Friday, 28 December 2012

Short update:-
I am gradually going bad to worse and then worse back to bad!
I am just sitting it out and doing a lot of resting and sleeping - as before!
MRI scan this morning - not sure why- very horrible and exhausting.

One change - I cannot see myself being able to go home - I cannot manage a lot of things for myself. So discussions likely about where I do go - but no pressure or hurry.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A lot of ups and downs since Sunday. I have had a very quiet day today - asleep much of the time- which  would be recuperative if it were something like flu but is not especially so with this. But I am starting to eat again.  Low blood pressure is the main problem at present making it hard to get to the loo and much else.

Am likely to be here for some time until it is clear what is going on.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

I got into hospital with the usual delays and frustrations, on Friday. Felt very stressed and ill by I got in.
I was fortuneately spotted by the consultant - who took one look at the fluid build-up and put a draining.  I have to say this is the only bit of efficiency I have seen to date - so a. So a lot of frustrations.

I havE low blood pressure so also feel shaken and immobile.

Today - not good either as I felt more ill than usual. I have had the drain removed - it was about 8 litres yield. Also managed to spill a lot as one bit had not drained.

Altogether horrible. I hope it will moderate in a few days as it did last time.

Thanks again for you emails - I barely have strength to write this so am unlikely to reply. But know I have enjoyed and appreciated them.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

I am not sure how to describe how I am feeling just now and for the last couple of days. Basically I feel a lot worse - partly the fluid in abdomen - partly the disease developing. I am hoping to get the fluid drained again soon. And my appetite has gone.

I am still hanging out at home

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Lookfar for sale
Lookfar - out of the  water, cleaned, emptied and polished
Proof - if needed - of illness. Now on the market with the local broker.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

I have been home a few days and find I can manage to walk across the room, get food, go to the loo etc. But most of the time I sit around doing nothing much. Watch the tele - read the newspaper on iPad - send a few messages. I have limited energy so do not do things for very long and cannot read for long either. I am not getting any better - I am just less uncomfortable at home. I have a very good 'helper' who does clearing up and lots of bits and pieces and shopping.

So I mostly feel pretty rough - some times and days better than others. I am not expecting to get any better overall, even when the fluid is drained again. Apparently chemo type treatments would finish me off there and then!

The fluid is building up and will need to be drained again - in about a week to a week and a half.  I am expecting not to stay in hospital so long this time ( ever optimistic) because it will be done before it gets as full as last time.
I even got a tax bill yesterday!

Thanks for emails and comments - I do like them and to hear how people are doing. xx


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Entering the Deben - much more fun that horrid medical stuff.
Deben entrance, August 2012

I am at home. This time I had my own oxygen so got a taxi- not waiting around. I have slumped in front of the tele - eaten proper food - and generally appreciated quiet and privacy. I will try to insert pictures for a while - of something nice. It looks as if I will have to go back to have it drained again in a few weeks - it is still fluid entering  the abdomen. Ugh.

Monday, 10 December 2012

I continue to feel a bit better day-by-day.
So I am leaving for home tomorrow unless anything goes wrong. And after the last attempt to use hospital transport - I am getting a taxi in the morning. I can then sit around all day and have my toys around me.
I think I will manage OK or I would not try - and have had enough of hospital - so am motivated.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Some improvements again, although I felt a bit zapped out yesterday morning - breakfast was late!
I am not dozing as much and slept better at night I also can read the paper on the iPad for longer. Apparently recovery has good and bad days.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Some slight improvement today - not much to show for it 'tho. I am going to stay here into next week but hope life will feel easier if I am less zapped out by the effects of the fluid.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Now - many hours of lead. It takes time for the effect of the fluid to wear off and so I have not felt any better but less uncomfortable than before. I have been told by the consultant to do as I want and to liaise with one of the staff about what I want to do when I leave hospital. To that end - one nice conversation and a couple of hard ones for which I do not have the energy.

I am lying around dozing- not able to read for longer that 15 mins. So you will know why I have not replied to your supportive comments and emails - but know that I appreciate them. Xx

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Yesterday they put a drain in my abdomen - nasty stuff - it yielded about 8 litres - no wonder it was distended and horrible.
Today I lounged about thinking I should feel better for the removal of the fluid - but  did not. Some improvement when the tube was removed however; it takes some days to settle down apparently.
Sorry for boring post!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Thanks you all once again for your emails and good thoughts over the ether - I continue to appreciate them more than I can say. I don't think I will reply individually unless I get a lot better.

