Saturday 31 May 2014

An official OAP

Pension age has finally arrived, against all the odds some may say. Lots of jokey cards and a couple of Father's Day cards by mistake ( the dates are almost identical this year ). Who cares?
The sun has also come out and temperatures have risen considerably. The day has proved busy with a trip to our granddaughters trampoline training gymnasium to support them, then helping my youngest daughter to move house. This evening we attend a surprise 60th birthday party for a friend. Tomorrow we return home.

Friday 30 May 2014


It failed to rain during the night and has yet to start again at lunchtime today. Almost a drought?
We're off to London today for a friends surprise 60th birthday party staying overnight with our middle son and future daughter-in-law. We need to be home immediately after the weekend as the boiler repairer is visiting again Monday. Hopefully we' ll have hot showers and central heating at the same time.

Thursday 29 May 2014


Remember the old story of waiting ages for a bus then two arrive together ? The same thing occurred yesterday only in this instance regarding counselling. Having waited several months and survived a number of suicidal periods the good old NHS team returned from depression sickness leave and I'm already on my third consultation with one of them. Many weeks ago I had registered with a cancer counselling charity but, due to the lack of an NHS service, they had a huge waiting list. Yesterday the charity phoned to arrange a consultation, which reluctantly I felt compelled to put on hold, just in case the NHS team depression returned. They kindly agreed to tag me alongside their waiting list so I would not slip back to the bottom rung.
Needless to say it is still raining for the 6th day running, but warmer.
A few weeks ago this spell of lousy weather would have floored me, but the brighter me is able to cope, so clearly my mood has improved somewhat.
It stopped raining for at least half an hour this afternoon which gave me the opportunity to undertake gardening duties. Everything now looks very neat and tidy, which should last until our return home in the autumn. The boat beckons after next week. (Weather permitting).

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Umbrella found

No sign of a let-up in the rain, but I can escape the house as I've found an umbrella . Haircut here I come. Even the weather fails to get me down these days. Good eh ?
Haircut done but hair not long enough to creat a style unfortunately. It will take a lot more time apparently but I am not in a great rush.

Monday 26 May 2014

Launch lifeboats

Yes, it is still raining and very cold too. At this rate I'll be watching the World Cup on TV wearing Wellington boots in my living room, and we live halfway up a large hill. The weather may be depressing but my mood remains upbeat, which is very encouraging. Not sure what we aim to do today but cruising or sunbathing are not viable options.
Poor old Somerset is again underwater, as are the Conservative, Labour and Lib-Dem parties after the European Union elections a few days ago, when the UK Independence Party rode roughshod over them. The electorate has been revolting for a long time but no-one noticed until the steamroller had passed by.  The next year or so should prove politically electrifying.
I had intended getting my hair cut this morning but could not as I failed to find my waterproof jacket with hood or an umbrella ( on the boat ). The rain finally stopped after the hairdresser's closed so my haircut has to wait. I have hair virtually all over my head so I propose styling it  for the future ( rest of my life ? ) .

Wetter and stii wetter

It now has not stopped raining for several days and nights and the flood plains
We spent yesterday evening watching the national junior bowling championships in Coventry where our daughter and future son in law were coaching. They are due to stay with us tonight and leave in the morning with some items for their new flat, providing we are not flooded in.  These April showers are going on a bit.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Wetter and wetter

It's still raining. Not bucket loads, but steady light stuff and certainly non-cruising conditions with low temperatures too. 
I had an "out of my head" moment last night. Having watched Derby somehow managing to  avoid promotion to the Premier league by losing to QPR in the very last minute I then watched the European cup final between Real and Athletico Madrid, strangely in Portugal. I fell asleep and awoke watching " Star Wars" . Thinking I had lost the plot I called Lynne who confirmed I was watching a different channel and it was half time in the football match with Athletico winning 1. -  0.  If this place is not haunted I somehow must have changed channels. A little investigation indicated my blood sugar was low, although the meter readings were above 8, (quite good). The leaflet in the antibiotic box indicates the tablets " may affect blood sugar readings in diabetics". Fortunately we has already guessed that and I had resorted to "gut feelings" , but only when awake, obviously. I had not been advised of this problem by doctors, nurses or pharmacists, who surely must know about it ?  Luckily 62 years of diabetic experience helps me, but what about parents of young diabetics or  recently diagnosed ones ?      For any diabetics reading this it is worth noting the name of the antibiotic -  Flucloxacillanin.
Please note, not all diabetics may suffer the same side-effects with this drug and I genuinely owe my life to it.  My problem is that the medical profession avoids talking about drug side effects.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Wet,wet,wet Leicester

