Saturday 29 November 2014

Pinball wizard

I am up and about again at the slightly more acceptable 7 am but given up on trying to sleep so I'll call it an early start, have my injection and breakfast, another cup of coffee, stick some clothes on               ( I showered last night ) and wander into the village for a paper, hoping some fresh air might clear what's left of my brain. The paper is actually unnecessary as the IPad gives me all the news I need without leaving the house, but not fresh air, although every action in life must have a logical outcome. There is method in my madness. The pinball has slowed considerably but has a couple of seemingly Iimpenetrable  spots it needs to clear before I have any chance of hitting the jackpot.
"If you never risk to lose,
 you may never get to win,
  If you never venture out you will see nothing".
                                                        ( Yusuf Cat Stevens )

Sleepless in Anstey

Something got stuck in what's left of my brain which transformed itself into a pinball machine. I have always been a great Who fan ( although strangely they are missing from my current music library, a casualty of my transfer from vinyl to CD and ultimately IPad, I guess ) "Tommy" I am not........Deaf,dumb  ( i.e. Thick )  and  getting short sighted maybe, but a pinball wizard? , forget it .    Anyway, I digress.   It's 4 o clock in the morning and far too early for the tsunami  to have deposited any gems of ideas/outcomes in my head so I'll make a coffee and collapse back into bed, hoping my jumble of thoughts will unravel into something that makes sense by the "real" morning.

Sugar soap found.

As expected, Lynne knew exactly where the sugar soap was "placed", so I am back in business in that respect. No surprises but it is raining again. Lynne enjoyed her stay in London but we are already "back in the groove",watching the rain. We have been invited out for lunch this weekend, but otherwise nothing planned, as usual, although I intend getting over to the boat by hook or by crook ( taxi ?) next week. My webbed feet are receding.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Calm after storm

Following last night's revelations careful control of my blood sugar, inevitably based on a certain element of guesswork,62 years experience and regular testing ( in the absence of prescriptive scientific recommendations) I awoke with an excellent blood sugar reading of 5.4, having gone to bed with a horrific 28.1.( not bad for an idiot ). Keeping the readings around the 5.4 mark should not prove a problem throughout the day, but analysing how I got to the hypo level in the first place will prove difficult, given the pathetic power of my current brain memory cells. Maybe I won't bother , given the incident has been and gone, but my future is ahead of me and I feel good this morning.
At least the rain has stopped but the day is grey and overcast. Lunchtime blood sugar reading 5.4 again, so pretty stable, but I know it tends to drop during the afternoon so will need monitoring.
5.6 mid afternoon and 5.4 before tea, so I'm very happy overallšŸ˜€. Lynne is returning to me on top of my game. It started raining again by mid afternoon, surprise, surprise. I was aiming to finish sugar soaping the kitchen but my sugar soap box has mysteriously disappeared, so I'm hoping Lynne will have an idea where to find it?

Rain,rain go away

It hasn't stopped raining since records began and Arsenal won in some style for the first time..........since records began.  Record changing times. Talking of records, apparently vinyl is making a comeback, but I'm still pleased with downsizing my collection and the substantial funds raised assisted our lifestyle change substantially. No regrets.   Despite the rain I awoke late this morning  feeling great, no fuzzy head, no aching hip, only a loudly snoring cat ruining the peacefull scene.
The iPad is still  randomly and endlessly playing tracks from my album collection, but I must remember to recharge it soon or find out how to stop it, although I'm very happy with the way things are, thank you.
Continuing the happy theme I can reveal I have chosen to cook a roast chicken dinner tonight, courtesy of Aunt Bessy, Tesco and the wonders of microwaves.
Footnote:      I removed the aforementioned dinner from the freezer after lunch, tested my blood-sugar level, which was OK, and retired to bed for my "normal" afternoon snooze. "Sometime soon" I was woken by my mobile phone in the kitchen and got up somewhat confused, as was Phoebe. We both wandered about  for a while until I realised the time was 17.30, well past Phoebe's and my tea time. My blood sugar reading was 2.7, very low, so I drunk a bottle of Lucozade, by which time our neighbour Julie arrived, alerted by Lynne who, by this time, had left 6 messages on my mobile phone.
A few chocolate biscuits and back in the land of the living later I contacted Lynne for a more "informed chat". Crisis over. My roast dinner went into the microwave, followed by a treacle pudding, and my blood sugar rose to 9.8. Much better.  Julie regularly checked on me throughout the evening (bless her) when all returned to "normal" and my bed beckoned, having spoken to Lynne again, who returns home tomorrow evening ( I think ).

