Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Molly’s eyes .. update 2

We took Molly to the Vets in Tring again yesterday as we were worried about her lack of vision a few days ago.  It was back in December when we first noticed a problem with her left eye and now things were getting a bit more serious.

Faye (Veterinary Surgeon) is lovely, so gentle and calm with owners as well as their pets.  On our first visit in early February when Faye did the initial pressure test, her left eye, the cloudy one, was 65, and 45 in the right eye; bearing in mind that the normal range is up to 25, hers was very high.  On our second visit after using the eye drops the pressure dropped to 15 in her left and 24 in her right.  

After explaining to Faye yesterday about Molly’s lack of vision and  discomfort she performed the pressure test yet again, it was way up again in her right eye measuring 33 and slightly down in her ring eye at 22. Regarding the continued cloudiness in her eye she wondered if the lens had now become completely detached and had moved to the front of her iris, this would cause the discomfort/pain and lack of vision.

Options were discussed (1) referral to an ophthalmologist to discuss removal or repositioning of the lens and future treatment/outcome to both eyes. (2) removal of the eye hence no more pain but she would obviously be blind on that side. Any operation on the eye will be very expensive, the removal of the eye being the least so.

Molly about five weeks old.

We do not have pet insurance, we’ve had dogs most of our married life and have never felt the need before now although I doubt that with the problems Molly's had from the moment she was born that we could have got any insurance for her anyway.

We’ve got the appointment with the ophthalmologist tomorrow so we’ve hired a car to take us to Hitchen about an hour away from here to discuss our options.  A tense time indeed.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Slight change of plan

The forecast for today (Monday) was gusting winds of over 40mph, so we decided it would be preferable to move yesterday in winds of only 30 mph instead!

We were moored below Marsworth lock 37 and the nearest winding hole (turning point) was 3.5 miles and 4 locks away, so instead we (George) reversed Still Rockin’ up the 2 locks ...

… and .75 of a mile where we  filled the water tank at the sanitary station just beyond the bridge and then winded in the Aylsbury Arm junction. 

George took Still Rockin’ up the first few locks and afterwards said that the cruise through the pound (stretch of water between two locks on a canal) by Startops Reservoir was the worst he’d had to do due to the cross wind broadside on the boat!

Molly had been in her usual position on the hatch on top of Still Rockin’ but George just managed to save her from blowing off into the canal, box and all, so she has been demoted to the top of the gas locker!  The non-slip mat that her bed usually sits on blew away I’m afraid, so I apologise in advance if a small rectangular mat gets round a boaters propellor.

 Lots of Gongoozlers about today braving the cold wind.  The lady facing the camera with her daughter (left) and son behind her helped me with the gates of three locks … so thank you very much your help was much appreciated.

The Waterman’s Cottage was probably the home of the canal lengthsman in times gone by.  As the name suggests he would have looked after this particular length of the canal to ensure it stayed in good condition.
 We treated a few to a short trip too!
(don’t forget to visit The Gongoozler’s Rest when you get to Braunston on your canal holiday and say hello to Avril from us on Still Rockin',  good luck)
We dropped our passengers off at Bulbourne and moored up just around the corner, battened down the hatches against the coming wind and rain, brought in everything that could move on the roof … and relax!
And we were rewarded for our efforts today with a lovely sunset over the golden wheat field.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

On a lighter note

We’ve decided to turn round on Monday and head back as quickly as we can to Tring to get Molly back to the vet. Click here

My original blog for Friday was our walk into Pitstone for groceries ...
 After all the rain on Thursday the sunset was another stunner as the temperature plummeted and it was -3 when we were up at 7 o’clock this morning
The sun rising
 … threw long shadows and light over the field and into the hedgerow
 10am and C&RT contractors hedge cutting as we set out for Pitstone about a mile and half away.  They warned us that they would start the grass cutting on the towpath on Monday - another good reason to be gone by then!
 Good views away from the muddy towpath

 … and a sunken boat between the railway swing bridges, looks like the plastic shroud is leaking, I hope it’s removed before it sinks and becomes more of a hazard to boaters.
 Molly waiting for us to catch up
 … as we cross the swing bridge and continue down the lane
View on the way back to Still Rockin’.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Feeling really sad … Molly update

On Molly’s first visit to the vet in Tring at the beginning of February because her left eye was ‘cloudy’ and she seemed to be in pain, squinting and not opening her eye properly, we discovered that the pressure in her eyes was way, way above what it should be and that it is a symptom of glaucoma. We were also told that she has a displaced lens in her left eye which gives it that cloudy, milky appearance.

