Sunday 31 March 2013

Captains Kirk & Pugwash

No snow today. Sunshine but still cold. Welcome to British Summertime. Tardis Two was floating in the marina today looking truly stunning in the sunshine. We fed our first swans from aboard, both having tapped on the galley window for attention. We'll take some spare bread tomorrow as I'm sure crumbled chocolate biscuits are not ideal for them. It is always with trepidation I visit Birmingham, but always buoyed with the knowledge several famous characters in history visited uncharted far-flung places and still lived to tell the tale. Christopher Columbus. Doctor Livingstone. Sherpa Tensing. Neil Armstrong. Captains Cook, Kirk, Blake and Pugwash, Indiana Jones and James Bond, to name but a few. Once again I survived not only the city, but a three hour mass and christening (not mine).

Saturday 30 March 2013

Bring me sunshine

Snowing again this morning so no trips to the seaside this Easter, I'm afraid. The Inuit Builders will be able to undertake repairs on the affordable house if it continues. I'm pleased British summertime starts tonight so don't forget to put your clocks forward one hour. Virtually our whole family and partners are staying overnight ready for our trip to Birmingham in the morning which should prove interesting. Seven into two bedrooms could prove a problem but the bed-settee, blow-up double bed and garden shed should save the day. We're hoping to get them all to MCC after the christening. Some have yet to see the boat, whilst others will only remember a large sheet of steel on the welding shed floor. On Monday my sister and brother-in-law also plan a viewing visit. We're planning to charge for guided tours after Easter, similar to the Buckingham Palace ones but at lower cost. We may even arrange an exchange visit with Liz and Phil. We're now taking bookings for summer holidays on a first-come, first serve basis, but open to bungs for anyone wishing to receive preferential treatment. I watched a programme on Eric Morcambe (of Morcambe and Wise fame)last night which gave me the title, although it is also appropriate for Easter.

Friday 29 March 2013

Check a Trade

Very sunny this morning but wonderful cloud formations later. Fluffy white stuff above threatening black stuff. For those of you who haven't googled Perry Como yet, (if you'll excuse the expression) I can confirm he was an American crooner with a weekly TV show between 1949 and 1963, more wholesome than the Osmonds and pre or post-watershed. He sold over one hundred million records and has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Born 1912, Died 2001. On my fitness walk today I found the affordable house in ruins. Charnwood sadly failed to "Check a Trade" before employing the Inuit building company. Having boasted about missing dizzy spells for several days I has a vacant moment last evening whilst sitting at the computer, similar to the car crash one. but less damaging this time. No such problems today, touch wood. Our next boat visit will be Easter Monday as we are venturing to Birmingham once again for our two youngest Granddaughter's christenings prior to that. Not my favourite location but Hey-Ho. these things must be done.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Affordable housing

Cold and Sunny today, Good Friday tomorrow. More photo's today. Top is Charnwood Council's latest attempt at affordable housing provision, but I'm unsure how planning permission was obtained for building on the village green. As you can see solar panels have yet to be fitted to complete the roof and the landscaping has to be completed before anyone can move in. You will note as an environmentally friendly property it does not have a garage but adequate convenient access to public transport. Middle is the latest update on Tardis Two boys toys, showing the central heating thermostat and electric hub complete with trip-switches. Also note the diesel tank gauge currently showing near empty. It will cost in excess of £300 to fill the tank but thereafter should not be necessary for some considerable time (I hope). Both the engine and central heating boiler run very quietly.The third photo shows the lounge with bathroom and bedroom through two open doors. Note windows are fitted, as is the TV, which can be swivelled up, down or in any direction required. A specialist guy will come to fit the sky dish and other bits and pieces once MCC have finished the build. Tardis Two will be moored in the marina for the weekend to free up some space in the workshops and we should be able to start moving our worldly goods aboard next week.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Catch a falling star

