Saturday, 25 August 2012

Not Enough Fingers

Maggie, our beautiful Maggie both in looks and nature, died of heart failure early this morning – on her boat and in relative peace.  Crying face 

The ‘something’ in the ‘something must have happened’ was that a heart valve had ruptured.  This and her very enlarged heart could clearly be seen in an X-Ray and scan.  The valve was flapping about.  The vet described it like a guy rope on a tent having come loose.  All the extra pills in the world were not able to mend that.  From that moment on we knew she was on borrowed time but we never imagined it would be so soon.  Too soon.  Much too soon.  She was only eight years old.

I know that in time we will see it as a blessing.  I also know and respect the fact that not everyone ‘gets it’ – this dog thing!  But, if you do ‘get it’ you will know just how devastated and heart-broken we are feeling right now.

Sincere thanks to everyone who has sent us messages of support – the ‘get it’ gang is clearly a big one!!

So, Maisie has now been promoted to No 1 Dog!  She has big paws to fill!

Perhaps 2013 will be free from emotional upset for us?  The last five years certainly haven’t!  Yes, I’m feeling very sorry for myself at the moment!  Sorry!!  Things have just got even worse!!  John has just broken the bottle opener! xxo

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A Big Black Cloud

We are currently in the lovely village of Alrewas.  The sun is shining, the weather is more than warm but …… a big, black cloud is hanging over n/b “Ellen”.   Storm cloud

Because our adorable, beautiful, gorgeous, loyal, loving, friendly, trustworthy,
gutsy-when-she-needs-to-be Maggie is seriously not well.

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She has been on heart tablets since January and they were working well.  However, something must have happened last week to cause notable deterioration.  We took her to a vet in Willington and he has given her some extra pills but he is not happy and wants to see her again next week.  There’s talk of X-Rays and things to find out exactly what’s going on with her heart and lungs.  We’ve been up at night with her as this seems to be when she is most distressed.  We were expecting this when she was 12, ready to accept it when she was 10 but 8 is just too young.  She’s not ‘just a dog’ – she’s our dog and a central part of our lives and ……………..Crying face   Crying face   Crying face    So, we are expecting to be travelling backwards and forwards between Willington and Fradley until decisions are made.  Fingers crossed something can be done to help her.

On a cheerier note:-

*Whilst at Willington we met up with Ian and Alison on n/b “Nobby”.  Ian has undertaken the major job of re-painting his boat this year.  After all the frustrations of the earlier wet weather he is now making very good progress.  We had a very nice meal with them at “The Green Dragon” in Willington and it was good to catch up with all their news.

*Megan has been up to see us for a couple of days.  She had to go to Leeds on the train so, instead of going straight back to London, came to find us.  We met her off the train at Burton and then travelled on to Alrewas.  From here she got the bus to Lichfield and then the train to Euston.  Our public transport systems work well but you do have to £££!!  Maisie has been groomed, groomed and groomed a bit more!

*Ken & Sandra n/b “Kessandra” are back out on the cut currently moored at Branston Water Park.  We saw them briefly at Shobnall as they were loading up and they are moving up to join us at Alrewas on Monday.  For one reason and another they too have had a disjointed cruising season this year.   Hurry up and get here guys! xxoo

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Just Like the A Team

Gill & Will 014 (600x800)As planned Gill and Will met us at Newark and we spent a very enjoyable time together last week cruising from therGill & Will 007 (600x800)e to Trent Lock at Sawley.  The weather got better and better as the week went on and we were able to share with them that lovely stretch of the Upper Trent in the sunshine.  An unfortunate encounter with the hostile crew of a native cruiser marred the start of the week but even that ended up providing us with an entertaining topic of conversation!

Under here somewhere is a sleeping Will!

