Tuesday 31 March 2015

High speed horizontal rain

A very mixed bag, weather wise. Very high speed blustery wind carrying rain and perfectly symmetrical pure white hailstones. A certain non cruising day. We loaded the car with clothes and foodstuffs for the boat, which seemed to be remarkedly similar to how we had left it when we arrived early afternoon. The bike rack  which Dean had promised to fit was still in it's box next to the sink and the mains electrics were still connected,so no signs of repairs there. Apparently Eddie was off for the day but must have forgotten to mention it to us. Communication has never been his strong point, so all in all it was a wasted trip with the exception of loading the boat with food supplies and confirming the non boating weather first hand.

Monday 30 March 2015


We have yet to check-in at Stensen Marina, but, to be honest, both Lynne and I have little or no faith in The Midland Canal Company ever admitting the electrics on Tardis Two are not fit for purpose. So long as Eddie persists with the "Bernie Winters" ( the idiot half of the unfunny Mike and Bernie Winters "comedy duo") joke of not opening the fridge more than once a day there really is no hope of making progress. But, by hook or by crook, progress will be made, mark my words.
As with all pressure points these days, post surgery, this saga is causing me sleepless nights. I advise anyone who thinks they can treat me as an idiot to think again.
Another comment Eddie made, but not quite as funny or idiotic as the fridge one, was the suggestion we only cruise between moorings with an electricity supply !!  What is it they say about mushrooms? Keep them in the dark and feed on bulls###t. Lynne and I are not mushrooms. There is no great difference between mushrooms and triffids.
You may have noticed I am getting annoyed.

Non cruising day surplus

Today we aim to visit MCC for a personal check on the electrical rectifications for Tardis Two, comforted in the knowledge that, even if the boat had been fixed, we would not have commenced cruising yet due to the adverse recent weather .Very gusty high winds, rain and low temperatures are far from ideal on a narrowboat. We have yet to set out as scheduled since Tardis Two was first launched in 2013, due to my or the boat's ill health. You can now add weather to that list.
We had to wait several hours for attention at MCC as Eddie was busy in meetings and no-one else could provide information on Tardis Two repairs. Eventually Eddie provided us with the same old bull###t, inferring it was our fault and once again recommending we only open the fridge once per day ( the old jokes are always the best ). However, under pressure he offered to leave the boat under only battery power overnight and will check the systems again in the morning (he has only had the bloody boat 6 days) so it is obviously top priority. We will check with him in the morning, without any great anticipation. 
Legal action looms, first via Trading Standards in Derby, with a letter and supporting documentation already prepared. Sad but true.

Sunday 29 March 2015


Back home from a "sunny afternoon" to a rainy morning. "Lola" is still locked into what's left of my brain, playing on a continuous loop but I have yet to tire of it. The good news is that "sunny afternoon" is still booking till the end of October 2015, so Lynne and I will be able to see it ( again in my case ) once we get back from our summer cruising. I thoroughly recommend you go and see it, Kinks fans or not. 
Tomorrow we are off to see what progress ( if any ) has been made regarding boat electrical repairs. No particular plans for today, as far as I am aware.

Saturday 28 March 2015

Kinks report

"Sunny Afternoon" is brilliant, I can report. In fact it is so good I intend seeing it again at the first opportunity. It tells the factual beginnings , warts and all, of how the KInks were first formed and their development into international stars, despite being ripped off by sleazy managers both here and in the USA until  the sad end when the group split up, broke in every sense of the word. However, the show was both exilerating and great fun.
I can't get "Lola" out of my head now, but I'm not complaining.
A revelation was the vast improvement of the underground rolling stock and stations since I was last in the city centre.

