Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Forever Queen fan's

Well I know we haven't blogged for a long time but as you know things have changed for a while.. We are treating this stage in our lives as just another chapter and we know this is the right thing to do.. You have to realise that as much as we love Derwent6, she is just a material thing and Al's Mum is way above the boat.. We are still reminded everyday of Alf and still feel his presence in the house that he loved..
Del has been popping back to Derwent6 just to keep it warm and keep the cogs turning..

We still haven't been able to get our heads round Christmas, but the house has been decorated just like Al's dad would have liked it... It is still very difficult for us to get out but we have had some respite from carer's and Al's sister..
Last weekend was just fantastic!! We had arranged to meet up with some boating friends Mark and Sian off n.b Utopian who live down in Portsmouth, and they had invited us to stay with them over the weekend..
Well what a weekend we had..
Mark plays in a Queen tribute band called Forever Queen ( and Del being a big Queen fan couldn't wait to see them..
We went with friends Bernie and Sarah as Bernie is also a big Queen fan.. When we arrived Mark met us and showed us around their lovely Guest House and to our rooms, Wow we were blown away!!!
We had some time in the afternoon to go to Gunwharf Quay's (walking distance) and the girls got some shopping in while the guys had a drink or two, rude not to...
Mark went off to meet up with the rest of the band and set up for the evening and we all got showered and ready to meet up at 8.00pm (again walking distance)
It was great to meet up with the rest of the boys Karl, Craig, and Marcus, and what a great bunch of guys they are..
We had just a fantastic night, albeit Del was a bit loud and lost his voice halfway through, check out the video's on Facebook  ( )
We then got back to the house and the beers continued till the early hours of the morning at Marks bar.. Yep we were knackered!!

On the Saturday the weather was just so lovely we all went for a walk along the sea front at Southsea and had breakfast in the beach café which is actually on the beach, the sea was so calm...
We continued our walk with a free tour from born and breed pompey boy Mark, it was so interesting, even finding out Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born there in 1806.. We did the round tower, Henry VIII  castle..
We also did Old Portsmouth and the tour finished at the Navy base where we went to the Mary Rose museum, a must see...
We walked back to the Guest House and it was get ready again for the evening.. This time the girls went into town while the Queen fans jumped in with Mark for another gig in Basingstoke..
We felt like Roadies as we helped getting the gear to the stage for setting up, and there is a lot of it.. What another great night we had, even though Del couldn't sing (thank god! it's Christmas).
The boys got back at 2.00am.. The girls had drinks and something to eat before it was time to catch up on some sleep..
On the Sunday we were up at 9.00am and we walked to a small café called Smile (Queens first band name) and had a lovely breakfast.. It was then back to the house where the band turned up again for a photo session, and we said our goodbyes.. On our way back we stopped off for some Sunday roast at the Crown in Shoreham before we said goodbye to Bernie and Sarah..
It was the break we needed and it helped to recharge our batteries even though we were full on over the weekend, it was great to be normal again for a bit..
Al's Mum has taken the loss of Alf quite hard and she looks a bit sad still and has been finding it difficult, calling out for him at night. But we are trying to look forward to Christmas even though one of us will be missing!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Birthday Boy!


You haven't changed one little bit lol!

Friday, November 21, 2014

R.I.P. Dad

Wow what a great send off.. Alf got his full honours with Union Jack and a Piper piping him in to "Amazing Grace" and the flag dropped at the commendation, and Mum sang along in church to "I love you because" by Jim Reeves..

Alfred Thomas Ayling
We will all miss you soooooooo much!

I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!
Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
'There she goes! ' ,
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
'Here she comes!, Here she comes!'
Goodnight Pa................Goodnight Dad xxxxxxxxxxxxx


