Category Archives: Medical

Purrplexed. 8th April

Bent House Lock 46

An early start for Mick who headed off to Littleborough Station to catch a train just before 8am. Tilly and I stayed tucked up in bed and enjoyed a cuppa with the puzzles from Saturdays newspaper.

A day return to Scarborough woud have been about £70 at that time of day even with an old gits railcard, but Mick had booked his tickets in such a way that he got off peak tickets from Mytholmroyd, therefore costing £37.35 including a plus bus for around Scarborough.

View from the cratch today

On board, after the usual mornings activities I decided to give the interior of Oleanna a dust down and then a sweep through followed by a floor clean. Tilly kept out of the way for much of the time, the lack of wind and rain encouraging her to go outside.

Then it was time to investigate why our pullout corner cupboard is starting to ground and make grooves in the newly oiled floor! I’ve been wondering if the weight in the pan drawer, which is attached to the cupboard might be doing this. Maybe when I’d reattached it I’d screwed them together at a slight angle that gets exacerbated when the corner cupboard is pulled right out.

I emptied the cupboard and drawer so that I could detach the two. There lying on the floor was part of a circular piece of plastic. Was this off one of the castors? Yes. The plastic helps keep the wheel square and helps to keep the rubber wheel from flattening out under the weight. Without it the rubber wheel was flattening, a bit like a blown tyre on a car and therefore the plinth of the pullout cupboard was grounding across the floor, it having dropped by a couple of mm.

How were the castors attached? To blocks of wood, which of course had been attached from below not above. So to remove the castors we would need to remove the cupboard to be able to turn it on it’s side! A look later on from the opposite side by Mick suggests we might be able to just replace the wheel on the caster without dismanteling everything.

But where’s the top gone!?!

Tilly gave me a site report from low down. She was quite purrplexed about the whole situation. But hey hang on! There’s no top!! Someone’s stolen the top! I can’t hide in here anymore, there’s no IN to be IN! This is what the problem is, the IN, not the squishy wheel. I’ve left the pan drawer unattached until we can replace the wheel.

It’s okay there’s still an IN to be in here

Next it was time to restick some edging onto the side of the drawing board slot. This has been held on by tape for about a year. Some wood glue down between the main board and the strip, tape back on to hold it in place. There’s far too much stuff in the slot! It needs clearing out to leave enough IN for a cat.

Lunch was arepas with red cabbage, cheese and slices of apple, very nice.


Time to select the yarn for the next pair of socks. I’ve had quite a few requests for blue socks this year, so any yarn that was blue was laid on the bed. Three selected, I just need to decide how to knit them up.

Meanwhile in Scarborough Mick had caught the bus to the hospital, a blood test required by his GP, this was all very efficient. He then walked to the house to meet with our current lodgers. A coffee, chat and he picked up our post, including postcards about the York and North Yorkshire Mayor election. A few years ago we had lodgers put our postal votes on the top of a book shelf for safe keeping along with other post. Mick got the train to Scarborough especially to pick them up but couldn’t find them. They were found a few months later long after the poll. We now have a tray in the kitchen for post to go in.

You don’t need to be in there! Just checking it’s still got an IN.

Then he caught another bus out of town and headed to his dentist. His return to Seamer Station was thwarted by numerous school buses refusing to pick him up and then the next bus was ten minutes late, by which time he’d missed the hourly train from Scarborough!

I wonder what Clare made of this

In Littleborough the day had been a perfect one for cruising, no boats had come past though. I frogged another pair of socks to just past the heel, adjusted my needle size hoping this would rectify their tightness. I watched another Bake Off, more comdey biscuits and The Woman In Gold 2015,starring Helen Mirren. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann, starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting ‘The Lady in Gold’. She enlists a young lawyer to help her and they end up taking the Austrian Government to the US Supreme Court.

More yummy yarn

Mick returned home a while after 8pm. In amongst the post was a parcel from Rachel at Skein Queen, another rather yummy skein of yarn in white and blues. She’d also added in a pattern for a pair of socks. Thank you Rachel.

0 locks, 0 miles, 4ft edging re-stuck,16 tickets, 6 trains, 3 buses, 3 ignoring buses, 1 flattening wheel,1 pleasant day, 1 test, 1 set of clean gnashers, 1 puzzled Tilly, 1 skien, 1 patter, 1 omlette for 2, 1 normal result.

Will We Ever Escape?! 21st March

Above Lemonroyd, still!

Porridge for breakfast with added diddy fruit. Think it will be a few more days before a Full English is back on the menu. Tooth situation improving, I’m only on paracetamol now.

Diddy fruit

The light behind us was red and flashing this morning, levels on the river deemed too high still. Ahead we waited for news at Bank Newton, would the lock there reopen today? If so our plans would possibly change . From our current mooring if we headed up the River Aire into Leeds it would be 6.4 miles before we got off rivers. If we stick to our original plan of the Rochdale it would be 26.6 miles before no more river sections could scupper our cruise. As the morning progressed we started to get our heads into gear regarding heading into Leeds, currently there are no flood gates or locks closed that stand in our way.