Friday 27 March 2015

Kinks day

It has finally arrived. My trip to see "sunny afternoon", based on the early days of The Kinks.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Friends & Family

A drizzly, damp day. Lynne has gone for a facial makeover at a beauty parlour in Glenfield, a rather touching Mother's Day gift voucher from the family. I opted to stay home as a windswept, wet walk around Glenfield whilst waiting for Lynne , had little appeal.
The time spent at home gave ample opportunity for comparisons between friends and family relationships.
My best friend for over 40 years lived in York for most of that period and subsequently Leeds, having first met at a horticultural college in St. Albans. Despite the 200 mile distance between us he has always appeared at my home or hospital bedside whenever a crisis arose.  I have done the same for him and between-times we regularly communicate by telephone or "social media". It is a mutually supportive arrangement based on love and respect.
My Mother used to say we can choose friends but not families, which I guess explains why the relationship rules differ so much. 
By sheer chance I belatedly learnt my last remaining relatives were staying with mutual friends in Burton, 40 minutes away and much,much closer to Stensen Marina, where we were yesterday. As we had a few hours spare in the afternoon we thought it would be a good opportunity to swop news and check on the health of our mutual friend who is currently suffering with what I call NHS maladies. Where have I heard that before?
It was good to swop stories and meet up again, although the issues of not arranging to meet at a local cafe or the National Arboretum, even more local and a good day out, were sadly and regrettably  ignored.
Life goes on, as does the hurt.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Electrical progress

This morning we looked at bike racks for the boat in Halfords, before checking progress on the boat electrical repairs. A serious problem has been confirmed by MCC ( eureka ) as all 5 domestic batteries were flat this morning, but the reason has yet to be identified. Once the batteries are recharged the reasons and/or causes of the power leakage can be investigated with results anticipated by next weekend, hopefully.  Dean Baldwin identified the Halfords bike rack we need and offered to help us fit it before our travels begin this year.
We visited my sister and friends in Burton on Trent before returning home via the scenic route and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Another dry, sunny day, but chilly.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Feet in each camp

 I had a counselling session (my last?) booked with Chris for early afternoon, which,as expected, went very well, but rather than risk slipping back to the bottom of the pile and perhaps "off the books" , I tentatively reserved another appointment for late September, just in case. I'm sure it won't be needed but hey ho.
On our return home Sadie was in the street wailing and receiving sympathetic attention from a bunch of young schoolgirls.
The plan tomorrow is to check on the boat electrical repairs whilst delivering our summer clothes aboard and bringing our winter clothes home.

Monday 23 March 2015

The easy life 2015

I put my full set of thermals on in anticipation of transporting the boat to MCC for the electrics cure, only for the day to transform into tropical sunshine and temperatures. By the time we had sedately completed the 6 hour cruise the top of my head was sunburnt and my body had endured a mobile sauna, but very pleasant, thank you.  We moored on the canal just outside Stensen Marina entrance whilst we awaited the mooring position instructions requested by letter several days previously, without reply.
Eddie was somewhat confused when we presented ourselves in his office this morning, having only just returned from a week's holiday at Butlins in Skegness, considerably less exotic than his prevous holidays on his yacht  in Spain.
Most of the Marina residents welcomed us back during the morning and we learned MCC no longer produce complete boats , merely fitting-out sail away shells and egg-shaped mini caravans. A slippery slope but no great surprise. Friends on the Marina ran us back to Barton for our car and we returned home for a Sadie check.  She seemed fine, if a little manic, but very vocal as is normal these days.
On a personal note the day on the boat in near-perfect conditions merely highlighted my perfect life style for the future, no pressures and no addled brain,as opposed to today with all the confusion of swopping marina's and shifting the cars accordingly. My damaged brain struggles to unravel complicated plans and logistics, deal with meeting lots of long -lost friends and forgotten associates causing far more confusion than necessary.

Sunday 22 March 2015

Sleep conundrum

Yet another poor night's sleep for no apparent reason, other than being aboard Tardis Two for the first time in ages, albeit in the Marina. Lynne and I were both up at 0500 hrs . A late phone call from our neighbour at home presented something to concern us. Sadie was causing a commotion  by doing her loud Yoko Ono singing impressions at the front doors of several houses in the street. After some discussions with Julie, our "cat sitter", it was decided to feed Sadie again and restrict access to the rear garden from where she had obviously decided to launch an "attack" on the street, for reasons as yet unknown. Since her return from "exile" she has become increasingly and unusually friendly ( very short-lived individually) coupled with the onset of her Yoko Ono "singing" impressions. Lynne will pop home later today to investigate, whilst Julie will give regular updates as necessary and a decision will be reached accordingly.
My current understanding is that we will cruise to, or near, Stensen today, but I have been known to be wrong previously.
Fortunately the weather is dry, overcast and relatively breeze-free. Good cruising conditions?