Gill’s sister, Sue, and brother-in-law, Dave, came to find us one evening armed with fizz and nibbles!  It’s been such a long time since we have seen them so that was really good.  They have lived in Newark for many years.
Gill & Will 010 (800x600)The next day at Gunthorpe we met the skipper of an extremely nice cruiser (see picture).  He explained that he no longer travels far in it as it uses about 125 litres of fuel an hour!  We were moored approximately 400 yards from the lock and he said it would use a gallon getting there!!  He is trying to persuade his wife to let him get a narrowboat!

We also met the lovely crew of n/b “Stolen Time” who were on their way to Lincoln. 

Our next overnight stop was right by The National Watersports Centre at Holme Lock.  What a fantastic complex.  The canoe slalom looks amazing and was being well used.  It Gill & Will 018 (600x800)looked such good fun.  Now, if I had my time again ……………………

Gill & Will 017 (600x800)On through Nottingham.

Will had developed an ear infection but we were able to deliver him almost to the door of the NHS Walk-In Centre.  Simples!
Like me, Gill was impressed with the way the area has been developed.  After picking up supplies at a handy Sainsburys we moved on to moor at Beeston.

I made a huge Spag Bol and our friend, Ron, and his colleague Ian, from the O.S. office joined us for dinner.

We walked up to the local dog-friendly pub so that we could catch up with “The Widdle Sisters”.  Two months older, two months bigger, no longer widdling in their boat but still very ready to clamber all over us  for a fuss!

Thursday saw us arrive at Trent Lock.  Final destination reached.  Gill very kindly treated us all to lunch in the pub the next day and then she and I caught the train from Long Eaton back to Newark to collect her car.  As long as you make sure you change onto the correct train at Nottingham it’s easy!  I would probably have ended up in Skegness but fortunately Gill is more switched on than me!  We had a quick chat with Dave and Sue who were at home before driving back to Trent Lock.  It was further than I had expected it to be – 36 miles by road and, without a Sat Nav, not that easy to navigate.
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BUT – despite Will and I losing at cards most evenings, Angry smile the week was a real success.  “I love it when a plan comes together.”!!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Goings on in Newark

Mick & Lynn arrived safely in Newark on Tuesday afternoon ready to spend a few days with us to celebrate the fact that we have been friends now for forty years.Newark & The Claytons 020 (800x600)
We walked up to meet them after they had checked in to their hotel.  After sampling some liquid refreshment we walked back to ‘Ellen’ stopping off at The Castle Barge on the way.  Good wining and diniNewark Claytons 032 (600x800)ng on board ‘Ellen’ was enjoyed that evening.
On Wednesday, full of good intentions, we set off to follow a walking tour of the town.  Half way through, however, said ‘tour’ began to deteriorate into a pub crawl and never really recovered!  Hey Ho!
                            We went out for a really nice meal that evening.
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After all the food and drink of the previous day, Thursday called for a serious walk so we headed off to an area of Sherwood Forest called ‘Sherwood Pines Forest Park’. 
What an excellent job the Forestry Commission has done in developing areas of the forest providing exciting things for people to do in the great outdoors:- lots of cycle trails, bike hire, segway trails, (they look brilliant fun) walking trails, a Go Ape course (sort of high wire climbing activities in the treetops) and fantastic play areas for younger children. A good cafe. The only thing that’s missing is shelter from the rain!
Well worth the car park charge.

OK.  Which way do we have to go?                          Where to now?                                          
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What a good idea!

Yet more wining and dining on board ‘Ellen’ that night!  Lovely time had by all.  Thanks guys.  Newark has been such a good place to be based and the decision to put the boat into Kings Marina for a few days has proven to be such a good one. 
Enjoy the special experience of being in the Olympic Stadium tomorrow – wave at the TV cameras and add a few cheers for us.
We have now got to get ourselves organised for the arrival of Gill and Will tomorrow.  The aim is to cruise from Newark to Trent Lock at Sawley.  We’re crossing our fingers hoping that the weather will be OK – ‘rain, rain go away’ and next Friday we will need to get back to Newark to retrieve Gill’s car.  Really looking forward to them coming.