Friday, 28 November 2014

Pottering about

It's been nice to have a day without any particular pressures, even if it's been downright soggy outside; not actually raining, just dull with low cloud/mist and murk and damp all over.

We took a walk round the marina after breakfast, calling in at Still Waters for a bag of kindling, the office for some discussion about lodge rental and the Farm Shop for a loaf of bread.

Back at the boat, we had a coffee and loafed about playing with the iPads until lunchtime.

Tom Hayes turned up around half one; he'd already had a look in our gas locker earlier and confirmed that we need new pigtails. Unfortunately, Midland Chandlers has been closed all day for stocktaking, so he couldn't get the new ones. He'll come back next week to do the job; there's no big rush.

We had planned to pressure wash Jo's pontoon, but an exchange of texts agreed that the weather really wasn't conducive to such work. We just hope it will be better tomorrow for the marina Christmas Fayre.

Instead, I put in a session on the big computer, updating the Owners' Group pub guide.

Chicken curry tonight, slightly unusually preceded by avocado with French dressing. We had three ready to eat ones in the Ocado order and they need scoffing. I suppose you could say that they are Ocado avOcados...

OK, maybe not ;))

Thursday, 27 November 2014

A productive day

It's been a good day, all in all. The Ocado delivery was in very good time; in fact Sheila was on her way over to the office about something when she spotted the van turning in at the gate. Driver Gareth was due his break and was planning to take it at the marina before getting in touch. However, he soon drove round to meet me, I having been alerted by Sheila via the PMR radios we carry when a delivery is due.

Sheila got back just as we finished unloading the crates into the boat. Gareth had asked the classic question – "Isn't it cold in the winter?" – so I invited him in for a quick tour. Since the Squirrel was doing its thing, he quickly realised that that answer is definitely "No".

We'd had an email from fellow blogger Roger on The Cat's Whiskers; he and wife Pat are in Mercia for the winter. Since there was some time before lunch, we though we'd take a walk round the marina and look in on them. Setting off at half eleven, we set a record time for one round of the main area: an hour and a quarter.

We kept bumping into folk for a chat, as well as having a rabbit with Roger. (You could make a film about that...) It meant a late lunch, but we didn't care.

Afterwards, I took a walk down to the surgery and pharmacy to pick up my prescription. Regular readers may recall (well, those who are pharmacists might ;) ) that my Ganfort eye drops have been changed to a preservative-free format to reduce my red-eyed glare. The question was, would the local system cope?

Answer: again "No".

The prescription had indeed been changed to say "preservative-free" after the usual specification for the drops, but because it didn't say "unit doses" the pharmacy had dispensed the usual bottles (I get two months' supply at a time).

At least having the pharmacy and the surgery in the same building meant that I could walk through to reception, see one of the staff and get a modified prescription on the spot. The pharmacy hadn't got it in stock, of course, so I'll go back on Monday to get the right stuff. It's a good job I always ask for a repeat whilst I've still got over a week's supply left in case of just this sort of thing.

On the way back home, I had a thought. The pharmacist must have been aware that the stuff she was dispensing was not what was wanted, even if the description on the script didn't meet her requirements (I do understand that obsessionality is a good trait in a dispensing chemist). All she needed to do was to go next door herself, say "I can't dispense what you want here, please do a correct script for me." Instead of which, she dispensed two bottles which will now be destroyed, as meds once dispensed can't be reused, even if unopened.

Or, just maybe, was it that the dispenser didn't notice the extra words on the form, called up the existing entry on their computer and dispensed that, after which said error was not spotted by the pharmacist when she signed off the prescription? In which case the tale about "it's the wrong description" would be an example of posterior protecting male cow faeces.

After all, the out patient pharmacy at the Royal Derby (which is a branch of Boots) had no problem dispensing "preservative-free Ganfort" without any reference to unit doses...

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Getting a lot done

The weather has indeed been pretty unpleasant today, with rain first thing and then an on-and-off drizzle contributing to a mood of soggy misery out there. In those circumstances, we've largely stayed indoors, with a walk round the marina first thing to get some shopping at Still Waters and the Farm Shop. We also called in at the office to discuss some things to do with next weekend's Christmas Market at which we are manning a stall promoting the lodges.

Back at the boat, we had a coffee and then carried on with chores. Sheila typed up some text tags to print out and laminate for the lodges stall and I investigated a slight leak of oil from the underside of the pressure washer. Unfortunately, the washer's casing is held on by Allen screws at the bottom of quite deep holes and I didn't have an Allen key long enough to get down to them.

Peering in through the base, it looks as if one of the sealed bearings on the pump is weeping, in which case there wouldn't have been much I could do anyway. It's a cheapo washer that's well over ten years old, so it doesn't owe me much. We'll put an oil absorbing mat under it whilst using it to stop it contaminating whatever it's standing on. When the bearing runs out of oil, it will seize, no doubt, and that will be that.

After lunch and a bit of post-prandial eye relaxation on my part, Sheila took her print outs to the office to use their guillotine to slice them up whilst I got a beef in ale casserole in the oven, using some shin I bought from the Farm Shop the other day.

When Sheila got back, we laminated the text strips and had a cup of tea. I've not been to the surgery for my prescription; that can wait until tomorrow afternoon after the Ocado order comes in the morning. I've also had a load of entries for the Pub Guide come in and will want to get those done sometime.

