Sunday, 1 March 2015

Busy morning, lazy afternoon

We solved the buying trousers problem yesterday by going to the Warwickshire Clothing website and ordering a pair of Regatta Actions each. We know both the supplier and the trousers well, having been in the habit of buying the one from the other at Crick and the IWA National, where they always have a big stand. We got the two pairs for just over £40 including delivery.

Today, we had a relaxed start, then went over to the lodge to finish off the repair work. I wrapped the knots in the draw cords with insulating tape, making a torpedo shape over each one. This worked a bit, but the blind is still inclined to stick on the way down. There's just one tenant to come in for ten days before we're in the lodge ourselves, so we've asked the office to explain the situation to them and we'll do a full re-cording whilst we're in there afterwards.

Midland Chandlers had some waxed polyester whipping twine which should be just the right weight; the waxing will help the cords run through the guides.

We also fitted in a walk round the marina and recycling dump in bright sun but a very chilly breeze. As forecast, it started raining heavily this afternoon, so I lit the fire and we've been watching videos on the iPads – The Mikado for Sheila and I had an episode of Travelling Man.

Tonight, cajun chicken, I think; tomorrow, a quick final trip to the lodge. I had to re-oil some of the table tops where they'd been scratched so we'll give them a buffing in the morning before the cleaners go in to prepare it for the next tenants.

Apart from that, we've nothing special planned, though Sheila may be starting the weekly wash. We're now looking for a window of dry weather to wash and polish the starboard side of the boat before Sheila's op means she can't help with that task, but so far there's not much prospect of one. It's really a bit early in the year yet.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Another full day

After keeping busy with Sally yesterday, we've had another full day today. After a bit of a lie-in, we got up and on with things; I made some bread dough before breakfast and then we pottered about in the boat most of the morning, apart from me making a trip to the shop for more milk.

The bread was a success, I'm told. I'm calling it a "best of both bloomer", a white dough made with two thirds milk and the rest water, together with a cup of oat bran. I shaped it, surprise, surprise, into a bloomer and it baked up with a nice crispy crust. The Paul Hollywood book is very good at showing how to achieve the various loaf shapes; they're not always as obvious as you'd think.

After lunch, we rendezvoused with Elanor and drove over to Go Outdoors. Elanor was looking for some minor riding kit and both Sheila and I wanted new boating trousers. This was only partially successful – Elanor found what she wanted but none of the trousers managed the twin requirements of being the configuration and price we were looking for as well as fitting.

On the other hand, we got two replacement folding chairs. Our old ones have been showing the strain for a while and will be dumped before we leave the marina. These new ones use the same frame type, square and compact so that they will work in the boat as well as on the bow, and very comfortable. At £70 for two with the Go Outdoors discount, we've got a decent bargain we reckon.

Back at the marina, we had to visit the lodge to do some running repairs; the last tenants, for reasons unknown, had cut the draw cords for one of the Roman blinds. We were able to fasten them up OK, but I'll need to go in tomorrow to finish the job by taping over the knots so that they run through the loops on the back of the battens.

It's not worth making an insurance claim, but we've blacklisted those tenants.

Finally, Elanor and I took Sal for a game of copse and rompers before retreating to the boat for cups of tea and family gossip.

It'll be a quiet day tomorrow, hopefully, apart from finishing off the work in the lodge.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Life is strange

Hi guys

I'm having a very strange week. Tuesday was pretty normal, but Wednesday, Mum didn't leave the house until late in the morning, then the dog walkers visited twice, once at lunch and once later on. Then Mum came back much later, looking frazzled. Something to do with visiting the dentist, she said, and the year end at work.

Now, I don't know about you, but I thought New Year's Day was back at the beginning of January, so how come it's the year end already?

Thursday, we didn't go the the marina, but this morning, we did. Grandpa was waiting by the Boardwalk thing and took me and my bag round to the boat whilst Mum drove off. I was very worried about that. I didn't think the AGPs looked as if they needed special attention when I saw them Tuesday, so what's going on?

I'm a dog that likes her routine and I'm not getting it.

The AGPs hadn't even had breakfast when I got there, so I had loads of hanging about to do. Spent the time pacing and muttering to myself until Grandpa got his act together and took me for a decent walk round the marina. I kept a sharp eye out for Mum, but no sign of her.

Later in the morning, both the AGPs took me out again. This was a much slower walk as Granny doesn't go very fast these days, though seemingly she's going to have something done about that next month. Does anyone know, can you have grandparents chipped like you can cars with engine management systems?

Would be good if you could, so many of them seem a bit slow moving by my standards.

After lunch, blagged my usual apple core and carrot from Grandpa, so not a totally wasted day. He then tried dozing off in his swanky new chair. This isn't good for him, I reckon, so did my best to keep him awake by nudging his hand, whining at him and (brilliant one this) standing behind the chair and wagging my tail vigorously so that it bashed the back of the chair.

Finally got him on his feet again and we had another three person stroll round the marina. I have at least met a good selection of admirers, old and new, in the course of all this walking. Did try to hint we might go for a game of copse and rompers, but Grandpa says he's not going to trust me off the lead when Mum's not there, after what happened last time.

Some people are so mean.

Anyway, have now settled for dozing on the new mat when I'm not writing this stuff. I'm just hoping Mum turns up this evening before the year ends...

Take care of your humans, folks, or you won't know where the next meal is coming from!

Loads of licks

Your friend


Thursday, 26 February 2015

Good evening, quiet day

Last evening seemed to go very well. The atmosphere was quite boisterous at times, usually a sign that boaters are enjoying themselves, and everything went as planned, more or less. We'd set ourselves a target of all teams getting at least 50% and then a good range above and nearly achieved it. One team scored just under 45 (out of a possible 90) and the winners were separated by just a few points from the runners up, scoring 72.