A big blue widebeam came past, we’d seen it last year at the top of Greenberfield. They headed towards the lock, the red light still flashing. A while later Mick walked to the bins, had a chat with Ruth from NB Lily Rose, they are still in the marina awaiting delivery of a new fridge. He said we may be changing our plans and head to Leeds, but River Lock is currently only open three days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, so we’d have to wait for next week. As he walked back he checked the river level below the lock, almost amber, the widebeam was now below the lock heading downstream, a C&RT van pulled away, the flashing red light no longer flashing, just a steady RED!


A stoppage notice came through, Lemonroyd Lock has a ‘mechanical and electrical failure. Engineers will be on site morning of Friday 22nd March to investigate and rectify.’ BOO!!!

Then another regarding Bank Newton, ‘the navigation is now open.’ Hooray!

I wandered up to the shops a few easier items to eat required. On return notices were coming through about the flood locks on the Aire and Calder, all were open or user operable apart from Bank Dole, which is closed due to a silt build up at Beale Lock. We’d now be able to get up to Wakefield.

As usual this was followed by an update on the flood locks and gates on the Calder Hebble. All flood locks and gates were now open apart from Anchor Pit and Ledgard. We’d now be able to reach Mirfield!

Except Lemonroyd our nearest lock has a fault!

We hatched a plan, in the morning we’d wind, fill up with water and then wait for the lock to be mended, fingers crossed!

Today is the 21st March, #WorldDownSyndromeDay. The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome and the day has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012 to raise awareness. The ‘Lots of Socks’ campaign encourages you to wear your boldest, brightest, mismatched socks, so when people ask you about them you can tell them all you know about Down Syndrome. This years campaign is End The Stereotypes.

Four Odd Socks

Not many people got to see our socks today, but that didn’t matter. In the words of Dark Horse Theatre Company, ‘we put a pair of odd socks on & celebrate the individuality and talent of people with Down Syndrome!‘ I certainly know some very talented actors.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 broken lock, 10 flood locks/gates open, 2 closed ahead, 2 sad git courgettes, 4 odd socks, 1 widebeam, 1 set of unintelligible instructions, 1 favourite lodger booked in, 1 Mrs Tilly’s, NO!

Decisions. 20th March

Above Lemonroyd, still!

Still not a good nights sleep for me sadly. I don’t think my dental problems are over just yet. Things are better, I’m leaving things be for a few days in case it’s just the aftermath of having a wisdom tooth out. Shame I managed to stock up on my cereal whilst in Scarborough, but it’s too munchy to eat right now, porridge it is.

This morning it was raining. The river levels were down, amber light showing at the lock behind us, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long. There was a decision to make.

All that friendly cover being trimmed

We’re wanting to cross the Pennines via the Rochdale canal which is open. Woodnook Lock on the Wakefield Branch of the Aire and Calder reopened last Friday after a stoppage. However the next flood lock, Broadreach has been closed since the 10th March. The Aire and Calder followed by the Calder Hebble both have river stretches, all with flood locks or gates on them, quite a few of these are closed at the moment.

Today we could cruise for about three hours to above Kings Road Lock and moor there. One step closer to the next stretch of river, one ticked off. However, shops are further away than they are here and the only service available is a water point. We could carry on to Stanley Ferry, but it’s not as nice there for Tilly. Here we also have the advantage of transport should we want to go anywhere.

First decision made, it was raining, we’d stay put for the time being.

By the afternoon the light at the lock had turned red! We’d be staying now no choice.

Up ahead of us on the Leeds Liverpool there have been a couple of closures, Greenberfield and Bank Newton. Greenberfield reopened today and the towpath telegraph suggests Bank Newton will open before the weekend. To go this way we’d still have the River Aire to cope with, but once up River Lock into Granary Wharf we’d be free from flood locks and rising levels. We went that way last year, it’s our favourite canal, but we’d really hoped to cross via the Rochdale. This decision has been differed for the time being.

A day of Tilly finally going out, Mick trying to understand the instructions on how to program the voltage sensitive relay switch he’s bought for the Nebolink (still unfathomable) and me knitting. My latest sock frogged back and altered a touch so the secret message would be clearer, it also means the knitting of it and it’s partner should be quicker.

Just who would win the silver?!

Mid afternoon, we couldn’t wait any longer, we had to finish off Traitors Australia Season 2. Not quite the outcome we’d been hoping for, but maybe better than we could have imagined when starting on the first episode. Thank you Adam for helping feed our addiction. We now just have to go cold turkey and start watching all the other things that have been recording on the PVR.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 load of translated mumbo jumbo, 1 amber turned to flashing red, 1 fair weather cat, 1st chiff chaff, 1 frogged sock, 1 trimmed towpath, 1 heel turned, 1 lazy day, 1 tasty tuna macaroni cheese. No you are not having another Mrs Tilly stamp of approval for here!

Confusing The Tooth Fairy. 18th March

Lemonroyd Marina to Above Lemonroyd Lock, Swillington Pipe Bridge

Alarm set, no time for tea, we were off walking round the marina to meet with a taxi. This driver was a little bit dull. He really didn’t get that a bike ride of several miles to reach a bigger supermarket, that only takes a matter of minutes by car, was of no interest, neither was the location of the taxi companies office! I had other things on my mind. He did become slightly less dull when he said he’d be heading to Scarborough for Easter on his scooter.

