Apathy and the constant challenge of challenging myself!

Some days need more of a challenge than others as I slip into an uncomfortable numbness.

The hot humid summers days have cooled. I welcome the coolness outside having hated the heat which exhausts me, but with the coolness and the humidity comes the pains in my joints especially my shoulders right now, but ok I can take a paracetamol, after all you can’t have everything.

Its Monday morning and I get out my medicines to fill my weekly box and blow me, guess what, I have forgotten that I needed to collect the remainder of my Rivastigmene from the chemists!   Good grief, have I not just gone through this a short time ago.  So, not only did I forget to order my prescription, which came in two parts, I have forgotten to pick up the remainder of it , how could I not have remembered that one?   I was going to write ‘what is wrong with me’ but thats laughable.   

The past few days I have been feeling apathy and something I can’t quite put my finger on and feel upset with myself for not overcoming it.

Maybe I am feeling apathy because I have allowed myself to sink into a routine that is so comfortable it is not challenging?   Maybe, my brain is just having a rest, maybe its part of Alzheimer’s depression (I don’t remotely feel depressed or less than happy).   I have somehow not phoned my family, friends, or kept up to date with anyone.  I realise that for me sometimes it is a real struggle to do these things, how do you explain that I can get ‘scared’ to make that call, or chat.  I don’t understand it myself only that once I do it, all is well, and I think what was all the fuss about.  

One thing I know, keeping positive is a challenge on a daily basis, and somedays I don’t manage so well.

Yesterday whilst the weather was on the edge of turning into rain, I took my camera out to take some photo’s and to check what the farmers had done to the field next to us.  For the past few days our eyes have been watering and we are told that they have been spraying lime on the fields and unfortunately the wind has been in our direction.   Having listened to the tractors early in the mornings I thought they had been ploughed but see that they are working through the patchwork around the marina spraying.   

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Last year the fields were planted with potatoes, this year oilseed rape, I wonder what will be in there next year?

Losing weight..keeping fit

I have been trying to lose weight which is hard when you don’t feel like you can walk far.  So, I decided to be proactive with reducing my calories whilst increasing my exercise.  Easy you say, not really because I have fibromyalgia as well as Alzheimer’s disease which both affect the ability to be active, but I decided that I could start slowly and build up.  So, day one, I roughly calculated my calorie intake and walked around the marina at a brisk walk where I live.  Day two, again keeping my calorie intake around 1000 kc, I walked further round the marina, coming back and falling asleep in the chair outside our boat on the pontoon!   Feeling good about the exercise, and knowing that if I keep going I shall start to lose some weight and be fitter and healthier.

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Birthdays and colds…

I have a nasty cold and have been laid up for a week.  It was my birthday yesterday – 61, where has the time gone?  I sat in my chair all day feeling absolute pants.  I had phone calls from those who care for me but none from my family.  My niece J did not send a card, and I think that maybe she did not receive my Christmas card and present to her, but because they never have any contact with me I would never know. 

I have been thinking about the cards I make, how difficult is it to sell any when the world and his wife have decided to make cards also.  I still have this urge to share them with others so will think about how I do this.

I was listening to a Radio 4 program which was discussing the dangers in the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi at present.  Is it too dangerous?  Young people are being injured…What a load of tosh!  This year snowboarding, half pipe and similar events have been included and the enthusiasm and skill at which the young have embraced the sport is stunning and infectious.  However, the health and safety ‘police’ are asking whether we should allow our young people to take risks of injuries!  Good God can they hear themselves speak.   Ask every young person if they are willing to risk their life to live it to the fullest and I have an idea not one would say no.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said:

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.

1st February 2014

January has brought lots of rain and with it floods.  Whole areas in the Somerset levels have not drained away and remain as a new sea.  The radio is full of politician speak; full of meaningless sentences about how they ‘have people and money in place and long term strategies, and plans for the farmers to take responsibility’.  So now it has become ammunition for political parties.  A village has become an island for several weeks with children taken to school by boat.  The authorities have installed Portaloos in the pub car park because the villagers can no longer use their toilets.  The Army has been invited in to help with logistics, and the argument rages on about whose fault it is.  The truth is, we use more land for crops and animals having ripped out the hedgerows, and ignored maintenance of ditches, plus we have more rainfall in the past few years.  Rivers and canals have stopped being dredged and along with the loss of the trees that thrive on the excess water has created a problem.  Historical land management can still teach us lessons if we choose to listen.  