I am in Ipswich hospital - they had a bed yesterday and I got in OK with Aidan driving. I am more ill than I remember feeling - the hour of lead indeed. I don't have much energy to write but will try to keep in touch through the wonders of modern networks.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

From Emily Dickinson,  "After great pain "

This is the hour of lead -
Remembered, if outlived,
As freezing persons, recollect the snow-
First - Chill - then Stupor - then the letting go -
I continue to feel ill, but not in pain - rather like the worst flu but without the temperature - I will spare you the horrible details. I had hoped to get checked out but - -

I was supposed to get a bed in the oncology ward yesterday to see the consultant and to have more chemo (if I am deemed up to it).  But this depends on others leaving the ward. So I ring up every day and now find that I may not get in this week. This may partly be because they do not know I am feeling a lot worse. So I have been phoning round and sending emails to tell them. All very stressful.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Dear friends and followers,
Thank you for your emails ans comments. They are immensely valuable to me - and supportive beyond anything you can know. I am sorry I have not responded properly to them .

I am afraid I am feeling pretty ill really and do not have the energy to reply properly.
Will continue to blog.
xx

Friday, 23 November 2012

There was a power cut yesterday evening - after dark. My oxygen supply has an electric pump and let's out a horrible  alarm if the electricity supply goes off . I do have a back-up cylinder.

It was a bit of a surprise as it  was dark and I was not sure where the torches are. So I used my MoB  light to find a small torch and then had to go through my sailing kit for the one off the boat (it was in the last bag I search).  But I sat down for a few minutes to calm down and work out what to do.  I the end I did not need to implement the plan because the power came back after about 20 mins. At least I have torches to hand.

I am managing to eat and get around the flat a bit. But I don't really feel significantly better.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Yesterday Rhoda drove us out to see the sea and the tide at the mouth of the river Deben. So I saw the sea and the buoys that I have moored on. Good but totally exhausting so don't think this marks some amazing recovery. So why do it - - - lines from Sea Fever get it:-

"I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;"

I continue to be confined to the flat. Rhoda and Aidan have now gone back to France and London. I just about manage to look after myself - the hardest part is to get nice things to eat, although I have a suppressed appetite. I do have some help with doing stuff around the flat, shopping and so on - thank you Fiona. I am a little less zapped than I was a few days ago and the hope is that things improve, even with baby steps.

Friday, 16 November 2012

tachyon rides again - 2012 sailing in the mouth of the river Tyne
I used to own this fireball - I gave it to some young people at Tynemouth saiing club - they used it and then garaged it when their lives led elsewhere. It was recently aquired by two club members, who varnished, repaired and painted it.

I loved this boat and welcome it return to life - much the most exciting boat I have sailed regularly.

This has nothing to do with my present plight - I just find it a life-enhancing picture that brings back good memories and keeps me off self-pity, symptoms and side effects.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Very tough time.
The chemo has side effects - normally one justs feels a bit out of it. This time, I think because I am weakened anyway, it is horrible. I barely move from my chair and feel pretty ill. It will be worth it if it works at all - but takes a bit of living through. I also find it hard to read or concentrate - so am not even trying. Tougher than anything I have experienced.

The next few days have a different challenge because my immune system will be compromised (as they put it). At least the flat is not full of strange  germs.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

I was discharged from Ipswich hospital yesterday. Quite a carry-on because I was supposed to use hospital transport (due to having an oxygen cylinder) but the transport was delayed for hours. So we did it by car in the end.

I am installed at home with a thing to make oxygen that looks like an air conditioning unit- with a long lead so I can move around the flat.

I feel pretty fatigued - beyond anything I have experienced previously. So I sit it out for a while, avoiding germs, until the next lot of chemo - better at home - own loo and a bit of quiet.

I do not have the strength for visits or cards or phone calls - but emails are nice. Xx

Thursday, 8 November 2012

I spent some of the morning listening to string quartets. Much moved - I had forgotten there is such beauty.
The rest of the day - sleeping and doing mundane things.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Poetry ( and string quartets) have enhanced my life since I discovered them 55 years ago. This to you all:-

The end of Sonnet XXX (Shakespeare - who else)

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd and sorrows end.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Update: I am - at this moment - getting the chemotherapy dripped in. There are two main drugs:-
Pemetrexed and Carboplatin. Find them on the Internet!
It will take about 3 hours - whilst I lie around and do as little as possible.

