Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Better day

We're both feeling a bit better today and have had a productive one, what's more. The Ocado delivery turned up in very good time, and was all present and correct. As always the "Buddy Trainer" and his trainee willingly carted five crates of stuff down the pontoon.

We're having a bit of a restocking, you gather.

After lunch, the weather looked quite mild and pleasant. There was a bit of showery stuff around, but not too much wind. We'd planned to pump out and diesel tomorrow, but this was too good to miss.

I managed to back onto the side service wharf despite another boat slightly overhanging its end. The guy off the other boat took our centreline which helped greatly. We thought at first that it had all been wasted effort when the pump failed to start when I put the token in.

However, when Josh came across to do the diesel, he gave the machine an expert thump and it burst into life.

Once we were all sorted, we walked over to the office to settle up and then carried on round the marina.

We'll have a quiet evening now and get on with more spring boat fettling tomorrow.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Remarkably fine Bank Holiday

Just when I was feeling all fit and sorted, I've started a head cold, drat. What's more, Sheila seems to be about 24 hours behind me.

Oh well, at least we should be over the worst of it before we want to start boating again next Monday.

It's a real shame because, once the first thing mist had burnt off, it's turned into a lovely day, warm and sunny, a complete change from yesterday's miserable conditions. Despite feeling part worn Sheila has been getting on with the laundry, it being a Monday.

I brought the Ocado order up to date, ready for delivery tomorrow, and ordered some rechargeable Duracell batteries from eBay, where they are about half the price of shop bought ones. I also got some ordinary AA ones for Elanor.

Next, I washed the other mooring line. We had planned to wash the roof, but neither of us felt up to it, so we settled for cleaning the Houdinis and solar panel.

Elanor came across after lunch; she and I walked Sally along the towpath for as far as I could manage, struggling to breathe properly as I was.

Since then, we've had a quiet afternoon; Sheila is still sorting the final stages of her washing, with one more load to tumble.

She'll just about have a fresh supply of hankies ready before I run out...

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Bank holiday weather

We've been lurking in the boat quite a lot today, while the winds howled and the rain came down. Both were intermittent, but it's been unpleasant enough to justify relighting the Squirrel. Sheila did go out on a WeBS walk this morning, but those birds that weren't sitting on their nests were hiding in the bushes, so the only sightings of note were one grebe and one swallow.

I put some time to good use by washing one of the mooring lines liberated by yesterday's creation of the marina lines. Otherwise quite a lot of newspaper reading, crossword wrestling (or should that be wrangling?) and patience playing has gone on.

Elanor and Sally came over for a bit before the rain stopped enough to take Sal to the copse. That wasn't as much fun for the two of them as it might have been. There's evidence of someone camping in there, with a tent, several fire scars and a heap of human excrement.

That's CRT land, so I'll let them know about it as soon as the Fazeley office is manned again.

We've just managed a walk round the marina and stopped off in the office to check if there was anything else we should do about the copse. There isn't but it gave us an excuse for a natter with Sven and Jules who are holding the fort in there.

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.