AM........Snowing again today with a below freezing wind. I have another dentist appointment this morning to replace one of my veneer's fitted a couple of weeks ago, which subsequently showed itself as an unexplained crunchy bit in a recent cornish pasty. After lunch I hope to attempt another of my 4 mile fitness walks, having successfully completed one yesterday. Healthwise things have taken a turn for the better after the alteration to my Limotrigine intake. No dizzy spells, no fuzziness, no problem. My parp-parp hooter arrived and we have already had a couple of trial runs with me in the kitchen and Lynne in the living room, which proved successful. What the neighbours thought remains to be discovered. PM........In and out of the dentist before you could say "cavity", and at no charge.Job done. My 4 mile fitness walk was actually achieved in B&Q, Dunelms Mill and a very large camping shop called J&L Leisure, all for blinds bits and bods. Job done. The latter, recommended by a friend, was a revelation. It stocks absolutely everything you could imagine for leisure activities, ranging from caravans to Port-A-Potty loos and everything in-between. Forget Blacks or Millets, this is the place to buy a tent. We left with press studs and a collapsible 5 litre water bottle. The title is the "stuck in my head" tune of the day, a very ancient hit by Perry Como and what we have achieved.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Bing Crosby Special

With the likelihood of a white Easter it appears the Bing Crosby classic is to be re-mastered and re-issued featuring a One Direction insert, plus Easter cards reprinted with the addition of Robins,icicles and holly. All profits are to be donated to worthy causes such as wind-farm, global-warming and Third World Easter egg charities. Get out there and buy them. We anticipate visiting the boat yard on Thursday armed with completed blinds and lemon cakes, the latter in response to a request from the MCC interior fitting staff. It serves Lynne right for mentioning them as her baking speciality! Good job I've never mentioned my totem pole carving skills.

Monday 25 March 2013

Weather wardrobe

No more snow but the stuff already here is going very slowly. Freezing cold wind but reasonably warm out of it. The roller-blind kit finally arrived today, better late than never. Typical of our luck, particularly when ordering anything by phone or online, it was the wrong length and contained the wrong number of ball bearings (essential for smooth operation of an upside-down blind apparently). A quick phone call to the company for some advice, a hacksaw, a screwdriver and my extensive DIY skills rescued the situation. Lynne worked tirelessly throughout the day to complete the blind for the large boat front bedroom window, ingeniously an upside-down sprung tapered roller-blind to accommodate the sloping window sides and the lack of room above it. No roller-blind manufacturer was prepared to make it so the kit and elbow grease were the only alternatives. Full marks to Lynne for a brilliant production which we are confident will fit and operate successfully. The proof will be revealed on our next boatyard visit. Watching the frequent daytime TV weather reports/forecasts Lynne commented on the poor quality of the presenters clothing. I assume the East Midlands weather department wardrobe allowance has been hit by the recession, resulting in raids on local charity shops and jumble sales. We are making up a charity suitcase for them, full of our old clothes. Watch out for one of the male presenters wearing well-worn C&A jingles flared jeans, (hopefully with the bells removed).

Sunday 24 March 2013

No news on New Hare & Hounds

Garden still covered in snow and a few reluctant flakes half-heartedly falling. We're off to our local, The Old Hare and Hounds, for Sunday lunch. We've been here for almost seven months but still have yet to locate the new one.We're happy with the old one anyway. Characterful is the polite way of describing it I think (and the food is good too). Annoyingly "Hey,Hey it's the Monkee's" is today's stuck in my head song (how sad can you get?) especially when I can only remember four lines. Someone reminded me the old parp-parp hooter was standard equipment on the Vespa's back in the old mods and rocker days,remember them? The days of parka's,tiger tails (free from Esso garages)The Who, The Kinks, Donovan, The Jam and Small Faces etc.etc. Fights on Brighton beach with rockers on their Triumphs and Hondas - Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath etc.etc. Oh yes, those were the days! I fitted into the mod category but without a Vespa, tiger tail or parka. I never liked The Jam. However, I did wear Jingle flairs from C&A, complete with tiny bells on the legs. Sad-eh? No dizzy spells or fuzzyheadedness today yet. I'm starting to have real concerns regarding me staying out of the canal, but I haven't come this far to let something as minor as my health get in the way of a dream.

Saturday 23 March 2013

Spring has sprung

As you can see late March has morphed into Christmas, and very pretty it is too.I have mentioned before how well the roads up here are maintained and the same applies when any snow or frost falls. The gritters are out like a flash and cover all roads very quickly, big or small. Whilst most parts of the country have ground to a halt we were able to get to MCC through some tiny country roads without problem. As you can see the disgruntled signwriter has completed his work, for which we paid him. We're very satisfied with the result. Tardis Two with the Scroll beneath are on the sides towards the stern, whilst the lone scrolls are nearer the bow. The other Tardis Two's are on the bows (front), apparently a necessity for cruising the Thames. The other photo's show our new bed-settee in the lounge and the almost complete galley. It really is going to be the best looking boat on the water and I can't wait to show it off. My dizzy spells occurred hourly last evening and two hourly this morning, although the last few have only got as far as the warning signs, acid indigestion and foul taste in the mouth (not chicken or turkey), then nothing happens, which is an improvement I suppose. I'll wait a little longer to see how the new pill dosage progresses. Our "support" epilepsy nurse at the hospital continues to be as supportive as a chocolate teapot stand (the cancer one is far better and is a constant point of assistance) I reckon the epilepsy nurse will be very supportive at my autopsy or inquest.

