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!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


 Time to move on; we’d booked a passage with C&RT through the beleaguered Marsworth Top Lock for 10:30 yesterday.
 Minus 5.4 starts the day at 7am as I make a cuppa and George takes Molly out for her early morning walk
8:30 and we’re ready to move up to the water point and it’s so good to see the sun coming through to melt the frost.

  The gap in the towpath is a horse ramp, should a horse (possibly pulling a boat) fall into the canal the ramp will aid its safe retrieval.

Approaching the Grand Junction Bridge

… and the Ironworks

… the red Dogwood
(Cornus sanguinealooks fantastic in the sunshine alongside the snowdrops.

Mythology and symbolism

The origin of the name comes from the smooth straight twigs, which were used to make butchers’ skewers. Skewers used to be called 'dags' or 'dogs', so the name means 'skewer wood’.

We arrived at the top of Marsworth Locks and waited for C&RT to arrive to operate the bottom gate but it took a phone call to remind them and another 40 minutes before we were able to make a start on the six locks. Fortunately for us we had help for the trip down 

 An hour or so later we’re safely moored up by the Tring Reservoirs in brilliant sunshine; my weather station was reading a fantastic 16 degrees on the roof!

I make no apologies for the pictures below!
At 5pm George took Molly for a walk whilst I started to prepare our evening meal and unbeknown to each other we took pictures of the magnificent sunset. George’s pictures taken from the top of the rise over the water and mine are from Still Rockin’ looking up over the rise.  I hope you enjoy them.

A superb day!