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To risk is to live!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Good out of bad?

I had a visit from the moorings officer yesterday. She was lovely and very sympathetic. The forecast is that things are going to get very much colder over the next month and I was worried about getting in and out of my boat in the ice as the concrete edge on visitors gets extremely slippery. It is also a bit of a trek to get to the rubbish disposal or the loos. I also feel very uncomfortable being on visitors moorings now the canal is open. Although there are very few boats coming through, I still feel that I may be stopping someone else mooring just for the night because I am staying there.

As mentioned in my previous entries, I had been confident that I would be able to get back to my own mooring in a matter of a week or so after the cast was removed. I wasn’t basing that on anything except wishful thinking really. It is now two weeks since the cast was removed and I am still on two crutches and recovery is proving to be an awful lot slower than I had hoped. The moorings officer has therefore let me go on a vacant long term mooring opposite the visitors moorings. It is better for several reasons: The edge is a lot safer for me to get in and out of the boat. It is right next to my car which means I can drive to the rubbish or the showers (if I get short of water and need to shower at the public ones). I am away from the road that leads to the pub which is great as cars do race up there in the evening, their lights shining into my boat and so close that I couldn’t let Bon out for a wee without going with her. There is a patch of grass outside the boat now so she can mooch on her lead without getting run over. I also get to chat to my fellow Hunts Lock moorers as they all park their cars next to this mooring.

Apart from getting across the lock on crutches, the other problem with my return is the state of the path through the mooring. We have had so much rain this year that the earth has been washed away, exposing loads of tree roots. People are tripping over them even with two good legs! The slope leading down to our gate from the lock is also very tricky in icy conditions. The moorings officer has apparently been trying to lever some money out of CaRT to improve the Hunts Lock moorings but with no success. She got me to fill out an accident form regarding how my leg got broken, emphasising the tree roots and uneven ground. She thinks she can use the report to frighten them into action. As she said, it would be good if something positive came out of my accident that benefited everyone on the mooring.

The other good thing, as I have previously mentioned, is the effect all this has had on Bonny. That was put to the test yesterday. As the moorings officer came on board, the door and cratch cover was open for just a bit too long and Bonny, who had been watching a squirrel playing in the tree opposite the boat, took the opportunity to jump out and cross the road to get a closer view of the squirrel. This was the first time she had been outside off her lead in nearly 8 weeks. The moorings lady went to catch her which of course made Bonny run off towards the entrance to the park. I managed to stifle my panic and called her from the boat very firmly. She immediately turned back towards us, but then stopped near the boat looking for all the world like old Bonny and new Bonny were fighting it out in her head. I called her into the boat again and after a short hesitation, she jumped straight in and went to her bed, looking very pleased with herself. I was so relieved and so impressed with her. If ever she was going to take advantage of her unaccustomed freedom, this was it, especially as the squirrels were calling to her.

I have also noticed significant and positive changes in me and how I relate to others thanks to this experience, but I’ll write about that another time, when I understand it better.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Frustration setting in

I was hoping to return to my mooring this weekend but it is not yet possible. I can’t even walk from the visitors mooring to my mooring yet. I went shopping with Graham and Jan today and we went to three shops. I had to leave them and go back to the car at the second shop as I was in such discomfort.

The bones of my leg feel fine, it’s the amount of swelling around my leg and ankle that makes it impossible to walk very far. When it gets bad – like this morning, it feels as though my leg will burst out through my skin like an overripe fruit! I am still on two crutches where I was sure I’d only be on one by now.

The worst thing is the lack of knowledge I have about how it should be by now and what I can do to help the healing. It’s nearly two weeks since Derby Hospital said the physios would be in touch to make an appointment for me but not a whisper from them yet, so I don’t know what exercises I should be doing. I am also unsure whether the amount of swelling I have is normal or not so I have made an appointment to see my GP on Tuesday and will hopefully get some answers. Mind you, I’m not holding my breath as the only other time I have visited a doctor at this surgery, he was worse than useless!

Yes, I know, I’m feeling sorry for myself and should snap out of it. I’ll allow myself this one whinge and no more. The weather doesn’t help as it never really got light here at all today. We started with thick fog and progressed to heavy rain and now it’s getting dark.

At least Bonny is happy – in fact happier than she has ever been. The experience of being treated like a dog rather than a baby has done her the world of good, as well as now being very firmly second in our pecking order of two. She behaves on all her walks and not just behaves but actively listens to whoever is walking her and is playful and content. She does whatever I ask her to and seems to be aware that she has to be careful around me and my leg. She even deliberately put herself between me and a lively dog on our stroll round the park yesterday, for all the world as if she was protecting me! Despite all the pain and frustration involved over the last two months (on Monday) I can say that the broken leg was worth it for the change it has brought about in Bonny.squirrel passing!Keeping an eye open for squirrels

Monday, 19 November 2012

Living on Visitors Moorings

I have been back on board for a week now and things are getting easier all the time. I can get on and off the boat with relative ease now – as long as there is no ice. It is just as well I am moored on visitors though because there is no way I can cross the lock at present and it is easier to take Bonny out, being moored near the entrance to the park. I got right round the lake for the first time yesterday with her. I am almost crutch free inside the boat; the only time I need support is first thing in the morning as my leg wakes up very stiff and sore. In fact it aches more now than it ever did in the cast, but that is because I’m really starting to use it now.

I still use both crutches outside the boat as I can only walk a short distance before the ache becomes a real pain. I also need them for balance as it can be slippery with lots of leaves underfoot. I can’t drive yet and am having to fork out for a taxi today to go to the dentist in Burton as I am still living with my broken tooth. However, I got in my car for the first time yesterday and I think that it won’t be long before I can do a quick, local drive. The main thing is that I need to be able to slam on the brakes if necessary and I’m not quite strong enough to do that yet.

