Thursday, January 30, 2014

Whilst Elaine Has Been Away.......

........I have been busy preparing for her return. 

Today I have cleaned and disinfected the boat from stem to stern to try and stop any chance of infection.

Another thing I was worried about was that the dogs tend to jump on ones belly when sleeping, this could be a real problem as they could do some serious damage to her stitches plus it would be bloody painful.

I had a plan to just cut a square out of a cardboard box and sit it on her belly. I thought I would check with the engineer extraordinaire Tom from NB Waiouru. His reply was rather blunt " If she farts the whole bloody thing will collapse, I will design you a box fit for purpose" 

He sent me a CAD drawing of a Isosceles trapezoid masterpiece.

I quickly manufactured it out of surgical cardboard, it is fully gusseted and held together with hypo allergenic masking tape, I used my laser guided stanley knife to get a good clean cut.

So what do you reckon, if the dogs try to jump her they will just slide off the sides.

Bombo modeled it so you get the idea. I Wonder if I could sell the idea to the NHS. 

I also brought a mop so that she can clean the floor standing plus it will also be a good crutch. She usually cleans the floor on her hands and knees, well she wont be able to do that for a while.

I have also found 10kg bags of coal as she wont be able to carry the 25 kilo bags for a while!

Nice new mop. 

Serious Bit....

I went to visit her yesterday and the poor girl was in a real sorry state, the had removed the epidural and within a couple of hours she was in serious pain. Elaine is a really strong person so to see her so upset was rather disconcerting, her nurse was also crying because she just couldn't stop the pain no matter what pain killers she gave her. I received a message late last night that she was feeling much better and was having a good sleep.

She rang me this morning to say she was feeling a lot better.

Ray and Diane from NB Ferndale have gone up to see her this arvo, I will go up this evening.

Finally Elaine would like to thank you for the many e-greetings she received, yesterday they had delivered 34 to her!  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mud and e-greetings,

I rose before 09.00 this morning, I needed to give the interior of the boat the once over, its amazing how quickly the boat starts looking like a tip, anyone would think it is Elaine that keeps it clean and tidy.

I took the dogs for a good walk down to Stone so they would be nice and tired and sleep all afternoon whilst I nipped up to Manchester.

As you can see the towpath was a tad muddy, now this is the result of a few walkers and cyclists, what must it have been like in the days of the working boats when hundreds of horses a day trudged along the path?

At lunchtime I went to visit Elaine in the hospital, she looked good and was sitting in a chair next to the bed, she was hooked up to machines that go ping!

Whilst I was at this wonderful hospital they told me about a service that they offer and that is that you can send her an e-greeting it is delivered to her bed, what a great service, it all takes time for them to print out the greeting and deliver them, but nothing is too much trouble for them.

Whilst I was up there I volunteered to do some fundraising for them next month, mind you it is at Manchester Utd football ground so that will be fun.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Australia Day at Aston Marina

It was an Australia Day theme at the Aston Marina Monday boaters meeting.

The exterior and interior were decorated with Australiana. I believe the decorations were courtesy of Diane and Elly.

It was a very good turnout, with all the regulars plus some guests.

We had a toast to the missing Aussie, Elaine!

We even had an Aussie themed cake!

I arrived late and left early as I was waiting on the boat for the surgeon to ring me. Ring me he did as promised, in his words "The operation couldn't have gone any better"  I drove up to Manchester this evening, she felt a bit cold and tired but was still smiling, she is such a brave girl, I nearly faint having a blood test! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Strange Day

I took Elaine up to the hospital this morning for her impending surgery.  Once again fantastic service from the NHS, she was shown straight to her bed, then checked over by a doctor, the registrar and a nurse, all checking and cross checking details for her op tomorrow.

The strange bit was coming back to the boat on my own, and being here on my own, in the past in Oz it was always me going away on business trips around the country and overseas, plus the many motorcycle and skiing trips away with mates, this time it her going away, mind you I can think of a lot of places she would rather be!

So tonight it will be eating meaty stuff (Elaine is a veg head), drinking beer and watching crap on TV.