The receptionist at the dentist sent me back up the fancy stairs to await my appointment, this morning I wasn’t the only person waiting. Eva, the nice Irish dentist, asked questions. I’d been taking note of where the pain started, it had changed a bit since last week and the general conclusion was that this time it had to be my wisdom tooth. She prodded poked, x-rayed. One thing for it, it would need to come out!

Calming fishes

It was quite a relief how little time it took to be extracted. I’d imagined there would be quite a battle, but no. ‘An extraction is £150, I hope that’s alright?’ Well it had to be she’d already pulled it out, or maybe I should have haggled!

I waited for the taxi home biting on the dressing whilst watching pretty fish swimming round and round. I wasn’t really in the mood or capable of a chat on the way back and just gave directions to the driver as we neared the marina.

Mick filled the water tank. The last load of washing finished spinning before we unplugged and made ready to push off. No-one was in the office to return our gate key so we passed it on to Ruth, Simon and Wilfred their dog on NB Lily Rose. The penny suddenly dropped as we chatted away, we’d come across them at Thorne Lock last October when a barrier hadn’t been closed properly on the bridge. They’ve only just set off on their life afloat and will be very glad to put rivers behind them! They’ll be heading a different way to us, depending on how fast they move we may see them again in Lancashire.

Bye bye Lemonroyd Marina. Thank you

We pulled out of the marina and winded, heading back to almost the same mooring we’d left two days ago. Just past the last silver birch, we positioned ourselves better to catch as many sunrays as we could between the trees.

I’d wondered if I would feel a touch rotten this afternoon after my visit to the dentist. I certainly felt hungry. After careful eating I made the decision to head for Woodlesford Station to catch a train back to Scarborough. If I didn’t go today I’d need to be on an early train tomorrow for a routine hospital appointment.

Only a trip boat moving in York today, the moorings under water

Three trains later I arrived in Scarborough, picked up some food on the way to the house and then set to work.

Paper pasted in the bath for ease of cleaning up

We’ve had a bit of work done in a bathroom which now needed a touch of decorating. Some undercoat and a long length of lining paper was applied so that painting could be done in the morning. The kitchen just needed finishing off, a few items put away and the half used tube of white bathroom sealant was found to take back to Oleanna for the shower there.

Yarn yummyness!

In amongst the post was a parcel. Becca from Bluebell Yarns had promised to send me some of her yarn. A wonderful skein of greeny blue, one of purple and some 100% wool mini skeins of bright colours, useful for doing cuffs of socks. What a wonderful surprise. Thank you!

A shame it was cold by the time I’d finished it!

My treat curry and onion bhajis took a long time to eat, the smaller I chopped it up the easier it was to eat. I topped up on pain killers again, wonder how much longer I’ll be taking them for? A single bed in The Shed tonight, all other beds are made up for imminent lodgers. Then I realised I’d not asked for my wisdom tooth so that I could leave it under my pillow for the tooth fairy. Bet she’d not have found me anyway!

0 locks, 0.5 miles, 2 taxis, -1 tooth, 1 key handed over, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval (not sure if an outside can have two stamps, one for each visit?), 1 full water tank, 0 dirty washing, 3 trains, 1 bath used as a pasting table,1 bathroom prepped for top coats, 1 red light turned to amber, 45 minutes to eat my food, £0 for my tooth!

One Keeper. 17th March

Lemonroyd Marina

A top up on pills part way through the night was required. Swilling water around relieved the pain, but also meant I had to remember to swallow it before I dozed back off to sleep! By the end of the day I’d got the pain killers sussed, keeping a note of when pills were taken so as not to OD, all reminiscent of when I lost my little finger.

This mornings Geraghty zoom subjects included Interrupting cows, breasted up houses and it was very nice to see Penelope and Daphne, Mick’s great nieces for the first time in ages.

Hello again

Mid morning there was the sound of a boat engine. We’d been told there was another boat hoping to make it from Castleford when the river levels improved. In turned NB Lily Rose, we’d shared Bulholme Lock with them a week ago. It took a bit for them to wind and reverse into the space next to us. Of course there were several people about offering helpful advice making the job in hand harder than it needed to be. But soon they were all tied up, Mick helping them log onto the app for electric.

Mick’s socks drying

Every so often there is a chattering screech of bird song going over head. At times it feels as if the gossiping birds are hovering over Oleanna. I think they may be Oyster Catchers, not seen them and Mick’s not been able to catch them on his bird song app.

Yarn selection involves covering the bed with woolly colours

I selected the yarn for the next pair of socks. These follow a theme that the last two pairs have been based on. Now I’ve got the pattern sussed I may need to revisit the first pair to make some amendments. Thank you Jennie for your sponsorship of several pairs which will be knitted in time for Christmas presents. I reckon the last four pairs of socks won’t be suitable for Christmas presents, well unless my knitting goes into overdrive and I get ahead of myself. I know it’s not even Easter yet, but if you fancy a pair of socks as a Christmas present for someone, there are only twelve pairs left with guaranteed delivery before the big day!

Definitely a keeper

Mick pottered with jobs. A check on the bow thruster batteries, no need to top them up, all okay. A quick sweep of the well deck. The well deck is on my list of painting jobs, it’ll be soon time to become painty Pip again.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 new neighbour, 1 red setter, 1 cocodamol, 6 paracetamol, 4 ibuprofen, 1 toe, 36 gossiping catchers, 2 loads washing, 1 load drying, 1 keeper keeping the rain out, 2 batteries okay, 1 dentist appointment made for the morning.