Rain, rain and more A boiler engineer is scheduled to appear sometime today in the hope of correcting a fault whereby the shower changes temperature alarmingly. We have sort of got used to it over recent months but it catches guests by surprise regularly, which is always a source of amusement ( to us, not them ).
During a lull in the showers  ( outside ones, not the indoor one ) I headed off for a walk, only to get caught and drenched by the next one. 

Thursday 22 May 2014

Counselling-better late than never?

Overcast day and I'm up early ready for my first ever counselling session on my own. Exciting stuff.
There is a feeing it may be too little and certainly too late, but I've learned never to stare a gift horse in the mouth ( strange saying, that ). I consider myself getting close to normality, both mentally and physically ( although less-so with the latter) so they may have literally missed the boat in this instance.
Typical of NHS.
I am somewhat biased in my assessment of my depression levels as I am desperate to escape the drug side-effects.  The disadvantages far outweigh the advantages in my view. The best "drug" for me is the boat which has been physically restricted for many months.
Despite a few showers the boat hook painting is finished and good it looks too.

Retrograde step?

Yesterday was strange. Apart from rain when I woke and again when I went to bed (early) I spent the day feeling very tired. No headache or fuzziness, just tired and lethargic. I managed to finish one coat of paint on the boat hook, which looks great, but then realised marine paint dries really slowly so the second coat will have to wait, unfortunately.   Maybe later today .  This morning we are off to vote in our local EU election. Normally I don't bother with the EU as it may as well be on Mars, but this year the UK elections are very soon after the EU ones so it gives the opportunity to frighten our own MP's into listening instead of ignoring.
Pole painting completed and put in garden shed just before rain set in for the afternoon.
Healthwise a better day, no tiredness. Perhaps yesterday was merely a hiccup? Let's hope so.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Wet land

Awoke to heavy rain but still warm. Still feeling good. Having tidied the garden my only target is to paint  our boat hook, which we originally rescued from alongside Stensen lock where it had been abandoned a year ago. A sand-down and it is ready for painting, once it is fully dry ( having been left out in the rain last night, oops ). It seems very quiet here after the dawn chorus on the boat but I suspect we will get used to it. 

Monday 19 May 2014

Dry land

Yet another hot day. Lynne gave the boat one of her thorough internal cleans before tackling the exterior with a hose and mop.  I had surpassed my expectations for four days but did not wish to ruin it all by risking toppling 
Off a canal boat roof . I consider the past few days to be a great success for me, a view apparently not shared by Lynne, who considers it was all too much for me, but you can't win them all I suppose. As long as I am happy I can move on despite what others think, although it would be great to have total support.
We are home for a few days so we can assess my progress at a more familiar location.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Trent and Mersey/ Coventry to Barton/ breakdown

A scorching hot day during which we made our way back to Barton marina ready for my last check-up hospital appointments. It was an uneventful trip other than a scare at Alrewas where we stopped for water. The tap was very slow so we switched the engine off while we waited, only for it  not to start again. Dead as a Dodo. Fortunately a guy who knows a bit about boat engines walked by and fiddled with battery connections. Tardis Two sprung into life and we made it to Barton Marina for a meal at the pub, before departing, us back to the boat where we intend spending the night, Linda and Terry home to Colchester .

Saturday 17 May 2014

First cuckoo?

Dozing in "my" chair last evening I was convinced I heard a cuckoo, but this morning the crew informed me it was on "gardeners world" on the TV , shattering my illusion . A quick trip to Asda's and we were cruising on the lock-free part of the Coventry again (reverse direction). Sunny and very warm with a similar forecast for the next few days. Perfect.
A very hot day. We stopped at a shady spot to watch Arsenal versus Hull for The FA cup on TV.


Friday 16 May 2014

Coventry/ Birmingham and Fazeley

3 hours of lock-less cruising before lunch in glorious sunshine yet again. Lots of ducklings and a few moorhen chicks to raise ooh's and aah's from aboard. ( linda and Lynne ). Filled with water,  emptied the Toilet cassettes and rubbish bins before turning round at Fazeley junction and mooring. Still knackered but thoroughly enjoying myself. Depression. What depression?

