Tuesday, 31 January 2012

After a great deal of faffing around

The very nice doctor in Blisworth declared me fit to drive BUT on condition I gave a (Tony Hancock equivalent) armful of blood and allowed myself to be fitted with a 48hour blood pressure monitor. The reason for the latter being that my blood pressure was ridiculously high in the surgery. There was, however, a very good reason for that in addition to what Sue, NB Indigo Dream would call 'white coat syndrome' (you know it matters so you get stressed and up it goes)
I arrived at the surgery at 10.40 for an 11.00am appointment as I new I'd have to fill in their 'temporary resident' form. This I did and the receptionist duly entered the details into their computer. All went swimmingly until we arrived at the address of my 'temporary residence'. NB Matilda Rose c/o Grand Union Canal wasn't doing it, even after I managed to whistle up a post code (meanwhile the doctor is calling me through - it's 11.05). Various authorities were called up from admin and, even when I suggested we used my daughter's address as she is fairly local, 'the system' didn't seem to want to know. By this stage the doctor had called me 3 times before giving up and carrying on with her list. Eventually someone managed to get something (I've no idea what) to accept and I was allowed to go through and wait for the doctor. Arrived 10.40; left 12.30 - high blood pressure mmmm not surprising really.
The reason for officially 'getting my licence back' after the mini stroke was that we felt that the only way we can deal with Mum's health issues on the East Coast is to buy a car temporarily. I hhadn't bothered to do anything about it previously as I'd had no need to drive.

Fed up with bureaucracy, we decided to walk across the fields to the little village of Ashton. The footpaths were lovely and mud free until we reached this dressage and livery yard. The last 2 fields before reaching the road contained their horses which had reduced the footpath to a swamp deep enough to swallow Baxter and Muttley.
 They very kindly said we could go through their property and down their drive into the village - talk about room for a pony!
 All of these buildings belonged to the site plus, of course, a menage

 Ashton church

 The pretty 'Post Cottage'

You can just make out part of the old moat that used to surround the Manor House
 Last but not least The Old Crown; closed all day on a Monday but plans to walk across for lunch later in the week if they are dog friendly

Still out of focus, but getting better - they've eaten their way through 3 fat balls and a container of peanuts in less than 48 hours - they clearly know that the bad weather is coming and we too have to make a decision in view of the forecast: up the locks before Monday's closures or stay where we are near to the services at the bottom. It's definitely turning; the wind was Easterly and evil when I walked the dogs today


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Portaloo????

Go outdoors sell these plastic buckets with a hinged toilet seat below the lid:
The advertising blurb on the label says:
  • sturdy and lightweight plastic bucket with carry handle
  • snap on toilet seat
  • suitable for use with toilet bags and/or toilet chemicals
and on the other side of the label is a picture of three intrepid hikers in the hills/mountains

I wonder how they decided which of them got to carry it...can you see it peeking out of the top of a rucksack anywhere?

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Beefur birds and Beefur bowls

Way back before Xmas when we were travelling with Beefur boat; they used to put up bird feeders as soon as they moored for the day. This was something I'd wanted to do but, due to being constantly on the move, thought it would be pointless. Sue, however, said that it only took 30 minutes or so to attract customers so we moored up and gave it a whirl and hung up two feeders with peanuts and fat balls respectively.
I spent all morning watching the blue tits, great tits and a robin and did pretty much nothing else.
Then I discovered that the world indoor bowls was being televised every afternoon this week (G and I played A LOT of bowls before we moved onto MR), so that's set the scene for Mon - Weds this week; bird watching in the morning and bowls watching in the afternoon...lazy buggers.
 I know the picture is lousy, but they just won't stand still!

So, enough of all this laziness, today we needed to move down through 5 locks to service the boat - except the pound two locks down was empty! We've started to fill it in the pics below


 Plenty of water in the pound above - in fact it's overflowing the bank by the lock
 The paddles are opened on the bottom gate to refill the pound
By the time we reached the service point we were running out of daylight, so we completed the service and moored nearby just as it started to rain. No time to put up the bird feeders and the bowls has finished for the day - it's a hard life!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Back from scaryland to MR

From this.....
 My journey consisted of 1 lift, 5 mainline stations, 2 underground trains, and a taxi (the latter was a treat replacing a walk and a bus) and that was each way! I think it is about eighteen years since I've been on the underground - amazing how quickly you learn not to make the - for me - normal eye contact
 ..............to this
the view outside my window the first morning home. The surface of the ice had started to melt and the ducks looked like they were, 'walking on water' as the radiation fog formed behind them in the warmer air.
No contest

Monday, 16 January 2012

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The best thing about going to your Mum's....

......Is about boiled eggs and soldiers out of your old Sooty egg cup.

Then there is the unlimited (hot) water

Not to mention having to not deal with sewage

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Chance visit.

Jill has been at her Mums for over a week and I have been on my self enforced Alcohol diet for the month of January, added to all of that I have had a cold for the last 10 days.
Well something had to break.......(sorry Dougie no pun intended), It was my fast.
Look who took me out to dinner.

James and Dougie of NB Chance were out for a New Year cruise, taking advantage of the mild weather and had decided to visit Jill and I at Stoke Bruerne, as well as, others encountered on the way.
It had been two years since we have seen them and Jill has been spitting whatever since she found out that she was going to miss them.
Thank you both for a great afternoon and evening.