Cross fingers that it works X


Monday, 5 November 2012

Dear friends and followers,
There is no easy way to say this but I do want you to know what is going on so I will try to say it as it is with minimal fuss and metaphor.

I have a good Internet connection now through my iPad so can do my own posts and get email (as well as the newspapers).

I had a CAT scan on Friday.  It shows that the cancer has started to grow again pretty aggressively. It has also spread to other essential bits of the innards. This represents some sort of "End Game" . I am currently in the cancer ward and there is a Plan. This is to have some chemo to "push it back" . If this works at all I will get some quality of life (ie will be able to stagger across the room and also look at the mud and river.) if it does not work - - - .

Will keep in touch.

Please do not send cards etc - they clog up the post box at home and there is no room in the ward. Also - as I am not going to get better - please don't send messages about getting better! But email is good and seems to function well - hooray for the Mac.

Thanks you for following and for your good thoughts over the last 3 years - I have really benefitted from these
Xx

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Another post by Rhoda

As you can probably guess given that Lorna is not writing this, she is in hospital again. You can tell from previous entries she wasn't recovering well from the pneumonia. It seems that she has blood clots on the lungs to complicate things. It is likely she will be in hospital at least until next week but may get internet access and the energy to use it before then.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Moan,groan,complain:
I have finished antibiotics and hope the infection has gone. But I don't really feel any better. Slight return of appetite yesterday but it has gone again today. No alternative to turning up the heating and sitting it out with as little misery as I can manage.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I continue to feel ill and am sitting it out by doing nothing. I have even had the GP check me over twice. No appetite combined with indigestion. Pneumonia - very  unpleasant and to be avoided.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

I am at home now but still being treated for pneumonia and feeling very feeble - too feeble to do anything and too feeble to feel bored or cross. But I am feeling a bit better so hope the graph goes upwards. Pneumonia deserves as much respect as the North Sea in a gale.

I am on-line but not very energetic in replying etc. - but will be in touch eventually. Xx

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Post by Rhoda

Quick note posted by Rhoda to say that Lorna doesn't currently have internet access, but is doing ok.
It looks like she will be in hospital for at least a week, taking a course of antibiotics to tackle a chest infection.

She was amused to hear our sheep escaped this morning and wanted a picture of them posted here. This is Col (on the right) and a male lamb that doesn't have a name. He is already bigger than Col (who is a Ouessant and a year older) because he is cross Ouessant and Jacob. They have been fighting recently because some of the ewes are in season. Normally they are good friends.


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Continuation and update:
I have just been to the GPs. I feel very poorly and she is arranging to admit me to hospital within the next hour or so - I don't know how long for but as I am gasping for breath this is good. But have not let it go as I did last year. Will try to keep in touch - xx

Friday, 12 October 2012

Dear friends,
I have a chest infection and am laid low for the moment. So don't be surprised if I don't write. I have anti-biotic and am seeing the GP again tomorrow. I have also lost my appetite. xx

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Sunday: progress with the slipway; the piles are all now in place ready for the main structural beams (visible on the deck ogf the work boat).
Update Wednesday: I have felt unwell, exhausted and depressed since I came back from London. I did not even have the energy to write diatribe on London buildings as I threatened in my last post. I made it to the river on Sunday with a lot of effort and I did a few things I had to do - like have a blood test. The rest of the time I have mooched around feeling that the valley (of the shadow of death) would soon open up ahead of me. I  am glad to say that I feel better today.

Tuesday - the new chemo regime started. It was a shorter session than many and the stuff has not yet had obvious side effects. I had helpful chats to a couple of the nurses in the Day Unit, which helped with the gloom and despondancy. I am also getting to admit that I need to plan my life differently, rather than living in (pleasant) denial.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

A new building seen from Tower Hill. A bit tall but it does match other nearby buildings.
I am going to write a rant about some hideous buildings around central London, especially south of the river - but later. The sun is shining now and I am going out to bask before we get into real winter.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Images of London in one go - the Tower and a real London bus with a platform at the back.
Wednesday to Friday: I went to London - met Aidan by the Tower and stayed over with him. Then visited Helen; we went on the river back from the Tate Modern (food and drink - not art) to the new pier at Vauxhall. Then to Covent Garden (old stamping ground) on Friday - more eating and drinking.

I was aware of it being much harder to breath - so I walked around quite slowly but still got too tired for comfort. I have the first chemo appointment booked in for Tuesday next week, with a blood test the day before - so I become medicalised again - better than the alternative but it makes me feel gloomy. There are weekly infusions (and blood tests) for three weeks and then a week without one - called a 'rest'!