I will finish off with this pic.....May 2007 Las Vegas

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Not the place ... oh no, Elaine's big request before her impending surgery was she wanted to have a nice long bath or even baths!

So Friday night we stayed at The Stonehouse Hotel where her dream was granted.  She had a three hour bath on Friday night and a one and half hour bath on Saturday morning - she said she had to get her money's worth !!

It's a quirky little hotel, but pretty good value at £55.00 a night including the full English breakfast.

Nice room with a BATH, plus ...

... its own little garden, which would be nice in the summer!

We arrived back at the marina this morning at about 11 am - to find five very disgruntled animals, who had all been left 'home alone' over night!  We took the dogs out for a walk straight away and when we got to the Marina shop / bistro we met up with Diane, Ray, Banjo (NB Ferndale) and Dot (NB Ewn Ha Cul) ... we didn't recognise them at first because they were drinking coffee rather than alcohol! 

We sat and had a chat and a coffee (thanks Ray!) and later we were joined by  Kevin, Ann and grandson Sam who are the new owners of NB Rock n Roll.  They stopped by to drop off some books on motorhome campsites in France for us ... thanks guys!  We all had a good chat about motorhomes and their toilets plus of course narrowboat toilets and most importantly good pubs!

We were going to go shopping after our walk but as Liverpool were on the TV (Football match) we (I) postponed it for a while.  At about 2 pm the wind got up and a mega storm passed through the marina ... we had the lot, thunder, lightning, very high winds and waves, rain and hail! 

Yes the spot light is rusty and will be replaced in due course, it is beyond polishing!

We received a really lovely email today from a blog reader in Sydney, wishing Elaine all the best for her op.  He is the chap that painted the original of the print we have on the boat of the Manly Ferry Freshwater.

This is the print below, with reflections included!  Check out his website here, he is a terrific artist.
Thanks for the kind words Steve!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Manchester Motorhome and Caravan Show

As we were going to a motorhome show today we decided that we should drive up in our motorhome! The event was held at 'Event City' which is located next to the Trafford Centre, there was a huge car park there so there were no problems with parking.

It wasn't a bad show and we got some info re getting good discounts on European campsites.

We also bought a low wattage 240v kettle and a couple of wheel chocks....riveting stuff eh?!

There was also a holiday show going on next door so we went for a sticky beak. All pretty crappy apart from one holiday that caught our eye ... Classic car holidays in India!  You drive Hindustan Ambassadors, they take about 15-20 vehicles at a time ... it looked like good fun.  Elaine has added it to her bucket list - it would suit us both actually - she loves India and I love cars and driving!

Bombo slept on the way back ... Bombo always sleeps!  However, Sammie found a new favourite position - laying on the dashboard looking through the screen ...

We fancied a beer before we arrived back at the marina, so we popped down to The Dog and Doublet in Sandon for a swift one then it was back to the boat ...

Elaine is really looking forward to tomorrow because she is having one of her favourite things ... 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day Trip To Buxton

We took a drive up to the Peak District today, to have a look around the Spa town of Buxton.  It is just over an hour's drive from Stone.

It was a balmy 3 degrees when we arrived at lunchtime ...

First on the agenda was to find a dog friendly pub to have lunch in ...

We easily found a pub and had a couple of burgers, veggie for Elaine of course.  It is a very nice town with plenty of real shops rather than charity shops - we got the impression that Buxton was doing OK. When we visit different towns and villages we always have a discussion as to whether we could live there.  We both really liked Buxton, but were not so sure after chatting to the barmaid about the weather there ... she said that last summer was fantastic and it lasted a whole month!  Some days it got up to 25 degrees!! Next! 

After a refreshing Boddies and Guinness we carried on walking.

The Palace Hotel was rather grand ...

This is the University of Derby, Buxton campus.  Over two hundred years ago it started off as a stables and servants' accommodation.  It was then converted to a hospital which closed down in 2000 and is now the uni campus ...

Another lovely building - The Opera House, which was designed by the same chappie who designed the London Palladium ...

