Saturday 28 February 2015

Pottering about

A windy but dry day so I opted to hoover ( or should I say Dyson ) upstairs, clean and polish my muddy trainers, deposit some of next door's prunings in our bin and touch-up areas on the garden fence and sheds where shrubs, bird feeders and various scrapes had ruined my painting perfection.  Phew !!               I'm exhausted just describing it all. Sadie sat on the back doorstep and took forever to decide if to take a stroll round the garden before opting for the comfort and warmth of inside, leaving me holding the door open against the wind with not a word of thanks.  I intend taking a short walk soon but sticking to the pavements to maintain the pristine appearance of my trainers, dog poo permitting.

Post euphoria thoughts

Yesterday was sunny and relatively warm, in a wintery sort of way. Apart from cat duties and hoovering I had little to do, so chose to go walking as usual, except I chose to explore a footpath I had seen previously, apparently heading north towards Bradgate park. The first 100 yards had a Tarmac surface but thereafter deteriorated into a very muddy dirt track, not ideal for tackling in trainers, but I soldiered on regardless until I came across a style and an offshoot through a wood, much less muddy and to the rear of a large secondary school. My adventurous spirit took over and within half an hour I had reached a dead end, necessitating retracing my steps and heading home before exhaustion could set in. During my travels I had ample time to recycle my earlier post-euphoria thoughts regarding future rowing and/or bowling returns. Bowling is a distinct possibility as it has only minor safety issues for me, whilst rowing poses more problems, even when wearing a life jacket. Once in the boat, no problem, but getting in and out would be a nightmare and extremely dangerous for me and the rest of the crew. We have a shower at home, but when we stay with friends or family I find it difficult getting in and out of a bath, which is higher and far more stable than a sculling boat, without the hazard of surrounding deep and cold flowing water. So unless my new rowing club has a winch and/or Jeremy Kyle show security beefcakes as members, bowling seems the safer option, pending further physical improvement.
My hips are less of a problem lately, which is encouraging, and mentally all seems ok. Arsenal committing football suicide in the  European championship, at home  against inferior opposition would have had me searching for a noose a few weeks ago, but not now. Managing to lose 3 - 1 in the first leg against the football equivalent of sloths leaves little hope of further progression to the final, but hey-ho.

Thursday 26 February 2015

74 and 88 buses

A rainy day in which I opted for bus travel to and from Leicester Royal Infirmary, or rather a Chinese supermarket adjacent. Many months ago I ran out of a sweet chilli, a particular favourite of mine made by LIngham's in Singapore, readily available in London Chinese supermarkets. However, there is  a distinct shortage of Chinese supermarkets in Leicestershire and therefore no supplies of "my" favourite chilli sauce. On our many trips to the infirmary I noticed what appeared to be a very large supermarket considered likely to sell the aforementioned chilli, literally next door, but could I get Lynne to let me look whilst close by? Could I hell. So my present freedom offered the opportunity of looking, using my free bus pass and a vague idea of the necessary buses to use, plus a little walking as necessary. Would you believe the ruddy Chinese supermarket was a reverse vTardis, large on the outside but tiny on the inside and they did not stock "my" chilli, although I chose a couple of bottles which looked similar, as a compromise? After lunch at a nearby Morrisons  my trip home commensed with the rain having disappeared, although the temperature was dropping fast. Sadie was pleased to see me as it meant she would at least get some supper.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Sadie and I

Lynne is off to work in London for a few days, leaving me in the capable paws of Sadie, or visa versa?
With the weather already improving and nature springing into life ( springing......get it? ) our thoughts are turning towards getting Tardis Two back into cruising mode, water tank and radiators refilled, pump refitted, and so on plus finally getting the faulty electrics (from new) sorted under warranty by MCC at Stensen. This will be their 4th attempt so we are not over-confident, given their lack of a qualified electrician, but they have finally stopped blaming us as "newby" boaters and have admitted there may be "leakage" in the electrical system, so some progress has been made. Don't hold your breath.
Sadie is still feeding for Britain and much cleaner, but otherwise much as before her adventure. We have yet to decide if her boating days are over and are investigating  radar collars for future use, just in case. I have written a little article with photographs for the Middlewich Murcury newspaper, at their request, and will post it off today, so book your souvenir copy now.
Today is mild and overcast. Apart from my daily walk I have nothing planned for today, other than locating Lynne's prepared meals for my future survival in the fridge and freezer.

