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Friday, January 24, 2014

Water, Wood and It's All Good!

“High technology has done us one great service: It has retaught us the delight of performing simple and primordial tasks - chopping wood, building a fire, drawing water from a spring” ~Edward Abbey (American environmental Writer)

   Look who's chopping wood again! We love to find wood as we cruise along. I help carry larger limbs back to the boat. Now Les feels well enough and strong enough to do a bit more on his own.
Happy as a puppy with two tails!
   We are blessed with such mild weather so far this winter and at last--at last we are moving again, albeit in a relatively confined area of the canal system due to waiting for word about Les' further surgeries. That's okay with me. His energy levels are on the rise and every day my husband is capable of doing something he couldn't contemplate three weeks previously. Les is still on the skinny side and his clothes hang off of him, but he is happy and healthier once more.
Les chopping wood we scored near Horton lock
   We received notice that Les' prostate surgery has now been scheduled for March 3rd at Watford General Hospital. He will back on level five which is where he was previously, so hopefully we won't have to break in a new staff regarding who we are, and our expectations for the level of care an NHS hospital and staff should be capable of providing to its patients. We will the meantime we will slowly make our way back towards Marsworth over the next couple of weeks, taking time to travel the Aylesbury arm which neither of us has done before.
   This brings Jo and Keith Lodge on NB Hadar to mind. They were on the Aylesbury 'round about March of last year and spotted the beginning of the rupture which closed down the arm for repairs most of last year. Hadar just managed to escape the arm before the closure. Now Keith is in hospital fighting for his life and Jo is visiting him every day. She is posting updates on Keith's situation on Hadar's blog (follow the link above) and keeps us abreast of her feelings about all of this on her blog Where I Belong. Sound familiar?
    They are experiencing some of the same issues we faced in October--frustration and a feeling of helplessness while one's life is held in the hands of others who too often treat it all as just one more shift at work. Our thoughts are with them both. We know exactly how it feels and I tell you now that while we are moving on with our lives as much as possible I am not looking forward to dealing with the bureaucracy and failures of the NHS through two more surgeries and recovery.

   We came back into Leighton Buzzard and spent one night moored up in town to access the library reference historical books and maps, stopping at a chip shop for a paper cone of chips with vinegar to munch as we walked through the High street. One night was enough sandwiched between two boats who totally disregarded regulation regarding running the boat engine after 8 pm. Given that we left Old Lindslade because our usual quiet country mooring spot quickly filled up with a raft of floating humanity all around us with some questionable looking characters wandering up and down the towpath, we were ready to find a spot with more quiet.
  How questionable you ask? Well we were traveling up a lock back into town and two men were moving a small, derelict looking narrow boat into the lock by hand. Les was with NB Val while I walked up to help with the lock. The blokes looked up from their boat hauling, red faced and puffed out. 
   "Have you got a key we can borrow? We don't have one," said the fellow who appeared to be in charge of this operation. I replied, "A key? You mean a windlass? You don't have a windlass? Why is that?"
   "We just bought this boat last night and they took the windlasses with them. We are taking the boat to the marina up ahead for work." He didn't meet my eyes. What marina, I am thinking...there is no marina between this lock and a long, long way...I quickly decided to keep hold of my windlass.
   "I'll set the lock for you," and I got on with it. As the men towed the boat out by hand after the lock emptied and I opened a gate for them, there was no "thank you" or "cheers mate." They pulled the boat to the bollards, got on, started up the outboard motor and took off. It made me wonder if there was a demolition or recovery crew waiting ahead.
   We cruised out of Leighton Buzzard the next morning in doubtful weather.  Soon the sky began to spit on us so we moored up in a relatively quiet stretch of canal. I made the acquaintance of the lovely chap aboard NB Welsh Wizard who was out strolling along the towpath later on. His thick Welsh accent made me homesick for a place I've never lived--Wales. I could shut my eyes and hear my Welsh grandmother Lilly George, talking to me as a child.
   Four days and we were itching to move again. We winded back toward Leighton Buzzard for a water top up and rubbish dump, winded again and I stocked up at Tesco. On our way to the service point we stopped and scored some more wood! YES!!

   While yesterday was blustery, it was cool, bright, and a fine day for cruising. We traveled through a couple of locks and found a quiet place with just enough room for one boat to moor on the short bit of skirting along the towpath. We are staying here for a few days, which provides me with the time required to address the issue of why I have been unable to post comments to a fair number of boaters' blogs for nearly two and a half months.
   In Blogger under Settings/Posts and Comments, a blog administrator has several options from which to choose when setting up the comment formatting for a blog: Embedded, full page, or pop up window. These choices determine how your blog's comments are displayed and how your readers will leave comments. 
   For some reason unknown to me, I was unable to leave comments on over a dozen boaters' blogs when their comment format was embedded or full page. A query to the Blogger help forum indicated the issue revolved around my refusing permission for third party cookies. I set up my Firefox browser so third party cookies were not accepted (I hate being tracked). It appears the non-acceptance of cookies interacted unfavorably with blogs whose comments are embedded or full page formatting, forcing me to reluctantly change my cookies setting. Finally I can comment again! So if I have regularly commented on YOUR blog in the past and appeared to stop, it isn't because I lost interest--I promise. I have been so frustrated by this issue but I didn't have time to suss it before now.
   Les has made short work this morning of the second batch of wood we picked up while worked in my Spring semester 2014 online courses, getting my students sorted. I've ensured they have the additional syllabus information, explained how a pass/fail course works, etc. I answered student questions, graded the first week's assignments and assisted a student who was late-added to one of my courses. Ray Charles cooes in the background " Your gonna love me like nobody's loved me come rain or come shine...I'm with you always rain and shine."
   In the peace and quiet of the evening dark we stretch out before the fire lit stove, side by side in our recliners while we read or watch the BBC's Hidden Kingdoms wildlife series. Invariably at some point every evening one of us reaches out for the hand of the other and says, "I love you," and "this life is so good. I am so glad I am sharing it with you."


Neil Corbett said...

Good!! :-)
Kath (nb Herbie)

Unknown said...

I would suggest you download and install Ghostery.
That will kill off those sites which like to track your browsing.

Also dothe same thing and install AdBlock...

Anonymous said...

That's one happy woodcutter!! Interesting read...xA

Sue said...

Catching up this evening on all my blogger friends and this is so good to see Les with the axe!


I have nearly caught up with your blog posts and my oh my haven't they been cheery and positive.

Back to the 'lost canals and bits of' always of great interest.

OI! You are going to get more logs on the roof from us in a minute! :D

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs