Friday, 18 April 2014

At Alvecote

I've got out off the habit of blogging during our time off, time to catch up again.

We took a day off on Sunday, Ray wasn't feeling his best and it was very windy so we stayed where we were. On Monday we carried on through the last four Curdworth locks to the junction at Fazeley where we took a slight detour by heading away from Alvecote so that we could moor within walking distance of the shops. As we approached our mooring we saw Paul(of PJ Fenders) walking Patch, he stopped to help us moor then went back to his boat to fetch Jennie. After a couple of cuppas and a natter they headed home and we got ourselves sorted to go shopping. Then on the way back from shopping we stopped for a coffee with them, it's a hard life this boating lark!

On Tuesday we headed back the way we had come as far as the junction to meet up with Ali and Lou on Da Vinci and Lowry and Sandra on Golden Boyz,so with Paul and Jennie that made five boats heading for Alvecote. On Wednesday we headed for the marina apart from Sandra who was doing some good trading where she was so she joined us yesterday.

The weather forecast is pretty good for today and tomorrow but not so good Sunday and Monday,I've spent far too much time nattering to Ali and Lou but I have got a few more bits made. Hopefully we will have a good weekend.

Since my last post we have travelled 9.3 miles and 6 locks

This year we have travelled 25.6 miles, 29 locks and 1 tunnel

In 2013 we travelled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2563.3 miles, 2227 locks, 118 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 103 tunnels

Saturday, 12 April 2014

On the move again

I know I've been very quiet but that's because life has been mainly boring!

We have spent most of our time working round the cycle of Ray's treatments. The good news is that he is coping well with them most of the time and is now over half way through. He is still suffering some nausea and feeling the cold. On the up side he is now just above what he always considered his normal weight.

We had a nice visit from Tim, Margaret and Nicholas during half term,don't think I've already mentioned that. Then we had a visit from The Hobbins clan and the Bristol Jones for my birthday. We all went out for a meal on the Saturday night and then met up for lunch and birthday cake at the moorings on Sunday, the weather was very kind to us and we were able to spend some time outside. My wonderful son Keith bought us a fridge/freezer as a combined Christmas/birthday present to both of us to make up for the ones he missed!! It is good to have a working fridge again and even better to have a freezer again.

I've been growing some herbs from seed at the moorings and Ray has made some boxes to hold the pots on the top of the boat while we are travelling. I've some ginger beer and rhubarb wine brewing but apart from that we haven't really done a lot.

We set off from Ocker Hill on Thursday morning and are heading for Alvecote near Tamworth for Easter weekend. We are taking it slowly as Ray is still not 100% and a full day of cruising would be too taxing for him.

On Thursday we tackled the first eleven of the Perry Barr locks, then did the last two of Perry Barr and the Minworth three on Friday. Today we moved down the first seven locks of Curdworth locks.

We managed the stretch of the Tame Valley from Ocker Hill to the Perry Barr top lock without incident but then we had clear about half  dozen branches before we could start down the flight. All went reasonably well until lock 11 where we picked up a collection of carrier bags and rope and chain round the prop which gave us a good reason to call it a day! The next morning I had to let water down to fill the pound between 12 and 13 because the water level was so low but apart from that the rest of our journey has been uneventful.

There aren't many boats on the move, we have only seen a couple of boats a day, well none on Thursday apart from CRT work boats but that's no surprise on the Tame Valley.

This year we have travelled 16.3 miles, 23 locks and 1 tunnel

In 2013 we travelled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2554 miles, 2218 locks, 118 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 103 tunnels



Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A bit of a catch up

Well it's been two months since I wrote anything. Life is a bit on hold at the moment, on a three week cycle based on Ray's hospital appointments.

He has chemotherapy at the hospital on Monday of week one, two hours of being hooked up to an IV,  this normally leaves him feeling a bit rough but not too bad. After that he has two weeks of taking pills at home, these have been making him feel a bit nauseous and progressively more tired as the two weeks progress. Then he has a drug free week during which he starts to feel more normal with an oncologist appointment and blood test on the Thursday and the following Monday the cycle begins again.