Thursday 15 May 2014

Trent and Mersey/Coventry

Left the marina without problem ( apart from a very stiff rudder ) and headed up the Trent and Mersey through Awlewas, Radley and Fradley Junction where we joined the Coventry canal and moored for dinner and a little wine. The day has been a tremendous success from my point of view. Boosting my boating and locks confidence plus adding to my upper body fitness. And warm sunshine.  The rudder gradually eased as the day went by.    Brilliant.

Aboard again

We're back aboard but staying in the marina waiting for 2 friends to arrive tomorrow to assist with our first cruise, mainly as moral support . We are both a little nervous and my level of fitness remains untested .
The weather forecast for the next few days is brilliant so we aim to make the most of it .

More good news............I have hair on my head again at long last. Not as lush and all-over as I had dreamed of, but hair just the same.    At some time in the near future I'll need to decide on a hairstyle . Bob Marley?  The Beatles?
The winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest ?   Bjorn from abba?  Orang Utans?  Slash from Guns and Roses? The last of the Mohicans?  Rod Stewart? Jimmy Hendrix?   Boris Johnson? 

Monday 12 May 2014

Financial review and thunder

Cool with sunshine and thunder storms promised for later so another day at home. The review of finances has identified several causes for the present crisis, including the infamous bow thruster replacement incident ( broken or faulty fitting ? ), the rear toilet sink joke and electrical fiasco,  plus higher mooring costs caused by my health issues. We live a frugal life so there is little to adjust on outgoings so balancing the books will be a long-term project, assisted by receipt of my old age pension from June onwards. We never expected retirement life to be a doddle, but we intend making the most of it, whatever.  Having absorbed the crisis relatively well I am back to feeling OK , which is good news and bodes well for the future.


Weather and boat cleaning plans identical to yesterday, but with the promise of decent weather from Wednesday the plans can wait for another day or two. 
The "clean" boat photo yesterday is of the Royal barge Gloriana  slipping up the Thames between showers  near Hampton Court last week. Not sure Tardis Two will compare, even when cleaned.

Having reached the end of the health tunnel it appears we are now entering another, this time finance related. A surprise bounced mortgage payment set alarm bells ringing this afternoon. Some of the family have rallied round and the problem is in the process of being temporarily solved. Thanks to those concerned. We love you.
We will attempt to isolate the reason(s) in the morning and review future expenditure plans  hopefully without  putting the boat , house or my depression in jeopardy.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Barton wash in rain

Woke this morning to pouring rain yet again which changed our plans to wash the duck poo off Tardis Two. Maybe tomorrow? Hopefully it will look as good as the boat below.
It gave me the opportunity to finalise my complaint letter which has been dispatched .  I expect it will get lost in the hospital admin chaos  so do not expect a quick reply, but it should prove interesting when received.
Today is the last day of a very long Premier league season. Arsenal finished fourth as usual, with Liverpool and  Manchester City contesting the top. MC proving to be the best of the bunch.
FA cup final next week

Saturday 10 May 2014

Complaint and gale force winds

A very windy and wet day so I spent most of the day composing a complaint letter to the Leicester hospital group chief executive. I chose to concentrate on my broken leg issue rather than the overall disasters as the letter would have resembled War and Peace. I'll let him get his teeth into my leg  first before moving on to bigger issues.
This morning I received a welcome letter from the surgeon at Stanmore hospital confirming my leg had been broken for some considerable time. Useful evidence. 
As usual with my official letters or memo's I leave them on the computer overnight and edit ( or tone down ) in the morning.

Friday 9 May 2014

Leicester railway station sunshine

What a difference a day makes. Solid rain yesterday, sun and blue sky today.
I actually had a counselling session this morning. Better late than never, but useful all the same. I feel so much better these days  but it is still a good idea to discuss relevant issues. My aim is to get off the happy pills once and for all. 
Being out on the boat will help and the rest is down to me,I guess. My youngest son has spent a few days with us, but leaves tonight, which will be our third trip to the railway station today. It looks grim on first sighting but does not improve with familiarisation .