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Living alarm

My alarm this morning was Phoebe, who somehow by-passed my usual upstairs cat security arrangements and woke me at 0500. She actually saved me time and effort as one option for me this morning was to pump up my bike tyres for a trip to the dentist, but in fact it was raining heavily which limited my transport options to the bus.
Dare I say it, but today was quite a success for a complete idiot like me. I arrived at the dentist's at the right time and right day and I have now got the hang of the local buses and their idiosyncrasies. The craters in my teeth are filled and eating no longer threatens my tongue in any way.
The walk back from the dentist's was uneventful ( around 2 miles ) and my right hip complained less. At some stage I will have to get someone to investigate the hip, but as I want to get out on Tardis Two as early as possible in 2015 I'll keep it to myself for now, and certainly not let Leicester NHS know, ever.
It rained non-stop all day.
I have inadvertently got my iPad to randomly play all the tracks on it so I've had music constantly all afternoon. I wish I knew how. 

Confused ? You will be.

I admit, it is entirely my fault. I knew if I reprinted a certain verse from a certain track on the new Usuf Cat Stevens album people with hidden agenda's would jump on the depression bandwagon ( see yesterday's blog, last line ). A foolish prediction and one I would have willingly bet large sums of money on, so why the hell do it ? And why not ? I like what I like, however off-beat  (apologies for the lousy pun ).
The dodgy alarm worked and I was up bright and early for my trip to the dental appointment ( 24hrs early, but more of that later ). The temperature was minus-umpteen degrees as I walked to the bus stop and headed the queue, trying to maintain some sort of blood circulation. Eventually the bus arrived but the driver refused to accept my " Freedom Pass" and charged me an arbitrary £2.50. With a large, freezing queue still stuck in arctic conditions behind me I hadn't the heart to argue so paid the obnoxious driver his demands and would delay my queries until later. Bearing in mind I had used my pass on the same bus successfully yesterday but later in the day I assume the problem involves time, but I will find out.
I arrived at the dentist on time, but 24hrs early apparently ! The receptionist ( and I ) had a laugh as I had arrived for my previous appointment 24hrs late.
Bearing in mind my previous Leicester bus experience and being under no time pressure I opted to walk home. Needless to say my right hip objected and my walk became a painfull hobble, lasting well over an hour in continuing arctic conditions, during which time my phone rang every 5 minutes or so. Interrupting my hobbling painfull rythm and the freezing wind made frequent stops unadvisable so I assumed it was one of the aforementioned doom-mongers and opted to make contact from the warmth and comfort of home. Before getting in the front door I was inundated with concerned neighbours and friends, pleased and relieved to see I had not committed suicide returning from the dentist's. Once inside I noticed one of our garden chairs leaning against the fence. It transpired one of our neighbours ( herself recovering from cancer ) had opted to see if she could detect any signs of life via the rear windows or garden, further stirring Lynne into a lather, already on her way home from London, terminated by my phone call. She had forgotten my dental appointment and transport problems.
I have another appointment tomorrow but will ensure my bike is fully functional prior.

Monday 24 November 2014

Dodgy alarm

Our extremely vintage alarm clock appears to be breathing it's last,as I discovered last night whilst attempting to ensure I was up in time for me to attend my early morning dental appointment whilst allowing for inevitable bus glitches, heavy rain etc. The clock keeps good time but the alarm is inconsistent, unbelievably it worked, but I will heed the warnings and replace it ASAP.