Is That Near That Lemonroyd Place? 15th March

Above Lemonroyd Lock

Not a good night.

The co-codamol that had work yesterday evening was topped up when we went to bed, by 2am its effects had worn off. Next dose at 04:15 didn’t have any effect. At 06:00 we were on the phone to a rather sleepy sounding lady from 111. When asked for our location she said ‘Is that near that Lemonroyd Place?’ She was very helpful, however there were no appointments in Leeds for today, Bradford or Harrogate were the nearest she could find. We’d done a bit of online hunting for ourselves this morning so opted for a Dentist in Beeston (south west Leeds) they had an appointment at 08:30.

As I got dressed Mick called for a taxi, then we walked down to the marina to meet it. The driver was very chatty and my toothache faded away for a while, but only for a while, as we drove round the southern side of Leeds in rush hour.

I opened the front door to one of those wonderful cut glass doors and surrounds that Edwardian houses do so well. Inside was a wonderful hallway with plaster panels and a statement staircase, it was almost enough to distract me from my pain!

What a lovely set of steps

Xray, poking about. It could be a wisdom tooth over growing, it could be a touch of decay on the tooth destined for a crown, but which one? The later was chosen, numbing done, no pain evident from the wisdom tooth, it looked like we’d found the culprit. A temporary filling and £125 later I was waiting for a taxi home, Mick and Tilly had stayed at Oleanna in case RCR arrived with a replacement part. The return taxi driver used to work in the post office in Fulford where I grew up, he’d most probably served my Dad!

Back onboard, Mick had tried calling RCR to see what progress had been made, they’d call back. With water and electric running low he’d called Lemonroyd Marina to see if they might have room for us, they did, we just needed to get there! As part of our bronze RCR cover they will tow you to the nearest marina, but when Mick called them to see if this was possible we were told to flag down the first passing boat. Well, there aren’t any due to the river being in flood, this also did mean that it would be hard for RCR to get a boat to us too. However there was a possibility of a tow from someone at Lemonroyd, the marina manager would ask round for us. Two offers came, one for Saturday when the wind had calmed down, the other Sunday.

Colour work Pattern

Alastair the engineer at Goole was more than likely to be coming out to us, as he works for RCR and this was how we first got to know him a few years ago. Mick called him, we were on his radar, the part not arrived, it would most probably be Monday or Tuesday. A while to wait but we’d now got a tow organised and tomorrow we’ll be plugged in and by a tap, oh for a shower!

As the day progressed the anaesthetic wore off, as it did so the pain returned! Hopefully it was caused by the treatment I’d had and would improve in a few hours. Back on the paracetamol, a dose of Ibuprofen taken after dinner, it’s been suggested that I avoid Ibuprofen after taking so much of it when I lost my little finger, but sometimes needs must. I spent the evening sipping water which eased the pain for a few minutes. Think I’ll be up and down all night going for a pee if the pain doesn’t keep me awake!

Blue skies, however the tree was in the way of the solar

At least the sun made an appearance.

Over the last couple of days rumours have been spreading that the current stoppage on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal at Vazon Sliding Bridge which was due to reopen next week will be extended for another 9 weeks! A post on the Trentlink group suggested that this is almost certainly going to be the case, Network Rail just need to confirm it with C&RT.

With our current engine problems, river flood gates closed ahead of us, medical appointments, the quick route south on the Trent now unlikely to open for a couple of months (closing our alternative route south), our plans for the early part of the year are no longer possible. We’d been aiming to join a Fund Britains Waterways campaign cruise on the Thames. This was timed to happen just after Cavalcade. Boats would head out of Limehouse Lock onto the Tideway and cruise down stream through the Thames Barrier, wait for the tide to turn then head up to West Minster, joined by more boats coming out from Limehouse, arrival timed for the end of PMQ when all boats would sound their horns. We simply haven’t got enough time to get there anymore.

Not a good day.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 taxi’s, 1 smiley lady, 2 possibles, 1 temp filling, 0 part, 2 offers of a tow, 1 red flashing light, 1 lazy day, 1 statement staircase, 1 snoozy lady, 2 disappointed boaters.

It Just Came Off In My Hand! 14th March

Above Lemonroyd Lock

Time to pack some socks up. We wouldn’t be going anywhere today as the lock light was flashing red, the river had come up overnight. It may not have rained here very much but up stream on the Pennines it certainly had, down at Castleford the level had risen higher than when we’d been there.

River Aire levels at Castleford

Mick wanted to tinker in the engine bay. The new batteries are not doing quite what he’d expected, one charges more than the other. So whilst I did sock things he took the engine board up. Power was turned off for a while. I took photos of a couple of pairs of socks, then they were labelled and packed up. Postage paid, address labels printed and attached when the power came back on. I just needed to find a post box now.

Socks ready for the post

Maybe we’d go for a walk and shop after lunch.

Since having the new batteries, when we are stationary we’ve been running the engine whilst running the dishwasher, this gives the batteries a top up whilst the dishes wash and gives us hot water for showers. It’s been working quite well and a massive difference to last year when no matter how long we’d cruised during the day we’d need to give our depleted battery bank an extra charge before 8pm to have enough power to see us through the night. None of that now.

