Monday, December 01, 2008

Settling In

As we said before, it was rather strange to stop travelling and move into winter moorings here in Blisworth Marina but, one month on, we have already got quite used to it. Ironically, we had no sooner become static than we became more mobile by borrowing our car back from Adam. Dave got a bus into Northampton and caught a train over to Wolverhampton, where Adam's partner Rachel works, picked up the car from her and drove back. You can just see Zindagi's wind turbine on the left, and the car is parked up behind that to the left. The brick building has loos, showers and washing machine, with rubbish disposal skips next to it. All very well laid out and kept in sparkling order!
Just outside the marina entrance is Gayton Junction, where the Northampton Arm branches north-east off the main line of the Grand Union. You may remember that we went down that way last year, travelling down the River Nene to Peterborough. We didn't have enough time to go any further then, but we are provisionally planning to travel down the Nene again next year and go on through the 'Middle Level' of the Fens to join the Great Ouse and the River Cam. We have the map and guide books and have been looking at the possibilities – all part of the fun of the longer winter evenings, all snug in our little living room and making plans for more cruising!
Back in September, we kick-started the process for Val's knees to get some proper attention, getting X-rays and a referral to the consultant in Barnstaple (North Devon Hospital). Just nicely timed, Val was able to get an appointment to see him on 14th November. So we drove down, spent two nights with Joe and Wendy in Barnstaple and saw the consultant. He was very straightforward and told us that Val definitely needed replacement knee joints. In order to comply with their 'waiting list' rules, she would have to have the first one done by mid-February, so that is all due to happen – Hallelujah! Assuming all goes OK with the first one, then the second one should be scheduled for about 3 months later.
Obviously, our cruising plans will have to fit around these dates, so it probably means that we shall be here into February at least, then maybe away for a bit before mooring up for a while (here again? – who knows?). All being well, by some time in the summer we may well be able to get really mobile on the water again – great!

Meanwhile, as you will have guessed from the pictures, we have been down to see Shireen and Thor in London. As we are so close to the M1 here, it only took us just over 2 hours to get there, and less to get back. Thor is certainly growing, toddling around everywhere and 'talking' in his own language with the occasional English word thrown in! Shireen's friend Chesca has been staying with them and has become part of the family – Thor really loves her! We were with them a few days after his first birthday, and hope we might see them again sometime soon before Shireen and Frankie take off back to Scotland in the New Year. They are planning to move back there long-term, so no doubt we shall be making a few trips north before too long!
Adam went to Australia in early November for work and Rachel joined him a few days ago so that they could enjoy some holiday before flying back together in about a week. Plans include hiring a VW camper (home from home!) and doing some diving near the Great Barrier Reef. Sounds great – hope we see some photos!
Jeremy went off to Chad again today and is due back in about 3 weeks. He will probably come and spend a few days with us after that and we are provisionally planning to go for a little cruise together if the weather permits!
Back here in Blisworth, we have picked up with the friends we made in the local church, and are gradually getting more involved. We are glad we decided to be based here for the winter this year, and have been made really welcome. Hopefully we can make a useful contribution to the fellowship while we are here.
Blog entries will probably be a little sparse for a while as we are not travelling, but we shall try to update you with any important news as it happens.