I am not coping well with this - I feel too gloomy, breathless and tired to do so. But I am intending to go to geology as usual on Monday and to host a meeting here about the U3A web site on Tuesday. I am also trying to catch up with the general admin of life and writing to people.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The last pile put in place for the new slipway.
Progress on the slipway - last week - the last banging-in of the piles. This is just the start.

Also a new start in my life again at the end of the week. I had a review with the consultant on Friday and this time the Xray shows that the cancer is starting to stir again (like a volcano!). So an end to the carefree days of no chemo and not much worry.

We discussed various options and concluded that I should try something that is not as heavy as the stuff I had last time. So I am going to try gemcitabine. If this is not effective, then the choice can be extended to something else. It is not quite organised yet but I am likely to go to the Day Unit every fortnight for this and it will take about half an hour to feed it in.

I was upset and shocked on Friday - I had got used to life as it was, although I was not entirely surprised that it was starting up again. I have tried to draw on a few inner resources - not entirely successfully. But I went to the beach in sunshine yesterday and I have calmed down enough to write this update.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

And indeed - back to some sort of normal today.
One part quite good - I went to the gym for the first time for over a month and have not lost much fitness - I started on modest weights and did OK.
The second part of normality is the rubbish weather - the end of summer. Heavy rain and a strong wind stopped me going out very far - I am not used to it. It looks as if there will continue to be squalls of heavy rain, dropping temperatures and little sunshine all week.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Sheep in woolly fold - being rounded up for their annual injections. Note how steep their pasture is. The red thing is my coffee cup!
I have uploaded my photos from the visit to Flickr at last - http://www.flickr.com/photos/lornapics/
Here you can see many activities and some stunning countryside.

I went out to the coast today with Aidan, which made me feel better about being back for the sea was also stunning. It was not windy enough to fly a kite, but the sun shone and I ate too many chips and drank a lot of tea and coffee - so a bit back to normal. Determined to be more back to normal tomorrow.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The way through the woods - not closed
One of the paths up to the chestnut groves
The strange thing - I am a really urban animal - I have lived in the centre of towns of various sizes for most of my life. Yet I totally miss the woods, pastures and gardens of the farm.

So I have not settled back to 'normal' life yet, although I have done a few normal things, like watched a high spring tide creep up on the footpath by the caravan cafe. The weather is getting colder although no rain and even some sunshine.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

One of the things I came back to - - - no access to the slipway for dinghy sailing.

The piling barge and crane. New piles are being put in for the new slipway to replace the old one.
The old slipway is used as a work platform for doing the piling. It could not be left until after the end of sailing season incase the banging disturbs the - -  - - - birds! So there is no more racing this year.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

This is one of the things I thought about in an historical way - le ch√Ętaigneraie (the sweet chestnut grove) and the paths up to it - - -

A view uphill through the chestnut grove.
 Such groves were a feature of traditional farming from the 18th century - they diversified the rural economy of tough landscapes like this. These seem to have been planted in the late 19th century (the house is dated 1898) and there are well constructed paths up into the woodland. They were harvested by the previous owner but the trees and undergrowth have probably not been nurtured for some time.

The way through the woods - -
The well made path to the ch√Ętaigneraie

The woodland also yields some very large mushrooms - -

Mushrooms from the chestnut grove. In France you can get them identified in any pharmacy - stops people eating the wrong ones
I did not eat them - undue caution - -

Friday, 14 September 2012

This is one of the things I did - - - no slackers on the farm - - the background shows how high it is from the valley floor beyond. 

I weeded the vegetable patch and the paths - note the heavy boots - .
I enjoyed doing this although it is quite hard work. I trudged off (up hill) to an area that had been cleared by the pigs and then planted with beans, sweetcorn and some other vegetables (some we ate and they are excellent). It seems pretty fertile - but the weeds (herbes maivais) do well too. Here I am attacking them with a hoe - but I found a better method was to sit down and pull them out with a trowel.

Another area cleared by pigs and not planted yet - - the idea here is to plant a vetch to grow over the winter to improve the soil - and then lay it out for more vegetables.

A terraced area where the pigs have cleared (ie eaten)  the vegetation ready for the land to be cultivated. Their present home is in an enclosure in the woods.
You can see the roof of the farm to the right - which indicates the height of the vegetable patches - and that they have been previously well terraced - probably in the 19th century.