Russell Brand has been slated by the media because he said that young people should not vote as it is a waste of time with only ‘one political party with three heads’.  They say he is irresponsible to tell the youth this and encourage the young to vote to change things, but I don’t think the politicians ‘get it’ at all.

Both Mr Hsg and I cannot listen to Radio 4 early morning because it is simply political garbage.  Does no one speak honestly anymore?  Presenters ask a question and there is no direct answer only party line answers.  It’s a game that nobody wins and everybody loses.

How time flies!

Early December at Kings Bromley Marina

Oh my goodness it has been ages since I have last posted here.  I will need to bring everything up to date as I remember it.

Well, we returned back to the marina at the beginning of September both feeling exhausted but satisfied with the trip.  We both remarked how our dis-abilities made the activity of locking and boating harder this year than before.

Falling back into the routine of living in the marina was disturbingly seamless.   With the boat always throwing up some maintenance conundrum, the first was the calorifier  (hot water tank) splitting and leaking into the boat.  The cupboard it was sitting in had to be taken apart to remove the tank, followed by a trip to various chandlers to buy a new tank plus an assortment of brass and plastic fittings to create a twisted maze of new pipework.  New stop taps had to be put in, expansion tank, and the tank itself.  The whole process took a week to complete with Mr Hsg trying to fold himself into the smallest spaces to complete the job.   Thank goodness he is more than capable of DIY plumbing, carpentry, and electrical works, with some engineering.  Canal boats are expensive creatures demanding money being thrown at them with distressing regularity.  Following that he moved the water pump to sit underneath the kitchen units, to keep warmer in winter months so that it cuts down the delay of water flowing from the tap.

I have focused my photography and creating some cards.   I made some cards showing various aspects of the marina and took them to the office to see if they were interested in buying them.  Brilliant, they wanted them and more!  So, now I have been supplying them with Christmas Cards of the marina, people love to see their boats on a card and they have quickly sold out.

I would love to find a way of selling them elsewhere but struggle with trying to sort it out.  I thought about setting up a website but my computing experience and knowledge is disappearing and I have struggled to sort it out.  I will have to look at ebay or Etsy if I can figure out the logistics of it all.

Update on my Alzheimer’s – I have finally in these past two weeks, seen my new consultant at Derby Royal Hospital and have begun Rivastigmene tablets.    I can feel myself withdrawing from anything social a little.  Its not that I want to, it’s almost like a fear of going out, and I have no idea why.   I have to choose the books that I read a little more carefully as I have struggled to work out some of the story lines in some which is a bit of a pain because I do enjoy reading.

I must try and post more regularly to keep my motivation going.

Daisy and the Dragonfly

Barrowford Lock No 48 is broken and being repaired so we have been moored up for four days at Bridge 91 on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal until we can move knowing that we can ascend the flight.

There is a small herd of cows that wander in distinct patterns around the field.  The trees at the top are where several Buzzards sit and we can hear their call during the day and evening.  We have watched them soar around the fields alighting on different groups of trees as they hunt.  So far we have been unable to get any photos of their splendour.

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Male dragonfly we have been watching

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a male dragonfly whose patch is along the bank beside us, we stand and watch his patterns of behaviour so that when he lands we can photograph him.  There were flashes of turquoise blue along his brown body, and his abdomen and head yellow and brown, with bronze colour wings, superb!  Nature is so amazing.

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Ella going out wearing a red collar

Today Ella is staying close to the boat and not going into the field; we think she may have got stuck in the fence and hedge last evening because she came back without her collar on and wanted to cuddle up on my lap for the rest of the night which is unusual for her.

She catches voles, mice, shrews, and eats spiders, flies, and all sorts of creepy things.  Daisy on the other hand has never liked furry animals preferring her prey to be slimy, and a long time ago used to bring in worms, frogs and fish from a neighbours garden (her prize ghost carp, oops!) and has not attempted to catch anything since moving onto the boat.  Once Ella brought her in a mouse and put it down in front of her hoping she would join in the sport of chasing it, but Daisy looked disturbed and lost, so Ella had to claim it back as it ran.

Yesterday I watched the female dragonfly lay her eggs in the water on some reeds, and cursed not having my camera with me ready.  I returned with my camera and a stool to sit and wait for her return but as the way of things she was nowhere to be seen.  Today Mr Hs called to me that Daisy was bringing me a present, “Daisy?” I queried, and in she trotted with the female dragon fly firmly in her mouth.  Proud of herself she announced her kill to me then proceeded to play with it, deftly removing the head.  Yes, she loves a crunchy prey too!  Abandoned on the carpet, both parts still moving, I picked it up and took some photographs, interesting to see it up close, but sad that she caught it.