Friday 22 March 2013

parp parp

Global warming kicked-in with a vengeance today. Outside looks like a christmas card and we're looking forward to a white Easter. Yesterday was the official start of spring but today is certainly a non-cruising one. Boating and blizzards are not good bed-fellows. Yet another visit to the ruddy blind shop, this time to pick up cloth ordered earlier. A roller blind kit should have arrived by now but I expect the parcel van is caught in a snowdrift somewhere. Lynne remains confident all blinds will be finished and fitted before we climb aboard. Another dizzy spell (fit) this morning but no damage done. We aim to increase the Lamotrigine tonight (under medical direction) in an attempt to sort the problem, which is becoming a daily event. However, we have thought of a cunning plan (Baldrick style) to minimise the risk of me falling into the water whilst steering the boat. I have ordered a hooter (the type all old bicycles had on the handlebars) with which I can raise the alarm if I feel a dizzy spell coming on. At the moment I get a few seconds warning. A quick parp parp and closing the throttle whilst hanging on to the tiller and sitting on the bow seat will alert Lynne (making my coffee in the galley) something is amiss and she can rush out to assist. What could possibly go wrong? We have yet to decide where to fit the hooter but at least it will match the chrome metalwork. The rhino still has his mouth open but the lower jaw now looks less likely to fall off, despite the snow,poor thing. I bet he now doubts the wisdom of hiding under a lorry to gain access to Britain via Calais and Dover.

Thursday 21 March 2013

mole parachute regiment

sunny but cold this morning. I'm worried about the rhino. His mouth was very wide open this morning revealing a full set of upper jaw teeth. In fact the lower jaw looks as if it may drop off anytime soon, which would be a shame, but at least both horns will remain in Anstey rather than on some dusty street in China. Boat signwriting arrangements confirmed and I informed MCC of the revised price, giving them the opportunity to work out their reduced commission without the risk of being ripped-off. I made another pilgrimage to the Walkers crisp factory having tip-toed over one of the lakes again. I could have wolfed a packet of their new natural chicken flavour (KFC rejects?)deep-ridged crisps by the time I arrived, but that would have defeated the object of my walk. On the way home across a grassy ridge I suffered another dizzy/dead left hand moment but fortunately was next to a doggy poo bin at the time on which I sat (it had a lid on)until I recovered. A minute or so at the most. I've never felt so grateful for dog poo before! I reckon we have at least 90% of the UK mole population around here as molehills are everywhere, including major roundabouts. The recently announced defence cuts will, I'm sure, restrict their movements further afield (excuse the pun). The parachute regiment will have a reduced supply of their basic kit which in turn reduces the number of used parachutes abandoned in the countryside. The parachute regiment is being renamed the skydiving regiment with the blood-curdling attack call of "To infinity and beyond" as they leave the plane. Moles are not renown for their skydiving skills apparently.

Wednesday 20 March 2013


The day started with rain which quickly (and strangely in these global warming times),changed to snow. It failed to settle and changed back to rain before finally giving-up around lunchtime. I had arranged for our friendly electrician Steve to complete his electrical transformation of the house, started months ago. Lynne had arranged to visit friends in London for the day (as you do)and left me in charge. Steve and his workmate quickly replaced the last remaining dodgy multipoint in the living room with two legal twin power sockets and fitted two much needed twin sockets in the kitchen, before changing the previously one-way two-way light switches on the stairs to work as they should have done in the first place. We think the original wiring was done by a plumber. Once the outside intruder light was replaced and the wiring made safe all the electrics now comply with building regulations, probably for the first time since 1890. I spent last evening seeking alternative boat signwriting and/or decal quotes. Some are still due to arrive but the one that did undercut our current contractor by a considerable amount, which included travel from Northampton. I informed Mike, our current contractor, who was obviously amazed and embarrassed. He had already slashed his price by a third when we informed him his price was way beyond our budget but he quickly offered to match our alternative quote this morning, effectively HALVING his original price, to which I agreed. He explained he has an exclusive arrangement with MCC and pays them commission for all work undertaken, which says a lot. MCC confirmed he had told them his original price agreed with us was £100 less than it actually was. Playing both ends against the middle? I suspect both will lose out in this instance. Lesson learnt: never accept the first quote as competitive.