Friday, October 31, 2014

The Right Path

As you can imagine things have been a bit tough at the moment but you have to move on and time is the biggest healer. Alf would not want us to be sad as he was such a happy chappy, and we have learnt so much from him.
Because of the situation we had to move Derwent6.. Del went up on Friday and was up early on Saturday for a early cruise after some wood had been chopped.
Del went through Brownsover at Rugby and on the way noticed this piece of graffiti up on the bridge.. I know it says Fred and Alf but turn it round and put it together and you get Alfred, another sign Del thought that we were on the right path.
Del passed through Newbold Tunnel..
He arrived at the marina at 1.00pm and Eric the harbour master sorted us out, and Al arrived an hour later, while friends Sarah & Erica looked after Pam (Al's Mum)..
We got some clothes together and anything else we needed from home, and said our sad goodbyes to Derwent6 for a bit..
We have been making all the arrangements for a good send off for Alf, but bless him, he has made things so much easier, even with a file on his computer headed "WHAT TO DO WHEN THE TIME COMES" it also showed the location of a hidden folder with all the information we needed for pensions, banking and funeral arrangements and most important of all the Will and power of attorney documentation, like we have said he was a smart fellow.
So the funeral has been arranged for Wednesday 12th November at Shoreham Village Church at 10.30am and the wake will be at his favourite Shoreham pub Ye Olde George Inn (opposite the church). He will be cremated at Vinters Park, Maidstone at 3.30pm. We still have a lot of work to do to make sure he gets his last wishes..... and we will make sure he does!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thank you for all your support

Wow...... thanks for all your lovely comments at this very difficult time... It's at times like this that you realise that you need people round you. We are so lucky to have some of the greatest friends and family you can have who have just gone so far out of their way to help us.. A BIG BIG thank you to you all for your support..
As you all know, you learn friendship from your parents, and it has been a big task telling everyone of the very sad news about Dad,Alf, who had made more friends, of all generations, over the decades than you can imagine.
Our priority now is Al's Mum Pam, who is missing Alf like mad and asks for him everyday.. while sleeping in her bed we heard her say "That's right! cuddle up to me!!"  God Its hard!!! We need some quality time with her, before Dad, Alf, takes her back, to continue that 62 years of marriage..

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We Lost Him

Today is such a sad day for us.. We Lost Dad, Alfred Ayling at 12.00 midday today after a long battle with loads of different things.. He will always be remembered for his smart witty charm, kindness and generosity, and he was an inspiration to us all.. He will always bring happy memories and we will miss his phone calls with ' Oh! I forgot to tell you', 'Oh how do I cook this' and 'my computer won't work'.  Dad, Alf, we will always love you for ever....
We will be taking a break from the blog while we get our heads together, and a big thank you everyone, for all your support....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A lovely tranquil move, then Panic!

As you guys can tell from the blog, things are still not good with Al's Dad.. He was back home as you could see from the last blog and Al was staying with them hopefully to get Alf back on his feet. Things started to improve and Del was chatting on Skype to him from Derwent6, impressed with how well he looked. Al, Pam & Alf have received some lovely flowers from everyone including some from Sweden and they looked fantastic and brightened up the house and smelt so good.... Thank you Ingalill, that was so thoughtful.
All this caring was taking it's toll on Al and she needed a break from looking after her Mum and her Dad full time, for a bit. We had to move Derwent6, because our 14 days were over due and also it would do Al so good to get back to the tranquil life on the canals. Al's sister took over looking after them for two days and Al turned up to Derwent6 on Thursday afternoon, excited from being back home. Del had already turned Derwent6 and filled with water.
On that evening we went for a well earned meal out at the New Inn and a good catch up..
We decided to set off early (as Al was used that waking up at 6.00am for carers to arrive at seven) and we headed towards the tunnel..
Del stuck the bow into the portal and then rammed into reverse finding out the light didn't work. Al then panicked as Del wasn't on the stern deck and was down the gunwale pushing the sides off the tunnel walls, then burst into tears, as she thought Del had fell in, she didn't need this..
We manged to reverse out and pull over and Del got to work on the light.. It wasn't the bulb or a connection at the lamp. We had a feed at the switch, but not at the cratch board and Del found a break in the lockers and managed to do a temporary repair to get us through the tunnel. It did Al good to do the flight of locks at Braunston which took her mind off things but we had already had three calls from her sister to say that her Dad had deteriorated.
Braunston was still quite busy as the weather is still very warm for the time of year.. As we pulled out of the village we got anther phone call and the doctor had to be called to Alf..
Al again was in bits and just wanted to be there so we pushed on through Hillmorton and managed to moor up at the bottom of the locks..
The next call was Alf was going in under a blue light and panic set in.. It was a quick 'grab a few things' and then we fast trotted it to the station.. We managed to get to the hospital at 7.00pm after another train and a bus and met up with Al's sister while her husband looked after Al's Mum. When we found him he looked so weak and ill again and he was diagnosed with sepsis, blood poisoning.
His blood pressure had dropped into danger levels again and his pulse near the 200 mark.. We all sat by his bedside and watched the figures and the drip going into him, keeping everything crossed!
We left the hospital at 1.00am with Alf showing a very slight recovery, but we all needed sleep.. On the Saturday Al was back in at 8.00am as Alf was only allowed one visiter.. Things were still 50/50, but he was stable till we could all go in at visiting time at 2.00pm. His blood pressure was going up and down like a yo-yo and his pulse fluctuated, but sill in the hundreds. 
So the state of play is watch this space.... Del is now back on Derwent6, on standby!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Alf home, but all's not well yet