The treatment has not been as bad as we feared, the worst side affect is hypersensitivity to anything cold, anything even slightly cold is painful to touch so I'm hoping that today's weather forecast threatening eight inches of snow isn't hitting us here.

We haven't been very energetic or productive over the past couple of months but we hope we might be able to do some cruising once the weather warms up a bit. We did make a start on our little bit of garden today while the sun was shining.

Apart from that nothing to report!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas to all

We have now settled in on our mooring at Ocker Hill where we have been made to feel very welcome by those of the other residents that we have met so far. The site is divided by a road bridge so our contact with people from the other side of the bridge has been limited so far, let's face it the weather hasn't exactly been conducive to socialising!

We did do a bit of travelling in the time between my last post and arriving here. Our friend Sandra who is a solo boater was coming from Walsall into Birmingham so we met her part way to help her with the locks. We then went to Smethwick with her where she was trading at a community event and travelled into Birmingham with her afterwards.

Then it was time to head for Ocker Hill and our new home. We arrived here on the 18th which gave us a day to get a few things sorted before Ray's hospital appointment on the 20th. We are having a quiet Christmas Day but are expecting visitors tomorrow.

Ray's first chemo appointment is on the 7th January so fingers crossed that it doesn't affect him too badly. At least here we have everything we need, even a laundry room with washer and dryer so no more wet washing lurking. We even have a washing line for stuff that can't be tumble dried, weather is decent I'll use that rather than the tumble dryer anyway. There are two supermarkets within walking distance and three 'corner' shops even closer.  If we can ever afford it there is a pub and chippy very close too!

Since my last post we have travelled 19.1 miles, 14 locks and 3 tunnels

This year we have travelled 459.1 miles, 434 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2537.7 miles, 2195 locks, 118 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 102 tunnels

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A home for now

As usual everything changed,after I said we had no more hospital appointments to think about for nearly four weeks we got a phone call and Ray had a check-up with the nurse the following Thursday. Then we got another phone call to schedule an appointment with the oncologist on Tuesday so in the past couple of weeks he has had two hospital appointments.That meant that we didn't go very far. We hadn't expected to see the oncologist until after Ray was 'signed  off' by the surgeon. Everything is looking fairly good, none of the lymph nodes were affected by the cancer but there were some cancer cells detected in the blood vessels in the section of bowel that was removed. Chemotherapy will start after Christmas, Ray will have to spend a few hours at the hospital on a drip once every three weeks and then take pills for a couple of weeks, a few days off then back to the hospital for the next session. That will continue for six months, after that Ray will have surgery to reverse the ileostomy, probably about August or September.

As all this ties us to the Birmingham area for about nine months we decided to bid on the residential mooring at Ocker Hill. After a bit of  stressing with CRT who initially weren't happy with us having two boats on one mooring even though the mooring site is five feet longer than the combined length of the boats common sense prevailed. We successfully made a bid which was unopposed so we got the mooring for the reserve price. This means that from December 20th we will no longer be continuous cruisers but it doesn't mean we have stopped travelling. If you can't find Ocker Hill on a map it is almost due west of West Bromwich. Taking the mooring has meant we have transferred Ray's chemo back to Sandwell Hospital as it it a lot closer.

We did take a little cruise round the Soho Loop so that we were within walking distance of City Hospital for Ray's appointments but we are now back in Birmingham to complete the paperwork for the mooring and collect the keys because it is a secure site. My posts here will probably be infrequent, maybe once or twice a month as life will probably be rather boring for a while.


Since my last post we have travelled 3.9 miles

This year we have travelled 440 miles, 420 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 28 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2518.6 miles, 2181 locks, 118 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 99 tunnels

Monday, 25 November 2013

Hanging around Brum, again

It's been a month since my last blog entry but life has been a bit 'full on' so I hope I'm forgiven.