Tuesday 19 March 2013


Overcast first thing but global warming kicked-in early today. Following a day of fuzzy-headed-ness and fully 12 hours of solid sleep I opted to cut grass and fix a fence for our friends currently in France before reverting to my usual walk through the country park. The brook was very fast but the overflow lakes appeared empty until I tried walking on them. They then revealed about a foot of water and mud beneath the grass. I opted to walk around rather than across them today, for the sake of safety. Healthwise I have been much better today but aim to get another long sleep in tonight hopefully. We're seeking more quotes for the boat signwriting and our impression the original guy was taking the proverbial, is now confirmed.

Monday 18 March 2013


Very foggy this morning but global warming kicked-in after lunch.(the sun came up).Talking of getting up, my morning routine must rival that of Dame Edna Everadge. Wake up, check blood sugar, insulin injection(diabetes) Lamotrigine (fits)Fluoxetine (depression)Lansoprazole (acid indigestion)Vitamin B complex (Carpel tunnel) and Omega 3 (?)all washed down with Benecol (cholesterol), then a quick shave and a shower. By which time most of the morning has gone. We collected yet another mirror from IKEA, (got lost again) then delivered it to MCC. Poor old Mick's face drops everytime we appear as he knows more jobs will be required. Lynne had a lively phone discussion with the signwriter, by the end of which the price had almost halved. He seems to make it all up as he goes along so our search for a more realistic alternative continues. We wish to avoid a brilliantly painted boat with crap signage.

Sunday 17 March 2013


It's still precipitating heavily so no walking over lakes today. Talking of water, yesterday we had lunch with a Falklands conflict (it wasn't a war apparently) naval participant who was unfortunate enough to be on HMS Coventry when she was hit and sunk. He is OK now and managing to get on with his life having understandably suffered with post traumatic stress for many years. Inevitably we got into discussing what facilities were available on his return to the UK, which was nil. However, the charity Help For Heroes has built and manages a number of "home away from home" facilities for ex servicemen and their families to help them recover and get back to a "normal" life. Strangely an American charity, The Fisher House Foundation originally donated £1.5 million to help build these facilities and now donates £50,000 annually towards their upkeep. They also provide fully paid holidays for service men, women and partners, mostly donated by airlines, hotels, health clubs and shops, generally in the Channel Islands.I won't repeat the war rant of my first blog (Introduction) but after you've read it again I strongly recommend a visit to the Help For Heroes website.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Red nose day

It rained all night and all day. The flood plains Our meeting with the signwriting man proved interesting and deflating. His quote for Tardis Two/ Lynne and John on each side plus Tardis two twice on the bow proved extremely expensive to the point where it became way beyond our budget. We agreed to let him know our thoughts on Monday. In the meantime Eddie promised to give us a quote for stick-on alternatives, having shown some examples on boats in the marina, which we liked, particularly when we heard the likely price of half that of the signwriters. The boat now has working bow-thrusters complete with trendy switches next to the throttle, a galley-top and hob. We had another very pleasant lunch with friends at The Dragon and I had another dizzy spell (fit?)this evening. These are now becoming far too frequent (the fits, not the meals) for my liking and merit further investigation. I'll try a quiet day tomorrow to see if it improves the situation. Yesterday and today have been fund-raisers for the BBC Children in need appeal-_red nose day, hence the irrelevant title.

Friday 15 March 2013

IKEA sat-nav

Fabulous cloud formations today and the pylons are mist-free. What more could you ask for? We had a trip to IKEA buying mirrors for Tardis Two (interior, not wing) I defy anyone to get in and out of IKEA without getting lost at least once. We found the mirrors quite fast but had less success with the exit. I had a dizzy spell, luckily in the soft furnishings department, so I was able to relax and recover on a very comfortable sofa. A worried member of staff offered to get me a flat-pack wheelchair but I declined. Being driven by Lynne on a motorway is scarey enough without letting her loose with me in a wheelchair in IKEA. The M1 was blocked on the way home so we diverted to MCC (to deliver the mirrors, of course). Mick will kindly fit them Monday. If we did not already own her I would buy Tardis Two without hesitation (and at a higher price) as she is so beautiful.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Never say Never