Monday 23 February 2015


The last few days have been consistently wet, resulting in flooded flood plains, not seen for a considerable time. No doubt we will soon have a Met Office announcement proclaiming one of the driest, warmest winters on record. Certainly we are enjoying an early spring with plants way ahead of schedule, but we shall see.
Healthwise I am feeling good, mentally in particular, but it is truly difficult judging physical fitness given my good condition prior to my illness and prolonged mistreatment during it. I do not expect to attain those giddy heights reached during intense rowing training several times per week and competitive bowling once per week, particularly at my increasing age, but it is something to aspire to as long as I don't allow it to frustrate me. 

Counselling rant to be terminated

Today I am due to meet my fourth NHS counsellor. Continuity?  What continuity? I have promised myself not to rant at the poor lady. After all, it is not her fault and NHS counselling time is like gold-dust, not to be wasted. The fact that I could have topped myself without anyone (except Lynne) noticing or caring says it all about the state of the NHS at present. The fact that I have come through the dark times totally unaided (with the distinct and glowing exception of poor Lynne) is more by luck and my inner strength    ( or cowardice? ) and nothing to do with NHS help, or the lack of it, unless they work on the theoryto self-help makes you stronger. If that is the case perhaps their staff should take heed as three of my previous "counsellors" have fallen foul of depression, hopefully not due to listening to me, but more likely lack of NHS cash, sheer frustration and threatened redundancy.The only successful one works for a hospital over 200 miles away, bless her.
Anyway, that's my rant out of the way for today, hopefully.
To save valuable time and to quickly bring my "new counsellor" up to speed I printed off paragraph one of this blog and presented her with it. She seems to know her stuff and brought me up to date with the state of her department, apparently managed by a bunch of politically motivated morons ( no surprises there ). Whilst acknowledging the fact any help she could have provided was required a long time ago. She accepted I ( and Lynne ) are very near sorting things out for ourselves, but wishes to show the service she feels we should have received and has asked for a couple more consultations before we disappear on Tardis Two, allowing her time to officially close my case, to which I agreed.

Sunday 22 February 2015

Onwards and upwards again

We are reaching the end of a very positive week. Sticking two fingers up to Parking Eye, Sadie's sudden return and pleasant weather have all contributed to my current extreme feel-good factor, to such an extent that I am considering joining a local ten pin bowling league,or a vets rowing club , probably once we return from our summer cruises, which we are edging ever closer to the start of.
Sadie has settled back in effortlessly and is getting her white fur somewhere closer to it's pre-disappearance colour whilst gradually gaining weight and condition.

Saturday 21 February 2015

Sadie's home again

Amazingly Sadie is home and looks exceedingly well considering she had been missing for over 6 months (12 months from the house). As Joel let her out of the cat box she headed straight for the kitchen and the food/water bowls where she filled herself up before attempting to get into the garden via the locked cat flap. She is now sitting in front of the gas fire as if she has never been away, quite contented.

Friday 20 February 2015

Slaying Big Brother and Sadie's return.

Lynne had her morning in court and left victorious over the Big Brother hospital parking company,Parking Eye, who were saddled with the legal costs. The judge fully accepted Lynne's side of the story whereby the parking machine was faulty and Parking Eye failed to acknowledge the complaints about it or her attempts to pay, fully logged. The weight of evidence was in Lynne's favour, whereas Parking Eye had little in response, making our determination to take the matter to the Small Claims Court in Leicester worthwhile. This proves Mrs Nobody can take-on Mr Big and win, providing she has right and honesty on her side.   Naturally we were both chuffed and relieved , retiring to the Red Lion for a celebration meal and a drink.
On our return home even more good news was received by telephone from a vets in Middlewich informing us Sadie had been found, alive and well, after disappearing near the Anderton Lift over 6 months ago. Apparently a lady boater in the area had been feeding her until she disappeared again for a few weeks. She then returned again, I guess when she needed feeding. The lady then took Sadie to a vets, who read her chip and rang us straight away. We opted not to undertake a 5 hour trip to collect Sadie tonight, but Joel, who lives near the vets, has offered to collect and deliver her for us in the morning as he had previously arranged to visit for the weekend.
All in all, a very successful day.