Saturday 21 March 2015

Exciting times

Packing for the boat this morning. Knowing what to take is difficult given the very changeable Spring weather and temperatures at present and the hope of warmth and sunshine in the very near future, the lack of clothes storage space on the boat being the deciding factor. Exciting times indeed.
Another rough night, but this time caused by my need to visit the loo on a frequent basis, having overdosed on natural Senna yesterday. By the morning I had lost several kilo's in weight and several hours of sleep, but physically felt much better overall.
I can't wait to set sail, although when we do depends on the MCC work duration. In the meantime we will be esconced in or around Stenson Marina, joy oh joy. Even the short 5 hour jaunt between Barton and Stensen will be somewhat relaxing, even though it is a well-used (by us) stretch of water with little to recommend it.
We arrived for lunch at Barton and loaded the boat with clothes etc when Lynne announced we would cruise to Stensen, somewhat to my surprise as that was the last place on earth I would choose to stay for two nights. Common sense prevailed and we stayed at Barton,hopefully making the journey tomorrow.
I checked the engine oil, greased the drive-shaft and all is ready for the off.

Friday 20 March 2015


A step back temperature-wise but pleasant all the same, following an eclipse of the sun which caused some excitement on TV news.
I had a lousy nights sleep, mainly due to lacking an off switch on what's left of my brain. As a consequence I had a continuous stream of life snippets, a bit like a personal Pathe News, but in colour.    Hence a sleepless night for us both and a fuzzy brain morning, not ideal. Luckily we had nothing planned for the day so we were able to  disappear occasionally for individual snoozes, which helped us get through to the evening in a fairly relaxed way.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Land ahoy !

Yes,   A day on the boat. Only in "our" Marina whilst we tinkered about getting Tardis Two ready for moving to Stensen Marina for attention to her electrics ( I'm ever optimistic ) and thereafter to the great beyond. Lots of clean clothes and bedding were boarded, whilst the boat was warming and being dusted. It was a cloudy, very chilly day.
Otherwise, the "climate" was considerably warmer and the bullet wound in my foot is healing nicely, thank you.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Living in a library

The quietness (is that a word?) continues despite my attempts to discuss it, but unfortunately the result is raised voices and, of course, it is all my fault. Women and men apparently communicate in different languages, much of which seems to get lost in translation. As I suspected, my verbalised plans and suggestions to enhance life's enjoyment have been taken as gospel and set in concrete. Yes, I went along with the plan to sell our London home plus buy a small house and a boat in the East Midlands because it appealed to my/our sense of adventure, and overall it has been a great success for me ( with the exception of Leicester hospitals ) but far less so for Lynne, whose original idea it was. She dislikes the boating life and misses friends and work in London. We are committed to getting Tardis Two working as she should and cruising for the summer. In any event we cannot afford mooring fees in the marina summer-long and selling her will not happen overnight, particularly with the electrical problems she has. We have considerable doubts MCC will be able to fix her, given the fact they unwittingly "built in" the problem and have spent the last 3 years trying to blame us, whilst fitting enough switches to rival the National Grid. They have now "accepted" it is caused by electrical "leakage" but with miles of cables and dozens of connections, all hidden under floorboards and in cupboards, locating it will prove difficult I guess, particularly as MCC do not possess a qualified electrician. Selling Tardis Two will free-up some cash for Lynne to return to London, friends and work, me to buy an old "banger car", and to regain my freedom, subject to getting medical clearance for driving once again. I have asked for an alternative plan B.
Apart from being quiet inside, outside it was warm and very sunny, ideal conditions for a spot of gardening. A trip to Primark in Loughborough for swopping some ill-fitting purchases made by Lynne last week and a fruitless visit to B & Q forced us into a visit to our little local garden centre. We still could not find what I wanted, but bought some canes and string, relying on my DIY skills to successfully produce a wig-wam framework for a Clematis support (or two).

