Sunday 27 September 2020

Its been a busy few days

 What with prepping the cooking apples and helping DS2 and DD2 with various things. I'm always happy to help them as DS2 has dropped everything to come and sort out my car when I've had problems and both DD's will drive me places if I'm not confident or if it's going to be dark before I get home.

Steve and I spent a day helping some friends who needed to get from the K and A to the Thames quickly. Steve did the locks and I did the swing bridges, it was a long day and bitterly cold with a lot of standing around. I can walk 5 or 6 miles with no problem but standing for any length of time really buggers my back.

DD2 has been dealing with a pile of chaos and crap. She has sold the marital home and organised buying another house, at the same time she has had to move out of the rented house she was in as the landlord lost his job abroad because of covid and needed his house back. The house she is buying is a new build and the completion date has been put back also because of covid so she's had to find another rental property.

The good news Jan Jones is that DD2 is allowed her dog in the new rental house. Much as I miss Loulou the grandchildren we're desperate to have her back. Beano and I went to visit Loulou yesterday and she was so pleased to see us. I'm collecting her a couple of times a week to take her for a walk and also bringing her back to the boat on the days when DD2 is working.

Sewing mamie, we've had a few problems with fishermen but most of them are ok. We've been warned that there is a very stroppy fisherman at Kintbury but we haven't been there this year.

Wendy Hallett, it isn't an easy life is it, it is bloody hard work and very isolated, more so I think for women. It seems to me that there are more men than women on the cut. I had started to build a social life for myself on dry land, but covid put paid to that. We've met our share of dickheads and idiots but we have also met lots of lovely people too.

Today I cooked roast beef for lunch and an apple cake went in the oven at the same time. I've joined a FB group made up of people fighting depression so I'm hoping to gain some benefit from that.

Tuesday 22 September 2020


I collected my car today, I'd left it in the marina for a while. I set off at 7:30 this morning, it's about 2 miles and I didn't want to walk Beano once it got hot.

There is a table in the marina where boaters put stuff they no longer want, I check it out every time I'm there. On previous visits I've found a chopping board, a hanging rail and some storage containers. I've often placed things on the table that I no longer need. Today there was a pressure cooked there. I brought it home and have it a good scrub. I will download the instructions for it and print them out.

DS2 phoned, he'd taken his car in for repair and had planned to walk the six miles home. He then realised that there are no pavements for most of the journey so he phoned to see if I could collect him. I went to collect him and he persuaded my new phone to connect to my car, I'd had a few attempts but couldn't get it to work. He also gave me two bags of cooking apples from his tree. I took Beano with me partly because he hates to be separated from me and party because DS2 loves Beano to bits.

A sad statistic

The children that DD1 fosters have, between them 17 siblings and half siblings that are in care. Some have been adopted, some haven't. 
Seventeen children who's lives have been blighted by alcohol, drugs, domestic abuse and incarceration. It makes me want to weep.

Monday 21 September 2020

I'm confused

 First I am accused of being wealthy but begging for financial help then I'm accused of lying about having retirement accommodation, the accommodation has parking and a garden.

 Just because it has no communal facilities doesn't mean it's imaginary. Maybe it was my description of it being retirement accommodation, maybe I should have described it as the property we intend to move into when we leave the boat.

Also if I'm wealthy I doubt very much if council accommodation would be provided.

Living on a boat isn't a cheap option and I have never claimed it is. We don't pay council tax or normal utility bills, we use solar for our electricity and buy bottled gas.

Rose there are pros and cons with being static. There is water and electric to the jetty, there are also rubbish disposal facilities and pump out on site. When we are moving we have to factor in where we can next empty our black water or fill up with clean water. Being static means we are very close to the boats either side so it makes our boat dark inside and we have no view apart from the neighbouring boat.

Sunday 20 September 2020

Late again

 This time it wasn't us that was late it was another boat.

it went past yesterday evening, we were a bit concerned as it was getting dark. They got close enough for someone to jump ashore but they couldn't get the boat all the way in.

A crew member was hanging on to the front rope but the current is quite strong here and the back was against the far bank.