Such a small thing

Mick appeared from the engine bay. We had a problem. In his hand was a pipe/connector this was from where the engine connects to the calorifier. We once had a problem with this connection on the Thames. It’s position is where Mick finds himself sitting to do things in the engine bay. Today he’d noticed it was leaking, so he had a go at tightening it with a spanner. Instead of tightening it came off in his hand!

Now we can’t run the engine, now we can’t move, now our water reserves are getting low (we should have topped the tank up to the top the other day rather than being eager for breakfast!). Add to this the lack of sunshine, solar being the only means to charge our batteries without the engine. Economy mode engaged and a phone call to RCR.


Stephanie called him back, Mick sent photos, a new part would need to be ordered then an engineer would come out to fit it, hopefully it would be that simple. However something had sheered off so there may have to be some drilling involved too. Oleanna’s W.O.C. number was required so the correct part could be ordered. Mick pointed out that we would run out of battery power without the engine, there was talk of hiring a generator should we need one.

After lunch I headed off to do some shopping and post socks. We are half way along one side of a triangle to the nearest shops, the rail line making a direct route impossible. I walked up towards Woodlesford then up the main road, past the Co-op and on to Lidl. A top up shop of essentials, a bigger shop could happen another day, after all I’m still hobbling.

The road back to Lemonroyd Marina

Back at Oleanna Mick was still waiting for RCR to call back. They didn’t. Electric saving measures were implemented although we did allow ourselves to watch the first episode of Traitors Australia Season 2 (you are a bad influence Adam!).

The last few days I’ve had a bit of niggling tooth ache. For years I ignored such pain quite successfully, my relationship with my teeth wasn’t good for many years. Today the pain increased. Paracetamol was doing nothing. Thankfully Paracetamol and Codeine gave me a few hours of relief, something would need to be done. Was it a tooth that is on the cards for a crown? Could I get to Birmingham to my dentist tomorrow morning? Was there somewhere in Leeds I could go?

Oh what a day!

0 locks, 0 miles, 0 engine running, 1 gas boiler, 0 showers, 1 hour TV, 1st sock of pair 11 finished, 1 broken bit,1 painful tooth, 3 miles walked, 1 camera suggestion.

Is That ‘Daisy’ On His Cheek? 2nd March

The last couple of weeks have been busy for us.

Shore leave permitted for another year

Tilly’s annual vaccinations. A years supply of wormer and flea treatment was sought. Sadly a misunderstanding regarding her flea treatment (they don’t know how much of a thug she is!) has meant a delay in obtaining the good strong stuff. But we will be getting a prescription, at some point, to be able to purchase it online, far cheaper than the other options.

Making sure it dies!

Test the new rug out for murderability!


Order spare parts and spare taps for the galley. The mixer tap we have is being discontinued, so we’ve bought two spares and spare cartridges for them, these should out last our boating days.

A slipper for the vac

Make the bag for the handheld vac out of sturdy fabric to go in The Shed cupboard.

The Shed on Oleanna fully sorted. I’ll come back to this in a bit!

See you later in the year Scarborough

Collect new glasses and purchase a protective phone case. Phone case not so good as it inhibits fingerprint recognition, but it is extra strong should I drop my phone. Also not waterproof! *The Power button on side of phone case has now been cut away so fingerprint recognition is possible.

Mick’s medication approved by the GP. An up in dose and a blood test in a few weeks, but nothing to stop us returning to Oleanna thankfully.

Final Sunday walk in Scarborough

My calf muscle to improve. GP surgery still not given me a date for an appointment, been waiting three weeks now. I keep hobbling and am trying to keep up my step count. Here’s hoping the doctor doesn’t want to see me!

Bathroom sink and mirror sorted in the house. Well…. This job had to be abandoned a few weeks ago due to too much plumbing in the way. Then we changed our minds on the solution. Duncan, not THAT Duncan, came round and fitted an extension to the stupid box above the sink instead of removing it all together. Only problem was the backing board didn’t want to stick too well, so had to be left overnight before the clamps could be removed. New flooring was laid. Now Duncan (not THAT Duncan) needs to finish off and then I’ll be needed to touch up the decoration over two days.

Clerk of works inspecting the job

A leaking water pipe into a toilet was fixed, but we now have a noise three minutes after flushing the toilet!

Socks knitted and sent off. I got ahead of myself so have given my sock knitting hands a bit of variety and knitted a few blanket squares for Boaters Blankets. Once back on Oleanna I’ll be back on with socks.

Gardener organised, FAILED yet again. We tried a chap who’d been recommended, but he didn’t call back.


Builder/roofer to sort leaks, FAILED. We tried a chap who said to call him in a couple of weeks, then he didn’t answer his phone!

Weather to improve for transit on river sections which can’t be avoided. Out of our control sadly.

New stoppages being added to the list. Will we be able to escape Yorkshire before April? Also out of our control. Current stoppages mean we won’t be able to cross the Pennines for a few weeks. A new stoppage at Bank Newton has closed the Leeds Liverpool, Woodnook Lock on the Aire and Calder is closed til mid March cutting off access to both the Rochdale and Huddersfield Canals. But thankfully two locks near Manchester, on the Rochdale which had been suffering from subsidence have reopened. So once we can get through Woodnook we’ll be on our way.


