Saturday, 19 April 2014

Getting on with it

It's been a productive sort of Saturday. We started by going back to the lodge one more time; towels were waiting to be put away after tumbling, the fridge needed clearing out so that the lunch stuff was back at the boat, and the final vacuuming with Henry needed doing.

With the lodge once more ready for paying guests, we nipped back to the boat to offload. Then off we went again to walk to Betty's. It's a measure of how much better I'm feeling that I was quite looking forward to it. Mind you, it's still quite a trek. A decent amount of meat was bought, including a boned and rolled pork loin joint for tomorrow.

I'd intended to reheat the second half of the veal Estofado last night, but our decision to get fish and chips from Stewart's van means that the defrosted veal must be eaten tonight. Stewart's proved to be as good as we'd been told, by the way, and very good value. I paid a tenner for fish and chips for two of us with far more chips than we could eat.

Next time, I'm getting the small chips; goodness knows what the large portions are like.

We got back to the boat in nice time for lunch. It had been chilly enough walking in the easterly wind that we had soup with our sandwiches for the first time for ages.

A quiet time followed, but finally I stirred myself to make up two short mooring lines from one old one. This means that we have lines especially for mooring in the marina.

 I measured the length needed for the bow line utilising the existing eye splice. It's of a quality that I can only aspire to, the line having been made by Peter Flockhart at Tradline in Braunston. Having cut the line down, I put a back splice in the other end. It's the first serious rope work that I've done for a while. Really dedicated readers will recall that some years ago I damaged the rotator cuff of my right shoulder working the horrendous paddles of the Knowle flight on the northern GU and that it took about three years for it to heal properly.

This is the first time since that I've dared stress it with the tugging and heaving of splicing or fender making and to my horror I had a bit of trouble recalling how to make the crown knot that starts a back splice. A bit of advice from Sheila got me going and the splice duly emerged.

Having checked that the same length was needed for the stern line, I cut down the remaining piece of rope. This time both eye splice and back splice were achieved with just the difficulty of working with a well used line. "Hard laid" would be the best description; it needed some serious finger strength to open up the lay to get the ends through.

It does mean that I can now relax for the remainder of the day, with an easy meal to cook tonight.

Friday, 18 April 2014

This one's for Janet

That's Janet off Sanity, who asked me earlier this afternoon why the blog wasn't up yet. Hope you are enjoying that Special K, Jan...

Anyway, we've had a busy but rewarding day, much as adumbrated yesterday. Elanor and I went to the Burton Washlands with the hound this morning, leaving Sheila to carry on in the lodge. Having given Sal a good run we headed back to the marina.

Elanor then went off to get on with her shopping whilst I gave what help I could to Sheila. It's mostly done now, bar a last load of towels in the tumble drier and the lounge floor that still needs Henry's attention.

We ambled back to the boat, stopping for ice creams from the shop on the way. As might be expected, there were loads of folk around in the public area, especially looking at the New and Used boats. The economy must be looking up.

New and Used seem to have more and more wide beams here these days; I guess this is the best of their locations for showing them off.

Back at the boat, we had a natter with Jacky and Jim who were polishing their boat; they moor two spaces over from us, on what would be the other side of Black Pearl if she was here just now.

We'll have another quiet night tonight, methinks. It's been a hard working day.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Catching up

Many thanks again to all of you who sent good wishes! I now feel a bit of a fraud, to be honest, having extracted all this sympathy from you and then not had to go through with the op. Seemingly, the NICE guidelines mean that the combination of my positives like no damage yet to be seen and a thick cornea means that watching and waiting is the preferred approach.

Part of the reassessment was driven by the fact that my past history has now caught up with me. If I'm really lucky, I won't need more drastic intervention for a good few years, but time will tell.

Meantime, we had yet another good evening in the Willow Tree last night. Ian and Alison were good subs for Stephen and Jayne, so we did not disgrace ourselves, coming joint second with another two teams. The quiz itself was quite tough; the winning team scored 42 out of 76 and we were just one point behind.

