Saturday, 27 August 2011

Orford - looking downstream. The far bank is the inland side of Orford Ness.
I drove out to Orford yesterday (Friday), had lunch in the excellent tea rooms there and wandered along a few meters of the shoreline. The grey of the picture encapsulates my mood although it was good to see rain and clouds in a different place.

Friday, 26 August 2011

What I have not said during recent posts is that I am feeling less well than usual. This is due to being very breathless when I do anything much. I even struggled to empty the dishwasher the other day. This dates back into July.

Last week was spent worrying, getting an xray, worrying, writing emails and visiting the oncology department in Ipswich. In between - a bit of shopping and the usual trivia of domestic life.

The current position is that the breathlessness is not due to gross return of cancer - which does not show on the xray. I am to have a scan to narrow the likely causes - which maybe a reaction to Tarceva or minute blood clots or an infection.

So I am hanging out and trying (not very successfully) to be restful and calm  - and of course - - -

"But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;"

Thursday 26th August - two years since diagnosis

I called the end of the first year 'the birthday of my life ' -  it is a new life and has not been without its fun and pleasures, so I acknowledge the end of the second year of survival. This makes me sound very grand - with an 'official' birthday and a normal birthday!
And I thank the NHS oncology team at Ipswich hospital for their good care.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Titchmarsh to Woodbridge

Leaving Titchmarsh - on passage to River Deben
I left about an hour and a half before low water at about 9-00 - no wind - bright sky. I got back to Woodbridge at about 15-00 hrs. A frustrating sail as I had to motor most of the way and when there was any wind  - it was on the nose. But I got in through the Deben entrance at the time planned and without adventure. I tied up at the sailing club pontoon for a couple of hours for a rest and to wait for depth over the marina sill.

I had to walk home as I did not leave the car at the marina - a mistake. I  am off to my bunk - I mean bed - by way of a shower - I can still feel the movement of the boat.

Saturday, 20 August 2011


Feeling a bit more positive today -so I spent the morning fixing new, lighter, chain to the anchor. I had rather too short a length of heavy chain previously. I was then caught out by the weather - which threw down a lot of rain. But the boat ready to go - to catch the tide up the river Deben tomorrow - leaving quite early.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Friday - pottering around in Titchmarsh

The Backwaters at high water - viewed from the marina - complete with a Mirror dinghy and Felixstowe container port beyond.
Today was sunny and warm - although the wind is cold. I cleared up, dried wet clothes, shook out the bedding and similar useful things. I felt exhausted all day so walked along the banks round the marina and looked out across the Backwaters, watched boats come in and such like.Lots of rests.  Carvery for supper again - justified because it is good value but also quite hard to cook varied food on a small boat and away from food shops.

Thursday - I escape from the anchorage and hole up in Titchmarsh

In the marina - the cover needed due to heavy rain
I got up early again in order to escape a bad anchoring experience. I had to wait unti the boat refloated so was not free to go until 7-30. I had to use a number of techniques to get the anchor up - I did not have the strength to pull it against the wind. Lots of motoring and eventually dragged it into deep water.

I then anchored again on the way to Titchmarsh to wait for the tide - by Stony Point. I made a mess of this too although I motored it out in the end.

I enjoyed the waves going down Hamford water towards the river up to Titchmarsh - but was freaked out by the problems with anchoring and the strength of the wind.

Into Titchmarsh by 11-15. Very tired and slept all afternoon whilst the rain lashed down. Put up the cover after the rain - and then went to the carvery in the marina for supper. Very heavy rain on the way back - no umbrella so a lot of damp clothes. A rather bad day really.

Wednesday - Ramsholt to Walton Backwaters - Hamford anchorage

More mud - I anchored too close to the bank and went aground
I got up early and was off the mooring by 8-00 - went with the ebb to the mouth of the Deben and out of the river by 9-00. I motored so that I could have the keel up as I went out at low water. No problems - and I put the sails up as soon as I was out at sea.

It is a lot easier to do things at sea as there is a lot of room. So with the sails up I was at the bouy that marks the entrance to the Backwaters by 10-00 - a nice gentle reach into Hamford Water. By 11-20 I was anchored.

ButI made a number of errors here. One was to anchor too close to the shallow mud. The picture does not show it well enough to show that there was quite a lot of waves breaking on the mud. I also let out too muh rope and had a problem with the boat not turning up to the tide when the tide turned. I suspect the rope caught onto the keel - so a lot of messing on pulling up the keel and trying to work out what to do. It was OK eventually.

I was more scared here than usual. And it was too cold to sit out in the late afternoon.

Tuesday - Woodbridge to Ramsholt

Godwit on the mud bank next to where I picked up a bouy at Ramsholt
It took longer than I expected to load things onto the boat and go back for those I had forgotten - out of practice I suppose. I left the mooring at 15-00 and went with the tide. I could not get the main sail up - too windy (up to 25 mph) and on the nose. So I used the genoa and the engine.