Overcast but pleasant. It was a busy family day involving one of our sons, two daughters and a second-hand car. Being 100 miles away removes us from being involved directly and allows us to be sympathetic and supportive from afar. To cut a very long story short the younger part of the family stuck together and the situation was resolved, which was very satisfying for us as it confirmed our values had been well transferred and implemented. Exactly as families should be. A proud day. My walk today took me through Bradgate park the opposite way to normal. (I was going to say in reverse but I thought that left me open to ridicule). The fallow deer in the park are of the plain dark brown variety (as they should be apparently). Sadly none of the beautiful Bambi-like spotted type, although a few are white, which raises the question, why keep the white ones when they are also not true to type? I'll ask next time I walk past the information centre. Standing close to a red deer made me think they were probably an early prototype for camels. All those people who asked "Who the hell would want to live near Leicester?" I would like to stand next to Old John or St. Bernards Abbey and take-in the spectacularly beautiful views over Leicestershire and Derbyshire. They would immediately withdraw their comments. Having said I never want to see a blind again (excuse the unintended pun) our dining table is now full of them, or to be more accurate, parts of them. It seems crazy in these times of financial hardship and shrinking production it is almost impossible to get supplies of linen. The pattern we want is not in stock anywhere around here and seems to be in very slow production. Thus the company we wanted to make our blinds cannot until after we set sail, leaving Lynne to make them when and if the linen eventually arrives, on-board if necessary. Around the corner from our house is a tiny factory. Under the company name is a statement: "Cardboard Box Craftsmen". I can add nothing to that.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Eureka !!!

Blue skies, white fluffy clouds and warmer today. The boat is now ours, courtesey of HSBC, bless them. Once we had mastered (or circumnavigated)their phone system they managed to cover our boat financial shortfall at a pretty good rate. MCC can now be fully recompensed for all their efforts and expenditure, allowing us to cruise into the sunset. We'll need a few days to transfer our worldly goods and the cats, then we'll be off. Dreams really can come true if you have the resolve to make them. Health-wise things have not been good for the past three days, almost certainly due to the financial strains and the realisation our lives will permanently change very shortly (escaping the longest tunnel I can ever remember). The weight had lifted from our shoulders on leaving HSBC this morning, almost resulting in a Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers moment. We settled for a high-five instead. I feel better already. On a lighter note, check-out youtube music for Everything but the Girl "I don't wanna talk about it" (Rod Stewart) , "Missing" (original) and "Love is strange" (Everly Brothers). For something quite different and highly entertaining look up Walk Off the Earth with Adel's "Someone like you" and Hotel California unplugged live by the Eagles on their recent Hell Freezes Over tour (complete with twelve string guitar). Good listening.

Tuesday 12 March 2013


Some photo's of TARDIS TWO showing the paint job (ignore the shed reflections), the washing machine, the cooker below the giant microwave (behind the blue plastic). Weather today warmer with the odd snow flurry, but nothing settling. I spent the morning attempting to make appointments with a number of banks to discuss ways of closing the gap between what we have and what we need. Have you ever tried to contact your local Bank? You look up the phone number via Google and the rest should be easy. Think again. Yorkshire and Nationwide building society branches have a real human answering their phones. You tell them what you want and they offer you an appointment convenient to you. I know from past experience the Spanish Bank has a robot answering machine based in Newcastle giving you a whole range of options except getting through to the branch you phoned in the first place. Similarly with HSBC you get through to a robot in Scotland, whatever local branch you ring. Why have local branch numbers listed if you are not allowed to get through to them? It's like trying to contact Her Majesty's Secret Service, but in this case they already have YOUR money in their branch, the amount of which you know via the statements they send out monthly or via the internet. Are they too busy to answer the phone? What are they trying to hide or protect? Having spent half an hour on the phone going round in ever-decreasing circles I gave up and walked round the corner to my local HSBC, which took all of five minutes. Surely making an appointment cannot be that easy?......CORRECT......The only member of HSBC who can assist us works in the Hinckley branch, a forty minute drive away towards Birmingham. We have two appointments tomorrow, several miles apart, when both local Banks are within five minutes of our home and around thirty seconds apart. Happy days.