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Silence is golden

A mildly pleasant day weather wise, but very quiet otherwise. That will teach me to voice my plans as  positives rather than options for further discussion. in other words via too big a mouth, I suppose. How to wriggle out of it ? We'll see.

Monday 16 March 2015

Nuclear land mines

Lynne arrived home safely and Joel departed for Manchester, after which I had an excellent nights sleep following several less good ones - too much thinking time? 0900 hrs I got up and spent an hour or two seemingly tip-toeing through a nuclear mine field. Eventually I clipped one by outlining my future plan proposals and the resulting explosion was spectacularly enormous. At this point the nuclear dust is still settling, but should I survive I"ll  report from the debris later.
I survived...but the silence is deafening, apart from Sadie who is doing her Yoko Ono singing impressions.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Feeling my age.

My babysitter, Joel managed to sleep in at least four hours longer than me this morning,giving me the opportunity of popping down the Co Op for milk and a newspaper before he arose. When he did appear he found me huddled around the gas fire with Sadie as the central heating controls are in his room and remain on "manual" pending being set by Lynne. Today was overcast and very cold. 
Our trip to Halfords and The Red Lion was later than originally scheduled due to Joel's lay-in, capped by a trip to the florist for Mother's Day flowers. However, I had my first drink bought by Joel today, hence the blog title.  Lynne is due home this evening.

The longest day

Like the film of the wartime D day landings yesterday seemed a very long day, having been woken by Sadie, my very early morning alarm clock, then waiting for Joel to baby-sit overnight, ( inevitably late, bless him ) the day dragged. Julie kept an eye on me and I squeezed in a couple of outings, one to the Co-Op for essentials, the other for a short walk. I've always considered myself to be a loner and happy in my own company but yesterday cast some doubts on that theory, perhaps due to lack of transport and running out of suitable clean exercise routes and my walking boots remaining on Tardis Two? I have already partially revised at least one of yesterday's positive plans, but only regarding funding.
Joel and I headed to Halfords today for car mats, engine oil and new windscreen wipers, followed by lunch at The Red Lion.

Saturday 14 March 2015

New positives

As predicted I awoke ( or I was woken, but more of that later ) with a very positive attitude, my future all  mapped out, subject to discussions with Lynne on her return as any of my decisions inevitably affect her too. 
Sadie had a particularly restless evening, howling ceaselessly before we both retired for the night and continuing from 0500, forcing me check on her. She appeared fine so I fed her and returned to bed in peace for a couple of hours.

Friday 13 March 2015


Lynne has returned to London for another weekend's work at the wedding shop and socialising with old friends, further emphasising the growing chasm between us. I can't blame her as the last few years stuck up here in the East Midlands with an old, boring invalid like me must have been excruciating with no friends or potential friends nearby? Boating in the summer offers some escape, although it has become increasingly obvious buying the boat  and cruising the canals was  entirely for my benefit, with any novelty value fast disappearing for Lynne. Without the boat moving house would never have crossed our mind or have been so financially essential.  Don't get me wrong, I love the house, the boat and location, the downside being  the crap hospitals in the area,resulting in my treatment being slow and ultimately undertaken back where we previously lived anyway, a drive of 200 miles each time for Lynne, who happens to hate driving. Our joint interests seem to be narrowing. Next week I'm off to London, with friends, to see the "Kinks" musical " Sunny Afternoon". Lynne hates the Kinks, although in the past we would have reached a compromise regarding attending concerts as our musical tastes have always differed. Lynne likes Tamla Motown whilst I prefer anything from pop, through to rock and blues, although I have been known to see The Four Tops and even Sir Cliff Richards in my time.
Lynne very kindly arranged our bowling evening last weekend, which I greatly appreciated, although she would be the last to participate in any sport. Another "sacrifice" for me?
Before anyone jumps on the "He's depressed" bandwagon, I guarantee I"ll walk out of here and be of positive mind and spirit,having counselled myself yet again. A new past-time beckons?