I have now moved albeit just through the tunnel to Blisworth, as my time in Stoke Bruerne was up, it is a lovely place to stay for a few days, Thank you to the Landlord Staff and boating friends in the Boat Inn for a very Pleasant New Years Eve et al.

Grandparents for the fith time

I was given the news this morning that we had become Grandparents for the 5th time, Tylan Antony Thomas Budd was born at 9.24am weighing in at 8lb 3oz, Mother and Baby are doing well.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Today I staked out Mum's GP surgery

 I probably shouldn't be blogging this; 'dear diary' should probably be limited to teenage angst, but when you are stuck in this surreal universe and absolutely powerless you, perhaps, say things you shouldn't.
I had chilled and decided that I had to leave everything until tomorrow-resigned, given up. Then they cancelled the appointment and gave me another appointment with someone else on Thursday!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think it is unlikely I will  have another stroke, because this is the point where I would have had it.
I took myself down to the GPs surgery and very calmly explained that I had a book, my reading glasses and a sleeping bag and that I was going nowhere until someone spoke to me....it took a couple of hours but head honcho spoke to me - really nicely, he didn't know everything but he told me what he knew.
Not a lot to ask; is it?

Monday, 9 January 2012

I am going spare

I have been here, at Mums, for a week now and I still can't find out what's going on. I can find people who will let me talk to them and will listen BUT NO ONE WILL TALK TO US. It now looks like it will be Wednesday. I have completely run out of things to try and that is the worst of all - I have never felt so defeated. This is probably a blog that should remain in draft but sod it

Friday, 6 January 2012

I found this quite funny

On my last walk with the dogs before leaving I came across the River Tove ...I don't know if the pronounciation is as in love or as in stove

Nothing residential here then
Look at these poor old girls

Lovely spot





Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Vote for Captain Ahab AKA Andrew Tidy in th C&RT Election

I have prepared my "mini manifesto" but trying to say who I am, what I am and what I can bring to the party all in 150 words must represent a new sport - extreme precis! Captain Ahab aka Andy Tidy doing what he loves best! Well, having chopped and changed my statement for the last couple of weeks here it is: Andy Tidy, Author of website "Captain Ahab's Watery Tales" My passion for boating dates from the "dirty ditches" of the 1960's to the magnificent system of today. I have travelled widely on our narrowboat Wand'ring Bark, and it has been said that canal water flows through my veins!   Professionally, I oversee operational integrity within a multinational business, shaping policy, strategy and applying a commercial approach to planning. If elected I will approach this Council role as an enthusiast and a professional, combining 30 years of commercial experience with a 40 year passion for our waterways. It's crucial that the C&RT strikes the right balance between the needs of the various user groups, particularly the boaters who must remain core to its operation. I will take a critical view of commercial and strategic aspects of the Trust's proposals and plans.  I would be honoured to represent the boating community.  This little statement, and those like it from the other candidates, is all you get to chose who represents the boating community on the C&RT Council. Not a lot to go on is it? I have had a look at some of the other statements kicking around in the public domain and my distinguishing feature, my USP if you like, is that I am an enthusiast first and foremost. Whilst I don't currently sit on any canal related committees, I do get plenty of experience in that direction at work. However, I believe that the getting the strategy of C&RT right is absolutely essential, hence my desire form part of the C&RT's inaugural overseeing body. I guess that this is the official start of my campaign, not that it will be quite like the Presidential Primaries in the USA!. If I am to represent the ordinary boater I will need votes from boating community, which is where you come in. I would like to say an enormous thank you to all those who offered or actually did fill in the Sponsor forms to allow me to enter the election. The papers have been collated and sent to Watford. If, having read this, you would consider supporting me can I ask you to spread the word by e-mail, facebook or text or however please? With few boats moving at this time of year communicating with other boaters is difficult, so using personal recommendations and pointing 'floating boaters' in the direction of my blog and my name on the ballot paper would be a great help. Oh - one small thing to bear in mind. Most people know me a Captain Ahab and I frequently hear cries of Aye Aye Captian from the towpath, but Capt Ahab won't be appearing on the ballot paper. If you want to vote for me when polling opens on the 8th February, you will need to look for me under my real name: Andrew (or Andy) Tidy. 

Monday, 2 January 2012

We're talking poo (again)!

Needless to say, typical boating, New Years Eve did not go according to plan. We thought we'd have a nice dressing gown sort of day before the hooley down The Boat Inn in the evening. First up to flush the loo realised we had a bit of a problem!!!!!!! So that's going to be 7 locks down, service the boat, 5 locks up.

Off we go and found Lazy Otter prepared to go down single handed-so we tied them together so I didn't have to work the double locks single-handed

It was so tiny, but the help was great as these double lock gates are very heavy.

Serious bank repairs underway here

So we moored up at the services just as another boat approached to come up. I explained that we were servicing and then winding and going back up. He was happy to wait for us and we tied up and went back up again as a pair-slightly bigger pair this time

I don't know the name of the boat but he was off to take delivery of the new boat he was having built.

We had a brilliant night at the pub, the band were brilliant (and not too loud) and they came round with sarnies and nibbley bits (steady Joe) just when they were most needed. We were lightweights, others stayed on until 4.30.

Had 8 kids, grand kids etc out today (well almost 9 - any day now).

Me; I'm off to try and help spring mum from hospital.