Then there was one ( plus cat )

Lynne left for a week's work in London early this morning, having scraped ice off the car windows, the first frost of the winter. The extra wages will prove useful prior to Xmas, as will the "break" , following deep and meaningful discussions over recent days which re-evaluated " our positions and aspirations".
We are now singing from the same hymn sheet, hopefully.
I have some blood tests at the GP's this morning, mainly linked to diabetes, drug levels and liver functions. Fairly routine, I'm told. On Wednesday I have a dental appointment to tackle my right-hand crater and sharp edges but I have yet to plan how to undertake the journeys to and from the surgery. I need to study bus routes and timetables, something previously alien to me.  A dry day would be a bonus.
 Once the frost lifted I planted the alpines recently purchased. After lunch I retired for my now-compulsory snooze. Refreshed, I then experimented with buses to and from my dentist for my early appointment tomorrow before cooking and enjoying dinner.
Two buses are available but both go "round the houses", although the overall journey is short. My return journey was accompanied by a very young boy loudly ( and badly) reciting nursery rhymes . He and his equally noisy mother eventually got off the bus at my stop. Bliss.
The house is quiet and lonely, perfect for soul searching and self analysis.     By sheer coincidence I have also had time to analyse the latest Yusuf Cat Stevens release " Tell 'EM I'M GONE ". It is very Blues orientated, and very nice too. He has always raised issues in an obtuse and poetic fashion in his songs, but an interesting and haunting chorus on this album is actually written by Edgar Winter, as follows;
Why am a fighting to live if I'm just living to fight ?
Why am I trying to see when there ain't nothing in sight ?
Why am I trying to give when no one gives me a try ?
Why am I dying to live if I'm just living to die ?

Before anyone jumps on the bandwagon and says the above appeals to me because I'm depressed, you'll need to listen to the track, which is high tempo, tongue in cheek and certainly not in any way morbid. But if the cap fits....................

Sunday 23 November 2014

Sunday, Sunday

It rained heavily all night and hasn't stopped yet, mid morning. I guess the flood plains will but I have yet to pluck up sufficient courage to check. This type of sustained weather re-enforces our original decision to avoid boat living all year round.
Arsenal managed to rescue a defeat from the jaws of a win yet again and now lounge halfway in the league, their traditional position when I first stated supporting them over40 years ago. Everything goes full circle and nothing remains static, I guess. 
Lynne returns to London tomorrow for a week in the wedding shop so I am fully stocked with ready meals for survival purposes.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Then there were two

Joel and Emily are returning to Manchester this morning whilst Mancester United are travelling to Arsenal for an eagerly anticipated Premier league match, the result of which is difficult to predict given both team's current poor form and close league positions.
After many weeks of trying and a long, intensive course at GCHQ my friend in Wales ( yes, I do have one ) has finally broken through my blog code with spooky results. He too has lost tooth fillings and awaits repairs. He is also doing some repainting in his house.  Snap !  Does anyone still play snap ?
Since finishing painting the garden fence it has not stopped raining, which is quietly self-gratifying.
I hope to get to our new-found local garden centre prior to Lynne's next working visit to London so I have an outside project in addition to the interior decorating, supposing it stops raining sometime.

Friday 21 November 2014


A grey day generally but a couple of sunny bits to cheer us up. Today is Joel's 23rd birthday so off we went to the Red Lion for lunch and very nice it was too, complete with chocolate cake and candles. By the time we got home it was dark, dismal and pouring.
I have ordered a new tube for Chloe's bike which should arrive Wednesday, allowing it to be advertised on EBay once I master refitting the tyre and pumping it up.
Feeling good this morning but the rain and darkness strangely heralded a fuzzy-brained afternoon.       ( ? ).

Thursday 20 November 2014

Better late than never

Oops, arrived for my dental appointment on time, but a day late, if that makes any sense. She very kindly offered to do the filling on my left side anyway, whilst making another appointment for the bigger job on my right side next week, which means a trip on the bus for me as Lynne is in London, but it serves me right I suppose.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Back to hospital