We went out to help and managed to get the boat in to the bank so they were safe.

Hound of Hecate, thank you for your kind offer but I won't have candles on the boat, too much of a fire risk. I only use LED candles.

I have deleted the anonymous comment, I have some sympathy with people who are so bitter as they must be very unhappy but I don't feel the need to allow them space on my blog. I have never claimed to be poor, I would never start crowd funding on my own behalf. I am more than happy to purchase the items I need to help with my hearing. Unfortunately the company want me to check with audiology before I pay and I cannot do that as the audiology department is closed.

I love how people make sweeping statements such as Adult Services have a duty of care, maybe they do but when they are either closed or overwhelmed they cannot help. I believe Kate Steeper and Cumbrian along with other commentators have experience of the 'help'  available.

The retirement accommodation has no communal facilities it is a stand alone unit.

I will follow up on the other helpful suggestions made and continue to vent when things get on top of me but for now here are a couple of pics taken by a fellow boater with a drone.

We were moored above the lock under a willow tree.

Saturday 19 September 2020

You're late

 Sitting on the back deck this morning with coffee. We were gongoozling, watching other boaters. There was a boat on the lock landing, a lot of people milling about but nothing happening. So I picked up a windlass and went to see if they needed help.

When I reached the lock landing an irate lady snapped at me.

 "You're late!"

 " Late? " I queried.

 "Yes, late, you are meant to be here at 10:30 to open the locks and it's now 11 o'clock"

 I started to explain that I wasn't a lockkeeper, just a boater who'd come to help but the silly cow just kept on ranting. So I turned around and walked back to my boat with her still shouting at me.

Eventually another boat came through the lock and the crew helped them through.

Hopefully they explained to her that most of the locks on the K&A aren't manned.

Thursday 17 September 2020

And then

 Where was I?

Thank you for all your comments.

I've contacted my Dr's surgery, the local hospital and various other places.

These are the replies I have received, apologies as some of the replies refer to questions I asked on a FB page for women boaters and on a hearing loss group.

I've emailed the hospital about how my hearing problems are affecting my mental health but there are so many people with the same problem  that they are only doing f2f appointments for serious problems, mine isn't serious enough.

I emailed the Dr's, they are also only doing f2f for serious cases. They cannot help with getting me an audiology appointment as the rules is the rules. They cannot help with my mental health as there are so many people who are struggling. They offered to send me a copy of their carers email, I receive this anyway, or I used to they stopped sending it out about 6 months ago for some reason.

My children are aware how bad things are but cannot help, two of them are now in quarantine because of covid, DD1 has six children so I cannot visit her as here are too many of them.

I asked for suggestions on a local boater group with regards meeting up and explained that I had problems hearing, someone said I needed to ask people to speak up, well bugger me sideways, I'd never have thought of that! Of course I ask people to speak up but they forget.

Someone suggested I take up patchwork but as I cannot see well enough to sew this isn't feasible. 

I'm not sure things would be any easier if we moved on to dry land. We have an address, if anything was available we would be able to access it and anything we could afford wouldn't be very big. We will be in the marina from November so I will not be doing locks then.

I have contacted an assortment of charities since Steve's stroke but the Stroke Association was the only one who could offer any help and they have now closed down.

We do currently have a lovely mooring though we need to move on tomorrow.

Monday 14 September 2020

Slippery slope

I know I'm sliding towards depression which is why I made an appointment see a counsellor.

After my appointment I realised that she couldn't help, I know what I need but unfortunately it isn't available. I'm only one of thousands of people in the same position.

One of the things the counsellor asked me to do was say the first three words that popped into my head about my childhood. I couldn't think of three, when I did say that one of my most abiding memories of my childhood was being cold. She immediately leapt to the conclusion that I meant emotionally cold. No, it was the 1950's in Lincolnshire, it was fecking freezing, ice on the inside of the windows, a coal fire in the back room and an outside toilet.  We didn't have much money and my mum was young and had very few housewifely skills. The wind blew straight across the fens, my dad always swore the wind came straight from Siberia.