The house oven got a good clean, we got a man in to do it for us. The oven is only a few years old and wasn’t that bad, but now looks wonderfully sparkly. Mick asked if the chap would travel to Goole to do the one on Oleanna, sadly it was too far. Mick normally cleans the house oven, but he’s never felt the urge to get down on his hands and knees to do the same on Oleanna, neither have I!

Mick made a call to a company in Howden, they were booked up til May. But the chap might be interested in fitting us in so that he could clean an oven on a narrowboat. The lady rang back and if we could be at the boat Saturday morning he’d fit us in. Brilliant! We’d already booked a van for the weekend so moved the pickup to Friday afternoon.

Friday we continued to pack and got down to some serious cleaning in the house. Kitchen sink was resealed had new cartridges and was out of use for 24 hours so we had to eat out, Taj got our custom, their menus a touch tall for a romantic evening.

Up early Saturday. We loaded the van up with various bits and set off to Goole to meet the oven cleaner. On arrival we cleared the work tops, lit the stove, turned on the emersion. Our plan for today was to sort The Shed out so that things could go back where they live. The shelf above the new bully boy battery needed supports, however we’d omitted to bring the flipping drill with us! Oh well we’d not be able to do anything with The Shed whilst the oven cleaner was about anyway.

Nick arrived, took over the hole galley, as expected, and set to on the stove. Well you all know how much I like to cook and the oven has never been cleaned so I’m a touch embarrassed at how horrible it had got. Shelves, stainless steel trays and all the supports from the oven were popped into Nick’s caustic soda tank in his van, heated to 70C it does the job for him. In and out of the boat, his belt maybe needing to be tightened just another notch or two! Three hours later they just needed a spray down with white vinegar to neutralise the soda and they sparkled like new. Much scraping kept him busy with the double oven.

He certainly lived up to his companies name. The ovens look like new, the extractor hood pretty clean and the hob which I thought was pretty good before he started you can now see your reflection in. Well worth the money, we’ll not leave it so long next time.

The boat curtains were put on to wash, once spun they were rehung on their rods to dry in situ, avoiding shrinkage we hoped. The bathroom got a very good clean, some of the sealant could do with being redone but that can wait a little while.

Cutlery tray with obligatory section for handcuff keys and hose adapters

The van was emptied and most things stowed away. The kitchen was put back together the cutlery tray sorted out. New oven glove and saute pan, a treat for the clean cooker.

All very smart now in the galley

Then it was time to find space for all the donated yarn for my Sockathon. I’d just about cleared out the big drawer under my side of the bed a few weeks ago, today I emptied it completely. Full to the brim and a couple of bags of yarn have been found another home. Best get back to knitting socks soon!

Back across the Wolds to a hungry Tilly. Time to finish off bits and bobs of food with some pasta and a glass or two of wine whilst starting to watch the first series of Traitors USA. Yes we’ve been hooked on the English version, watched the Australian first season, now I think we’re going to get annoyed with the USA version.

Bacon, green beans, peas, onion, cabbage, two types of pasta

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 batteries with new owners, 2 sparkling ovens, 2 dripping taps, 1 bathroom sink still to finish off, 60% moved to Oleanna, so much yarn squished into a drawer, 1 clean bathroom, 1 stove backed up for the night.

TLC Day 7. 29th January

So much for treat pizza and that fire!

Mick is in the process of changing some medication. For a week he needs to take his blood pressure morning and evening, so on Saturday when we got home he disappeared to do this, returning a while later with a puzzled concerned look on his face. He records his results on an app, this evening his blood pressure was too high, he should seek immediate medical attention. 111 asked him to go to A&E. Should we eat first or should we try to beat the Saturday night influx, we decided on the latter, stupidly!

The long wait begins!

A&E was chocka at 7:50pm, we only just managed to find seats, we’d be a while. The while turned into 8 hours. Mick’s blood pressure was read several times, two ECGs and blood tests done. I’m sure they only did blood pressure readings to get everyone moving once in a while so they didn’t have a room full of freezing cold DVT cases. Eventually a little before 4am Sunday morning he got to see a lovely Dr Frankie. Mick was examined and told to double his dose of drugs, continue to do his blood pressure twice a day and get in touch with his GP Monday morning. We went home, cold, tired, slightly relieved and hungry!

An empty boot apart from some black pudding

So no visit to Oleanna on Sunday, we needed a lazy day, Geraghty zoom, breakfast and those pizzas were finally devoured.

Pairs 2 and 3 in the post

Monday morning Mick contacted his GP. Within half an hour he had a phone call back from a doctor who upped his dose again. The hire car was extended by a couple of days and a plumber postponed his visit, at least this meant we could get to Oleanna earlier than planned. Unfortunatly we came across stand still traffic near Howden, the only cars coming the other way had turned round. I put down my knitting and went into navigator mode.

First thing was to light the stove and open windows. Stove paint once dry needs to cure and to do this it needs to be heated up for around 20 minutes, this always lets off fumes. At least we’d have some heat today.

Still too much stuff

Mick carried on with things in the engine bay whilst I started to go through cupboards. The cupboard under the sink was given a good sort, large night lights, cleaning cloths galore. I would now need to find space in there for our stove top kettle as our battery bank will be good enough to use the electric kettle routinely, but it should stay onboard ‘just in case’.