You can see the pigs being moved on the farm web site http://laviealapetiteferme.blogspot.fr/2012/09/moving-pigs.html

This is where I have been - -

Rhoda and Doug's farm house in Pyrenees
The horrible hedge is due to be cut down. I will post my adventures (such as they were) on separate posts. I really like France and the farm; I am now plotting how to get back. It was a very exhausting journey but I did get back in one go. There was sun and heat all the time apart from the last day, when it rained as if we were in the Lake District.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I am heading off here to see Rhoda - by way of seeing Aidan in London and flying to Toulouse on Wednesday. I have been tested for flying and am apparently 'fit to fly'.  I may be offline but I am hoping to get an internet connection there.
Map of the area around  Rhoda and Doug's place
Rhoda lives near Bagnere de Bigorre, which is where the main roads meet. I think their place is about where the word Bagnere is on the map. This is rural living, with vegetables, trees, chickens, sheep, pigs, dog and cats, not to mention the wildlife and vermin. The weather is said to be forecast to be good. Their adventures are here - http://laviealapetiteferme.blogspot.fr/
A bit different from urban living.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

This is what I came home to on the U3A web site.
Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th August: Nasty looking stuff and it took me a long time to resolve the problem - largely because I did not knowhow best to approach it. I only managed because the support guys at our hosting service did know what to do. It interferred with pottering around in a comfort zone - and interferred with sleep and with doing a lot of minor things. I still keep checking to see that it is OK. I expect it was my doing as the software had not been updated - - I am unsure whether to fess up or keep quiet about this!

Latest message (Sept 2nd) " Google has not detected any malware on this site." Thank goodness!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Overview of the expedition: written Monday 27th at Ramsholt.

In Tidemill 21st August - a family sculling - part of the classic boats / old gaffers meet. They maintain many of the traditional skills, including sculling.
The last few entries are proper 'seaLorna' - although only three days out at sea - the rest is riverLorna.

I wrote this waiting for the tide at Ramsholt on the way back. I wrote in pencil as it was too lumpy to type.

The best thing about being here is that, if I look up, I can see a flock of about 25 avocets feeding along the tide line on the mud bank. Impossible to photograph due to the ups and downs of the baot and the scene is directly into the sun.

When I set off I was aware that I have become stuck in my daily routine - a kind of comfort zone of visiting beaches, drinking tea or coffee in coffee shop and getting fresh food. Being ill over the winter and spring has had more than physical effects - it seems to have posed limitations on living where limitations are not really needed anymore.

I do seem to have stood up to the expedition pretty well, although no long, crazy passages. I am not yet clear how to alter the self-limiting things in life. But I am going off to the Pyrenees next week to visit Rhoda - not a lot of comfort-zone living there I suspect.
Day 7: Tuesday 28th August: Tidemill marina and home

I slept overnight on the boat to prolong the holiday. I did not really want to leave the boating life so I walked to the shops for lunch, grossed out in the cockpit until it clouded over, talked to a few people and admired various other boats.

I came back refreshed for being out of some sort of 'comfort zone' and for doing stuff like anchoring and mooring.

Immediately kicked out of any renewed comfort zone by finding the U3A web site (that I look after) has been hacked. So much head scratching and one late night and lots of worry.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Day 6: Monday, August 27th: Ramsholt to Tidemill by way of the shallows in Troublesome Reach
Wind over tide at Ramsholt. The waves were shorter than at sea. A contrast to the calm conditions earlier.
Considering that today is a bank holiday, there was very little river traffic. I was told later that the conditions at the entrance to the Deben were rough - so I was glad to be on a mooring.

The idea was to wait out on the mooring until the tide turned and then sail up with the flood to arrive at the Tidemill with enough water to get over the sill.

It did not quite work out like that because I got tired and bored waiting for the tide, so set off a bit early. I also went faster than expected due to strong winds.

The narrow channel and mud banks extending out from the banks at low water.
The channel is quite deep most of the way upriver, so I followed the bouys and kept out of trouble.
But - - with increasing wind and the tide speeding upstream I arrived early at the shallows appropriately names Troublesome Reach downstream of Woodbridge. So did a few other boats and we all went aground on mud banks.