Monday 11 March 2013

3 old ladies

Snow showers and freezing winds today, Spring is in the air. My doctor's appointment went well this morning, nothing much to worry about. Chest xray OK so no advance on finding why I have a permanent cough. Blood test OK so no worries on the liver functions and cholestrol levels. Our new doctor is brilliant and really on the ball, but as nutty aa a fruit cake, bless her. She is going to arrange counselling for my depression, dates to be confirmed. Returning home we discovered the downstairs toilet door was locked from the inside, although no-one was inside. Remember the old school song "Oh dear what can the matter be, three old ladies locked in the lavatory, they were there from Monday to Saturday, nobody knew they were there". Attacking it with screwdrivers failed to open the door and in the end our favourite local builder came to the rescue. I have a little repair work to do on the door but at least we can use the loo. We received a phone call to visit MCC as the boat is almost finished and they required our approval prior to issuing the final invoice. On arrival it was immediately obvious Tardis Two is virtually complete. The galley is now fully equipped, the mattress is aboard (after a bit of a struggle apparently!)and the exterior paintwork is complete, including cream coach-lines. The engine runs very quietly, as does the central heating boiler. The electric plugs and wall-light fittings arrive tomorrow, the windows Wednesday. The invoice was pretty much as expected but still considerably above available funds. Apparently the Liverpool Building Society are currently (excuse the pun) offering loans at the lowest-ever interest rate so that will be our first point of call tomorrow, failing that we can max both our credit cards and live with the consequences for a year or two. We keep telling ourselves it will all work out OK in the end, which it will. FOOTNOTE: LBS do not "do" loans so over to plan B.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Shrinking equipment afloat

Happy Mothering Sunday to all you mums yet to get up having enjoyed breakfast in bed and endless cups of tea. Strangely when I got up the shed had a white, frosty roof whilst it was raining at the same time. It's snowing heavily now. Amongst all the advantages of living here a problem remains. It seems impossible to get a Sunday paper delivered. My first "contract" was with the village Post Office but after their third Sunday failure I moved to the Nook newsagent. Having just returned from the village to collect my Sunday newspaper for the third time, (today in heavy snow) I am on the verge of changing suppliers yet again. I gave the poor unfortunate newsagent a long and loud rant so I'll give them one more chance to redeem themselves. Unfortunately the next available newsagent is a longer walk away so changing supplier could work against me if they have the same failing. Weekday deliveries are fine but we may have missed the Sunday paperboy's Christmas box ? We're off to buy a washing-up bowl and a sink protector for me on Tardis Two, which says a lot about task allocation. I have the worlds' smallest wardrobe (even a hamster would feel cramped), a bow saw, a set of spanners and screwdrivers, a windlass (for opening locks).a pair of wellingtons and a full set of thermals, gloves, woolley socks, a bobble hat, a coffee mug, mooring chains,fenders, a whiskey glass and a waterproof suit, the full extent of my equipment on board. Finally, by way of self-congratulation I have just reached the two thousand five hundred milestone for site "hits" since last September. Special thanks and greetings to my readers in Brazil, Belarus, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately I can't yet thank you in your native languages but the lessons are going well.

Saturday 9 March 2013


Overcast and cold today but the heavy rain/snow forecast has yet to arrive.I spent the morning sealing the shed roof with mastic. Whoever fitted the roof-felt apparently economised on the amount used and failed to overlap sufficiently to form a waterproof seal. My hours of watching the Great British Bake-off were not wasted. It remains to be seen if my icing skills have worked. I only mentioned to a friend recently how grafitti-free everywhere is up here, only to find lots on the walls of a walkway under the nearby bypass today. It always amazes me how little knowledge of anatomy the average grafitti "artist" has. They obviously do not pay sufficient attention in biology lessons at school and all seem to have inflated opinions of their sexual prowess. I walked across another flood relief lake this afternoon and became aware of the many moles living there, raising images of them snorkelling to survive during adverse weather.