Thursday 19 February 2015

Mixed weather bag and England selection

It started overcast and deteriorated into rain by midday, in other words, a write-off.
On a brighter note our youngest daughter has been selected to represent England at ten pin bowling, the first tournament scheduled for sometime in September and somewhere in Scotland, all to be confirmed. We are, of course, extremely proud. All those hours spent supporting her in salubrious places such as Leeds, Nottingham and Margate, living on hamburgers and milkshakes, were worthwhile. She was also a reserve for my old bowling team, Blind Ali, when we won the KC4 league a few years ago, filling in for holidaying or injured/sick regular players as necessary.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

All things bright and beautiful

Another bright, sunny day, but I have yet to test temperatures. After so much effort yesterday I fully expected to collapse into bed and sleep restfully until midday today. No such luck. Lynne suspected a hypo at 0230, a false alarm although the blood sugar test ensured I was awake. I next awoke at 0415 and again at 0730, when I decided to call it a night and made myself a coffee, having first emptied the dish washer to find "my" mug. No aches. No pains. No hypo. No problem, although I admit to sneaking a short nap this afternoon. Although bright and sunny the temperature has dropped considerably.

Tuesday 17 February 2015


Weather today is the exact opposite of yesterday, dry with warm sunshine. I started early by snagging the kitchen before Lynne even woke up. We had inevitably missed a few spots of paint on the kitchen doors and skirting boards. Not now. The sunshine enticed me out and I set-to trimming the very large Leyland Cypress next door. I had initially intended just trimming it with shears once the risk of frost had gone, but further inspection revealed it had been heavily pruned about 5 years ago. My shears revealed themselves to be more blunt than a butter knife so I opted to copy the previous pruning schedule using secateurs, loppers and a saw. A good result was achieved with the help of Lynne steadying me and my stepladder, although it took all day and left a large pile of prunings for a trip to the tip in a day or two.  Apart from the final result I was also encouraged by my ability to maintain concentration and physical efforts for such a long time. In addition I also found the time and strength to re-set Pheobe's grave stone, before putting the refuse bins out for collection in the morning. A very long but extremely satisfying day.

Monday 16 February 2015


A wet, chilly, miserable day which we spent indoors catching up with long-lost friends by post or on the phone. We also took the opportunity to assess my current health and fitness, the effect of my illness on our relationship and taking on board some usefull recent advice by a support nurse at St George's hospital. Anyone with a serious illness and their carers are largely left to their own devices with zero psychological support from the NHS,sadly. My mental state was greatly improved after our discussion,though. I have emailed the aforementioned nurse praising her dedication and enthusiasm against all the odds. She really is  unique and a prime candidate for cloning. We need many more like her. Dream on.

Sunday 15 February 2015


All the door fixtures and fittings have been removed and any surface defects rectified ready for painting.
We have agreed to do the painting in tandem, Me painting the door recesses with a brush while Lynne does the flat surfaces with a roller. The large cupboard doors were re-rollered yesterday and look impressive. All should be completed today, even allowing for me watching Arsenal v Middlesborough in the FA cup on TV later.
Arsenal, with their 2nd eleven ,beat Middlesbough 2.  0 fairly easily.  I am predicting an Arsenal versus Liverpool or Manchester Utd FA cup final this year , but obviously subject to the next round draw and results thereafter. Exciting stuff, eh?

Saturday 14 February 2015

Waiting for God on Valentine's Day.

After another long delay I finally have the correct paint to yet again attempt to complete the kitchen refurbishment. The whole kitchen took a week, whilst 2 doors and 2 cupboard doors have taken an additional 6 weeks purely due to supply problems. Enough said.
Meanwhile Lynne already has plans  for installation of a large storage cupboard above the staircase, boxing in of the boiler and electrical improvements to upstairs, I presume for next winter ? ( funds and health permitting ) . With shrubs, trees and other plants showing signs of bursting into early life, the end of on-land imprisonment beckons ever stronger.  I cannot adequately describe the magnetism of the waterways and the frustration of being marooned on land relying on public transport and footfall.
One ray of light, having successfully completed this cruising season I should be able to regain my driving license and therefor my freedom , subject to the relevant medical permissions and my continued improving health. Talking of which my right hip has been causing problems lately, which in turn does my mental state no good at all as it affects my present and ,possibly, future mobility.

