it secret from Lynne, organising the house for visitors and persuading Lynne to vacate it for the weekend for no logical reason. simple.
Literally at the last moment a request was made to borrow our blow-up mattress. A frantic search of the house, sheds and loft revealed it must be somewhere on the boat, 50 minutes away. I had to convince Lynne one of our neighbours needed it and she very kindly offered to drive to the marina and back, bearing in mind she had already driven to London and back for her hair appoinment(as you do).
We reached the marina trying hard to keep each oher awake, only to find we had left the gate key behind. A kindly boater let us in and the blow-up mattress was found in a hide away under our bed.
Having returned the mattress to our neighbours my next job was  convincing Lynne to once again return to the boat and sleep on it. Lynne was sleep-driving by this time and not altogether happy with the arrangement, until 10.30 the following morning when the boat was boarded by screaming/smiling/singing grandchildren bearing gifts.
The meal went well, rounded-off by a birthday cake and the traditional song.
The day ended in our local Accident and emergency unit where they checked-out my leg, upped the painkiller and anti-biotic doseage before sending us home again We spent only 20 minutes in the unit, which must be some kind of a record, surely?
Apologies for the out of sequence publishing of this blog caused by internet connection problems

Saturday 21 September 2013

Tapestry quiz winner

Carol King was the Tapestry answer. The album design was very complex and must have cost a fortune to copy onto a boat or was it owned by a bored old artist  with lots of time on his/her hands? On the same theme we have seen boats named "Gimme shelter" and "Let it be" ,but without copying the album designs. Witho no musical links we have seen "Baldrick" and "wave and smile". Tomorrow is Mrs. Blogs birthday so in celebration we travelled to London for her hair to be "done". ( as you women do) I am too discrete to reveal her age but the clue is she is one year younger than me. The day and journey started bleak and 50shades of grey,worsening through drizzle to heavy rain, the Watford Gap phenomena?  We travelled back in warm, bright sunshine

Thursday 19 September 2013


Early start this morning for a brain scan at a local ( luckily) hospital with amazingly low parking rates. A hospital where they can save your life without the need of a mortgage. In the event they could not switch the scanner on ( I was the first of the morning ) and what should have taken 15 minutes ended up taking an hour and a half ."Were they looking for your brain"? Was Lynne's response  when we were finally reunited. The delay upset their appointment schedule for the rest of the day apparently. I could say I had an extra hour and a half's lay down  but lying with your head in one of those noisy scanners can hardly be called relaxing. The poor doctor in charge needed a good lay down at the end.
Isn't it typical? You spend umpteen million pounds on the latest gadget in Curry's, get it home and the damn thing will not even switch on !
A warm sunny day and we are taking our winter clothes to the boat, but in Britain that is normal. No set seasons. Lynne had lent our sat-nav to a friend, resulting in our trip to our new marina including parts of Derbishire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Southern Scotland, to name but a few? Were shows of frustrated temper seen? No. was shouting experienced? No. Are we both still alive and uninjured? Yes. (Apart from my bullet wound, of course )


For readers not in the UK some explanations may prove beneficial as follows:
The Krankies are a Scottish "comedy " duo of a man and a woman who cross- dress. the woman playing the part of a naughty schoolboy and the man playing the part of a more serious and more mature schoolboy. Their humour is best described as childish, I think.
Locks are a very old,crude and successful mechanism for moving canals/rivers and boats up and down hills. Rivers find their own levels and canals were dug level, generally following the contours of the landscape. Each lock gate is constructed of wood and weighs 1.5 tons It has metal"paddles" attached which can be raised and lowered by a ratchet using a winder called a windlass, the cause of my leg injuries. In both cases the ratchets were worn(most are over 100 years old.) and the windlass slipped off and onto my left leg. Depite their-age and weight locks can be easily used if the gates are "balanced" and are well maintained.Some are.
Checking to dates blog has had around 7,500 hits, many thanks.

Wednesday 18 September 2013


Sitting up at 0200 hrs as my second ww2 bullet wound is giving me some grief, despite the anti-bacterial and pain-killing tablets. It can only be described as an active mount Vesuvius strapped to my leg.. I have conceded sleep for the night.

It never rains, but

Arrived at land-home the same time as lynne's sister and brother-in law who are staying the night to break a long journey home from Norfolk we looked like four tourists arriving at a hotel with stacks of luggage and blindly trying to find our way around. Boat-lag?It is amazing how quickly you forget where the cups and saucers are kept. No doubt it will be the same when we return to the boat in due course, having completed all our medical and dental appointments. We are missing the ducks and dawn chorus already.