The vet gave us eye drops for the glaucoma and told us to continue to give her Metacam (pain killer) if she appeared to be in any discomfort.

At home she’s been great, her usual self, full of mischief, chasing  with George round the boat, up onto the backs of the sofas and down again with her toys, just generally being as she’s always been.

We took Molly back to the vets a week later and were really pleased to tell her that Molly’s eye had been clear and she’d had no pain at all. The vet measured the pressure in both eyes and they were now well within the normal range.  We were so relieved.  The vet suggested that we return to see her before leaving the area to check things out once more which we will do.

Between then and now we’ve only had to give her the Metacam three times when her eye was cloudy and she was obviously in some distress, but the medication works quickly and she’s then back to normal.

Yesterday morning George was taking Molly out, opened the back door onto the deck and gave Molly a call, she went to the three rather steep steps but as she reached the top she fell backwards.  She tried again and was fine and has been up and down the steps at least a dozen time since perfectly well.

This lunch time when we were sitting on the back deck in the sunshine Molly started to squint so we gave her the Metacam.  Later Molly went down into the boat and when she came back she stumbled on the top step and missed her aim to get onto the deck, she recovered quickly and didn’t fall but when she walked across the deck she bumped into the ash carrier which was on the left of her vision, the cloudy eye. I called her over to me and it was obvious that she didn’t know where I was.  George picked her up and cuddled her and she’s slept for a while.

She’s again just gone up the steps ok and sat on the top one which is her way of telling us she wants out.  She’s just come back and is as fine as ninepence again!

We are now wondering if surgery is needed and that we need to get back to the vets sooner rather than later to discuss her condition.  If she does need some surgery we need to be able to stay somewhere it can be done.  We are due to go to Scotland for 10 days at the beginning of April leaving the boat at Harefield Marina so we’ve got 4-weeks to try and sort this out.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A bit of excitement, amusement and bliss!

The 30-odd miles an hour gales on Monday took its toll on Still Rockin’ when early in the evening the bow crashed into the opposite side of the canal!  George started the engine and I went to the front to drag the mooring line and pins from the water and disentangle them.  Thank goodness for a bow-thruster but were were amazed and also grateful that it was capable of pushing us, against the high wind, back to the towpath where I quickly got off with rope and pins whilst George came with the lump hammer.  I tried to hold the boat in to the side as George tried to hammer the pins back in; the ground here is either very soft mud or concrete just a few inches down so it’s not a quick job.  Meanwhile I’m slipping and sliding on said mud to the edge of the towpath panicking that I’ll end up wet! Behind me was a way-marker for the trails around the reservoirs and I managed to scramble up the incline and tie the rope around it to hold Still Rockin’ until George was happy that the crossed mooring pins would hold.  Then it was a get ready, go, to untie the rope and thread it through the pins back to the cleat and safely secured. I can tell you we didn’t sleep particularly well that night listening to the ropes creaking and hoping that there wouldn’t be a repeat of that bit of excitement!
I was amused watching the antics of this boat and crew trying (eventually successfully) to get round the corner in the continuing gale force winds on Tuesday here at Marsworth, grounding out on the corner, reversing and grounding again.  They eventually realised that they needed to reverse much further and then take the corner wide, wide, wide and hey presto!

We’ve enjoyed our stay by the reservoirs but it’s now time to move on, the winds have died and the forecast is dry so we upped sticks and descended Marsworth Lock 39.
 The White Lion - planning permission was agreed in 2013 for the a change of use from public house to two residential dwellings but so far nothing seems to be happening.