Having avoided hospitals for some unusually long time, today I have a fairly routine ( ? ) diabetic appointment to fulfil, usually 6 monthly. " how are you ?"     "Fine".   "Any problems ?"     "No".   " Good, I'll see you in 6 months".
I may get myself weighed as my suit scales yesterday indicated I may have gained a pound or two.
When you get to my age the infrequent use of a suit is a good guide to weight. For a funeral in the summer my suit fitted me like a tent, but yesterday it needed a good coverage of WD40 to squeeze me in and constant breathing in to be comfortable. No doubt due to life on land and lots of rain restricting exercise? My son is a fitness coach so I"ll pester him for a programme and rely on Lynne to ensure I stick to it until the next wedding/funeral/christening. Roll on the cruising season.
At the hospital it transpired I have had diabetes longer than the doctor has been alive. I was confirmed as OK and the doctor learned a lot. My suit scales apparently worked well and the hospital scales further confirmed I have expanded a little.
Next appointment April 2015.

Monday 17 November 2014

Martin Leach

Martin Leach spent a large chunk of his long life looking after the KGSVBC rowing fleet, coxing the vets  8, coaching us old uns and organising events as necessary . His wife Stephanie arranged a memorial service on Kew Green and a wake at London Welsh Rugby Club today, for which we set out this morning at 0800 before a lorry broke down in an M1 section of roadworks,doubling our journey time and ensuring we were late for the service. In fact we headed straight for the rugby club rather than barging in half way through the service. Anyone who is anyone in rowing was there, a brilliant turnout and a great testament to a wonderful man.
It was a treat to meet all my old rowing colleagues, most of whom are still participating, much to my jealousy. I miss rowing and the comaradary  almost more than I miss gardening. 
Just to improve our mood a coach caught fire on the M1, delaying our journey home.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Folding bike repairs

With the help of our expert friend the two folding bikes are now useable and fit into one bag. We now have to decide where to store them on Tardis Two, no mean feat. A cold autumnal day, but dry for a change.

Saturday 15 November 2014

Sugar soap

We have decided to redecorate our kitchen, the only room not done when we moved in. As a consequence I am sugar soaping the walls and ceiling ready for a dosh of paint at some later date. Typically the weather today is dry and mild, having been wet for several days, preventing me finishing the fence painting . Sod's law.
A friend is due to call in to fix our four flat tyres on our "new" folding bikes,hopefully. We will both need to practice on them away from the canals, otherwise Tardis Two is likely to be orphaned at a very early age ! 

Friday 14 November 2014

Street canals

Raining yet again, giving the illusion of being in Wales. At this rate we will soon be able to bring Tardis Two home, although finding a 62ft parking space could prove difficult.
Lynne has opted to go shopping with a friend, leaving me to sugar soap the kitchen ready for repainting.
I managed to complete a large chunk of the kitchen, but it was bloody hard work and played havoc with my blood sugar, although my hip was no trouble at all.

Shopping injury

Woke yesterday with my right hip still aching, but a planned visit to the dentist prevented any master plan to resolve the issue. During the summer I had gradually lost chunks of 3 large fillings at the back of my mouth, two the result of root canal work and "temporary fillings", the other unknown. You know how it is when you suddenly discover crunchy bits in your shepherds pie resulting in "roughage". The dentist decided she needs to hire a cement mixer for my next appointment in a weeks time,so, apart from filing some tongue injuring jagged edges down nothing more was done.
I had the option of returning home or helping Lynne with food shopping at Sainsbury's. I chose the latter in the hope the gentle exercise would help my hip.  Wrong !  I opted for bed rest on our return home. Completing my blog proved impossible due to "technical problems" , now resolved.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Non cruising/ non painting day.

Continuous rain today, so nothing-pre-planned, although we ended up sorting out the loft ( again ) rediscoverings gems of family history we had considered long lost. Some inevitably ended in a wheelie bin, whist others will be distributed amongst the relevant children and/or living relatives. The gas man came, as pre-arranged, to change the ancient meter ( 20 years apparently ) which gave us something else on which to focus our attention. 
Late afternoon during a dry period I ventured out for a walk and checked-out the new building sites opposed by residents and myself, discovered a part- hidden nursery and limped home with a sore right hip, very slowly.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Cuprinol quest/Poppy Day