Spicey Parsnip soup before the galley bottom drawer was sorted, two first aid kits well out of date. We have a new one to bring from the house along with a life time supply for a family of ten of sterile wipes!

Connecting the second bully boy battery

The boat was dusted from top down ready for a good hoover when we got power again. By 3pm Mick moved indoors time to connect the second battery! Very exciting. He turned them on, looked at the computer. Oleanna had power again! The invertor hummed away happily bring electricity into the boat charging up the batteries.

Checking all was as expected

Once second coats of varnish were applied to the remainder of wood it was getting late again. Mick didn’t want to leave Oleanna on her own just yet with the two new bully boy batteries in charge. There was still tidying up to do in the engine bay and The Shed cupboard needed to be put back together. Things were turned off and we headed home.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 batteries connected, 2 more soups, 2 dead first aid kits, 10mg not 2.5mg! 1 electric kettle, 2nd coats, 1 coat oil under the corner cupboard.

2023 A Sociable Year

A long post, it’s the annual round up.

January, we sat waiting. Waiting for a new alternator to arrive, for the River Trent to come out of flood and then for the canal to defrost sufficiently for us move. This meant Pip doing work on the boat instead of in the house, this made for smelly days and a very cold workshop under the pram cover.

After almost three weeks we were on the move again having to navigate through thick fog, navigational aids helping us not to bump into the banks! Ahead of us in Yorkshire was a troublesome swing bridge, closed to boat traffic. Our plans had to change, we arranged to moor up in Newark and head back to Scarborough by van. Chin rubs nearly made the longer journey better, but I really don’t like the outside moving SO fast!

Four days later we were back on board, the bridge ahead was now open. Tides were checked, locks booked, cupboards stocked for a few days cruising. Winter cruising can be so so pretty, yet so so chilly. A display by the Red Arrows as we left Torksey kept us amused and a defrost was very welcome when we arrived at Keadby. After four days cruising we were moored up in Goole and walking to catch the train back to Scarborough.

#unit21 in Huddersfield kept Pip occupied for much of February. Then it was time to give the house some TLC in between lodgers. A back bedroom got a makeover just in time. Mick had trips to see Oleanna, a jobs list left with Alastair and the covers headed off for some much needed mending. Tilly was kept busy checking out the neighbours, they stay inside so I get free reign of their outside!

April arrived along with two lodgers, it was not possible to do more work on the house, Pip chose to knit socks instead. Dementia UK her chosen charity this year. Donations of yarn came from dyers and Pip’s needles started to click away, keeping up with requests. 15 pairs knitted and her target met.

May, visits were made to Oleanna preparing her for cruising, these were interspersed with visits from family, delivering socks, getting the house ready and starting work on the design for panto. On the 9th of May we loaded a van and returned to life afloat. Tilly the happiest cat once she was back onboard! A day later we set off heading west. Leeds for a few days for Pip to head to Matlock for work and then a wonderful visit to see 93 year old Betty in Harrogate.

Working our way up the Leeds Liverpool Canal, locks and the new stupid swing bridge much lighter work with two boats. Our favourite canal with wonders of the waterways, friends on route, Mick’s birthday and a trip to Bowness to see the latest Ayckbourn play. We managed a night on our favourite mooring on the network sadly it was too windy to enjoy the view with a barbecue.

Up over the top, we teamed up with NB That’s It, thankfully descending the Wigan flight in a window between vandalism and blown cills that have hampered the flight this year. Then along the Bridgewater Canal, panto designing whilst on the flat. Through Preston Brook Tunnel and onto the Trent and Mersey turning right onto the Middlewich Branch.

Back on lockdown ‘Home’ waters we cruised the Nantwich pound, 5 hours 13 minutes including a lunch and shopping stop, back in 2020 we’d spent 80 days here. We cruised southwards on the Shropie joined for a day by Carol and George from WB Still Rockin’. Laura and Alison from NB Large Marge joined us for the ascent up the Wolverhampton 21.

Through Bumingham and on to Lapworth and then Hatton where we had an extra pair of hands from Jane, who hopefully now has her own narrowboat. A well deserved burger at the Cape of Good Hope with Emma and David, then a lovely evening with Lizzie (NB Panda) at The Folly, it was turning out to be quite a sociable June.

Oleanna wiggled her way across the summit of the South Oxford, very familiar water to us. Despite the sunny weather and us cruising most days our batteries were not happy, turning themselves off overnight! Diagnosis was required, we pulled into Cropredy Marina to plug in and run tests. One of our three batteries was dead, bad enough but thankfully nothing more. Once a panto meeting had been attended we could move on, except there was an emergency closure at Banbury Lock. C&RT worked hard to get the canal open as quickly as they could, thankfully our hold up wasn’t too long.

We met up with the crews of NB Azzura (Liz and Mark) and NB Perseus (Julie and Simon) both Finesse boats, had a visit to London for Andrew’s birthday. Then had a rendez vous with Paul and Christine and enjoyed a good catch up onboard NB Waterway Routes.

Down to the River Thames where we turned upstream onto waters we’ve only cruised once before. Such a lovely stretch of river, sadly with fewer moorings now. We sped up to Lechlade where we took up residence for a week so that we could attend a get together at Pip’s cousins which coincided with the Royal International Air Tatoo in Fairford. It was great to be with family on a jolly occasion.