Just a quick update.. Al's Dad Alf came out of hospital on Friday 3rd October but on collecting him he was complaining again of some back pain... On his discharge letter we were told some good news that the dark spots on his spine where nothing to worry about, good news at last, no one seems to want to tell us good news..
We got him home and he was with his wife Pamela again, she was so pleased to see him.
He was ok for 24 hours, until his back pain got worse again, and we ended up having to call out a emergency doctor, who was convinced it was muscular and had to put him back on morphine, this seemed to ease the problem, but he still couldn't eat.. He has gone from thirteen stone to nine and he has only had soup and eggs...  Since then he has got slightly better each day, but is still in bed.. We have managed to get some care for him but Al is going to stay with him to keep a eye on progress till he is strong enough to get about and care for her Mum.. He has fallen over even when walking with a zimmer, and still has other issues.. He was unable to go back to Kings on Monday for his cancer treatment so that has been put back a couple of weeks... Del stayed for a couple of weeks helping out.......
Back on Derwent6, Del is now getting Derwent6 ready for the winter and will be changing the antifreeze on the engine and also servicing the central heating boiler and getting antifreeze in the system. We lit the fire for the first time, so kindling has to found and chopped.....Finally a big thank you for all your messages, phone calls and texts, we so appreciate all the support.........

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Emergency Derwent6

OMG where do we start!! Sorry for us not blogging for the last week or so but we have had some problems with Al 's dad..  He was admitted into hospital close to his home at Farnborough by the doctor and Al had to rush down from Rushdon, getting the bus to Wellingborough for the train, and Del stayed with Derwent6...
Things went from bad to worse and Al was at his bedside while Del was stuck on the river Nene..
It got to the weekend and Alf just got worse, in fact he had lost so much weight he was looking like he wouldn't make the weekend. Bernie ( Del's mate) said he would take some days off work and help Del move Derwent6 back onto the Grand Union. David, Bernie's son kindly brought Bernie up to Derwent6 and after a night in Irthlingborough they set off early.. 

Derwent6 was in need of a pumpout and we headed for Wellingborough but just as we got through our first lock the domestic alternator light came on, could things get any worse!
Well yes they could: We stopped at the services at Wellingborough to find out the locks on the pump out had been vandalised and it was out of use so it was down to the manual pumpout fitted on Derwent6.. Bernie walked to Tesco's and Del started the pumpout to then find that wouldn't work either, Damn! so we both pushed on knowing we only had two days left in the tank and peeing in the hedge would have to be a must!
So after nine locks and eighteen miles we pulled over at Cogenhoe.. 
The locks are very tricky going up and you have to take things very slowly and Bernie was doing a great job.. At Cogenhoe we needed a hot meal and couldn't use any battery power due to the alternator fault. So we walked a couple of miles up to a pub in the village to then find that they had a hen night going on and no food was available, we were staving. So we walked back to a small pub on the campsite where they had some hot pies which went down well with a beer and they even laid on some entertainment for us, they made us feel so welcome after we told them our story so far.. We had a great night which took our mind off things a bit..
It was another early start for us and we crept away still with the light on. We put on the generator and used the full charging setting on the inverter to put a little into the batteries.
We had fifteen miles today and 24 locks.. It was Sunday morning and still very quiet on the Nene so we sneaked through Northampton with only a couple of watchers and soon got to the Northampton Arm.
It was good and bad, things were easier with the single locks but the weed was so bad the Axion Prop came back into play.
It was all going well until we got to lock 13 when a lock gate wouldn't open fully. We had the pole and plank out and found a boulder jamming the gate and after half an hour managed to move it enough to get the gate open and scrape Derwent6 down the gunwales. Phew!
It was then the flight of twelve locks to do and luck was now with us meeting two boats coming down, the first we had seen. We then got to Gayton Marina and we were brimming on the waste tank. It was good to see the gauge showing empty as we set off to see how far we could get.. We reached Bugsbrooke and manged to get a slot right outside the pub there, we deserved it! Chilli and chips were the reward for a good days work.. We cruised early again the following day and it was strange to be passing boats every ten minutes but a relief to be on the canal system and not checking the weather.. After a few hours we got to the bottom of the Buckby flight where we had to queue for the first time this year... It made it easier with another boat but they were novices so Bernie, with full experience now, showed them how to do things and got the next lock ready for both boats.. At the top we found a mooring and gathered all our things to rush down to the hospital.. Thanks David and Bernie for all your help!!