 I realise the counsellor is running a business but I don't think spending £50 a week for 12 weeks to sit in her shed and sob would achieve anything.

I have noticed I'm losing my marbles or to be more accurate my cognitive ability is failing. I cannot retain information as I used to. This could be caused by isolation but equally could be caused by stress. I find Steve's constant fretting and micro management stressful. For example I made lamb casserole for tea tonight. I used the leftovers from the Sunday roast. I like my casseroles cooked low and slow, but every two or three minutes Steve kept saying that it was burning or would dry out. He cannot cook but seems to think I can't either. He cannot relax and so everything, every day has to be obsessed over in forensic detail.

I don't think the anonymous comment about counting my blessings was meant to be helpful.  I assumed it was just another piece of self satisfied twaddle

Steve had a visitor yesterday which was nice for him, they sat on the back deck discussing fishing, motorbike racing and why the satellite has stopped working.

I cannot expect any help from my children, DS1 lives and works in London, DS2 works shifts, DD1 now has six children, two of her own and four fostered, this means endless meetings with social services and picking up the slack when they don't deliver. DD2 is now a single mum of four, she works in a school with 80% BAME, they have covid in the school.

I miss baking for stroke club, I enjoy making cakes but Steve doesn't eat cake.

I miss sewing by hand, I may be able to use my sewing machine over the winter if we stay in one place for a while.

Staying in one place won't help my social life as the things I used to do have been closed down.

Sunday 13 September 2020

It's not for me

I've been struggling for a while now, I don't sleep well and I have panic attacks.

I found life difficult even when I had 3 hours respite once a fortnight.

There is no respite now and I lost my volunteering spot cooking for stroke club when it closed down.

The jumble sales have been cancelled so I don't help with those either.

I made an appointment to see a counsellor but it wasn't successful. We sat at opposite ends of a large room and I struggled to hear what she was saying.

She suggested I made 12 appointments to visit her so I could grieve for the life I have lost.

I shall not be doing this, I need help with my hearing aids so I can make phone calls and I need some form of regular social interaction. Neither of these are currently available but I don't think spending £50 a week to grieve will help me.

The counsellor did send me a link to some group walks that I might like to attend. Unfortunately like everything else they have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Saturday 12 September 2020

Rules for family life

I was an only child and my parents were fairly strict, my mother was a teacher and was a tad overprotective. When we went on a day trip it was always to Brighton where the beach is all pebbles so no messy sand castles. I wasn't allowed to ride a two wheel bike in case I had an accident and I wasn't allowed to learn how to swim in case I went near water and drowned.

Because of this I tried to be a more relaxed parent, amongst other things my kids were allowed to slide downstairs on their duvets, they played 'islands' by putting the sofa cushions on the floor and jumping from one to the other. they had lots of pets, a climbing frame, they played mud pies and were allowed to get dirty and have fun.

One of my daughters messaged me today with this. She said she still finds it so funny that she and her siblings were allowed to do so many things but this was the one rule that was set in stone!

Thursday 10 September 2020

The good, the bad and the ugly.

We left the apartment just before 8 this morning and returned to the boat. 

I enjoyed having unlimited hot water, unlimited TV and a dishwasher but we did rather feel we were rattling around in such a big space. We took our washing with us and were able to get it washed and dried during our stay.

The bottom of the boat is shining with new bitumen, we have had 6 sacrificial anodes fitted and the propeller has been realigned, fortunately it was the propeller that was bent and not the prop shaft.

The Good.

Steve reversed the boat out of the dry dock, avoiding another widebeam that was on the lock landing waiting to go in to the dry dock. He reversed back towards where we had been moored before. I walked Beano along the towpath ready to catch the centre rope when we got to the right place. Waiting  for us, hammer in hand was another boater, he was expecting us and was there ready to lend a hand. This is what I love about boating and the camaraderie. We don't know the boater but Steve had mentioned we would be returning this morning so he was there waiting to help.

The Bad

Walking Beano, yet another arsehole cyclist, shouting at me to get out of his way.