Work took over for Pip as we made our way back down stream to Oxford, Cinderella had to go to the ball and the model needed to be finished. Then we sauntered our way back northwards. One day had us meet up with Frankie NB Discovery, NB Dusty the local coal boat and Graeme on NB Misty Blue, it was good to catch up with Graeme and hear of his adventures since we’d seen him last year.

A trip for us both back to Scarborough to do a turn around of lodgers, see a show and pick up post. Mick would have to return the following weekend to swap bedlinen over again, this time by train from Rugby. Stand still budgets and inflation required Pip to do more work on panto so her days were kept busy reducing Cinderella’s carriage from £2000 to £400.

Stoppages around the network meant we had only one real route we could take to head back north. We winded and climbed our way up to the Leicester Section. Here we met up with Ken and Sue NB Cleddau at Houdini’s Field sitting out till way after dark. Then a small detour to Welford to meet up with NB Panda and Lizzie for an evening before we continued our way north.

Another detour to Market Harborough before Leicester where North Lock had a badly leaking cill which required a crew of C&RT chaps to force the bottom gates open, booked passage was required, this meant we got a few days to enjoy the city whilst we awaited our turn.

Sadly by now the lack of water on the Chesterfield Canal meant the top end of the canal was closed, no point in rushing up the River Trent for a return visit. In Nottingham Pip’s little toe had a kerfuffle with a cupboard necessitating a visit to the drop in centre for her little pinkie to be realigned. This meant Pip had to hand the windlass and key of power over to Mick for the last locks of the year.

Downstream on the River Trent, stopping at all our favourite moorings. Pip’s knitting needles came out again to knit more socks for Dementia UK. We had a trip into Lincoln along the Fossdyke Canal, we actually managed to finally visit the Cathedral this time!

Tides were not helpful for the rest of our trip north so a couple of days at West Stockwith was needed, but that did mean we’d be sharing the tidal waters back to Yorkshire with NB That’s It whom we’d met earlier in the year.

There was time for a catch up with David as we passed through Bramwith, a jaunt up to Doncaster and then finally along the New Junction and onto Goole where a space had been found for us in the marina. A train ride to Scarborough to pick up a van and see the latest show before packing up the boat again for the second time this year.

Planned works at the house then went very smoothly. Scaffolding arriving the day after we arrived, new windows later in the day with four carpenters and two days later the decorator who was to give the house a much needed new coat of paint outside.

Mid October Pip moved to Chipping Norton for a month to work on panto, Mick and Tilly left to welcome a new lodger for the Christmas show in Scarborough. Panto was as much work as normal with the addition of Pip getting covid after the first week of rehearsals. The show opened to toe tapping audiences and many many bananas, getting great reviews. Mick had a days trip to London to support boaters who had gathered outside the Houses of Parliament for a Fund Britain’s Waterways rally.

Back in Scarborough Christmas came early with a visit from the London Leckenbys at the beginning of December, they hadn’t been to Scarborough for ten years. A few more house jobs have been done but a list has been compiled for the new year along with those on Oleanna. We’ve had a lovely Christmas, catching up with Scarborough friends, Tilly has slept lots, we’re lucky to see her before 2pm most days! I’m just resting for when the outsides start changing again.

Don’t worry Tilly the count down has started.

This year our plans changed all because of an invite from Pip’s cousins. We travelled our favourite canal, cruised many familiar waters , visited ‘Home’, climbed trees and pounced, caught up with many boating friends and made many new ones along the way. One very sociable year.

So our vital statistics for 2023 according to Canalplan are

Total distance of 805miles, 2.25furlongs and 436 locks.

There were 121 moveable bridges, of which 33 are usually left open; 151 small aqueducts or underbridges and 16 tunnels – a total of 6 miles, 5 furlongs under ground and 7 major aqueducts.

This is made up of 244 miles, 1.25 furlongs of narrow canals; 251 miles, 5.5 furlongs of broad canals; 69 miles, 1.5 furlongs of commercial waterways; 95 miles, 4.75 furlongs of small rivers; 57 miles, 3.75 furlongs of large rivers; 87 miles, 1.5 furlongs of tidal rivers; 185 narrow locks; 223 broad locks; 28 large locks.

Although according to Nebo we did

815.09 miles and 431 locks! Hmm maybe my maths isn’t so good. But then we only started using Nebolink in August, tracking our every move rather than just on our phones.

470 engine hours, 789.8 litres diesel! Ouch, having to run the engine to top the batteries up on an evening didn’t help with this, 150amp hours down to 100, 3 gas bottles, 120kg coal, 19.5 litres oil, 2 oil filters, 2 fuel filters, 1 shower mixer, 1 domestic alternator, 1 set new engine mounts, 1 overnight guest, 3 packs Dreamies, 1.5 packs Bonkers, 39 friends, 6 brought in, 34 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 34 pairs of socks, £1132 for Dementia UK, 2 shows, 9 lodgers, 10 supermarket deliveries, 33 boxes wine, 1 toe, 6 months cruising, 3 boat mover sightings, 209 posts, 184 likes, 9,503 visitors, 31,309 views!

Thank you for following our journey during 2023. We have a plan for 2024, but there are several invites and a rendez vous with some New Zealanders. Will we stick to our plan? Have to alter course to fit everything in? Wait and see, we’re already counting down the weeks to being afloat again.