Ray's surgery went well, and he is now well on the way to recovery. He was in hospital a bit longer than we hoped because he developed a slight chest infection but as he was in less than two weeks I suppose that's fairly good after major surgery.

While he was in hospital I didn't seem to have any time to myself, so much of my time was spent travelling back and forth. When we are both here we share the workload but there was no less work to do on board but just me to do it and only half the time to do it in.

Just to add to my stress Gwynnie decided to go missing for four days. It did result in an example of social media at its best however. I know many people don't like Facebook etc. and there are many things about the whole social media thing that aren't good. However, Tracey, one of my fellow traders put messages out on Facebook and managed to contact the University and because of that Gwynnie was found, she had gone visiting the Uni, possibly followed my scent because I walked through there to get the bus. Some students had felt sorry for her when it was cold and wet and fed her, and even took her into their flat one night. In the four days she was there she became quite well known. Well, she is a very sociably cat. I had tried calling for her in the Uni grounds but it covers a huge area. When someone spotted her photo they got in touch with Tracey, who let me know so I went over and after being pointed in the direction where she had last been seen by various students we were reunited.

The Hobbins clan came to visit while Ray was still in hospital and then last Saturday they and the Bristol Jones came for a visit. We spent some time at the Christmas Market and then managed to all cram onto Morgana for a while. Ray wasn't up to the trek round the market but enjoyed seeing everyone.

Once Ray was back home we moved back into the center of Birmingham which is where we are now. We are probably going to move in the next couple of days as we now have a nearly four week break before Ray's next hospital appointment. Ray isn't yet back to normal but is beginning to be able to do more each day. He took the tiller for our trip to the boatyard and services today, but I was the one hauling 25k sacks of coal onto the top of the boat and replacing the gas cylinders.

Even though we have permission to 'overstay' I don't feel comfortable with it. There is  residential mooring available near here. CRT operated an auction system for moorings so we have no guarantee of getting it but we are considering bidding for it. We will have to remain in the area for at least 3 months, probably 6 months for Ray's chemotherapy so it would be good to have a base.

Since my last post we have travelled 5.4miles and 2 tunnels

This year we have travelled 436.1 miles, 420 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 28 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2514.7miles, 2181 locks, 118 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 99 tunnels

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Not going very far

In the weeks since the market we haven't travelled very far. Ray has had three hospital appointments which have kept us a bit tied down. We were expecting his surgery to be on November 5th but we got a phone call from the surgeon's secretary on Thursday asking if he wanted to take a slot that had become available next Tuesday. We virtually jumped at the chance, as far as we are concerned the sooner the better. we have arranged for Ray to have his chemo at City Hospital rather than Sandwell which is much closer to the canals. With walks and buses the trip to Sandwell from anywhere I would be happy leaving the boat unattended and being on my own on board is about an hour and a half.

After the market we moved back onto the 14 day moorings for about ten days. while we were there Keith, Leesa and Ellie came to visit which was lovely. Our cat population also increased by four as Nimue had her kittens. Then we went and investigated mooring spots on the Soho Loop, which is the closest bit of canal to City Hospital. There is quite a nice spot by a park which might become a regular stopping point when Ray is having regular visits to the hospital.

After a couple of days there we headed back into the city centre to pick up diesel and coal, then took a trip out to Edgbaston where we are now. It is a bit noisy on this stretch as the railway line parallels the canal but there is space for the cats to have some freedom, it is close enough to the centre when we need the services and only about a 20 minute stroll to Tesco and Morrisons. Since we have been here we have taken one trip back into the city for the market.

Since my last post we have travelled 8.8 miles and 6 tunnels ( well, the same 2, three times)

This year we have travelled 430.7 miles, 420 locks, 7 swing bridges, 15 lift bridges and 26 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2509.3miles, 2181 locks, 118 swing bridges, 76 lift bridges and 97 tunnels