Friday 8 March 2013

Walking on water

My visit to the diabetic nurse this morning turned out to be for A blood test only, results to be reviewed in two weeks time. Head less fuzzy today although I do have a wandering pain starting on the left side of my head, arriving on the right side within seconds, but very infrequently fortunately. I'm not concerned but will mention it to my GP on my Monday appointment. Had my regular walk through Castle Hill country park in the afternoon, this time attempting to locate a medieval fishing pond marked on the plan. Far from being a pristine garden pond with fountain and fishing gnomes it turned out to be a large brown blob with a marshy perimeter. I guess it is covered with bull rushes in the summer. No sign of fish. The country park covers 250 acres and contains two large flood plain relief lakes, both of which I walked over. At this point I have to admit both lakes were dry but fill after heavy rain to take water away from adjacent flood plains. I kept an eye on passing clouds to ensure a thunder storm was not imminent. On the way to the park in an ordinary street I spotted a kestrel sitting on a wooden front gate. Suspecting it was unwell I got closer, only for it to fly less than 6ft to the ground in front of the garage door. At this point I decided to leave well alone, not fancying risking shredded fingers plus finding a new home and medical assistance for the bird ( and me ). The "river" though Anstey and the park is, in fact, the Rothley Brook. Today it was swollen and a muddy brown following yesterday's rain. No boat visit today. Next trip planned Monday or Tuesday. This morning I bumped into the young mum featured in my Katie Price/Dragons Den blog in the village with her pushchair. We exchanged embarrassed greetings and continued on our individual ways, smiling. She obviously recognised me with my clothes on, confirming she also looked at my face in the original encounter.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Go North

Overcast this morning with the usual cold wind, more noticeable with my new haircut. The weather forecasters say the wind is from "the continent" but my guess it is from the North. My weathervane remains in the shed. I can only put it up when I discover which way is North. According to maps Old John is North but that could cover several degrees. I need to find a boy scout ( to borrow his compass, not for any Jimmy Saville moments !). It rained all afternoon. We have yet another lead on the blind trail, having been recommended to a shop in Rugby. If I never see another blind it will be too soon.Health-wise not a good day resulting in me sleeping all afternoon. The old fuzzy head syndrome. Blood sugar was high again this morning for some unknown reason. Life is like a juggling act at the moment but the circling plates keep falling off the poles.I have an appointment with our local surgery diabetic nurse for the first time in the morning, which should prove interesting. Not sure if we'll make another visit to the boat tomorrow, having seen it Monday. Don't want to overstate our interest or give the impression of constantly watching them, poor dears.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Back to basics

Overcast today so far. Forecast not good. Cutting grass for a friend today by way of thanks for his help with mattress transport yesterday. Haircut planned for later ( which one? Lynne always asks) Other than that a bit of book writing will not go amiss. It sounds easy but takes up a lot of time and brain memory space. Even converting my blog to a book is time consuming as it has to be changed to past text and book-e-fide. (Just made that word up but hopefully you'll know what I mean .) Boat insurance arranged (not with the naval company). TARDIS TWO has a 3 month warranty after which we'll join the boat equivalent of the AA. Boat registration and licensing still to be arranged,then we're all set for cruising into the sunset. On the subject of cruising we have reconsidered our recent plans to visit Crick and Henley. Our original commitment was to cruise continually at our own pace without deadlines so two visits close together we considered alien to our aspirations. Maybe future years, one at a time? The 2 weddings in July fit with our plans to visit London so remain in our diary.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Hernia alert

Warmish sunny day following a night frost. Completed yet another new walk route this morning. I now consider myself a wealth of walking route knowledge around Anstey. I am fast becoming a Leicestershirian as I now have the habit of saying "good morning" or "Hi" to other walkers before they have the chance to get in first. This form of friendliness came as a shock when I first arrived here, but I'm getting used to it now. Whether I have inherited a Leicestershire accent is for others to judge, but I now call rolls cobs. Our supa-dupa mattress made it to Stenson this afternoon. (courtesy of our friends and their giant French people-carrier). It now has pride of place in the MCC chandlery shop, together with our folding dining table and chairs (in a box). Sod's law states that the next customer will require something from the shelves behind the mattress. Surprisingly no hernia's were suffered during these manoeuvres'. We were unable to get the mattress and table onto the boat as the outside topcoat was wet and the wooden floor was being laid. Both look absolutely stunning. Health good today.