Moored boats almost afloat along the channel at the appropriately named  Troublesome Reach
I went aground in the channel itself in 0.7 M. As the tide rose, the wind pushed me off - but towards the shore and a moored boat (also aground). I dropped the anchor and sat it out for a couple of hours.
But
when I got the anchor up - the wind was so strong (gusts over 25 kn) that the boat was blown sideways towards the bank and I had little steerage - I got off in the end with a bit of reversing and a lot of revs.
Then
I went aground again in the channel but got off easily with the rising tide.
So
I picked up a mooring, planning to stay until I could get into Tidemill at (as I calculated it) 18-00 hrs.
But
I still had to wait outside Tidemill, although I left the mooring at 18-00 - so some miscalculation there. I sat it out - had something to eat and got in eventually without hassle - I even got onto the pontoon without drama. All the messing on with anchor and mooring was quite fun and useful practice - and note that there were 3 other boats aground in Troublesome - one right over on its side.

Day 5: Sunday August 26th: I leave Titchmarsh and return to the Deben. The right choice.
Sailing past Felixstow. Even this does not capture the sea state, which was lump but no huge waves
I left Titchmarsh on a falling tide - to catch a day when there was no rain and some sunshine. There was some wind - up to 25 knots at the Deben entrance and quite lumpy sea between the Bacwaters and the Deben. I did not put the mainsail up, so crossed with just the genoa and the iron topsail.

It was more fun than I expected and I went at a reasonable speed, even with just the genoa. I arrived at low water and wanted a bit more depth and the tide pushing me in. So I hove-to for lunch with just the genoa out. This wa successful although I drifted half a mile with tide and wind.
Entering the river Deben in calm conditions. But the gravel banks and the banks under the water are still impressive and scary.
The sea was not at all lumpy inside the entrance and there was plenty of depth.

I did not head back to Woodbridge because the wind was on the nose and also I fancied an extra day out on the river. Picked up a mooring at Ramsholt at 15-00 and sat around in the sun even when it got rough.
Day 4: Saturday August 25th: Titchmarsh marina and trying to make decisions about whether to move on
The entrance to Titchmarsh marina - a contrast to the wildness of the anchorages. But good shelter and  lots of mud.
It rained heavily for much of Saturday, with wind and more rain forecast from Monday onwards.

I spent a lot of time thinking about when to leave. I had an internet connection and 4 weather forecasts - all contradicting each other. It was unclear which one the weather would obey. I did not want to be trapped in Titchmarsh for days because I needed to be back for an appointment on Friday to see if I am fit to fly to France. Otherwise I would have just sat it out and eaten too much in the carvery and read the newspaper on my iPad. It now looks an obvious decision - to leave on Sunday. But it did not feel so at the time.


Day 3: Friday 24th August: from an anchorage in the Backwaters to Titchmarsh marina due to bad weather.
Classic boats at anchor in Hamford water - I am anchored quite a way upstream from them - new camera has zoom lens!

I did not want to retreat from the anchorage but the forecast was not good from late afternoon and so I booked a berth in Titchmarsh.

Then I went sailing out to sea - a reach out and a reach back for a couple of hours - with all the sails up and no engine. I enjoythe sea. Then into the marina (engine and genoa for ease of manoevering in the confines of the narrow river up to the marina.)

At sea, with waves and classic boats sailing southwards.
I stayed for two nights in the marina and had a carvey meal on the first night.
Day 2: Thursday 23rd August: Leaving the Deben and anchoring in the Walton Backwaters.
Leaving the Deben in calm weather at low tide
I left the DEben at low water in calm weather. I followed a few 'old gaffers' down from Ramsholt. (They had been in Tidemill the day before and I know some of the boats.) We caught to end of the ebb tide and the note in my log is ' - - this is how it should be - - '. But it is scary to go out at low water and see the banks of shingle on either side and spreading into the channel. There is also a shallow patch (2.7 M) with disturbed water between a green and red bouy, just as you think you are clear of any nasties. I certainly do not intend to enter or leave the Deben in other than calm weather.
Over the bar in calm weather - glad not to be there in rough weather.
Thereafter - good wind and sunshine. So I headed off to the Walton Backwaters with full mainsail and no engine, going with the wind and the tide. (how it should be - -) and with lots of other boats heading the same way - which was good company.

Having picked my way between more shingle banks into the Backwaters, I anchored in the Hamford river. The wind then got up (over 20 knots) with the forecast for more wind and rain for several days. I spent a long time debating whether to go back to the Deben, whether to go to Shotley or whether to go to Titchmarsh (a nicer marina but further from routes home if I get trapped).


Day 1: Wed: August 22nd: Woodbridge downriver to Ramsholt:

View upstream from the mooring to Ramsholt. Such views are one reason why drifting down the Deben is a pleasure
I left as soon as I could get out of theTidemill, limited by depth of incoming tide over the sill - a limitation that controls all sailing into and out of my home port.