Once I've done this post, Sheila's going to cut my hair and, after trimming my beard to match, I shall have a shower to get rid of the bits.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Odd Tuesday

Tom Hayes was due to arrive at ten, so although we didn't have a very early start, we didn't loaf around much either. As it turned out, we got a call from him at half nine, just as we were finishing breakfast, to say that he'd got a problem with another commitment and couldn't make it today. He's coming on Friday afternoon instead.

So we had a relaxed morning after all. Sheila finished drying the last wash load from yesterday and I had completed reading the paper by lunchtime.

Elanor's been a bit under the weather with the head cold Sheila and I had a couple of weeks ago. She's had to have time off work as the nausea and dizziness of the early phase made driving a bad idea and spreadsheet manipulation an even worse one. She'd recovered enough with the aid of quantities of industrial strength Lem-Sip to drive over here after lunch.

Meanwhile, Sheila and I had rigged the pressure washer that Elanor had brought over on Saturday and were well on with washing the finger pontoon when daughter and dog arrived. Leaving Sheila to finish the pontoon, Elanor and I walked Sally to the fields and gave her half an hour's work out with the aid of the frisbee.

By the finish, Sally was trying to hide the frisbee from us rather than bring it back and could be seen standing with her chest heaving. When she starts looking for bunny poo to scoff rather than doing frisbee zoomies, you know that she's well exercised. ;))

Elanor stayed for a restorative cup of strawberry and mango tea with us and has just set off home.

We've got a quiet evening ahead and not a lot on tomorrow. It's deliberately planned that way as the weather forecast is for substantial amounts of rain. If it dries up in the afternoon, I'll walk down to the surgery to collect a repeat prescription; I'm still trying to get all the items correct on it, so may have to arrange for a telephone consultation with one of the GPs if it's still not right.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Back to normal Monday

After a very good weekend with the family, we've been spending Monday doing Monday type stuff. Main highlight of the night was the engine room smoke alarm chirping every 40 seconds because its battery was low. At least it has a replaceable one, so I could just take it out (after I'd moved the other smoke alarm having blamed it unfairly) and we could get back to sleep.

Sheila's been getting on top of the washing (nearly said getting on top of the laundry, but that led to a very odd image ;)) ) whilst I pottered about doing this and that. We had a shopping trip this morning for a mixture of routine groceries, an electric card and a birthday card for Graeme.

I also got a replacement battery for the smoke alarm from Chrissie in Still Waters. Back at the boat it was the work of a moment to pop it in the alarm... which promptly started chirping again before I'd even had time to put it back on its mounting plate. Worried that there was a problem with the alarm, I took the battery out again and checked it with the multimeter.

It was struggling to reach 8 volts never mind the 9 it's rated for. In fact the old battery had a higher voltage than the new one. Chrissie swapped it for me, commenting that it came from a boxful she'd only just bought. This one I tested before taking it out of the packaging and it was no better. Chrissie gave me a refund when I returned it, naturally; it looks as if she's been sold a duff batch of batteries.

Midland Chandlers also stock Duracell, so I've got one from there instead. When I told Matt the story, he tested this one in front of me. 9.38 volts is much more what you'd expect and the alarm is happy again.

We're having a meat free Monday tonight, with the other half of last week's bean curry, the one I call Chennai curry 'cos it's Bean Madras.



Sunday, 23 November 2014

Busy weekend

Folk may have noticed I didn't get round to posting yesterday. We're having a busy and enjoyable weekend but it's not conducive to composition!

I'll do a full post tomorrow, I expect.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Getting ready for tomorrow

It's been a busy day, one way and another. After a reasonably relaxed start, we walked round the marina to get to the shops the long way round. The forecast showed rain this afternoon – which has indeed turned up – so we wanted to get the exercise in early.

Still Waters provided some basic veg, fruit and biscuits as well as a sheet of wrapping paper. In the marina office we collected some post and picked up a week's worth of WiFi access. We now offer this to lodge tenants as part of their rental and this weekend is our first chance to check out the reception in the lodge. It's just as well that we did, as the 3 phone connection's been running slow and has flattened its battery, so I'm using the marina wifi in the boat to post this.

The Farm Shop provided some more fruit and veg. Pete was busy pressure washing the pontoon just by Sanity Again when we got back, a welcome sight as the surface has been getting very greasy when wet, so we went up to the lodge for a bit.

Here we switched off the fridge freezer and set it up to defrost as well as doing one or two other tasks. Returning to the boat, we had lunch and a bit of relaxation before I had a burst of cooking. Firstly, I put the chicken Elanor brought last night into the stock pot with various bits and pieces and started it heating.

Meanwhile, I prepared a venison casserole for tomorrow night, popping it into the oven for a long slow cook.

Once the chick had had its twenty minutes boil I fished it out and left it to cool. When I've done this blog, I'm going to make cock-a-leekie soup with a great load of leeks from the Farm Shop. Leaving the casserole in the oven, we nipped back through the rain to the lodge and finished off cleaning the freezer so that it could be restarted. In the interim, the cleaning team had been through and left the lodge ready for occupation again.

It's now chucking it down out there, so we hope that the forecast is correct and tomorrow will be drier.