Yet another grand pub, we will check out the interior next time ... one cannot drink and drive!

Finally the park where the doggies were very happy to see some squirrels ...

We came back to base via Macclesfield, where we popped in to Elaine's dads place to have a cuppa and pick up some mail.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Welcome Back Ray

We woke to a very cold frosty morning, I was puffing like a steam train!

As it was a cold day we thought 'bugger the cold cedar huts for our Monday boaters soiree', let's go to The Exchange instead for a few beers and mulled wines to welcome Ray back to his fold after his trip back to the penal colony.  It was a good turnout and a very funny afternoon (there was talk of 'winter hysteria' setting in!).  It will be back to the huts next Monday as we will be celebrating Australia Day. 

Sammie joined us at the pub, but as he is only seven (plus he is a dog) he isn't allowed a beer, so he has a pot of tea instead!

After a few too many beers and mulled wines the camera started taking selfies.....

....strange shots.....

....but good fun....

It was a great afternoon with some really good friends.

Welcome Home, Ray!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Portholes and Another Side of Stone.

We have eight portholes on the mighty Caxton - we noticed recently that the interior trim had a few small black marks due to condensation.  'To be fair', we actually get very little condensation on the windows as they are high quality double glazed portholes!

I used a bit of Oxalic acid plus gave them a good sand then a couple of coats of varnish, they are now looking rather swish.  Elaine also washed the curtains, they hadn't been done for.....a while!   

It was such a lovely day we took the doggies for a good walk but after Friday's walk through the Somme we thought we would try and avoid more mud, so where to go?

Stone Industrial Park of course, as recommended by fellow boater and dog owner, Roly.

I was expecting some tatty old, run down industrial park, but no, it's all rather flash and modern, and most importantly...... 

.......No MUD!!

I wondered where people worked in Stone, now I know.

We also walked Diane and Ray's dog Banjo, as Diane had gone to Birmingham to meet Ray (he has been in Oz for the last couple of months). 

Diane and Ray popped around this afternoon to pick up Banjo.  Ray was a man bearing gifts.....three packets of Tim Tams, which are the Aussie version of Penguins except they are 1000% better!

As you see one packet has already been semi-demolished.....don't call me a fat b****rd ...

Whilst I have been writing up the blog Elaine has been busy baking making soap ...

So that's that another weekend nearly gone.  The only one thing to finish it off on a high......Sunday Roast up the Spoons!

Talking of pubs, last night we went up to The Railway at Norton Bridge, where the new landlady seems to be going strong and was her usual friendly self ... the beer's not bad either!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Walk Through The Somme!

We decided to go for a nice country walk today but rather than heading towards Stone down the towpath, we turned left and headed towards Burston. 

We had a chat with the local C&RT enforcement chappie who was putting a notice on NB Mallard ... well he has only been around here for two years! 

Diane from NB Ferndale came with us, bringing Banjo along for a walk ...

The towpath was a tad muddy and very slippery, it was hard going!

Bombo loved it and dived head first into the mud, he was covered in it ...

We took him to the groomers yesterday, I don't think he liked smelling nice!  I asked Bombo what the hell he was playing at, the bloody groomer had cost us £33.00!  He replied that he was doing his Mel Gibson Braveheart impersonation ... I told him he didn't look anything like him as he is a lot taller than Mel Gibson!  

We reached our destination and decided to head back to the marina via the inland route away from the canal, for sure it wouldn't be as muddy as the towpath......

Big mistake, it was very, very, very muddy ...

At some spots the water nearly came over the top of my wellies, we kept getting stuck in the real thick mud, it was like quicksand.  Sammie and Banjo didn't mind going through the deep water but Bombo had to be carried !

We finally made it to a decent path ...

But not for long ...

We all thoroughly  enjoyed our Somme reenactment!

We were well knackered when we got back to the marina at 16.30. What to do next, well it was Friday ... let's all go to the pub, so we met up at the Exchange with Diane, Andy, Sue and Roly.  I would have to say the beer went down really well, the girls enjoyed their large glasses of mulled wine too!

Hopefully it will snow soon!