I am starting to be able to walk again, albeit leaning very heavily on both crutches and only using my bad leg for balance rather than actually stepping onto it. My first target was to be able to take Bonny down the drive, past the post office, into the churchyard, and back and I have managed to do that. With good legs, it would take 5 minutes, we took over 30, but it still felt like a huge achievment! Fortunately there is a dry bench in the church porch where I can take a much needed breather. Bonny seems to understand that she musn't pull on the lead while I am on crutches and so walks carefully beside me - mostly!
My fantastic friends on Huff n Puff have moved me a huge step closer to being able to manage on the boat. Last Friday they turned Don't Panic at Alrewas. That sounds like an easy job but firstly Graham had to take time off work to do it. Then, when he and Jan came to move off, the engine wouldn't start. It turned out the starter battery had died. They removed the old one and then drove to the nearest boatyard and bought a new battery and fitted it. Only then could they do the 90 minute turn around! Then this morning they took her to Streethay Wharf (a three hour round trip), queued behind two other boats and then got her pumped out and dieseled up. They have got coal for me as well and used their own money for all of it and are happy to wait for my return to be repaid! If there was a national award for friends of the year, they would be tied with my friends here in Devon for first place!
Don't Panic is now safely tied up on visitors moorings at Fradley, ready for my return. It was vital to get her sorted out before the stoppages and although there is one more weekend before they come into force, this was when Graham and Jan were available. Also it is never good to leave things till the last moment in case there is an unforseen delay (like my engine not starting!) The enforcement officer has given his permission to stay on visitors for as long as I need to - I have just got to ring him on Monday to update the situation. Graham and Jan have even managed to position the boat next to a passing place on the road so we can unload the car on our return without carrying anything a long way.
Although I would like to be back on my own mooring, there is no doubt that being on visitors for a while will be easier for me. Particularly as I won't have to cross the lock or do the slope every time I leave the boat. Also the boat is right beside the walk around the lake that Bonny loves and I might be able to manage with several stops. I certainly wouldn't manage it if I had to walk from my mooring.
Now all I have to do is get steady enough on my legs to return. From next Tuesday I am allowed to start weight bearing on my bad leg, working up to 75% of normal. That will make a huge difference. I love being with my friends in Devon but I am starting to get itchy for home!