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Sunday, 12 August 2007

Monday approaches and we will leave Debdale Wharf Marina to start our cruise. Canals and rivers interconnect to cover much of the country in navigable waterways and our first post retirement cruise is to be what is known as "The Leicester Ring". Some people cruise it in 7 days, our previous navigations of this linked set of canals and rivers has taken around 9 days. This Lily Pad has never cruised it, and we intend to go very gently around it, stopping on the way wherever we wish and going up the length of both the Coventry Arm and the Ashby Canal. We could even pull in the Shackerstone Canal Festival in September. Everything is planned so that we go as the mood takes us.

On Tuesday evening our two oldest grandchildren will join us for two days, they are very useful at working the locks, as well as being great fun to have along. I'll scan in simple plan of the network and find how to give you a link to the Inland Waterways Association site as both of us have been heavily involved with this association for many years.

It is approaching a year since we were at the Association's National Festival which was held at Beale Park near Pangbourne on the river Thames. On the Saturday, just after lunch, Carol had gone to see a cookery demonstration and left me finishing eating an orange. About 20 minutes later she was hauled out of the demonstration to be told I had suffered a serious accident. The poor love waited petrified for about an hour before I was brought into the First Aid centre by the paramedics. She knew nothing of what had gone on and was wondering if I was dead, instead I walked in wet and holding my right arm. I had fallen from the roof of the boat and crashed into the top edge of the roof of the neighbouring boat, hitting it just below my shoulder. I then fell down between the two boats and into the river. I think I must have shouted as others came around to my aid, I was a bit worried about what I had said as they were members of the Boaters Christian Fellowship!

Suffice to say I had shattered the ball at the top of my arm. Reading Hospital was fantastic, but it was not an emergency, they strapped me up & told me to come back in 5 days. They kept waving needles at me and I kept fainting ( I hate needles ) and my blood pressure fell through the floor, so they kept me in coronary care overnight, but went back to the boat the next afternoon. It was a long saga and our waterways friends were fantastic in how they helped us out getting us home at first so I could get treatment in Leicester, in sorting out somewhere to moor the boat until we were able to sort out a crew to get Lily home and then in the actual help on that return trip. Everyone was fantastic and it just went to show the tremendous comradeship that exists in this boating community.

This accident brought to the fore our thoughts about going cruising and, along with actually finding a buyer for our home of 30 years after over 2 years on the market, brought this great day forward. We have now lived on the boat for over 4 weeks and are loving it. I mentioned yesterday that the boat had a bit of a list, well 120kgs of lead have sorted that out, along with a bit of readjustment on loading. I'll describe more about Lily shortly, here is a picture of her decorated up for our Leicester Boat Festival this June.

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