5 small fence panels left to paint and I am still attempting to find a suitable supplier of Cuprinol at a reasonable price within a practical bus or bike ride from home. After a few minutes  searching on Google I was about to order my requirements on-line when Lynne went out stating she would  "get my paint". 2.5 hours later she returned with it. I was tempted to ask if she had made it or it was only available at Homebase, Manchester, but resisted it. In the meantime I walked to the village for a newspaper, bottle of shampoo and deodorant, which seemed to have disappeared from the bathroom, before putting my work gear on and scrounging the remains of Cuprinol from the base of the last tin used and applying it to the top rail and base-board of the unpainted fence sections behind shrubs.
Whilst in scrounging mode I made myself a salad lunch of anything I could find in the fridge, by which time the paint and heavy rain arrived.
Today marks the end of World War 1 and the whole country fell silent for two minutes at 11.00 as a mark of respect and remembrance.
As far as I am aware I lost no one in either war. My father built Mosquito fighter/bombers and my mother made munitions, which ultimately affected her lungs and greatly reduced her lifespan. Poppy Day every year still means a lot to me so I am a great campaigner for fund-raising to look after our injured troops.  I have yet to visit the Belgian battle - fields, but it is one of my "must do" things before I die. 

Monday 10 November 2014

Gardening leave.

With our overnight guests on their way home to Wales we unusually find ourselves with a day to ourselves, so I have allocated myself "gardening leave".  By mid-afternoon I had removed a Leyland Cypress stump and replaced it with a Camellia ( flowers before we set sail ) and planted a "Burning bush" ( Cotinus coggygria ) which should provide colour for before we leave and when we return.
Job done.
Pleasant day, sunny and warm.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Birmingham by land

Having dropped the two girls off at the national exhibition centre for a crafting exhibition in Birmingham John drove me to the marina for his first glimpse of the boat. It looked very good in the sunshine. We checked the electric card and Sue next door confirmed it looked healthy. She very kindly made us cups of coffee and offered to keep my top-up card, "just in case", which made good sense. 
Lunch at the Waterfront and home in daylight.
Arsenal rescued a loss from a win, yet again, and now fall to 5th in the league. Ho hum.

Saturday 8 November 2014

Chester by land

Having fully recovered from yesterday's marathon from Colchester we are off to Chester today, stupidly you might say, but there are personal reasons for the decision which I don't intend revealing at this delicate stage. All will be revealed in due course. Poor Lynne has been forced to undertake far more driving duties than she could ever have envisaged, disliking " Top Gear" and Jeremy Clarkson as she does.
The 2 hour drive to Chester proved uneventful and we spent a pleasant couple of hours with our granddaughters , Sophia and Sienna before the return journey via our favourite Italian restaurant in Stone. The waiter remembered us from our summer visit whilst on Tardis Two, which was nice, as were the meals. On the way to Stone we were confronted by  a herd of cows charging down the road towards and past us. We stopped, breathed in and awaited some heavy contact, which failed to materialise, despite the lack of road width. A few seconds later an extremely large Hereford bull ambled towards and past us, with similarly no contact. Very scarey as there was no farmer in sight. We presumed the cows and bull had escaped from a nearby farm? Further down the same road we passed a blue telephone box, but not the Tardis. We wondered if we had overdosed on whacky tobacco, but knew that was nowhere near the truth, unfortunately. Perhaps senility?

Friday 7 November 2014

Boat or car for speed ?

With a sandwich for my lunch ( just in case ) we left Colchester midday in brilliant sunshine, only to get stuck in the mother of all traffic jams on the A14 for at least an hour. Having escaped we then made good time until another jam on the M1 for yet another hour. There was no obvious reason for either jam and traffic flowed freely before and after each one.  At a couple of points I considered our journey might have been quicker on Tardis Two, but overall it was no contest. At least we kept warm and dry
It was raining heavily when we eventually got home, so we put the central heating boiler, kettle and gas fire on before I popped to the village for fish and chips.  Full up with food and tea/coffee we spent the evening warmly flaked out in front of the TV, which prior to Colchester we considered to be quite large.  Our friends TV is of cinema proportions which makes ours look minuscule in comparison, but we'll get used to it again I suppose.