People continue to be supportive and lovely. Bonny has had regular walks courtesy of my neighbours – in particular Jan who takes her with her boyfriend Bernie every morning…Bernie FinchIsn’t he a handsome boy? Chris and Stelle from Belle have taken Bonny on really good, long walks on several afternoons which is so good for her as well.

My temporary neighbours on the visitors moorings have also been offering help, and all in all I feel very safe and secure at present. Graham and Jan took me shopping for food last weekend and also filled me up with water again (or rather the boat!). My newest friend Stan took Jan and I to a Christmas fair just up the road which was fun, although it was packed and difficult to operate in crowds on crutches. He is the same one who took me to the hospital and is proving to be a good friend. I am helping him in return by teaching him how to use the internet.

I am really hoping that if I can keep up the rate of progress, I’ll be able to return at last to my mooring next weekend. I’m keeping my fingers crossed! If not, then the stoppages will end and boats will start to want to moor here again. That will make me feel bad for hogging a space for so long – even though I do have both permission and a really good excuse!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Normal service being resumed

I got home to my boat on Sunday evening and it was looking better than I had ever seen it! Graham and Jan had cleaned it both inside and out, bought flowers, candles and matching bathroom accessories and of course had left it full of water and diesel and empty of poo! I had presents also waiting for me from two other sets of moorers – including whisky – oh they know me so well! Thank you everybody.

I was exhausted when I got back and so wasn’t surprised that I found even getting into the boat very difficult. My body had forgotten what it was like to have a gently moving floor underfoot and so I staggered like a drunken sailor for the first 24 hours – even though nothing was passing the boat as we are locked in. Roger and Shirleyann had to leave the next morning to get back to Devon and I found it really hard to let them go and even shed a few tears.

On Tuesday a lovely gentleman called Stan picked me up and drove me to Derby Hospital. After a bit of a wait, I was ushered through to the plaster room. I had expected to see the consultant who operated on me, but no, I only saw a physio. But that didn’t matter as they finally removed my bright green cast and revealed a dull green and blue leg! But it was straight and looking much improved. I managed to stand on it but not to take a step properly so I have to have some walking lessons!

Oh the joy of being free of the cast! I can itch and scratch (my skin immediately fell off in blizzards once the cast was removed – a bit embarrassing as I was having lunch in a pub with Stan at the time!) I have had my first shower without having to bag up my leg first and sleeping is so much more comfortable. This morning I managed to wear my new jeans for the first time and both shoes!

Some things are still impossible for me at present – like crossing the lock, so no returning to my own mooring just yet, but I really feel that normal life is being resumed – at last!

Monday, 5 November 2012

A week to go

I will be returning to 'Don't Panic' next Sunday and I can't wait! I have been very comfortable here in Devon and so well looked after but, as Dorothy said "There's no place like home!" Anxieties over how I'm going to cope with the boat have faded as my leg has got stronger and as my friends continue to be so supportive. Graham and Jan spent all morning on my boat yesterday cleaning and getting it ready for my return!

I had hoped to be able to post good news about the missing coal. People spread the word very quickly and I had harboured the hope that whoever stole it would have a fit of conscience and would return it to the mooring, but no such luck. I suppose I'm being a bit optimistic that a person who would steal coal from a boater as winter is coming on would possess a conscience! I have tried to forget about it but I can't help but wonder who did it and would they return to steal other things? I guess that's another reason I want to get back - to keep an eye on things. I reported it to CaRT and they have agreed to change the gate lock and give us unique keys for it - issued to moorers only. Still, Jan has told me that some trees have been cut down on the mooring by CaRT and all the moorers have shared out the wood - with CaRT's blessing. Jan and Julie saved some for me - bless them. At least I'll have something left to burn!

A week tomorrow I shall return to Derby Hospital - this time by car - to get my cast removed and have the consultant examine my leg. I'm hoping it has mended straight and that I will be able to walk reasonably well without the support of a cast, but we will see.

Meanwhile, yet another friend, this time from Barton Marina, has organised someone to come and do my boat safety certificate next weekend. Hopefully 'Don't Panic' will pass with flying colours and I won't have to worry about that for another four years. The stoppages start today so that the boats at Fradley are effectively 'locked in' with stoppages either side of the mooring until, I think, 23rd November.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Stealing from a cripple

I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of almost everyone I know since I had my accident and so the news I have just received has quite upset me. My friends Jan and Graham went to a lot of trouble to get several bags of coal put onto my mooring so that I don't have to worry about keeping warm while my leg continues to heal. Jan has just discovered that someone, either last night or today, has helped themselves to two of the bags!

I have always been so impressed that you can leave stuff on the roof of your boat and it will still be there when you return. However, if I had lost the coal off the roof while the boat is on visitors I would be less shocked than I am that they have actually stolen them off the mooring itself! I am assuming it was someone on foot as, if they had brought a boat onto the mooring, they would have taken all the coal. I also think they would run a much bigger risk of being noticed in a boat. Also the mooring is very silted up at present which would make it difficult for a boat to access the mooring.

It really is mean stealing someone else's coal at any time and something that, as far as I know, is mercifully rare on the canals. I am really hoping that whoever stole it was not aware of my situation, as stealing from a cripple really is beyond the pale and if whoever stole it ends up reading this, be assured you will receive your comeuppance, whether in this world or the next!

Jan hugely restored my faith in the rest of humanity when she said I would owe her £20 less because the two bags had gone! Needless to say I will not be leaving her out of pocket, but what a lovely thing to say! The nice people still out number the nasty ones - at least in my world!