Al got to the stage where she was just watching her dad wasting away, and as she was not sleeping, trawled the Internet for some answers.. Farnborough was treating her dad as a cancer patient and doing scans and things to look for secondary cancer on his back where he had the most pain.. His weight was just falling off him and he couldn't eat or drink, it was like they had given up on him..  In desperation she found out that all his symptoms pointed to a kidney infection and thyroid problem and the next day pleaded with the doctors to do blood tests to prove her wrong.. She even showed them these two photos to show cancer couldn't do this in five weeks, they agreed.                                Before!
They did them in front of her and when checked all hell broke lose. Alf was put on IV antibiotics and fluids and within hours you could see a recovery..
Al also had the problem of who would care for her mum, as her sister Jo also wanted to go in to see her dad. Between the two of them they managed to get in to see him and Brian (Jo's husband), neighbours and carers helped till Del managed to get back to take over.. 
Within days you could see Alf coming back as his weight slowly went back on his face and arms.. When an overactive thyroid was confirmed we even got a "well done you" from one of the doctors, but no one is accepting responsibility for their incorrect diagnosis.
We still had the problem of Derwent6 and Del went back after a few days to sort things out..
Whilst down in Kent, Del planned to strip the domestic alternator and ordered some brushes in the hope that maybe it would solve things. The fault was intermittent with it working ok from cold for about ten minutes till the engine warmed up, and the light came back on..
Del took off the alternator and stripped and removed the brushes to find one was lower then the other, a good sign.
When fitting back together he soon found out that the brush set he had was different and the earth point was a different height. After some thought, a 6mm nut was used to fill the gap and make a good connection. It worked! and Derwent6 was charging again. Then the pump out was looked at and a full service kit was fitted to the pump. As the tank was empty this can't be tested so watch this space..
So where are we!! Al is staying with her dad in hospital during the day, with carers and her sister looking after her mum, and then returning to look after her mum through the night, while Del goes backwards and forwards to Derwent6 helping out when he can..  Alf is making a miraculous recovery and we hope he will be home soon. Things have had to change at home and Al has made the changes, with Del doing the maintenance around the house and garden..  Its at moments like this you find out who your friends are and we would like to thank everyone who has phoned, offered support, visited us, and gone in to see Alf....  A big thank you to Rosemary who has been driving Del back to Kent from Derwent6..   Everybody wishes you well Alf and we can't wait for you to come home!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Where is everyone, Spooky!

We set off at 9.00am this morning, knowing we had the second low bridge at Islip to deal with. Del was hoping with all the wood now on the bow of Derwent6 it would keep it low enough to go under without taking the chimney off. We approached with care, but you could see we fitted with about a foot to spare compared to when we came down stream and we had the chimney off and only three inches to spare. It just shows how little rain we have had, we have been so lucky on here.
We went into the lock and got into our routine of holding Derwent6.
We continued through Thrapston and the nine arch bridge with no problems.
We still had a grin when we went under the A14 bridge, remembering all the times we used to look down from the road wishing we were here.

We went through Denford lock, which seems to be in the middle of nowhere, and some lazy git hadn't emptied the lock for us probably as it was one with a wheel. With aching arms we got through in the end.
Can you believe it we hadn't met a boat, and its a Sunday, that wouldn't happen on the canals. This river has so much character and it is so wide one minute and then so tight the next. 
We passed Woodford and St Mary the Virgin church, its so pretty round here its a shame the moorings are no longer in use and you can't stop.
It was on to Ringstead with its upper and lower locks and Willy Watt Marina. There is a lovely tea room here.
We still hadn't seen a boat all day and got to Irthlingborough lock. This is a deep lock and we were very cautious on going upstream. We were right, the centre rope was straining and Del only just managed to keep hold of Derwent6 with Al opening and closing the paddle keeping things under control. It took us a good fifteen minutes to get to the top and as we opened the gate a boat came along, we are not alone after all.
We moved out and looked down to see the Rushden and Diamonds mooring empty, where is everyone.
We sorted out Derwent6 with telly and then went for a walk along the towpath for another batch of Blackberries, Yummmmm
Yep more free jam was on the menu.. Al made it while Del put some more coats of paint on the barrels.