Thursday 6 November 2014

Garden centre hunt

A good night's sleep, clear head and early start to our search for a garden shrub. Garden centres these days have very little to do with selling plants and more with restaurants, Christmas decorations and garden statues. However, the huge one we visited also sells crafting stuff which immediately attracted Lynne. After being talked to death by the verbal crafting salesperson we quickly found the shrub we were looking for plus one we were not. We had lunch in the restaurant which boasted a quite bizaar menu, Lynne having a fish-finger toasted sandwich with chips !
The meals were large, tasty and very cheap.
I bought and downloaded the new Cat Stevens ( Usuf Islam ) album when we got back to our friends and blissfully listened to it for the rest of the afternoon. It is more blues orientated than his earlier stuff but excellent. I love it.
All in all a good day.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Colchester by land

Sunny morning and clear head, albeit after a restless night's sleep, my own fault for watching Arsenal commit European footballing suicide I suppose? 3 -nil up at half time against Anderlecht but then managing to draw 3-all.
3.5 hour drive to Colchester in mostly brilliant sunshine, uneventful apart from getting lost in torrential rain between Cambridge and Stanstead airport. Easily done.
Planned a trip to see "Sunny Afternoon"in the new year, the story of how The Kinks first started.      A theatrical success to date and soon to move to the west end of London, but a no-no for Lynne unfortunately.

Tuesday 4 November 2014


After a very foggy beginning the day has become sunny, but far from tropical. A busy week scheduled including a few days in Colchester with friends and a day in Chester with grandchildren. Lynne is due to visit a craft fair in Birmingham too. Relaxing, eh?
The foggy weather cleared, but my foggy head didn't, despite my return to bed after breakfast.  Lynne produced bread and soup lunch but opted not to provide a lift to our nearest garden centre to look for a particular (but uncommon shrub she wants) which prompted me to pump to up my bike tyres as an alternative.  However, a quick practice in the garden convinced me a ride to the garden centre and return trip with a potted shrub was not advisable, but a return to bed certainly was.

Monday 3 November 2014

In depth discussions

The reason for missing our lunch arrangements with Chloe yesterday I can reveal was an in-depth discussion about my current health and better ways of dealing with it, which proved most revealing and very useful
 We said what was in our hearts rather than in our heads and talked about what we knew rather than what we imagined. Fact rather than fiction.
Lynne and I agreed my recovery has been slower, and less "complete," than either of us had expected or hoped for iat this stage. 
I have yet to come to terms with my fitness changes and lack of ability to concentrate for any length of time, my increased need for sleep, my loss of driving licence for health reasons and subsequent reliance on others for transport (lack of "convenience"), my frustrating lack of short-term memory etc. etc. etc.
But even so, I am in a happier frame of mind, particularly when on the boat, although I know I must get out of the habit of differentiating between the two lifestyles. It's a bit like comparing life in the Bahama's      ( holidays) with life in Leicestershire ( home ). Given the circumstances I suppose it is inevitable I prefer life on the boat but I do not wish it to diminish my love for home.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Folding bike repairs

It is lightly raining this morning , restricting any attempt to investigate  my flat tyres, which are painless. We are searching for  local bike repair shops. In daylight I managed to confirm the bay shrub had been correctly moved and watered-in.
Better late than never Lynne remembered we should be meeting Chloe in Coventry for lunch. Once again she was representing Surrey in a national inter-county ten pin bowling competition. By the time we arrived she and her team were wiping the floor with all opposition and were unbeaten, as they remained throughout the day, winning yet another trophy and title. For a very rare treat ( ? ) we had tea at Nando's accompanied by deafening Portuguese music. Whatever happened to romance ? 

Saturday 1 November 2014

Folding bikes

Lynne is fine today and our GP has given her some gunge to stuff into her dodgy ear, which seems to have improved the hearing situation a little. We have obtained a couple of secondhand lightweight folding bikes for the boat . They will prove usefull for shopping trips and journey's between locks next summer, if I ever get the damned tyres inflated.
I gave up with one front tyre in almost total darkness. Within seconds of being inflated it was flat again. I'll have to wait for daylight before investigating further, but managed to move Lynne's beloved Bay tree/shrub to her preferred position more by feel than sight. I think I watered it in but again I'll check in daylight.