Thursday 12 February 2015

Debris disposal

Chilly, overcast morning so I completed removal of next door's garden refuse, with Lynne's help. The council are threatening to save money by severely reducing opening days and times of the municipal tips, which obviously is worrying for the staff there. We have offered to campaign on their behalf  so watch out for me on a soap box in Leicester Town Centre sometime soon. As the lesser employee's always eventually discover, their jobs are the first to go, even though sacrificing a few of them almost always makes less savings  than losing one of the "fat cat" bosses.  

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Belbour brewery & Bouverie Bison farm.

Derek and Sue were recommended to eat at the above mini-brewery/restaurant before a guided tour of the brewery and opted to share the adventure with us, and very good it was too, with copious amounts of beer. I opted for a light meal, which turned out to be enormous  but delicious. The brewery tour was very educational and we took the opportunity to leave with several bottles from across the production range. I am not a great beer expert or drinker but I thought their whole range was refreshing and tasty. From the brewery we managed to stagger down the road to the Bison and deer farm, which was interesting, but we resisted the urge to buy buffalo steaks, venison steaks and a wide variety of sausages.  We learnt that Buffalo can run at 38 mph, but had no need to test this statement, luckily because my huge lunch would have put me at a distinct disadvantage.
Both venues are near Melton Mowbrey.
The day was misty, grey and overcast.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Bittern update and a thriller mystery.

You may recall my excitement at spotting a Bittern at the Tixall Wide on the Staff and Worcs canal last September, the excitement due to their rarity. In fact Bitterns are close to extinction in England.            A programme called "Countryfile" is on the BBC every Sunday night and this week it was filmed on the reed beds of Tixall Wide, apparently now home to 3 Bitterns, none of which they were able to spot, photograph or film. 
A promising return from extinction ?
 I managed to get a photo, but had to "borrow" it from the Countryfile photography competition, merely for educational purposes, you understand.

An overcast nondescript day with excitement provided by ( not the dustman ) but Lynne's ex who is currently in St. Georges hospital  recovering from a serious stabbing which pierced his lung. Attempted murder or attempted suicide ? Drink was apparently involved and the Police are seeking to solve the mystery.  

Monday 9 February 2015

Where's you bin?

Another sunny "warm" morning ( for the time of year ) in which I was tempted into next door's garden once again. The lack of space for debris disposal restricts my working speed, unless Lynne is prepared to let me load the car with my prunings and then drive to and from the municipal dump  a couple of miles  away  ( the recommended way ) but in the meantime I cut the prunings into ultra-small small pieces and pack them into our, and our neighbours, land-fill bins for collection by our refuse collectors once a fortnight.   ( the not recommended way ). So far, so good as no council official has knocked on our doors, although bin collection day now has an edge of excitement it has to be said. Fortunately we gave the refuse guys a good Xmas box.

Sunday 8 February 2015

Back to the garden

Not mine, but my neighbours. She has given me total freedom to reduce a large holly in size. It causes no problem at present but will very soon if ignored.
Three or four hours later the holly resembles a Wild West cactus but will be back as nature intended in due course. I was tempted to say when the warmer spring weather arrives but it seems to have already put in an appearance, warm sunshine without the  seasonal cold breeze. The only hazard to working in our neighbour's garden is copious cat pooh. They have a very large, fluffy cat, apparently an ex-stray who took up residence (in the garden only) some years ago, but I am sure Phoebe must have contributed to the cat poo collection in her time, therein lies the irony.

Saturday 7 February 2015


Our local library is apparently run by volunteers. For two weeks or so I have been trecking round there in attempts to gain information on local clubs and events to widen our current social circle, but the strange opening times have caught me out each time, until today. However, I now have all the information we could need to go gallivanting every evening or weekend. While in the library I noticed they had a book sale of well thumbed paperbacks from a wide range of subjects and authors, a few of which I randomly purchased and slung into a carrier bag with my information pamphlets to be read at my leisure. Talking of leisure,any spare time today was filled with more kitchen skirting board and cupboard painting. Having completed it all a quick inspection by Lynne revealed I had used the wrong paint ( bought by me but approved by Lynne ). I have asked her to purchase the correct paint and I'll start again I suppose. I suppressed /hid my anger/frustration by pruning a large bamboo in the garden !  Just to rub salt in the wounds Spurs beat Arsenal.