Today, we've been over in the lodge most of the day. Sheila's been washing and ironing bed linen and I spent a chunk of time cleaning the oven which had got a bit messy. The Smeg oven has a steam cleaning facility which is handy in those circumstances.

Tonight we're going to be quiet, methinks; chicken curry, a drink or two and some serious reading. Tomorrow, Elanor and I are taking Sally to the Burton washlands for a serious run whilst Sheila attends to towels in the lodge. Hopefully, it's going to be a bit warmer; today has been disappointingly cool in a northerly breeze.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


After another excellent family evening, Graeme gave us a lift to the Royal Derby hospital this morning.

Here we saw the registrar, who told us that since my pressures are stable though still quite high and that both visual fields and the state of the nerves at the back of my eye are good, an operation is no longer seen as an immediate necessity. This is welcome news, of course, it's just a shame that we cancelled our commitment to work with Braidbar at Crick.

Oh well, it can't be helped. We've got commitments around here for the next week now, and plan to get some boating in starting the week after next.

I'm a bit zonked, what with one thing and another, so won't say any more now. Tomorrow will be a bit of a recovery day and I'll be able to do a better blog, hopefully.

Mind you, there's the quiz tonight with a scratch team of Napiers and Birks, Dolce Far Niente having set off cruising for the summer.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Best behaviour

The weather, at least, is on its best behaviour for the visit by Graeme and the boys. They've been able to get across a day early, which is why Sheila and I spent yesterday morning bustling about stocking up the lodge and then the afternoon relaxing whilst waiting for them to turn up.

It should be said that the boys, too, are being well behaved, although boisterous as always – it would be a bit alarming if  six and five year old boys were anything else. We had dinner together last night, Graeme put the boys in the bath where they can now largely be left to self clean, and then the adults had a very pleasant evening catching up on family gossip and Graeme and Cathy's long term plans.

Today, Sheila's gone off with the three of them to Rosliston Forestry Centre; it should be just perfect in this warm Spring sunshine. We'll eat together again tonight, then Elanor is coming across to see her brother and nephews in the evening.

It's a case of the women suffering this week, I'm afraid. Cathy can't be here because she had to use all her annual leave over Christmas whilst Graeme was away and I've just spoken to Elanor; she's stuck in an office looking out at the sun, poor woman.

Heigh ho, once I've despatched this, I'll shut stuff down in the boat and walk across to the lodge, taking with me my iPad ready loaded with today's Independent and part one of A Dance with Dragons, my book purchase for this month.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Hanging around

We're waiting for Graeme and the boys to arrive, so no time to do proper post. We've been spending the whole of today getting the lodge ready, so not much to report anyway.

Proper post tomorrow hopefully...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

An odd Sunday

Weather mixed, activities very mixed. We begged a cane from Stewart and propped up a leaning miniature yew that's been planted outside Walnut Lodge. We're not at all sure about having yew trees near the lodge; they are poisonous and the lodge is specifically placed and fitted out to be attractive to families with small kids.

We've discussed our concerns with both Stewart and the office staff and hope that they are going to be relocated. (The yews, that is.) At the same time we hope to get the hebes replaced, as the rabbits have scoffed all the ones planted there.

There followed a very pleasant hot choc session with Stephen and Jayne in the Willow Tree, after which we went back to the boat and dog sat for an hour whilst Elanor went riding. She brought us some firewood in exchange which will be handy during these odd days. We need the fire first thing in the morning and sometimes in the evening, but let it go out during the day.

We pushed the boat across onto Geoff's mooring so that Sheila could wash the other side of the cratch cover; the whole thing is looking much better. Whilst doing this, a gang of characters turned up, launched a bathtub, put one of their number in it with an empty champagne bottle and took photos of him.

Apparently it's part of Willington Arts Festival, so here's a sneak preview, and world premier exclusive, in fact:

The sun shone brightly for us all, which almost made up for the fact that he didn't capsize, sink or otherwise fall in.