Thursday 8 May 2014

Cats and dogs. Anstey

Heavy rain overnight and throughout day so far. Resolved the missing antibiotic mystery but only after lengthy stand-offs at the doctors and Co Op chemist. Persistence pays. We're off to purchase a second windlass of the newer non-slip variety and a padlock to secure our new hose to the anchor.
Another feel good day,despite the lousy weather.

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Euphoria continued

Another sunny morning at home and still feeling good, despite my GP and our chaotic Co Op chemist managing a giant cock- up over my latest prescription. No damage done, fortunately.  All taken in my stride. 
I have not had a song stuck in my head for ages, but today's is "to make you feel my love", written by Bob Dylan and recorded by just about everyone from Elvis to Neil Diamond. My favourite is the Adele version.
By lunchtime the sun had gone and the temperature dropped from Bermuda shorts to thermals.

Warm and sunny normality

A fabulous day for taking coffee or something stronger sitting in the garden. Normality is a place I've arrived at, not an unmapped village in Leicestershire, but to me it is wonderful and the place to be.
It must be like the USA landing on the moon although, unlike them,  I can actually prove where I am. 

Monday 5 May 2014

Tunnel end reached

Very peaceful night afloat. I spent the day on cloud nine, all my illness problems confined to history.
The sun was shining but a chill wind prevented swimming in the marina, not that it crossed my mind.
Lunch of coffee/wine and large slices of cake kept the euphoria going until we reluctantly returned home, still smiling smugly.
It has been a very reassuring weekend and fully justifies our faith in my recovery and return to the water.
I have a couple of medical appointments later this week, plus I need to complete some minor repairs to our perimeter fence, hence our return home. We intend rejoining the boat for a cruise next week.
Happy days.

Sunday 4 May 2014

Afloat at sunny Barton

We started getting supplies and essentials onto Tardis Two ready for an overnight stay. It is quite daunting as we have to learn the ropes ( pun intended ) all over again. Luckily the L plates remain on bow and stern. 
Sunday lunch with friends at the Warterfront pub in warmth and sunshine. We have gained a new, longer hosepipe which is less likely to kink or get knotted ( we hope ). 
As we will be afloat for the weekend my blog will be reliant on a 3 G dongle. It worked well in the past but I thought it best to warn you knowing my technology blind spots.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Obesity joke

Just to clarify my jokey blog of a few days ago. I would hate you to get the impression I now resemble a badly packed large bag of potatoes.Whilst my face is fatter than during treatment ( and suntanned ) the rest of me remains slim, even after my attempts at "beefing up".

Friday 2 May 2014

End of "funny" week

Nothing funny for me, but events elsewhere have been unexpected, to say the least. Gerry Adams, politician and leader of the IRA, held for 3days regarding the kidnap and murder of a mother of ten, many years ago. The shock waves spread far and wide as prosecutions against IRA leaders had always been considered out of the question as witnesses tended to end up dead. 
Publicist Max Clifford was jailed for 8 years for sex offences against impressionable young girls, a shock to him as he considered himself above the law for so long.
 A judge was jailed for assisting a bent politician in trying to avoid prosecution for serious motoring offences. A dose of reality unexpectantly hits the rich and famous. Whatever is happening?  They will be digging up and charging Jimmy Saville next.
Sunny and very warm day, so we're planning an overnight stay on the boat tomorrow, call it  re acclimatisation  I suppose. 

Overcast Leicester

A trip to Sainsbury's (other supermarkets are available ) and that is the extent of our plans. Overcast and warm describes the weather. Eddie Stobart had no lorries spare so we resorted to using the car and every spare cupboard in the kitchen is now crammed full of food should flooding return. Weed killed the patio just in case we escape on the boat. No issues with fitness, itches, aches or pains.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Leicester. Laziness

Mild and cloudy with heavy showers during the afternoon. After yesterday's exertions both Lynne and I needed a period of relaxation so that is what we did. Apart from a quick trip to the village for prescriptions we  stayed home, relaxing. 

Ferry meadows/sunshine

My leg consultant gave the all-clear yesterday. X-rays show the bone has healed very well with new growth already replacing the damaged area, and should be stronger than the original. Some remaining infection persists  but 6 weeks more anti-biotics should clear it, which is a minor price to pay, I suppose. After a very early start (0500) we popped into Ferry Meadows ( a country park near Peterborough ) on the way home from the hospital and spent a sunny,warm afternoon  with my sister and friends before returning home late evening. A long, but enjoyable day.