We are moored near the beautifully named Birdingbury Wharf Bridge (opposite the Boat Inn!!) at the top of the Stockton flock flight having our solar panels fitted – at last!!! We have been talking about this since we first purchased our lovely floating home and are very excited that we have finally been able to make it a reality. A couple of weeks ago we met a great electrician and his wife who fitted our new batteries, linked in a battery management system and are now working hard on making yet another dream become a reality. We should be well powered when this is finished to keep everything working. But Bob has started to drop hints about the next big purchase – changing our 800 watt inverter to one big enough to enable us to luxuriate in the conveniences of vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, maybe automatic washer….. The list goes on. But that will have to wait until we can save a few more pennies – yes they really are pennies here (NB our Aussie friends!!)
Over the last couple of weeks we have been back to Braunston where we caught up again with our friends Jim and Chris, had a visit from our cousins and had a successful visit to the eye specialist.
As we were returning to Braunston mooring up near bridge 101 we looked up to see Sylph sliding past with Chris in the bow and Jim with their thespian friends Mia and Jonathon at the stern. Once moored they left Chris and ambled back to us, with Gina the wonder dog, for a meet up chat, coffee and invitation to dinner!! So we all got back to Sylph where Chris had prepared a sumptuous repast and was offering all manner of liquid refreshments. Mia and Jonathon live on their canal boat in London between their acting commitments. They are lively and very entertaining young people and we all had a great night.
The following day we got to Braunston and found a great mooring quite close to all facilities and Bob had the chance to demonstrate/practise his reversing skills. He rather enjoys the challenge. There were no incidents and we had taken advantage of the last winding hole before the locks making sure we were facing the right direction.
We spent a week here because yet again we made the journey to London to visit the Moorfield’s Eye Hospital outreach at Northwick Park hospital. We are becoming very familiar with using public transport in this country and find it rather efficient. However we have been very thankful for the kind assistance of Jim and Chris who have taken us several times to the nearest train station.
Our visit this time coincided with Susan’s birthday so when we arrived at Sue and Chris’s home there were friends visiting and they also had their beautiful grandson, Riley. We went out for dinner to celebrate the birthday and returned to find out that at last their daughter had good news on the settlement of the sale of her flat. This means that their house will be very full until their daughter finds and purchases a new home but they have been waiting eighteen months for this news so were jubilant!!
It was all good news at the hospital too. The pressure in Bob’s eye was down to 15 after being anywhere between 20 and 38 for the last 15 months since the problem was first diagnosed. We were so happy we almost danced. The inflammation was also fairly stable – yet another cause for celebration. However we learnt that the cataract was growing very quickly as a result of the steroid medication and would require surgery once the eye maintains stability for at least 3 months. So armed with information on the proposed surgery, a new supply of medications and the fantastic news that they were declining our presence for three whole months we were able to make our jubilant way back home.
Unfortunately our return coincided with Jim needing urgent work on his boat to fix a leaking diesel issue so he was unable to meet us at the Leamington Spa train station where he had dropped us the day before. No fear, we just found out the bus routes and got back in the dark to a very large Sainsburys store near Rugby, where we did our shopping before Jim picked us up. And Chris had kindly cooked for us – again!! We are certainly blessed to have made such good friends.
On Friday 28th Bob’ cousin and husband Julie and Phil came from Maldon for the weekend. We love catching up with them. It was Julie’s birthday on Wednesday so we wanted to celebrate over the weekend with her. It was also Bron’s sister’s 60th on Friday so a very happy birthday to Yasha, who is travelling through South America with her husband, Juergen, and their fabulous camper Berta!!!!
After celebrating Friday night we cruised Saturday for a couple of hours and turned around before mooring near bridge 101 which is fast becoming a favourite spot for us!!! At one stage Bob hopped off to heed the call of nature and left Bron to steer. She seemed to have all sorts of trouble finding a place to pick him up again but fortunately found one just before the winding hole!! The weather may be glum but our spirits were high as we shared another night with our guests on board. After returning to Braunston on Sunday morning Phil and Julie kindly drove us to nearby Daventry where we found some fabulous thermal wrap to put into our windows to reduce heat loss and condensation overnight as well as some bits and pieces to create our version of a Christmas tree!!! After introducing us to fish pie, they left at about 8pm to return to Maldon – quite a journey but probably hastened by less traffic and no roadworks!!! Always sad when visitors go.
Monday had us catching up with washing before refilling the water tank and heading back toward Calcutt with Jim and Chris, mooring for the night at our favourite spot again on this stretch – bridge 101!! And we arrived here at Birdingbury Bridge yesterday afternoon in readiness for today’s operations. We took the opportunity to fit in the thermal wrap and Bob was happy to report that it seemed to work well overnight.
So with solar panels fitted, thermal wrap in the windows, a long stretch before the next hospital visit and the company of good friends and family it just remains for us to stay happy, keep travelling and enjoy life!!!!!