I was really nervous - partly I have not been out in Lookfar very often this season - partly the weather is very unreliable and I doubted whether I would like it out of my 'comfort zone'. And even whether I could make the right decisions about whether to stay or go, which one has to do in variable weather. I felt not-very-adventurous and wondered whether I would be better living in the comfort of home and sailing a dinghy.  It is right to feel nervous because the sea and the rivers are dangerous places and need respect, but I was more nervous than normal. 

It was quite windy - gusts to 24 knots. I went downstream against the tide with the genoa unfurled and the iron topsail (ie the engine) on a few revs. I picked up a mooring downstream of  Ramsholt overnight.
The bouy: notice the strong tide.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Day 1: I set off to go sailing.

The sea looks good and I am not intending to use the services of one of these excellent boats.
I may be off line and off email for a few days - depending where I go and whether I can get an internet connection. I am not planning to go far - down the river, out onto the sea and a short passage to the Walton Backwaters; maybe into Shotley marina and up the river Stour - maybe not. The weather looks a bit dodgy - everything from sunshine to quite a lot of wind. I don't need to be back for over a week - - .

I have cleared the worse mess and put together a large amount of gear to go aboard this morning and catch the tide downstream after lunch. I feel very nervous - have not done this sort of thing for a year and have hardly been out this season apart from in the streaker.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Suffolk countryside: making the most of summer.
The countryside is usually less impressive for me than the seaside, but I had to stop to take a picture of this on Sunday.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Aldeburgh beach in its natural form

By contrast - Aldeburgh beach looking to the left- the carnival
On Sunday - I spent a very good day at Aldeburgh. I was there early enough to get a parking space near the beach. I did it all - walked the full length to the sailing clubs, sat around on the beach, ate an ice cream, walked through the carnival and walked through the shops. I came home refreshed and a lot less gloom-laden than I was on Saturday.

Friday, 17 August 2012

First blog picture on my new camera - the files are too large. Small fish eat at the surface in the river. You cannot see the fish but they disturb the surface. No idea why they have not been eaten by birds or bigger fish.
I saw the consultant today and reviewed a lot of Xrays. This was good as there are no signs of any nasties growing again and today was better than six weeks ago. And I am also feeling better than I have done for  some time. Apparently this is unusual so we don't know where it is going. The Plan is to keep a watchful eye on things - and carry on as usual. Even the weather is good and the meccano part of the new building in the marina is almost complete.
The framework was nearly complete yesterday.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Concrete foundations for the meccano set being put in place
I have been out and about - I am still tired after the regatta - and added to tiredness by doing housework and going to the shops.
The  next stage is putting the meccano together, which requires a cherry picker for the man to bolt the bits together.
This was taken on my iPad as my camera has conked out.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Lifeboat launched at Aldborough - impressive demo for RNLI open day. At least I am watching from the shore rather than being rescued by it (as happened in Iris May when I went aground - 6 or 7 years ago.) I wondered if anyone else on the beach had actually been rescued and towed back to harbour.
Beach on Saturday with Aidan: bright sunshine, no clouds - as summer should be.

I am trying to recover from the excesses of the regatta - but my legs are still stiff. At least the sun is still shining.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Last day of regatta - Thursday- a day of special races and raft building  Actually I only did one - the non-sticker race -a short race for people who had not aquired a placing in any race - you get a sticker for the position you come in. So the race is known as non-sticker race.  The wind was shifty but stronger and I had a pleasant sail - a very bad start and some mistakes in spotting shifts. I came 2nd - and got two Mars bars - which I have hidden so I don't eat them.
I was too exhausted to sail another race, so came ashore and ate cake and drank tea until the prize giving. Very enjoyable except for the bizarre wind, mistakes in tacking, mistakes judging the shifts and tides, bad starts and remembering that I used to be a lot better. But I am getting more at ease with the streaker and will practice a few things - probably tacking. I think sea sailing is more fun and less difficult as you don't have to avoid moorings, shallow mud banks and strong tides.

A lot of aches in muscles I did not know I had.