Friday 6 February 2015

New look cupboards

Today was spent sanding and painting the doors on our large larder cupboards in the kitchen, leaving only the 2 kitchen entry doors to receive the same treatment, maybe tomorrow. I'll admit I am no Picasso with a paintbrush in my hand and I do not enjoy the challenge of decorating, far from it. Since my treatment I find painting physically challenging and the concentration levels hard to maintain , so by teatime I was knackered, but the result of my efforts looked impressive, confirmed by Lynne. 
The new cupboard handles were easy to fit and look far superior to the old ones.

Road test result.

My JCB's passed the test with flying colours. In fact they were so efficient I threw them off sometime during the night and arose with glowing tootsies.

Thursday 5 February 2015

Bed socks

Today started very early for me, following yet-another patchy sleep pattern during the night. ( note the sleep pattern has absolutely no connection to the Native American Apache Tribe ). There was a strange mixture of tiny snowflakes and drizzly rain first thing, quickly changing to heavy rain for the remainder of the day, most of which we spent in B and Q and Sainsbury's, having lunch in the latter, cheap and cheerful. 
It has been a painfull hip day for some unexplained reason, perhaps due to long hours in the car in the recent past ?
I was looking for a night time cold feet remedy in Sainsbury's but discovered they do not sell bed socks, so I settled for some colourful and surprisingly cosy JCB branded boot socks, as a reasonable compromise between nerd and butch. Full road test report later.

Wednesday 4 February 2015


Yesterday's plans inevitably unscrambled before our eyes as our journey home from London ended in Hertfordshire as the matrix signs on the M25 alternately warned of an M1 closure between junctions 12 and 13, or severe congestion at the same location. In the end we opted to avoid the problem by dropping in to see Margaret and Bob via smaller roads and onwards, joining the M1 north of "the incident",which turned out to be a serious lorry crash, blocking the motorway in both direction and requiring air ambulance assistance , causing further delays. The driver survived once delivered to hospital and we made it home 2 hours late, but non the worse for the experience. Lynne had surpassed herself by navigating unknown country roads at night, in freezing conditions and with only a vague idea of where to go. A job brilliantly done.
This morning is sunny, bright and cold.
Lunch at the Red Lion was our only claim to excitement today and an early night scheduled for tonight, merely to catch up on some missed sleep over recent nights, you understand.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Christmas wonderland

   On the day of our return journey ( the plans haven't changed ) we awoke to the Christmas scene above, and very pretty it was too, although by mid- morning most of the snow had gone.
An accident on our giant car park, also known as the M25 London orbital motorway, caused massive traffic disruption on other roads, including severe delays on Lynne's journey to work ( a change of plan? ).Hopefully all will be back to normal before I set off by bus later to meet Lynne for the trip home to Leicester.

Monday 2 February 2015

Plans, but subject to (frequent) change.

We are still staying with our youngest daughter and her partner, although I thought we were due to move to our "middle son's" today, not that I am unhappy here but just reporting "our" plans as I understood them. We are now due to return home from Lynne's workplace tomorrow, a day earlier than originally "planned". Are you keeping up ? 
Lynne has always been unpredictable ( one of the things that first attracted me ), but in those early days over 25 years ago I had a complete brain and could keep track of my life with minimum confusion. Not so with half a brain, but I hang on with traditional British grit. We get there in the end, but not necessarily by the route or timescale originally envisaged, negating  possible boredom I suppose. We old'uns get our excitement in unconventional ways, talking of which Lynne got medical clearance to give me a full-on visit to Alton Towers whenever we want. Nemesis here we come !

Sunday 1 February 2015

How to reverse reverse?

A week or so ago I acknowledged my new positive attitude was reaping rewards, both physically and mentally, but chiefly the latter, reinforced by amazingly good conclusions from  medical "inspections" by the powers that be.  Sadly, the events involving Phoebe have had an adverse affect ( bigger than I imagined ) and, despite my best efforts, mentally I have slipped back a little, not helped by spending a day alone yesterday. As we are staying with my daughter, who was working all day, I was unable to locate my new, super-warm coat, necessary for any outing into the freezing cold outside,thus I was effectively imprisoned with my music. Realising my impending slippage into "the chasm" I changed my musical selection towards the brighter stuff later, which helped.
I have located my coat and arranged a trip out with Chloe today, albeit to the bright lights of Sainsbury's to restock the depleted cupboards.
The situation (and my mood ) improved brilliantly during the afternoon as Arsenal beat Aston Villa 5....0 with no further squad injuries.
In addition Chloe cooked roast dinner for Lynne, myself, Tom and Hayley, what could be better ? Forward gear engaged.