Picked up a mooring (with some difficulty due to tide and wind) by 17-00. The river had some white horses and the boat lay awkwardly to the current for a while.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Deben and areas I am going to visit - main objective is the Walton Backwaters.
I have not been feeling as well as usual  this last week but spared you the list of symptoms combined with moans and groans. But I did a few nice things, including a quick visit to London. I now feel a bit better and figure that if I don't get on the boat and go now - - it will be autumn and too cold.

So I am off shortly to the boat - now full of food and junk. I am finding it hard to remember what to take and also I have got too accostomed to the comforts of life ashore. The plan is to go downstream with the ebb at about 15-00 hours and escape the Deben tomorrow morning (on a bad tide) - heading for the Walton Backwaters. I hope to get some network connectivity to update on progress.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

I continue to feel zapped. I am now into hoping this is just a long recovery time from last week but - - - . I have been back to the gym and my muscles are OK but I am not good at the cardio-vascular. I have also done a lot of sleeping.

I have changed my diet - it seems that some of the digestion problems that I took to be simple side effects of Tarceva were actually lactose intolerance. I found this becuase I did not have much milk or cheese during the regatta and have stopped eating it since. It also means that I have not drunk much coffee this week, as I do not like it without milk.

Friday, 5 August 2011

And today - we have the pay-back. I feel wiped out and have done nothing apart from walk very slowly along a small bit of the river, collapsing onto the park benches in the sun to drink reviving juices and feel zapped. Hardly surprising - - - .

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Just before the start of the medium handicap race
Regatta last day: I did not sail as I had a hospital appointment and was not back until mid afternoon. Very wet in the morning and windy in the afternoon. There were various races, raft building and the like. I think I was too tired to sail again anyway!
Different type of race - they built the rafts in heavy rain in the morning.
The results overall for the medium handicap - the fleet I sailed in - 21 boats entered - I came 11th. I had two with a lot of points as I needed to do six races and only did four. Pleased with this - although I did worse in the race I thought I sailed the best - it is ever thus!

Bruises are healing well.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Regatta day 4: preparation paid off as I went in close to the bank. Bright and hot sunshine. No wind in the morning but racing did not start until 13-00, by which time there was a modest sea breeze. A good day.

Race 1: the right wind and a better course as it had some reaches as well as beats and a run. I sailed a bit better - but my boat speed is less than other streakers. No major dramas - apart from an almost-capsise filling the boat with water - and the self bailers are rubbish. Came 12th - lower down the fleet than I thought at the time.

Race 2: The wind got up for this. I started it and went as far as the Cut - then bore away and did some planing on reaches pretending that I was practising gybes. Then went shore, which was quite an effort and I had really had enough by the time the boat was on its trolly. Then changed, had tea and cakes, packed the boat and came home - the activities interspersed with talking to people..

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The steep bank downstream from the start - at low water - to see how close in I can go.
Preparation: I have tried to do some preparation for the regatta - this a picture of the bend in the river to see how close I can go at high water. There is less tide here and also a bit of a lift (sometimes). But a lot of small tacks disadvantages me as I am not good at tacking.
Regatta day 3: I feel a lot healthier today. Modest wind and a pleasant day. BBQ in the evening in the best traditions of regattas. A few bruises sre beginning to look impressive. Good stuff.

Race 1: I started on the line. I was not far behind the fast streakers for about half the first beat. But I got tired and gradually dropped back but I still had a good time. I came 10th. I am not sure whether the feeling of sailiing in treacle is my technique or the (old) boat with slightly difficult sail controls. It went wrong at the last mark (which was from a run to a beat) - I got tangled with some agressive small children in a small boat (calling for water when they had no overlap!) - concentration goes - I lost my footing and  - splash. But I did  get the boat up and finished the race.

Race 2:  I did intend to sail it but the course was the same two mile beat that I did not fancy yesterday - so I did the start (to get more points than not sailing at all) for practice and played with some sail settings - and had cake and coffee instead.
Launching and recovery is difficult due to narrow slipway and a lot of boats

Monday, 1 August 2011

Regatta day 2: Better sailing and good weather. The start times are limited by the tides - so today it was an 11-30 start - with the tide stronger for the first race, the wind stronger for the second race.
Race 1: I got a decent start which made me realise the limitations of other aspects of my sailing - slow tacking and also not going as fast as I think I should.  I did finish and was not last! - I was actually 9th. But the races here are very long for my stamina (the 'short' morning race was well over an hour).

Race 2: Discretion the better part of valour and I decided not to race. This was the right decision as the wind got up and there was a very long beat to the furthest mark (I think over two miles and against the tide) and a long run back.So I pottered around, ate cake and drank tea. In bright sunshine.