The Ugly

This is me currently, I've always had interesting reactions to bites of any sort, not a full on allergy attack just a lot of rather dramatic swelling. I have been bitten on my forehead so I can now do a very creditable impersonation of John Merrick, the Elephant Man!

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Victoria park

Caroline I thought of you as we went through Newbury lock and remembered how you helped me.

The apartment we are staying in is very close to Victoria park and Beano is enjoying his walks there, he gets to run around off the lead which he loves.

The apartment has two bedrooms and both have an ensuite, We booked and paid for a one bed but the one bed is full.

There is a kitchen dining area, a lounge with two sofas and a huge TV. There is also a large TV in the bedroom.

Sunday 6 September 2020

Early night, early start

We are booked into the dry dock at 8:30 tomorrow morning so we need to be up and off early. I'm usually awake in plenty of time but the alarm is set just in case. 

We then have until 4 o'clock until we can book into our accommodation with nothing to do and nowhere to go. That's assuming we have some accommodation to stay in. So far the company I've been dealing with have been appalling, it's an absolute shambles. I've had to chase every step, emails remain unanswered, promised call backs fail to materialise. 

We shall find somewhere for lunch and collect some parcels from DD1. 

Margaret, Hillary Green lives on a narrowboat in that is moored in Thrupp, we have moored there it is a nice little village

Saturday 5 September 2020

I should've but I didn't

 JanF, I blitzed the mushroom soup smooth, some of us had to drink it out of mugs on the move and I thought lumpy bits might cause a problem.

I really should have thrown myself into a frenzy of housework today but I didn't. 

I wallowed around doing very little.

I took it easy, I even had a nana nap.

I checked yesterday's journey it was just under seven miles and nine locks.

Friday 4 September 2020


We had crew helping today so we travelled for five hours on the boat. I also did an hour and a half driving, collecting and delivering the crew and another half an hour taking my car to its pre-booked parking space.

I made mushroom soup and served it with crusty bread for lunch, mushroom soup always looks unappetizing but it was delicious even if I do say so myself.

I used most of a punnet of mushrooms and half a red onion, I sliced the onion and softened it in a knob of butter then I chopped the mushrooms and added them to be pan. When the mushrooms were almost cooked I added about a pint of water, a squeeze of garlic puree, some mixed herbs, a vegetable stock cube and some pepper. I used my hand blender once the soup had come to be boil and then turned it down to a simmer until we were ready to eat.

We are now moored up within easy distance of the dry dock where we need to deliver the boat at 8:30 on Monday morning.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Email scam

I received an email yesterday from a member of stroke club asking if we were ok and where we were.

I replied and the next email asked for a favour.

The favour was £300 iTunes vouchers!

Funnily enough I refused and forwarded the email to the government anti fraud address.

I also had to find a way of contacting the stroke club member and warning them that their email has been hacked.

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Taking out the trash.

 It's a 6 mile round trip to empty the rubbish from where we are at the moment. I was going to do it today but it's been raining, maybe I'll do it tomorrow.

It makes you think very carefully about what you buy when it is so difficult to get rid of your rubbish.

Tuesday 1 September 2020

Long night

 It's 3:30 and I've been awake since 2.

Sometimes I sleep through until 4.

I saw a description posted on a forum,  of a bad nights sleep, too hot, too cold, need a wee, this is a very accurate description.

Add to this panic attacks and a husband who talks in his sleep, loudly and expects a reply if he asks a question.

I don't class this as insomnia as I don't lie awake tossing and turning, feeling exhausted and desperate to sleep.

I think I wake because I've had enough sleep, I usually fall asleep about 11.

Once I'm awake I read, play freecell, write notes and reminders  for an hour, then I try my breathing exercises for 20 minutes.  

If I don't fall asleep then I read again.

I cannot just lie in the dark and wait for sleep as the panic attacks increase.

Lock operating and another blog.

This blog is by a couple who did the same trip along the Thames that we did, but their blog is more interesting.

Trouble at the big house!

Not long after we moved here we had a visit from a man, Mike, who worked for the housing association. He was condescending and patronising a...