We disturb a heron trying to catch his breakfast as we cruise past spaces on the visitor moorings below the lock
 … on our way to the sanitary station

The development on the junction of the Grand Union Canal and Aylesbury Canal is ongoing
… and is supposed to be ready for occupation in Spring this year - not long now then!
 The heavy traffic going to and from the building site is taking its toll on the road over the bridge

 New boaters services too.  It looks like four separate rooms - elsan, pump-out, rubbish and ??, I’m assuming that the water tap will stay in the same place as it is now.
Still Rockin’ is 62.5’ long and tied to the last mooring ring by the water tap ...
… and this photo shows that if these houses were finished we would be moored across the bedroom windows (upside-down houses) of two of them, and if another boat came to moor behind, the privacy of all four residences would be compromised.  We spoke to a couple of workmen who informed us that there was no indication on the plans of any sort of barrier between these homes and the towpath. Apart from privacy issues I’m sure there’ll issues from residents with the malodours from the sanitary station facilities when the wind is in the ‘wrong’ direction. Les has a more detailed account of this development on nb Valerie’s blog.

We continue on in the oh so warm sunshine (no coats needed today) to Marworth’s two bottom locks

… where as I exit the bottom lock I disturb another heron which takes off and lands just behind George as he closes the bottom gates, walks past him and takes his luck with an empty lock!
Half twelve sees us moored up a short distance from the lock
… in glorious isolation
… well, nearly!

Chairs out on the back deck, feet up, we sit and have lunch in the lovely warm sunshine; the temperature on Still Rockin’s roof is 18.3 degrees c …. absolute BLISS!
Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Sunrises, Sunshine, Sunsets

What absolutely wonderful weather we’ve had just lately that has created some equally wonderful skies ...
Sitting on the stern deck 07:30 Wednesday morning with breakfast alfresco before walking into Wilstone, temperature 0.3 degrees c.

There was still some ice around on the Aylesbury Arm junction and the development there is progressing.  It will be interesting to see what boaters facilities well be available when it’s finished.
The pound (water between two locks) below the staircase top locks on the arm was empty, yet at lock 4 the water was cascading over the bottom gates!
The reason for our visit - Wilstone Community Shop for a very nice loaf of granary bread and a chocolate hit for George! The shop next door was interesting too, Armson Antiques has a lovely selection of antique furniture and worth a look around.
The Half Moon pub has a good reputation for its warm welcome including well behaved dogs, cask beers and good food.  I hope that we can find the time and a dry day to try it out.
By the time we got back to Still Rockin’ at 1-pm the temperature on the roof was a very reasonable 13 degrees. 
George has been pleased with the input from the solar panels to the batteries this past few days.  When we arrived here at Marsworth from Bulbourne the battery level was about 80% and during the afternoon the panels raised the level to 100% which meant that Still Rockin’s engine was not run at all yesterday.  You can see from the monitor above we were getting nearly 22.4 amps from the panels at 13:15 and leaving us 46% in the batteries this morning! Not too shabby at all!
A late afternoon invigorating walk in the cold wind round Startopsend Reservoir
… and a glimpse of the sun going down
…  and over the road to Tringford Reservoir where the wind was chopping the water
… then over the wooden bridge under which the overflow from Tring bubbles into ...
… Marsworth Reservoir where the rushes grow very artistically and the late afternoon sun glows gold in the distance
… and the anglers are still trying to catch fish
Sunset through the trees of Marsworth.

It was not such a good day yesterday though
A lowering sky threatens rain just before 7-am
… and 5 minutes later look what happened to those clouds!
Wow! A fire in the sky!
Looking the other way such calm pastel colours.
Not long after the rain came down and continued to do so for the remainder of the day. Jaq and Les came onboard in the afternoon where the conversation flowed along with lots of laughing and eventually around the dining table they introduced us  a game of Phase 10, a game of cards the object of which is to complete the 10 phases before anyone else. After a good start by Les, he fell behind the rest of us but won out in the end, well done him!