Thursday 12 March 2015


Sue and Derek gave us a guided tour of Loughborough today, with an excellent lunch in a Libyan restaurant. The impression we had of Loughborough prior to today was gained from our non stop canal journey through it and the canal guide, neither of which were complimentary, but it is actually well worth a visit.
Apparently the town centre has been recently re-modelled and pedestrianised. We liked it.
Today was overcast with a very cool breeze and Lynne took the opportunity to purchase enough ready meals to keep me alive over the weekend,  which she will spend working in London.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Ultimate high continues

Another sunny start to the day, but rain from lunch time. Life continues on a high for me and I had my penultimate counselling session with the last ( ?) scheduled for next week, although I have reserved the right to "remain on the books", as a "safety net" rather than drop to the back of another 3 year queue, to which my  counsellor Sue had to  agree, given the lousy non service previously supplied by her colleagues prior to her temporary, emergency return from retirement, bless her .

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Yet more reflections

My bowling exertions had yet another, and quite miraculous result. Yesterday morning I walked down to the village for a newspaper and immediately realised I was walking  quite fast and "normal" without discomfort, the trait continuing throughout the day. No hip or knee discomfort, total painless mobility. It was as if all my joints, muscles and tendons had miraculously slipped back into place. I can't explain it other than my bowling exertions had freed-up previously restricted parts.
The improvement has been maintained this morning, no doubt helped by Arsenal reaching the FA CUP  semi-final by beating Manchester United 2.1 at Old Trafford last night. They will have to beat Bradford or Reading to reach the final. The second year running?
Tardis Two is being readied for cruising as I write and will then be returned to the original boat-builders for them to complete long-outstanding ( 3 years ) warranty work prior to us disappearing into many sunsets on our summer travels, initially to The city of Lincoln.
To say this has been a good week would be the understatement of my life. I had ( almost ) given up hope of reaching this point, but wish to share my delight with people who have helped me get here.
Lynne (of course), Margaret and Bob, my family and friends, Phoebe and Sadie, Arsenal Football club and the many excellent staff at St. George's hospital and The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.
I apologise if this is starting to sound like an Oscars acceptance speech, but to me it is.
You will note I have omitted thanking my local hospitals, but this is not to criticise all staff in them. The front-line staff (with very few exceptions) have been great, given the crap admin and management systems they have to endure. As this is a family blog my  verdict on the local top hospitals and consultants will be heavily censored and muted:

Monday 9 March 2015


The morning after the evening before I am pleased to report no adverse physical affects of my exertions, which is quite remarkable ,and a massive moral booster, in the circumstances.
Prior to the games Lynne had set me up for a fall by extolling my bowling skills in my previous league days, unfortunately not supported by scores of 47 and 48, easily  beaten by everyone present. No excuses, other than a lack of confidence in my physical ability to bowl and "rustiness".
My bowling ball, however, annoyingly suffered a scratch. Possible causes include; damage during storage in the loft or house removals,alley ball return mechanisms, or more likely the unsupervised actions of a very small girl who arrived with her family as I was changing shoes at the end of our session. To my alarm I observed her pick my 14 lb ball off the return rack and dump it on one of those metal ball launch contraptions supplied by "family friendly" alleys for small children. The ball was half way down the lane before I reacted, far too late.
However, a scratched ball is no big deal compared with the possibility of a hernia, damaged back, broken leg or foot of a small child. The parents should have been more alert and I should have returned my ball to it's bag, but the fact remains I will need to get repairs done in London at some stage to the detriment of my wallet, as we have no definitive proof of who or what caused the damage.
In addition I will need to spend some time on the lanes with my "old" coach prior to joining a league up here in the autumn.

Sunday 8 March 2015


An extremely significant day for me post tumour/broken leg.I know a game of bowls seems small-fry in the overall world's problems, but to me it is a major event in my battle to recover full independence and  quality of life. I am very excited, but at the same time apprehensive.
In the event everything went well ( apart from the scores ) and physically I suffered virtually no problem.

Saturday 7 March 2015

Bowling return

I have bitten the bullet and booked a bowling game for tomorrow, which should prove interesting for umpteen reasons:
Firstly, it will be my first game since finishing the season 3 years ago with my team, Blind Ali.
Secondly, I retrieved my bowling shoes from our loft and they are in near-perfect condition. My trusty bowling ball similarly looks good but now seems to weigh a ton, which will prove a major physical challenge for me.
Thirdly it will be a new venue for me as I had not ventured this far north bowling previously.
Having said all that, the prospect of playing again is exciting and daunting at the same time.