We got back to the boat, had a restorative glass of wine and collapsed into bed. Peter and Katie made great partners in setting the questions and have agreed to team up with us for next month's quiz as well.

As may be imagined, we've had a quiet day today, with a leisurely start on a stormy morning, weather-wise. We didn't stir from the boat apart from quick trips up to the Facilities Block until after lunch. I baked some malted multi seed buns for lunch; I'm quite getting the hang of that recipe.

After lunch we walked round the marina. The rain had stopped but there was still a blustery and chilly wind. We didn't need any shopping for once and there was no post for us at the office. I'm still waiting for the confirmation letter about my dermatology appointment, which I know has been brought forward to next Wednesday as the surgery rang and told me, but I don't have the time yet.

We'll continue with the quiet theme for the rest of the day, especially as we'll have to be up betimes in the morning. Elanor wants to work late tomorrow and will be dropping Sally off with us at 7.45.

I'll see if I can get Ms Wooffit to do the blog tomorrow – she usually has something entertaining to say after a day with us, especially as it's been quite a while since we've done an all day dogsit.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Spring day pottering

I know, we are doing a lot of pottering at the moment, but that's how it feels. It was a very pleasant, though not particularly sunny morning when we finally ambled out of bed. Various bits of internet work got done, then we went over to see Jo on Voyager and to return her empty marmalade jar. This turned into a coffee drinking and gossip session that took us up to lunchtime.

It being a quiz day, we ate in the Farm Shop, baked potato and tuna mayo for Sheila, carrot and coriander soup and a ham 'n cheese panini for me.

Back at the boat we did a bit more sorting out then took a proper walk round the marina, ending up at Still Waters to buy kindling, milk and firelighters. We're getting to the point when such purchases (apart from the milk, obviously) won't be needed any more, but not quite yet, I fancy.

It's been loafing again since then, I'm afraid, conserving our energies for tonight.

Oh, one thing of note – irritated by a demand from Amazon for yet more personal info if I'm to continue as an Amazon seller, we've decided to stop using that market, not least because it's colluding in their tax avoiding strategies.

As part of that, we've withdrawn our e-books from Amazon and will now supply them direct. To be honest, sales are pretty light these days anyway. There's an explanatory piece in the right hand column of this blog, but basically, if you want one of our books, email me and tell me which one and for which e-reader.

I'll then email you the file in exchange for a donation to a cancer or waterways charity of your choice.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Dopey Tuesday

We neither of us had a very good night last night, so we've been a bit dopey today. Nonetheless, we managed to get through the main chores, including Sheila's visit to the Royal for her pre-op checks. The letter had said to be prepared for these to take four hours, which seemed a bit over the top, and in the event she went in at half nine and was all done by ten.

She'd gone up by taxi, using the invaluable Western Cars, as there isn't an 8.25 bus service. The V3 is running a bit erratically at the moment anyway; Abbey Street is closed in Derby and the service has been diverted round onto the Royal Derby route, adding a good bit to the journey time.

She had an uneventful encounter as we used to say in primary care research, so we're just hoping that this is a good omen for the op itself.

Meantime back at the boat, I finished off the laundry work by putting two loads through the tumble dryer and tidying the dried clothes away. For the rest, it was a case of pottering dopily about doing this and that, like loading some more video onto the iPad for the next time I want to watch something, backing up the iPad onto the Mini then backing up the Mini in its turn.

I nipped out to the Farm Shop to get a pasty for lunch; I'd planned to get some meat, too, but Kevin the butcher was still waiting for his delivery from Barton Marina. Sheila was back in time to have lunch with me, having gone into the Farm Shop herself on her return to get her own pasty.

After lunch we went out again to get the meat and to get tomorrow night's answer sheets photocopied in the office. Apparently there are twelve teams competing, so a full house.

It being Tuesday, Elanor and Sally are coming for an evening walk as usual; I'm hoping that the rain holds off this time, the cold wind is bad enough.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Late winter Monday

It's the time of year when we look forward to escaping from the marina. The days are getting longer, the weather is largely improving, there's that sense (a sign of old age) of "made it through another winter". This year, however, we'll have to hang about for another couple of months whilst Sheila undergoes, then recovers from, her op, so it will be late April or even early May before we get away.

We'll just have to possess ourselves with patience. Meantime, it's been a perfectly pleasant day today, mostly, bright and sunny though the wind was both strong and cold. Sheila's been doing the Monday washing and we put in a walk round the marina mid-morning, stopping to chat here and there as we went. All the time we were walking the weather looked threatening upwind, but it didn't start raining until we'd got safely back.

It then made up for it in spades, with a howling wind and lashing sleet which turned to hail at one stage. The hail came bouncing in through the mushroom vents, beating the drip catchers and rolling about all over the floor and furniture.

We were kept busy chasing it down and mopping up for ten minutes or so, when it all suddenly stopped and the sun broke through once more. Very spring-like in its way.

This afternoon I went round to the office to collect the new earphones which had been delivered. Ever since I had a robust exchange of emails with them about their driver "failing to find the address" Amazon have achieved much better delivery performance.

Probably there's a flag on my file identifying me as a trouble maker. Or am I being paranoid?

If so, blame the incipient cabin fever!

We've been loafing indoors ever since. The earphones are fine, by the way, coping with Status Quo in full flow without significant leakage to annoy Sheila.

Tonight, jambalaya with frozen raw prawns (ok, they are defrosted now and I'm going to cook them, but you know what I mean...)

Tomorrow, I'll be on my own for the morning whilst Sheila takes a taxi into the Royal Derby for her pre-op exam. I'm sure I'll find something to do ;)).