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Whispers on water - a photo journal of our life on the 'cut' dedicated to keeping family and friends informed of our whereabouts.
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Helping to keep our waterways litter-free: www.litteraction.org.uk/narrowboat-wilvir
Drought, pollution and illegal fishing all threaten our waterways. Spotted something that looks wrong? See it, say it, save it. Call the Environment Agency (EA) Incident Hotline: 0800 80 70
Gunner, patiently on the lookout for the slightest hint that there's something out there to chase. An activity of his I'm jealous of at the moment in my current circumstance.......................
For the past four days I've put up with the ebb and flow of pain that accompanies the final and lasting agony of a full blown bout of gout in my right foot. I'm now unable to walk and my foot has swollen such that I'm unable to wear any footwear at all and the fact that the pain of even the slightest touch makes wearing shoes unbearably impossible.
The pain is indescribable and has kept me awake and restless for most of the past three nights. Aside from the prescribed anti-inflammatory pills, which I initially double-dose on to even begin to numb the pain, I also have to add over the counter pain-killers, which aren't as corrosive to my stomach, to lessen the pain enough to snatch a moments sleep.
I shouldn't have walked the five miles I did with Gunner three nights ago knowing the signs were there. I arrived back at the boat limping slightly and then the next day contorted myself into a near impossible space just to set the timing marks on the crankcase of wilvir's engine and set the valve clearances. The pleasure I derived from walking Gunner and servicing the engine has certainly been replaced by feelings of anxiety over how quickly incapacitated and vulnerable I've become and the threat it poses to our way of life from time to time.
This morning the pain is under control and the swelling is subsiding, so hopefully this episode will have passed by the weekend. Sometimes an episode will come and go over a period of just twenty-four hours with the same attendant agony and swelling that at other times may last days. I'm fortunate in that I usually only have to suffer with it, at most for about a week, once every couple of months. Others aren't so lucky and have to live with it on a near daily basis. It's a very debilitating condition and signs are that my knees and ankles are becoming more and more susceptible to it as time passes with each episode.
In all other respects I'm fine, but there is always the niggle at the back of the mind that I ain't all that these days and need to think about taking care of myself more than ever I did before. Ginny deserves that, more than I can ever express in words, for all she has brought to our relationship over the thirty seven years we've been married.
I find pharmacists are much more accessible, informed and helpful than General-Practitioners these days too. The internet, through necessity, has become my doctor. However, hospitals are still wonderful institutions, though hopefully I won't be needing one unless somebody unfortunately has to dial 999 on my behalf!
I live life on my terms and the result is living the way we do, on a boat, and simply experiencing the colour of life and its many hues as it comes. Sod the gout!
4th Nov 2011, 10:48
Looking west from the Middlewood Way with the landscape sloping away to Manchester Airport on the far horizon.
I had to laugh at myself today while taking a break from adjusting the valve clearances on wilvir's engine, which were starting to beat an altogether different rhythm, albeit indiscernible to the untrained ear of passing ramblers amongst the birdsong of an exceptionally beautiful day.
Anyway, on looking down at my feet, which were just visible below the turn-ups of my overalls proudly emblazoned with the words Rolls-Royce, I happened to notice I was wearing SLIPPERS!
That's an indication of how clean wilvir's engine bay is and the uncomplicated laid back (near horizontal) way my life is continuing to unfold. I often smile at the usually frowning demeanour, oil smudged clothes, filthy hands and concerned faces that rise from the supposed toil of 'hard' work, which is usually a consequence of putting off all those little engine bay jobs that have needed attending to for sometime until the engine says, 'that's it I've had enough' and expensively shudders to a stop. Now you've no choice but to wade about in oily bilge water, taste and smell the faint acidity on the air from overworked, thirsty batteries and try not to touch surfaces microscopically greased by the engine and blackened by dust thrown from overly worn alternator drive belts. Notwithstanding the guilty conscience of ignoring oil and filter changes. Sometimes, a consequence of the engine being virtually inaccessible or soundproofed, comes the point where the only indication of a problem is a worn engine mount audibly transmitting something is amiss by chattering to the comfort of the saloon via the steelwork.
The answer is being able to wear slippers while immersed in the art of technical tweaking. They make the joy of fiddling with narrowboat engines so much more comfortable and rewarding. And, you can wander through the boat with impunity and not a disparaging word being uttered by members of the crew that a 'clean' engineer is topside!
Unless, that is, you've been putting off all those outstanding little jobs for far to long!
1st Nov 2011, 18:57
Wilvir's Jack-o-Lantern awaits nightfall to ward off and placate roaming sprites and evil spirits who might otherwise 'fiddle' with our property as darkness falls across the 'cut'.
31st Oct 2011, 12:18
30th Oct 2011, 18:21
The wood-burner is glowing in the corner and slow-cooking a beef stew that is beginning to permeate the boat with mouthwatering seductiveness.
27th Oct 2011, 11:35
1. A view from the Middlewood Way viaduct that dominates the skyline above Bollington and the Dane River.
2. Crossing the viaduct from the Marple end.
3. A Middlewood Way mile marker.
4. Typical of the footpath running along the old railway line embankment parallel to the Middlewood Way proper, which you can just make out through the trees to the right.
Yesterday afternoon we moored just north of the small town of Bollington, which nestles below an aqueduct, carrying the canal over the River Dane valley and a disused railway viaduct that now connects the Middlewood Way, a ten mile footpath between Macclesfield and Marple. We're only one mile from the boundary of the Peak District National Park.
Having not been this way for three years it's good to be back as we love the views, the walks and the feeling of permanence forged by Bollington's past industrial heritage and the craftsmanship in the stonework of its historical homes and businesses.
For more info go to: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bollington
25th Oct 2011, 11:27
1. Sunset over Danes Moss last evening.
2. Treetops overlooking the moss.
3. Sunrise at Broadhurst Swing Bridge. A footpath from here leads west, over a railway bridge, to Danes Moss.
4. Our home for the past six days.
We left Danes Moss this morning, heading for Bollington, a small town three miles north of Macclesfield.
24th Oct 2011, 19:14
Today was a repeat of much of yesterday, interspersed with rain and hail showers giving way to a beautifully crisp and sunny autumnal end to the day rounded off by a walk along the edge of a wood.
The raucous sound of rooks whirling in the darkening sky as they again returned in their hundreds to roost in the trees nearby is a welcoming sign that all is well in our world as I hope it is in yours.
It's now 8pm here and I've just been outside to find frost on the boat - and I'm still in shorts!
19th Oct 2011, 20:15