Monday, November 27, 2023

If you're interested - more on Zoe experience

 Just a heads up in case anyone is interested, I've done an update on my Zoe experience here:

In short, it's proving fun and effective.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

A dark day

Don't get too worried, its not that kind of dark day. Kath came out of hospital last Wednesday and is doing fine (thank you to readers who sent their good wishes).  She was in there for 8 days in all, which will give you some idea of how ill she was.  However although she is recovering well she isn't yet strong enough to go boating in the cold, so something had to be done to return Herbie to Cropredy after she had been blacked and a couple of other jobs at Tooleys in Banbury.  So our daughter Claire and grand daughter Grace stepped up to the plate and did the job for us.  

It was quite a long job, driving 70 miles to Cropredy to drop off the car, getting a taxi back to Banbury, picking up the boat and taking it a mile up to the winding hole to turn and head back to Cropredy, then of course driving the 70 miles back home. I was at home playing nurse maid and directing operations over the phone, giving advice when they had a small technical hitch, then again when they ran aground by Slat Mill lock, chivvying them along. and getting anxious because I could see that they were unlikely to get the boat back to Cropredy before dark.  In the event that was the case. By the time they entered the marina, feeling cold and rain spattered, it was just too dark to find their way to our berth at the other end of the marina, so I advised them to  parked up on a vacant pontoon next to the services.  The marina office was closed but I managed to phone a member of staff who OK'd the idea and either he or I will move Herbie to her proper berth later in the week.  Phew!

Down at Tooleys, Matt and co  had blacked Herbie's hull, removed and renovated the chimney collar, cleaning up up a lot of rust around it which had caused a leak or rainwater into the boat and then located and replaced the Eberspacher heater fuses which had corroded to the point where they were not conducting.  They also cleaned up and repainted the stove and the flue where the water leak had dripped.  Add to that the work they had done a few weeks ago to replace the calorifier hoses, pump out the engine coolant spilled into the bilges when the old hose failed and refilled with antifreeze, and we ended up with a substantial but not unreasonable bill.  I wish car garages would only charge what boatyards do per hour for labour.

We'll stop off at Herbie later this week to do some winterisation on our way up to stay with our Peter in Cambridge.

December is nearly here and that means the annual Herbie Awards are drawing near.  Something else for me to think about.

Friday, November 17, 2023

One helluva week.

Well it's been quite a week.  Herbie was due in Tooleys dock on Thursday for blacking and the plan was for me and Kath to cruise down to Banbury on Monday or Tuesday and spend a day or two enjoying the delights of the town  before handing her over to Matt at the dock.  Well the best laid plans . . . 

On Sunday Kath took ill - severe abdominal pains, short of breath, low blood pressure, she was proper poorly. Next morning we went to see the GP and he sent us straight to A&E.  Although Kath was triaged within half an hour there then followed a three hour wait to get to a bed.  They did however fit her up with a saline drip while we sat in the busy waiting room.  Blood tests were taken.  It wasn't until 11pm that a doctor finally came.  He'd seen the blood results and said Kath needed to stay in hospital for at least one or two days.  Next morning they had diagnosed a bacterial gut infection and . . Covid! Thus far we weren't all that impressed with the speed of things at the hospital but after that things changed rapidly and since then they have been little short of superb.  Kath was moved to a private room in an acute dependency ward and she has had constant attention,  Tests, scans, xrays, the lot.  A nurse comes in every fifteen minutes and takes measurements. Visiting her was a bit scary with her looking pale and tubes sticking in both hand and up her nose.

What to do about taking Herbie to Banbury?  We didn't want to lose our slot.  Our daughter Clairedid the hospital visits.  Enter our lovely neighbour Andrew who drove me up to Cropredy and acted as crew and lock wheeler in chief to get us to Tooleys.  Andrew had never been on a narrowboat before but after the first lock he was as good as an expert.  We got back to Cropredy in a taxi driven by an elderly man from Kashmir who was a hilarious story teller and put a nice finish to the day.  Getting Herbie delivered was a real weight off my mind and I could concentrate on Kath.

Kath was very ill for a time with low blood oxygen, abdominal pain and shortage of breath and numerous other symptoms. The gut infection took buckets of antibiotics to clear.  Now it's Friday and she is so much better.  Infections have cleared and she is no longer breathing oxygen through a nose tube. In all likelihood they will allow her to come home tomorrow.  Big relief and many many thanks to the superb folk at Frimley Park hospital. The facility Kath was in was impressive and the care was brilliant.  Good old NHS.

There is a downside though.  Kath was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic a couple of years ago and the hospital tests revealed that it has got considerably worse.  This probably contributed to her condition this week. It was quite a struggle to get her sugar levels down to an acceptable level. Now she has to be very careful with her diet and will have to have daily insulin.  Happily the foods that Zoe have been recommending for me are very good in a diabetes context so we'll be well prepared for her needs.

So that's the story of the week.  Kath has gone through quite a serious illness and Herbie has been delivered for her blacking and a handful of other jobs which Matt has agreed to take on.  If we can't get back to Herbie when she is ready on Monday she can rest in Banbury on a 14 day mooring and even after that CRT will let us overstay on medical grounds if need be.