Today - hair cut - shopping and lots of sitting in the sun - muscles now stiff.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Here I am - sitting on the edge in a dignified way, concentrating on the wind indicator. Taken on Tuesday.
Race 7: Flat calm for the 14-00 start and so the race was postponed waiting for the wind to fill in. To mu surprise, the sea breeze came up the river giving a reasonable wind, punctuated by big holes, large wind shifts and a few gusts. And a sensible length race on an interesting course. I suppose I am getting used to the shifts and gusts as I came 6th - out of a smaller fleet because a lot of folks were not inclined to sail after yesterday.
Race 8: Similar conditions to the first race but the tide turned in the middle and the wind dropped so it was a bit of a struggle to get back through the much larger holes in the wind. I do not sail well in such conditions and I was tired by then. I also think I am not setting the sail right for runs and broad reaches. Yet  I got the best position of the week at 5th.

I came 8th overall out of a fleet of 21 signed up for the regatta week.  I was just behind the people I would expect to do better than I do.

The amazing victory was to finish any races at all - let alone 6. And to feel well after it all - I wonder what this means - why should quite hard physical effort result in feeling almost normal. Probably the absense of horrible toxins and the good fortune that cancer cells seem not to be growing again (yet) - against many expectations. So I dedicate this victory to the oncology department at Ipswich hospital for their care and choosing the right treatment.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


Toppers and the slow handicap fleet coming ashore. This illustrates the horrors of the slipway, which is worse in high winds.
Regatta
Race 5: I got lost on the course and lost a bit of time + a bad start + a big gust blew me off a mark rounding. Crazy long course (it took 1 1/2 hours in strong and gusty wind. BUT I came 9th (out of 17). Just behind the good people.
Race 6:  Same course - even crazier length of race - 2 1/2 hours (the tail end was over 3 hours.) The wind dropped and we had to sail back against the strong ebb tide. BUT (inspite of being tired and angry by the end) I came 7th out of 17. Extraordinary.I am not sure whether I enjoyed it or not. One thing for sure - I love racing - even when it is also horrible.

I got onto the ramp OK and parked up on the pontoons for lunch - something of a victory in itself.

I am now running 7th in the slow handicap fleet.

BTW - I prefer fleet sailing to handicap sailing - so apologies to people in Tynemouth with whom I have argued about this. You are right - - .

I am tired but nothing like as exhausted as I would expect. Maybe the streaker can be sailed in a less hard work way than the Laser.
Brian and Lorraine getting onto the slipway.

Monday, 6 August 2012

The start of the slow handicap for race 2. My boat is like the one heading towards us.

Regatta: This week is the sailing club regatta and I have managed to sail two races. Weather - very shifty winds and not quite enough wind.
Race 1 - I got a very good start and kept up with the other streakers and then took the wrong side of the beat. But finished in the middle of the fleet in 10th position.
Race 2:  I did not try race 2 - too tired.
Race 3:  I was over the line at the start - but managed to keep up with the other streakers until I got tired. I came 9th.
Race 4 - I started but was too tired to finish - so DNF (which scores more marks than Did Not Start - a bit of gamesmanship here so that they will calculate an overall result as 6 out of 8 races have to be started to qualify.)

Main snag is that they are macho about the length of races and the first race of the day (1 and 3) lasted about 90 mins which is too long for me - and the back of the fleet barely had time to get ashore for a bite to eat.

Second snag is getting ashore to sign off the first race. The slipway is too narrow and the pontoons very hard to get onto without falling in.

Fun - fun - fun - and reminds me how much I like racing. Muscles ached yesterday, but visits to the gym have paid off.

Friday, 3 August 2012



Camping holiday - Cornwall c. 1955
1950s: Camping: One of the recurring pleasures of my life has been camping and the outdoor life, including some bad weather. Sailing my smaller boats is a form of camping.

This was started by my parents and the picture shows their tent; my brother and I had our own little tents - one of which is just in the picture.  This was not our first camping expedition (which was a crowded Bank holiday when it rained all the time - but we were not put off.). We learnt to camp in farmers' fields and out of the way places. The white tents leaked of course - and no integral groundsheets. We had a trailer behind with all the gear.



Here we are setting off - I think to go on holiday in 1954.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Progress by today.
The mechano set that will become the new buildings.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The start of work for new buildings at the Tidemill marina
This was taken last week - I have not been down there since then due to dubious weather and other things to do. It is being built up above the likely water levels. More as it happens.

I had hoped to get out on the river but the forecast of high wind and rain has put me off - I want it to be easy. I am also feeling a bit under-par. It is always worrying when I feel like this as I assume that it is something unpleasant. But I improved performance in the gym this morning - so I am assuming I have overdone it again. I really want to be on good form next week for the sailing club regatta.