Monday 4 March 2013

Bermuda shorts and parka's

Sunny (Bermuda shorts) with cold wind (parka). Rhino is bellowing over village again. Reason unknown......Removal of our supa-dupa mattress has been moved to tomorrow afternoon as the vehicle allocated will be in France before Friday (our preferred day). Not too sure where MCC will store it as Tardis Two bedroom is not yet 100% complete. If they cannot accept it we are stuffed because, as previously mentioned, the mattress is of significant bulk and weight, requiring Stobart-like transport. We shall see. After what seems like years of hanging around everything is coming to fruition at once creating stress I could do without. Licencing, insurance, BSS and RCDD conformity certification required, all at the same time and interlinked. One is not available until one or more of the others are in place. The chicken and egg scenario, but I'm sure all will be resolved in due course.(?) After hours of thought we have sussed-out the reasons for my health blip a few days ago. My dizzy spells(fits?)coincide with high blood sugar levels, requiring higher insulin doses to bring them down to acceptable levels. It is almost certain my relatively low insulin requirement over the past 60 years is down to my pancreas producing a small amount of natural insulin. The "new" drug regime has wiped-out the remains of any natural insulin production, hence the increased dosage required. Lower blood sugar seems to indicate less dizzy spells. All that remains is to ascertain my new insulin requirements which unfortunately has to be via trial and error. After almost two months the letter from my consultant at St. Georges hospital has arrived which should assist me getting counselling from my GP for my depression. Hopefully Bye Bye happy pills.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Blind headaches

Warm, sunny and spring-like. Lynne had a sleepless night thinking of boat blinds again. I slept well. The front bedroom window is causing problems due to its sloping sides and position of bedside lights. Curtains are a no no for Lynne and roman blinds are an impossibility. After much head-banging and hand-wrangling a possible solution was agreed on. Simply an upside down roller blind. Pulled from the wider window base up to the narrower window top, secured by clips. A tapered blind basically. Back to the linen shop yet again. Now on first-name terms with the Manager. They don't make roller blinds but know a firm that does, price to be confirmed early next week. Problem solved? Whilst out we did a scenic tour and found a Norman Monastery on top of a huge hill in the middle of nowhere ( St Bernard's ) together with a great pub/restaurant in an absolutely stunning village called Belton which we both fell immediately in love with. The meal was great and good value. The Queens Head is another for our list. We checked house prices on our return and discovered they could be within our reach if cruising ever loses its appeal. Nothing like planning ahead. No doubt we will find other likely candidates on our travels. By sheer coincidence Tracey Thorn's Bedsit Disco Queen features on Radio Four this week, all week. Presumably she will include musical interludes to illustrate the story, which should make it well worth listening to. I believe it is on around 12.45am daily, but check the relevant listings to be sure. Healthwise another good day. I'm off to watch Spurs versus Arsenal, courtesy of Sky, so my health may be boosted further or take a downfall.

Saturday 2 March 2013


Sunny day and blistering temperatures. The rhino has closed his mouth so everything back to normal. Margaret saw Tardis Two for the first time since she was a sheet of steel on the welding shed floor ( Tardis Two not Margaret). We spent some time alone on board again which gives ample opportunity to peer into nooks and crevices ( of the boat, not us !). Note chrome mushroom. The large slanted bedroom window caused lengthy discussions regarding blinds or curtains or an old sheet and drawing pins. A revised blind arrangement eventually arrived at, so back to the drawing board yet again.

Friday 1 March 2013

Light at tunnel end

Overcast but pleasantly warm. No boat photo's today as one cupboard looks much the same as another. More bits and pieces added internally, chrome mushrooms (vents) fitted on roof , some diesel in tank (but nowhere near being full to 250 litre capacity), lubricating oil added , radiator full and engine ready for use. Undercoats completed and topcoats started. Boat scheduled to be completed in two to three weeks. Due to the ever decreasing timescale Lynne has ordered the three bedroom blinds ( 1 large, 2 small) from a nearby manufacturer so at least we will be able to sleep in peace. The lounge blinds can be completed anytime. Both the shower and toilet will have obscure glass so no problems there. I need to finalize arrangements for insurance and licensing. Our bed-settee will be delivered to MCC sometime within the next two weeks. We have agreed to deposit our super-duper two tonne mattress at MCC next Friday, which should prove interesting.............."Final invoice" promised asap. (Gulp)............ On the way to Stenson we pass a very large roundabout on the main road with some trees and hundreds of molehills. Bearing in mind moles are not fast on their pins (above ground at least) how did they get there? Was the road built round them? Do they have lollipop moles in high-viz jackets at certain times of the day? Health-wise another good day so far. When I have a cold, flu or any other illness my blood sugar rises, as it has done over recent "dizzy" days. I have tweaked my insulin to remedy this with great success. My blood sugar is now OK which in turn seems to have improved my head problems. Why I do not know, but don't try this at home if you're diabetic unless under very close medical supervision or you have sixty years experience like me.