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A few minutes later, I saw Ella through the window, take a mouse up to Daisy who was now eating grass, and showed her, then proceeded to eat it.

I have been in and out of pain since the last set of seven locks which I did on my own.  Both of us have found it hard this year physically, having to have rest days.  I commented that we must be getting old, and Mr Hs said that our disabilities are making it hard.  I agree with that, I remember him saying to me (in one of his accusing moments when I just wanted to rest) “you weren’t like this a year ago”, and thinking about it, I wasn’t.  In the space of two years my physical and mental state has declined much to my own disappointment.  However, I will not let that stop me, I imagine the pain of walking and winding stiff paddle handles, and pushing 2000kg of  supposedly balanced gates open, is doing my arthritis good.  At least there is chance of wearing away new nodules, as they say; use it or lose it.  When you moor up  in the countryside with the flowers, birds and insects around you it is all worth it.  At times we have no idea where we are, even which County we are in, like now, we think we are in Lancashire.

Canal trip, and rant

Waiting for the lock to fill
Waiting for the lock to fill

Two weeks have passed since we left the marina, everything is back to normal and our travelling is becoming very enjoyable.

I have seen a Water Rail bird, a stoat, Mr Hs watched a badger through his binoculars.  We have left the Trent & Mersey Canal onto the privately owned Bridgewater canal which is wide and relatively well kept.  I have taken photos along the way of graffiti, interesting buildings and nice canal areas.

We have met some interesting people, and I have had some great lads help me on the locks.  Two were smoking their joints wrapped in licorice papers, but were friendly and helpful.  A group of boys eagerly helped asking a myriad of questions about the boat, how the locks work.  We saw a group of idiotic children behind up stripping off and jumping into the locks to swim, if only they knew the dangers they were putting themselves in…

We have been down the Anderton Boat Lift to the River Weaver,  and spent two days in beautiful soundings.  We came back up the Anderton Boat Lift and carried on the Trent & Mersey.  Mr Hs decided to that we would continue up towards Liverpool & Leeds and head up North.  He didn’t wait for me whilst I was in the bathroom to go through a lock and nearly caught the boat on the cill, bending the rudder.  I guess he wanted to prove to himself he could still do locks single handed.

Yesterday we climbed through 27 locks, the first two, then the 25 locks of the Wigan flight.  These were double locks for two boats at a time, with big and heavy gates.  I had struggled with about five before we were joined by another boat with plenty of bodies on board to help at the locks.  These were locals and had it planned to a tee..one guy went ahead and set the locks up ready, and two others worked bringing the boats through.  What would have taken us about eight hours, took two.  Phew! thank goodness they came along.  Back on the Liverpool & Leeds canal we saw how little maintenance the Canal and River Trust has been carried out.  The locks were in bad state with rubbish caught in the paddles making them leak and unable to work properly.  The anti vandal locks were not always working which meant that one pound had drained of all water and we had to refill it before we could progress any further, that meant sitting in the lock for an hour because the pound had enough water to get to the next lock.

The water had dropped about two feet down the flight, which makes it dangerous for boats getting caught on cills, leaving the locks and sinking which happened a few days ago.

There is no apparent work being carried out by CaRT to keep one of Britain’s heritage in working order for the benefit of all.

Once upon a time British Waterways employed Lengthmen who lived in lock-keeper cottages and looked after a length of the cut (canal).   The cottages were sold off, and there is no one to care for, monitor, and be the eyes and ears of BW’s.  The breach of the canal at Dutton could have been avoided had there been a lengthman who would have seen problems.   At flights of locks one or two lengthmen could help, and monitor what was happening.  Volunteer lock helpers are encouraged by CaRT to get boats through locks quickly and safetly, but they only appear to want to work on nice rural locks that boaters themselves would prefer to do.   I understand that recently CaRT decided they could make some money by charging companies who offer their staff as volunteers during team building days.  Now, I know that sometimes I have problems in understanding some things but that seems ridiculous.  Needless to say a charge would negate volunteering and also stop it.

Anyway, we are now moored up opposite a golf course, and resting our weary and painful joints and muscles after yesterdays workout!