Friday 6 March 2015

A spot of gardening

A very sunny spring-like, sunny and warmish day which tempted me into next door's garden yet again, but this time on a promise from Lynne to help me shift the last of my prunings to the council tip. However, I opted to paint a section of fence to the rear of our small shed, inaccessible from our garden but reachable from next door. Inevitably my transport became available half way through the paint job, which I completed, grabbed a quick pork pie and pickled onion lunch, settled back with a cup of coffee At least the paint tin is now empty so that can accompany my prunings to the tip, along with another neighbour's old  Tv.

We have booked a10 pin bowling game for 5 of us on Sunday, so I've rescued my bowling ball and shoes from the loft, their first use in over 2 years. It should prove both interesting and exciting.

Thursday 5 March 2015

A rough night

I woke around 0200 coughing badly with a very painful bout of acid indigestion  and a burning throat, necessitating a drink of water and an anti-indigestion tablet. Having allowed an hour or so for things to settle down I returned to bed and slept comfortably till 0730.
The weather seems fixed in a trend of sun, blue sky and warmer temperatures, but from experience I would expect some regression to less palatable climes before spring can officially be confirmed as arrived.
I shortened my walk due to my right hip aching somewhat, but had a sit down rest whilst I had a haircut on the way back, otherwise nothing to report, although Sadie now has full access to and from the garden during daylight hours.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Warm sun and warmer breeze

On first appearance this morning looked sunny with blue skies, but the piercing breeze had dropped in velocity. In fact, temperatures had risen considerably, mainly due to the warmer ( or less cold ) breeze. We had a massive shopping trip to Sainsbury's, followed by my usual excercise walk. The weather forecast appears good and getting warmer, so we will get Tardis Two into cruising mode next week, then get the electrics sorted. Excitement mounts.

Monday 2 March 2015

Tumour relegated

Lynne returned and, boy, was I pleased to see her,although my diabetes control went out the window as I stupidly finished off a late evening pizza she cooked for herself , resulting in sky high blood sugar levels and a consequently increased fluid intake and very frequent visits to the loo throughout the night.
My own stupid fault - no excuses. Diabetes has returned to number one in my illness chart, above the brain tumour, so I need to refocus my diligence and get them back into balance. There is little point in overcoming the tumour issues only to get shafted by ignoring long- term diabetic ones, but at least I understand the latter better than the former.
Another bright, sunny day but still with a piercing wind, a non cruising day. Nothing exciting planned for today, apart from putting the bins out as usual. Whoopee.
No problems healthwise, so I"ll venture out in the cold for my usual constitutional excercise walk later. At least I don't have to worry about cooking dinner tonight or possible food poisoning !

Warm sun. Icy wind and end of darkness.

A fabulously sunny day with a clear blue sky but a freezing, stiff breeze. Lynne is due back tonight so I am ensuring the house is clean and tidy. Sadie is looking good and now is allowed into the back garden, but makes a very quick return indoors via the cat flap, without problem.
Having had a whole week to myself, I still haven't solved all the world's problems, let alone my own, although I've solved the mystery of some Eagles lyrics, with the help of Google. "The last Frontier" is about man's rape of California and the Native American Indian's land therein. The authors of "Hotel California" have severe doubts regarding what it is about but they agree it has much the same theme as " The last Frontier" ,but written through a haze of drugs and alcohol.
I'm pleased and proud to tell you I have ended my isolation on the same high I started it and feel confident my dark days have slipped into history.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Plan change

My neighbour Julie had offered to cook me Sunday lunch today but plans changed when she got up this morning to a strong smell of gas, which originated from the cooker, so home cooking was out of the question and we had to suffice with a pub lunch at The Bradgate in Cropston, returning in very heavy rain, ruining my plans for an exercise walk to burn off the calories
Arsenal beat Everton 2. -  0 in the Premier League, obviously playing so much better than earlier in the week. Jekyll and Hyde springs to mind.